We celebrate the mateship that binds Australia and America, now and always.
The Australian American Association is a non-profit community organisation that aims to enhance the understanding, mutual appreciation and friendly co-operation between Australia and the United States. The AAA Canberra Division facilitates events and social gatherings to share our strong cultural and historical ties. We celebrate these ties while also recognising the critical importance of this alliance, particularly in times when democratic ideals, rule of law and basic human rights are challenged.
Our dedicated Committee of volunteers are passionate about preserving and building the Association and continuing its commitment to the enduring mateship between Australia and the United States.
Left to right: Purdina Guerra – Membership | Annabel Mulcahy – Next Generation Lead | Rocco Weglarz – Federal AAA Secretary | Michael ‘Miko’ Montelibano – Treasurer | Alicia Doherty – President & Events Chair | Mike Wagstaff – Vice President & Battle of the Coral Sea Lead | Shelby Higgs – Executive Officer/Secretary | Nicholas Farelly – Scholarship Chair | Martha Ziita Siima – Communication and Stakeholder Engagement
General Committee: Lisa Studdert
Immediate Past President – Bill Mason
Building and Celebrating Our
The Australian American Association originated in the late 1930’s to strengthen and celebrate the burgeoning alliance between our two great nations. After the outbreak of WWII, the Association received the support of the Prime Minister and had a membership base of over 4,000 members. Backed by Sir Keith Murdoch, the Association expanded across Australia.
If you or someone you know was an early member of the AAA and would like to contribute to this section, we welcome any stories, news, photos or other contributions you would like to make to our records and this website. Contact us here.
1936. Our Founding
Two Australian veterans of WWI, Brigadier H.A. Goddard and Sir Ernest Keith White, believe a close alliance with the British Empire and the US is the best hope of enduring peace. The British-American Cooperation Movement for World Peace is established. Both men would also play a critical role in the future of the Australian American Memorial.
The Movement consolidates into the ‘Australian American Association’ and expands with divisions created in Victoria and revived in Adelaide. Sir Murdoch, the then Director-General of the Dept. of Information, is critical to this expansion and consolidation.
1948. The Memorial
The AAA leads the way in the proposal and fundraising for the Australian-American Monument. The Monument is completed in 1953 and unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in February 1954.
1960. AAA Canberra
AAA Canberra Division is founded. Sir John Crawford AC CBE becomes our inaugural president. Sir Crawford, for whom the Crawford School at the Australian National University is named, was key to re-establishing trading relationships between Australia and the US as well as re-building ties with Japan. His efforts contributed to rapid growth of the AAA.
1989. Giving Back
The Sir John Crawford Scholarship was established to assist young Canberrans travel to the US to advance in an area of study that will benefit their career or personal development. This is now known as the Australian American Association Canberra Scholarship.
Our team is looking to future-proof the Association and ensure that we are here to support the Australian American alliance when it is needed most to preserve democratic ideals, rule of law and respect for all. Join us now to be a part of this future!
Our Role in the Australian-American Memorial
Queen Elizabeth II opened the Australian-American Memorial, affectionately known as ‘The Eagle’ on 16 February 1954. The Australian-American Memorial is an important symbol of Australian gratitude to American service personnel for their contribution to the defence of Australia during World War II. It also signifies the close ties established between Australia and American during the war.
In 1948, the Australian-American Association resolved ‘to establish a memorial in Canberra in the form of a monument or statue, to perpetuate the services and sacrifices of the Untied States forces in Australia and to symbolise Australian-American comradeship in arms’. To give effect to this resolution, a Federal US Memorial Committee was appointed. Among the members of this Committee were the Rt. Hon. R.G. Casey, Federal President of the Australian-American Association (later to be Governor-General of Australia) and Sir Keith Murdoch, Victorian President of the Australian-American Association and father of media owner Rupert Murdoch.
It was thought that a memorial of considerable size and striking design was essential, and an Australia-wide competition was held in 1949. From the 32 entries received, the design by Richard M. Ure won the competition. The winning design provided for an octagonal aluminium column surmounted by an aluminium eagle with wings upswept in a victory sign.
Battle of the Coral Sea
By May 1942 the Japanese Empire had taken control of the western Pacific Basin including the British strongholds of Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo and Singapore. The Japanese were aggressively expanding in the Pacific and sought to take Port Moresby and neutralise Allied assets in northern Australia. After two decisive victories in the Philippines, Japan seemed poised to succeed.
In the world’s first aircraft carrier naval battle, the US forces with support from Australia surface action group turned back the Japanese, effectively sparing Port Moresby and Australia from future attacks.
Each year, the AAA commemorates the mateship forged by Americans and Australians at the Battle of the Coral Sea in a ceremony held at the Australian American Memorial. View this amazing video produced by Defence Australia to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle.
Hon Air Chief Marshal Sir Allan Grant “Angus” Houston, AK AC (Mil), AFC (Ret’d) is patron of the AAA Canberra Division. He served as Chief of Air Force from June 2001 to become the Chief of the Defence Force from 2005 to 2011. In 2011 he was announced as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board. In 2015, he was knighted for his service as the head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre for the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
He remains a chairman for Airservices Australia and Chair of the Council for the Order of Australia. He is a Board Member of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and a patron of numerous charitable organisations. We are very honoured to have Sir Angus Houston as a patron of the Australian American Association – Canberra Division.