The first foray into sports history in Australia took place at a conference organised by Richard Cashman and Michael McKernan at the University of New South Wales in 1977. “Sporting Traditions” conferences were later organised in 1979 and 1981. It was at the fourth Sporting Traditions conference in 1983 that the Australian Society for Sports History was founded. The Society’s first president was Colin Tatz (1985-87) and the Society launched the first issue of its journal, Sporting Traditions, in November 1984. Wray Vamplew was the first editor of Sporting Traditions and is credited with being the driving force behind ASSH in its early days.

Since then it has grown to be one of the largest sports history organisations around the world, incorporating members largely from Australia and New Zealand but also from countries globally.

Mission Statement

According to the ASSH Constitution, the Society’s aims are:

  • to promote, stimulate and encourage discussion, study, research and publications on sporting traditions with special reference to Australia;
  • to organise meetings and workshops and to publish materials that advance interest and scholarship in the area of study;
  • to liaise with individuals and institutions having an interest in the aims of the Society.

2017-2019 ASSH Executive

President:  Marie-Louise McDermott (marielouisemcdermott@mac.com)
Secretary: Jane Hunt (jhunt@bond.edu.au)
Treasurer: Matthew Klugman (Matthew.Klugman@vu.edu.au)

General Members
Doug Booth (doug.booth@otago.ac.nz) (Awards and Honours Liaison)
Tara Magdalinski (tmagdalinski@swin.edu.au) (Website)
Murray Phillips (murray@hms.uq.edu) (Conference Liaison)
Bruce Coe (coebb@bigpond.net.au) (Memberships Officer)
Sebastian Potgieter & (Co-Postgraduate Student Liaison)
Greg Blood (Publications Officer) (ex-officio)

For a summary of key dates and personnel in ASSH’s history, please click here.