In Australia, gastroenterology has been as a specialty since the late 1940s, after inspired, dedicated and ambitious people returned from war service and overseas registrar positions.

Early gastroenterologists such as Ian Wood, William Morrow, William King, Peter Parsons and Rod Andrew combined teaching, clinical work and research with leadership and mentoring. They established the foundations for growth of gastroenterology as a specialty in Australia, recognising the importance in this field to internal medicine and everyday health, and paved the way for the next generation of physicians with a passion for the gut.

The Gastroenterology Society of Australia (GESA) was established in 1959 as an organisation dedicated to expanding the knowledge and understanding of gastroenterology in Australia, later clarifying its aim to be an advisor to Government and an educator for clinicians and medical practitioners.