SAPMEA originated in South Australia in 1897 as a voluntary group; meeting as the first Permanent Committee of the British Medical Association. By 1928, that Committee had reconstituted to become the Postgraduate Committee in Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, with the University assuming responsibility for the Committee’s administration, salaries and funding.

In 1976, with the new Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University Medical School open and operational, the Postgraduate Committee became incorporated as the South Australian Postgraduate Medical Education Association (SAPMEA). Foundation members of SAPMEA included nominees of the Minister of Health, the two Universities, the Medical Board of South Australia, and the Australian Medical Association (SA).