History of InASA

The International Australian Studies Association (InASA) was launched in April 1995. InASA was a ‘reformulation’ of the existing Australian Studies Association, which had formed more than a decade earlier in 1983. The change of name and focus for the Association was ‘the recognition that both in terms of teaching and scholarship, and in terms of Government policy intentions, Australian Studies is an international enterprise’.

The first President of InASA was James Walter (Griffith University), with David Headon (ADFA) and Kate Darian-Smith (University of Melbourne) as Vice-Presidents. Later Presidents have included David Carter (Griffith University/University of Queensland), Gus Worby (Flinders University), Kate Darian-Smith, Catriona Elder (Sydney University) and Mitchell Rolls (University of Tasmania). Presidents of the Australian Studies Association included Stephen Alomes (Deakin University), Con Castan (University of Queensland), Geoffrey Bolton (University of Queensland), Don Grant (Curtin University) and David Walker (Deakin University).

The Australian Studies Association published the Australian Studies Bulletin from April 1984, by 1988 under the title Australian Studies. Stephen Alomes and Don Grant were long-time editors, later replaced by John McLaren (Victoria University of Technology), David Headon and Helen Irving (University of Technology, Sydney). The print record of the journal is available in major libraries and contains an extremely rich archive of discussions of the nature and the future of Australian Studies.

In mid-1994, changes to the bulletin were announced, and the retitled Crossings: International Bulletin of Australian Studies was launched. In 1996, matching the launch of InASA, the bulletin was renamed Crossings: The Bulletin of the International Australian Studies Association, with Volume 1 Number 1 appearing under the editorship of David Headon and Helen Irving. Crossings survived in print form alone until 1998 at which point it also developed an online edition. Later the online edition became the journal’s main issue, backed up by an annual print bulletin published at the end of each year. David Carter became editor, followed by Shirleene Robinson (Bond University). Crossings continued to be published online and in PDF format until 2008. Again much of this material, documenting the evolution of Australian Studies, is accessible on-line via the National Library of Australia.

And then, of course, we have the Journal of Australian Studies. Under the editorship of Bob Bessant (La Trobe University), the journal emerged from the earlier publication Historian, published by the Victorian Historical Association (later renamed the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria). In 1977 JAS was launched, still attached to the history teachers’ association. In 1983, publication was taken over by La Trobe University, still under Bob Bessant’s editorial guidance but with the introduction of a supporting editorial board. In 1996, when Richard Nile (University of Queensland) became editor, publication of JAS was taken over by the University of Queensland Press.

The journal followed Richard Nile to Curtin University, until 2007-8 when InASA, through the work of David Carter and Kate Darian-Smith, took on full responsibility for the journal and came to the present publishing agreement with Taylor & Francis. The first editors of the new Journal of Australian Studies were Martin Crotty and Melissa Harper from the University of Queensland.

by Kate Darian-Smith and David Carter