The Academy is governed by a Council of leaders in the humanities, elected from among our Fellows. Our Council provides strategic direction, policy guidance, and management oversight.

Office bearers

"It is an immense privilege to serve as the Academy’s 20th President. The world is experiencing rapid and far-reaching social and technological change, and the humanities empower us to think and act critically and creatively, and in managing and adapting to change, we think critically about ways to ensure that innovation can be shaped to improve the lives of all Australians."


Professor Stephen Garton AM FAHA FRAHS FASSA FRSN

Stephen became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2000, and was elected the Academy’s 20th President in November 2023.

An eminent historian, Stephen’s research expertise is in Australian history. He has also published in the fields of American and British History. His major books provide thought provoking insights into areas including the history of medicine, particularly psychiatry, social welfare, war veterans and the aftermath of war, sexuality and the history of higher education.

Stephen has also had a long career in university administration, serving as Dean of Arts, Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and also as interim Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Sydney. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to tertiary education administration and to history.

Stephen is a member of the Academy’s History section and he previously served on the Academy’s Council.

Honorary Secretary & Vice-President

Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin FAHA is Emeritus Professor in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at The Australian National University. She was elected to the Academy in 2010, has served as Honorary Secretary since 2014, and is a member of the Classical Studies Section.


Professor Chris Hilliard FAHA is the Challis Professor of History at the University of Sydney. Chris was elected to the Academy in 2019 and is a member of the History Section. He was elected as Treasurer in 2023. 


Professor Louise Edwards FASSA FHKAH FAHA, Scientia Professor of Chinese History at the UNSW, she recently completed her term as the Academy’s International Secretary & Vice-President and has been re-elected to Council to take up the position of Editor. 

International Secretary

Professor Emeritus Joseph Lo Bianco AM FAHA is a former President of the Academy. He returns to take up the role of International Secretary, bringing a wealth of experience in international engagement, including language and peace building initiatives in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Immediate Past President

Emeritus Professor Lesley Head FASSA FAHA was elected to the Fellowship in 2004 and served as President from 2020-23. Professor Head is the Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Archaeology Section.


Emeritus Professor Fred D’Agostino FAHA, Emeritus Professor of Humanities at the University of Queensland. Fred was elected to the Academy in 2005 and is a member of the Philosophy and History of Ideas Section.

Professor Victoria Haskins FAHA, Professor of History at the University of Newcastle. She was elected to the Academy in 2020 and to Council in 2022, and is a member of the History Section, and the Arts Section.

Professor Joanne Tompkins FAHA, is Emeritus Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Queensland and a consultant with Outside Opinion. Joanne was elected to the Academy in 2019 and is a member of the Arts Section.

Associate Professor Sarah Collins FAHA is Associate Professor of Musicology, Deputy Head of School (Research) and Chair of Musicology at the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music. Sarah was elected to the Academy in 2020 and is a member of both the Philosophy and the History of Ideas and Arts Sections. 

Professor Susan Dodds FAHA Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Industry Engagement) and Professor of Philosophy at La Trobe University. Distinguished Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University. Susan was elected to the Academy in 2021 and is a member of the Philosophy and History of Ideas Section.

Past Council members

1969–71 · Emeritus Professor Sir Keith Hancock
1971–74 · Emeritus Professor Sir Joseph Burke
1974–77 · Emeritus Professor J.A. Passmore
1977–80 · Emeritus Professor B.W. Smith
1980–83 · Professor Wang Gungwu
1983–86 · Professor G.A. Wilkes
1986–89 · Professor S.A. Wurm
1989–92 · Professor G.E.O. Schulz
1992–95 · Professor D.M. Schreuder
1995–98 · Professor M.B. Clunies Ross
1998–2001 · Professor M.G.W. Gillies
2001–04 · Professor I.D. McCalman
2004–07 · Professor G. Turner
2007–09 · Professor I.E. Donaldson
2009–11 · Professor J. Lo Bianco
2011–14 · Emeritus Professor L. Johnson
2014–17 · Professor J. Fitzgerald
2017-20  · Professor J. Damousi
2020-23 · Emeritus Professor L. Head

1969–71 · Professor K.V. Sinclair
1971–72 · Professor D.H. Pike
1973–74 · Dr F.J. West
1974–76 · Dr F.B. Smith
1976–81 · Professor E. Kamenka
1981–88 · Professor J.P. Hardy
1988–89 · Professor F.C. Jackson
1989–96 · Professor D.J. Mulvaney
1996–2000 · Professor P.R.C. Weaver
2000–14 · Professor G.W. Clarke

1969–71 · Professor D.H. Pike
1971–72 · Professor K.V. Sinclair
1973–74 · Professor W. Milgate
1973–74 · Dr F.B. Smith
1974–83 · Professor R.W.V. Elliott
1984–94 · Professor G.W. Clarke
1995–96 · Professor R.W.V. Elliott
1996–2002 · Dr A. Kumar
2002–06 · Professor S. Cunningham
2006–10 · Professor M.J.C. Finnane
2010–13 · Professor P. Sharpe
2013-23 · Emeritus Professor R. Waterhouse

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.