Australian Academy of the Humanities

The Australian Academy of the Humanities
Motto Humani Nihil Alienum
"Nothing concerning humanity is alien to me."
Founded 1969
Type Incorporated by Royal Charter
  • Canberra, Australia
Origins The Australian Humanities Research Council
Area served
Key people
John Fitzgerald, President; Richard Waterhouse, Treasurer; Elizabeth Minchin, Honorary Secretary; Christina Parolin, Executive Director

The Australian Academy of the Humanities was established by Royal Charter in 1969 to advance scholarship and public interest in the humanities in Australia. It operates as an independent not-for-profit organisation partly funded by the Australian government.

The Academy:


The Australian Academy of the Humanities was established by Royal Charter in 1969. Its antecedent was the Australian Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which was convened informally in 1954 through the combined efforts of Dr Brian R. Elliott and Professor A.N. Jeffares, who organised preliminary meetings in Melbourne of delegates drawn from the Faculties of Arts in Australian universities. The AHRC was a positive force in education and scholarship, and its activities gradually evolved, especially in its support for national projects in the humanities. Recognition among the AHRC executive of the changing functions of the Council led in 1967 to the proposal of establishing an Academy. Royal consent was granted to the petition on 25 June 1969, and Letters Patent issued, constituting the Academy from that date. The Academy’s Foundation Fellows were the members the AHRC.

The highest distinction in scholarship in the humanities was required of candidates for election to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. The first intake comprising sixteen Fellows (including Geoffrey Blainey, Kenneth Inglis, John Mulvaney, David Monro, Franz Philipp, Saiyid Rizvi, Oskar Spate and Judith Wright) and one Honorary Fellow (J. C. Beaglehole) were elected by the fifty-one Foundation Fellows at a Special General Meeting on 20–21 September 1969. Annual elections have taken place since that time.

For an account of the debates and efforts that led to the establishment of the Academy, see Graeme Davison FAHA's article in the inaugural edition of Humanities Australia: 'Phoenix Rising: The Academy and the Humanities in 1969'.[1]


The Academy is governed by a Council of leaders in the humanities, elected from among its Fellows, who provide strategic direction, policy guidance, and management oversight. The Council meets four times a year. A Canberra-based Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Academy.

Council in 2016

President: Professor John Fitzgerald FAHA (elected November 2014)

Vice President & International Secretary: Emeritus Professor Peter Cryle FAHA Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Honorary Secretary: Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin FAHA

Honorary Treasurer: Emeritus Professor Richard Waterhouse FAHA

Editor: Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM FAHA

Immediate Past President: Professor Lesley Johnson AM FAHA

Ordinary Members: Professor Han Baltussen FAHA; Professor Majella Franzmann FAHA; Professor John Gascoigne FAHA; Emeritus Professor Susan Sheridan FAHA; Professor Ian Lilley FAHA


The Academy comprises a Fellowship[2] of over 500 of the most influential humanities researchers in or associated with Australia. The post-nominal abbreviation for a Fellow of the Academy is FAHA.

The following eleven disciplines serve as the Fellowship’s electoral sections:

Election to the Academy takes place at the Annual General Meeting, following nomination by Council on the advice of the eleven electoral sections.

Foundation Fellows

At the date of the grant of the Royal Charter establishing the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1969, there were 51 Members of the AHRC who became the Foundation Fellows of the new Academy.

An asterisk denotes a Fellow who was also a Foundation Member of the AHRC.


James Johnston AUCHMUTY*

Arthur Llewellyn BASHAM

Flora Marjorie BASSETT



Joseph Terence BURKE*


Alan Rowland CHISHOLM*

Charles Manning Hope CLARK

Raymond Maxwell CRAWFORD*


William Allan EDWARDS*



Ralph Barstow FARRELL*

Charles Patrick FITZGERALD

Kathleen Elizabeth FITZPATRICK*

Alexander Boyce GIBSON*


(William) Keith HANCOCK

Ursula HOFF

Alec Derwent HOPE*

Harold Arthur Kinross HUNT*

John Andrew LA NAUZE*


Ts'un-yan LIU

Ian Ramsey MAXWELL*

Alexander George MITCHELL*

Harold James OLIVER

John Arthur PASSMORE

Douglas Henry PIKE

(Archibald) Grenfell PRICE*

George Federick Elliot RUDÉ

George Harrison RUSSELL

Richard Herbert SAMUEL*

Alan George Lewers SHAW

George Pelham SHIPP*


John Jamieson Carswell SMART

Jacob SMIT

Bernard William SMITH

Alan Ker STOUT*

Theodor George Henry STREHLOW


Arthur Dale TRENDALL*

Louis Augustus TRIEBEL*

Otto Berkelbach VAN DER SPRENKEL

John Manning WARD

Francis James WEST

Gerald Alfred WILKES

Honorary Foundation Fellows

Claude Thomas BISSELL

Herbert Cole COOMBS

Alexander Norman JEFFARES


Robert (Gordon) MENZIES

Kenneth Baillieu MYER

Harold (Leslie) WHITE

Other academies

There are three other Learned Academies in Australia: the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). These four academies cooperate through the Australian Council of Learned Academies, formed in 2010. In addition to this, the four Academies convene the biennial National Scholarly Communication Forum "to disseminate information changes to the context and structures of scholarly communication in Australia, and to make recommendations on what a broad spectrum of participants see as the best developmental policies".[3]


  1. Davison, Graeme (2010). "Phoenix Rising: The Academy and the Humanities in 1969" (PDF). Humanities Australia No. 1. Australian Academy of the Humanities. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  2. "Find Fellows | Australian Academy of the Humanities". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  3. "National Scholarly Communications Forum". Australian Academy of the Humanities. Retrieved 16 January 2016.


External links

See also

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