A historical recollection from Dr. John Gallagher OAM; KCSG; KM



Humanae Vitae released by Pope Paul VI

At the time of release of Humanae Vitae there was only one clinic initially run in Sydney by Dr. McMahon which was a clinic teaching Rhythm/Temperature based on the research of Dr. Marshall. 
Catholic doctors also taught this method in their rooms if patients required help with family planning

Cardinal Gilroy in 1968 formed a committee comprising of religious, doctors and lay people to discuss further:
Monsignor McCosker, Fr Barry, Bishop Muldoon, Dr Ken Collins, Ron & Ronnie Spencer, John & Monica Gallagher, Max Coleman  and Dr. Mullar.

Decision from this committee:
Was  that teaching clients takes time and doctors had time constraints within their practices for other patients;
John Gallagher proposed to involve training married couples to teach clients- our NFP movement began from this discussion.

First Official NFP Clinic Known As: Responsible Parenthood Association in Sydney.
Name quickly changed to the Sydney Council of Natural Family Planning




Once the centre was established there was a need to have a Teacher Training Committee to ensure those delivering the service were giving accurate information

Training Committee was formed comprising:

Annette Milross, John Gallagher, Ronnie Spencer, Rose Robertson, Sr. Edith, Sr. Barbara, Fr. Barry and Margaret Frater.

This committee first met at St. Vincent’s hospital but only held 2 meetings there before moving to St. Margaret’s Hospital where they were given a room to meet regularly every Thursday from whence they designed and developed a training program.

A clinic was also established and operated a clinical service from St. Margaret’s until the hospital’s close in June 1993.




The next major development having provided a program drawn up by Sydney teachers to train new teachers was to provide certificates on the mucus symptom and its application.

Dr John Gallagher had met with Dr John Billings around the development of the mucus symptom several occasions in Melbourne




A summary of the mucus symptom needed to be developed and an article was drawn up by Ronnie Spencer.  It was called the Blue Sydney Summary and became part of the literature handed out to our clients.




The next big development was the Ovulation Workshop which happened in Sydney, it was the desire of the 200 delegates attending from all different organisations who had set up their natural family planning services following the Encyclical. 
From that workshop came the desire to form a National Body. At the end of that meeting another meeting was organised for 1974 in Brisbane




Meeting in Brisbane hosted by:

Dr. Terry Bennett, Des Dooley and Dr Brian Sullivan. 
At this very important meeting it was decided that linking with the newly formed International Federation of Family Life Promotion was important and membership from Australian organisations was desired.
A representative from Sydney – Dr Barbara Gross was sent to attend this IFFLP meeting to advise of the establishment of a new national natural family planning program in Australia.

She was supported financially by Fr. Brian Larkey, who became the first director of Natural Family Planning in Sydney.

On Barbara’s return a Steering Committee was set up with:
Dr Barbara Gross - Convenor, Fr Frank Richards, Dr Terry Bennett and Des Dooley
This committee had the job of looking at and suggesting the constitution and objectives to launch the new national body.




Meeting in Sydney in 1975 to launch the new body;
150 -200 people were present at that meeting and ACNFP was formed with all attendants in agreement; a proper constitution presented and accepted. Dr. John Billing’s organisation was an initial member of ACNFP;
All states were represented on the newly formed committee for the organisation.




Separation of Sympto-Thermal Method/Ovulation Method.  Billings Ovulation Method left ACNFP at the end of 1976 to set up their own independent service. STM re-established as a stand-alone method.




Sydney became known as Natural Family Planning Services




NFP Services Board met with Fr Brian Lucas and Fr. John Usher to re-locate the program under the umbrella of Centacare Sydney




NFP Services became part of Centacare on 1st April, 2001
The decision was taken to provide suitable infrastructure support for NFP Services and under Centacare services, promotion and training would continue to be provided as previously.




In December, Natural Family Planning Services became


Dr. John Gallagher spoke about the importance of Acknowledgement of Scientists involved historically in the methodology :

Prof Jim Brown; Prof Burger; John French from NZ;  D John Casey from NSW; John Kerrin SA; Dr. Barbara Gross NSW – who has made significant contributions  with her research into LAM;

Also Researchers Drs Flynn and Lynch on efficacy of NFP; Prof Marshall his contribution laid the foundation to temperature method;

Others in Australia  made particular contribution to the  NFP movement  in the early days - Fr. Frank Richards -Melbourne; Dr. Terry Bennett,- Brisbane, Fr Swan and Sr. Carmel Clancy - SA;  and others in the world.

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