This section needs expansion with: the history beyond the foundation, and of the current status, facilities, and impact of the organisation. You can help by adding to it. (July 2009)
Before 1961 medical support at the diving section of HMAS Watson was provided by the District Medical Officer, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Shane A.C. Watson, whose interest in diving led to research in injuries related to marine animals. Medical Director-General of the Royal Australian Navy, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Lockwood, recognized the need for a specialisation in diving medicine and appointed Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Rex Gray to service in Underwater Medicine. Dr. Gray was an anaesthesiologist and accepted this commission on 20 February 1961.
The first School of Underwater Medicine Report was issued in 1963 and outlined the need for communication with organizations with similar interests such as carbon monoxide poisoning and recompression chambers. The first eight-day Underwater Medicine course was held in May 1963, presented by Surgeon Lieutenant Commander A.A. Reid, and was followed by a thirteen-day course by Surgeon Lieutenant Commander B.M. Wadham, in June 1963.