Rosemary with staff and volunteers from Musculoskeletal Australia: (L-R) Rosemary Ainley, Ornella Clavisi, Clare Patterson, Buffy Squires, Anne Lloyde, Maggie Cripps

This week, I was privileged to attend Musculoskeletal Australia’s 50th Birthday celebrations at Victoria’s Government House as a representative of CreakyJoints Australia.

The event was hosted by the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, and her husband, Mr Anthony Howard QC, who are both patrons of Musculoskeletal Australia. It was held in the lovely State Drawing Room and we were also given the opportunity to wander through the magnificent State Ballroom and other State Apartments.

Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is a peak consumer body and has served the arthritis community since 1968. The organisation was formed in Melbourne, Victoria by Dr Leslie Koadlow AO (rheumatologist and Medical Director of the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Hospital), his secretary Alice Petty and patient Mollie Riches.

MSK was originally called The Rheumatism and Arthritis Association of Victoria (RAAV) and has since also been known as:

  • Arthritis Foundation of Victoria
  • Arthritis Foundation of Victoria including Osteoporosis Victoria
  • Arthritis Victoria including Osteoporosis Victoria
  • MOVE muscle, bone and joint health (this name change correlated with the organisation going national in 2016)

This year’s name change to Musculoskeletal Australia acknowledges the 6.8 million Australians living with conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and more than 150 different musculoskeletal conditions. MSK’s vision is to improve the quality of life of all Australians who have (or are at risk of developing) musculoskeletal conditions. Their unofficial motto is, “Musculoskeletal may be hard to say, but these conditions are even harder to live with”.

During the event, the CEO of MSK, Rob Anderson, reflected on the organisation’s proud history and major achievements. Some of the more recent achievements include the publication of Managing your pain: An A-Z Guide (2017), the Everybody MOVE: improving outcomes in musculoskeletal health report (2017) and the Victorian Model of Care for Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee (2018).

MSK receive very little government funding, yet they support the arthritis and extended MSK community in many ways. From funding research to establishing a National Help Line (1800 263 265). From sharing information via their fact sheets, webinars and Facebook page to giving financial and administrative support to numerous peer support groups. Their work, like ours, is never done, but we continue to work alongside each other to help make life better for as many people as we can.

Happy 50th Birthday, Musculoskeletal Australia!