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Our History

More than a century of leadership and community

For more than a century, AusIMM has been a cornerstone of Australasia’s resources sector, providing consistent support and advocacy for professionals. This legacy helps AusIMM support today’s professionals.

Few institutions have the privilege of 125 years of history – in fact AusIMM predates the Commonwealth of Australia itself, having been established in 1893 when it was known as the Australasian Institute of Mining Engineers. Its founding members were men from the Broken Hill mines, as well as those representing the various colonies.

Our History

Legacy of innovation

Throughout its history, AusIMM members have made significant contributions to the resources sector. Pyritic smelting, flotation and gold tellurides treatment processes are examples of internationally significant innovations made by AusIMM members. These works featured in the early papers published by AusIMM.

In the beginning, membership was limited to qualified professionals in major technical disciplines within the resources sector – namely mining engineering, metallurgy and geology. It was not until the 1990s that membership was broadened to include professionals with qualifications in non-mining disciplines but with a connection to the industry.

Membership continued to grow steadily in AusIMM’s early years, totalling 234 in 1903 and reaching 722 by the end of 1912.

AusIMM’s head office was originally located in Broken Hill but soon moved to Melbourne and has remained there since.

Reflections – 125 Years of the AusIMM

The Australasian Institute of Mining Engineers

It was renamed to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1919, recognising that the mining industry had expanded beyond engineering to include a range of technical professions. As Australasia’s mining industries developed, AusIMM grew to meet the increasing needs of resources professionals across the region. Today, AusIMM continues its legacy of advocacy and support for the Australasian resources community. 

Contribution to the war effort

AusIMM members had significant roles in both WWI and WWII. Some were required to continue their work at home, supplying essential mineral assets. Others were called on to active duty. In WWI, groups of experienced mine workers known as ‘The Tunnelers’ were led by AusIMM members such as Oliver Woodward. They took on the dangerous role of digging tunnels for explosives on the Western Front of France.

In the years after WWII, AusIMM members were integral to the discoveries of mineral deposits throughout Australia. These explorations included iron ore in the Pilbara in north-west Western Australia and nickel at Kambalda, also in Western Australia.

First steps to inclusivity

The 1950s and 1960s saw further growth in membership and AusIMM’s first female member, Florence Armstrong, admitted in 1960 – 34 years after she graduated as a geologist.

Though the number of female members has grown, women are still a minority in AusIMM and the Australian resources sector in general. In the early 1990s, women made up four per cent of AusIMM members. Since then, AusIMM has worked to increase the representation of women in its membership, establishing the Women in Mining Network (WIMnet) as an agent of change.

Visit our 125 year anniversary site

A timeline of our history

Royal Charter and By-laws