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Social work history: Books, articles and speeches

Some publications may only be available to AASW members who will need to log in as members in order to access them.

Living Histories Project - NSW Branch

NSW Branch embarked on a journey in late 2000s, to collate memories and experiences of some influential NSW social workers. Over this time, some insightful people have been found and interviewed for the project. The recordings are now viewable on the NSW Branch page.

Living Histories interviews

Norma Parker addresses

Norma Parker CBE (1906-2004) was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and was its first President from 1946 to 1954; she then served as Vice President for a further four years.

The Norma Parker Addresses have been made in her honour by presidents at national AASW conferences since 1969.

Norma Parker addresses

Professional Social Work in Australia by R. J. Lawrence

This is an unchanged re-publication of the first historical account of the social work profession in Australia by John Lawrence. It traces the development of social work education and professional social work in the larger, more industrialised societies overseas before the same developments began in Australia in the late 1920s, and it notes the part played by overseas influence in the subsequent 30-odd years.

The book concentrates on the development of training bodies and their courses, the spread of qualified social workers into various fields of employment in Australia’s expanding health and welfare services, and the growth of professional associations and their programmes. The author assesses the occupational group in terms of accepted attitudes towards the established professions. He concludes with a discussion of major contemporary issues facing the Australian social work profession.

Professional Social Work in Australia, Canberra, Australian National University. Lawrence, R. J. (1965).

Spoken Memories: Recollections of Victorian Social Workers

In 1996, the AASW celebrated its 50th anniversary as a national organisation. To mark this achievement, the Management Committee of the Victorian Branch applied for a grant from the Lyra Taylor Fund to produce a publication about the history of social workers and social work in the state from 1946 to 1996.

The interviews were recorded between 1996 and 1998.

The Spoken Memories collection

Tradition and Change: Hospital Social Work in NSW by Elspeth Browne

This book was commissioned after a 1995 celebration in Sydney of the centenary anniversary of the establishment by the Charity Organisation Society of hospital social work at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Tradition and Change: Hospital Social Work in NSW. Browne, E. (1996)

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers