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A brief history of the AASW

On 7 September 1946, a draft constitution for the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) was adopted by seven interstate delegates in Melbourne. The aim of the new association was to develop professional social work education and practice throughout Australia, and represent the Australian social work profession internationally.

Back then, we had approximately 400 members and were administered by volunteers. Today, more than 16,000 members are supported by the Board, volunteers and staff in branches in each state and territory.

Historical articles by Jane Miller AM

During the AASW's 70th anniversary in 2016, life member and social worker of more than 50 years' experience, Jane Miller AM, prepared a short article about the history of the association, and a list of the key milestones of Australian social work. She also compiled short biographies of the founding executive.

The people and the times

In her brief history, published in Social Work Focus, autumn 2016 (Volume 1, Issue 1), Jane outlined the events leading up to the AASW's foundation and early years and profiles the people who shaped the course of our history.

'The people and the times: Founding of the AASW by Jane Miller AM

The founding executive

In these short biographies, Jane instroduces us to the women who formed the AASW's founding executive.

Our founders

Australian social work milestones

These milestones track chart the progress of the development of social work in Australia

Social work milestones in Australia

More about social work history in Australia

John Lawrence's book, Professional Social Work in Australia, the Norma Parker addresses delivered by AASW presidents since 1969, and the spoken memories of Victorian branch social workers also showcase the history of social work and the association and first hand experiences of the profession.

Elspeth Browne's book, Tradition and Change: Hospital Social Work in New South Wales, published by Taylor and Francis, is also a valuable source of information.

Key social work history publications

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers