Records of RCOG Overseas Committees and Councils

Scope and Content

Records of the RCOG Overseas Committees and International Councils, comprising correspondence, minutes and papers of Regional Councils in Australia (1946-1980), New Zealand (1947-1976) and Canada (1948-1964); minutes and papers of the Dominion Committee (1952-1958); minutes, papers and reports from the Overseas Policy Committee (1946-1971); correspondence, minutes and papers of the South African Reference Committee and Regional Council (1953-1976); correspondence and papers of the Overseas Representative Committees in countries in the Far East (1962-2005); and related minute books of the International Regional Councils and Overseas Committees (1946-1984).

Administrative / Biographical History

Committees and Councils of the RCOG were set up internationally in various countries. The earliest were Reference Committees, which were set up and appointed to advise Council on local matters, such as the recognition of training posts and the training programmes of individual trainees, and to encourage local scientific meetings and social gatherings of Fellows and Members. The first reference committee was set up in Canada in 1932, closely followed by one in India and subsequently in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Gradually Regional Councils replaced Reference Committees in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Australia and New Zealand replaced their Councils with their own Royal Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1980 and 1982 respectively.

Representative Committees were set up as the corporate body of College membership in a particular country or region and nominated and elected by the Fellows of that country or region. Functions were to bring together the collective advice of Fellows and Members and to undertake tasks on the College’s behalf which were also in the interests of the country. In the 1980's the remaining Regional Councils were replaced by Representative Committees.

The Dominions Committee was founded as a sub-committee of the RCOG in 1945 and became a full committee in 1952. It comprised representatives from the dominions (Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India) and met in London. The meetings were consequently infrequent and the Committee was disbanded in 1958.

The Overseas Policy Committee based in England, met from 1960 to 1962 when it became known as the Overseas Committee. Its terms of reference were: to consider development and change in countries overseas, particularly within the Commonwealth, in so far as they affect the aims and objectives of the College; to consider with the regional councils and reference committees means of fostering a close relationship between Fellows and Members abroad; to help with the placing of recommended postgraduates in recognised training posts in England and abroad; to be concerned with arrangements for the reception, both professional and social, of visitors from overseas. By 1967 the Overseas Committee had been superseded by the appointment of an Adviser to Overseas Candidates and after 1967 there is no record of the Committee meeting again.

Meetings of the Reference and Representative Committees continued to be held internationally, and notes of these meetings were submitted to the College periodically, and an annual meeting was held of all Chairmen of these overseas or international committees.


Arranged by region and chronologically.

Access Information

Permission is required from Senior College Management for external access to College records less than twenty years old.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and reproductions are available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Custodial History

The College Secretary had administrative responsibility for overseas councils and committees until the Vice President (Overseas Officer) assumed responsibility in the early 1980s; consequently much of the material in this sub-sub-fonds was transferred by the College Secretary's Office.

Related Material

Related material in the RCOG Archive may be found at the following references:

RCOG/A5/OC - records of RCOG Representative and Reference Committees and Overseas Colleges found in the Vice Presidents' (Overseas Officers') records, 1955-2007

RCOG/A4 - records of RCOG Presidents