This qualitative study was undertaken with a diverse sample of Australian health managers to examine their perceptions regarding the health system and to understand how they learned to become health managers. The findings showed that they viewed the health system as one of constant change, mostly non-adaptive, and a system of parts controlled by bureaucrats and political interests. While the respondents enjoyed their managerial role, they see it as contested between the professions. This study concluded that greater emphasis on the education and training of health managers and their continuing professional development is required if they are to manage increasingly complex, dynamic and changing health systems. In Australia, the health debate continues with the recently announced national health reform agenda. The perceptions of health managers in health reform and change management are important given that they are said to be central to the implementation of health reform and the management of change.