A History of ACFS

The Early Days

In 1951 and 1952, the Australia China Society (ACS), as the Australia China Friendship Society was then known, was established in Melbourne and Sydney. This was only two years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949. Active members rendered numerous effective and beneficial works in increasing Australia-China friendship. This later contributed to the promotion of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Diplomatic relations were established between Australia and China in 1972.

The National Council

In 1972 the National Council of the Australia China Society was established in Melbourne. The first National President was Dr Geoffrey Stillwell (Victoria). We became Australia China Friendship Society in 1982.

Current and Past Presidents

National Presidents succeeding Dr Stillwell in chronological order are Jack Lazarus (Victoria); Sidney Clare (NSW); Professor Bruce Johnson (Tasmania); Tom Loy (Queensland); Jeff Emmel (South Australia); James Flowers (NSW); Keith Jenvey (Qld); Tom Loy was elected President for a second term in 2008. John Breheny (Vic) is the new president in 2010.

Creation of “Harvest of Endurance” scroll
As part of the celebration of the Australian Bicentenary in 1988, the Australia-China Friendship Society commissioned and sponsored the creation of a 50 metre long scroll portraying two centuries of Australian Chinese participation in, and economic contribution to Australian society.

The Harvest of Endurance scroll took over 12 months to complete and consists of 18 panels painted in the traditional gong bi style. Artist Mo Xiangyi, assisted by Wang Jingwen, painted the scroll. Mo Yimei carried out the historical research. The National Museum of Australia purchased the scroll in 1992. ACFS Ltd retains the copyright to the scroll.

Extracted images of the 50 metre long scroll may be requested from The National Museum of Australia for educational purposes. A copyright royalty fee is payable to Australia China Friendship Society Ltd. In this regard, please contact the ACFS Ltd National Secretary from the Contact page.

The Society becomes a Company

It became obvious in later years that the National Constitution needed revision. Accordingly legal opinion was sought and in 2006 the ACFS National Body became Australia China Friendship Society Ltd. All state and territory branches became members of the new ACFS Ltd with the exception of NSW and ACT. Branch affiliates have director representation in the new company.