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:supports humanities research through conferences, grants and awards;
supports the diffusion of humanities research findings through publication subsidies and media promotion;
provides advice to government, industry, the media, and the community on matters concerning the humanities;
maintains collaborations with bodies concerned with national cultural prosperity; and
maintains relations and exchanges with international bodies.
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'.
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.
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 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:Archaeology
Cultural and Communication Studies
European Languages and Cultures
Philosophy and the History of Ideas
Election to the Academy takes place at the Annual General Meeting, following nomination by Council on the advice of the eleven electoral sections.
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.
David Malet ARMSTRONG
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
Alec Derwent HOPE*
Harold Arthur Kinross HUNT*
John Andrew LA NAUZE*
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*
Keith Val SINCLAIR
John Jamieson Carswell SMART
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
Claude Thomas BISSELL
Herbert Cole COOMBS
Alexander Norman JEFFARES
Robert (Gordon) MENZIES
Kenneth Baillieu MYER
Harold (Leslie) WHITE
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".