The Air Force Association Ltd is a non-profit organisation established in states and territories to promote social activities, welfare, commemoration events, aviation history and the memory of fallen friends. The National Board is the governing body of the Association and conducts the business of the Association in accordance with the National Constitution 2017.
AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION
Since its formation in 1920, the Air Force Association has fostered the spirit of friendship formed on service; supported our service men and women through advice, liaison and representation; and continued to honour the heritage and proud traditions of the Air Force.
Membership is open to serving and former members of the Air Force, their family members, current and former Air Force Cadets and Air League Cadets. Serving and former Australian Defence Force and Allied Armed Forces members are also welcome, as are members of the public who have not served in any air force, but who have an interest in aviation and who support the mission and objectives of the Air Force Association.
AFA Values, Vision & Mission
United through service and sacrifice
- to work for the benefit of others
- to give something of ourselves to others
- to stand with others with whom you share a common bond
Going above and beyond for the Air Force Family and Air Force.
Championing the future, Connecting the Now, Honouring the past, for the Air Force Family’s wellbeing.
- We speak with one voice
- Our views have influence and impact.
- We uphold the interest of Air Force and the Air Force Family
- We are well positioned to support the wellbeing of the Air Force Family into the next century.
The wellbeing of the Air Force Family benefits from our Whole-of-Life Engagement.
We work as one with Air Force as our Number 1 partner
We are trusted by our partners and respected by our stakeholders.
Honouring and Nurturing the Air Force Legacy
- Fallen comrades receive the recognition they deserve.
- The Australian community know the Air Force story well.
- Commemorative events, particularly during AF2021 are delivered collaboratively with stakeholders’.
Formation Of The Association
The Air Force Association proudly has its genesis in the Australian Army based Australian Flying Corps Association that was established in 1920 in the aftermath of the Great War.
Australian Flying Corps (AFC) veterans in Melbourne celebrating the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith epoch-making first flight from England to Australia agreed to establish an association with the aim of keeping their colleagues together and to raise funds to support their members who needed assistance. This meeting on February 26th, 1920 is considered the birth date of the Association.
State-based chapters were later formed. The Association’s time-honoured aims to foster friendships developed during Service, honour and preserve the memory of comrades who served and died, provide for the welfare of members, and support airpower development (now Air Force) endure today.
The AFC was disbanded along with the rest of the Australian Imperial Force in 1919, following the end of hostilities. It was temporarily replaced by the Australian Air Corps, that was subsequently re-established as the independent Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1921. AFC notables such as Harry Cobby (WW1 fighter ace), Richard Williams (later Sir Richard and first Chief of the Air Staff RAAF), Lawrence Wackett, and Henry Wrigley played founding roles in the early development of the RAAF.
The onset of World War II saw many eligible AFC veterans join the RAAF. The Australian Flying Corps Association that had started with a small number of AFC veterans adapted to the changing environment and became the ‘Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association’ to enable members of the RAAF to join alongside their AFC colleagues.
After the war, the Association adopted the shorter title, ‘Air Force Association’ although its formal name was ‘Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association’. Over the last seventy years, there have been several iterations of its title but in 2016, when the Association’s National entity became a Company Limited by Guarantee the title was formally changed to reflect its early commonly referred title, ‘Air Force Association’, which is also in keeping with the RAAF’s branding as ‘Air Force’. Some State/Territory Divisions have followed suit. Today, the Air Force Association is a coalition of separately incorporated State/Territory Divisions under a national entity.
Leadership and Membership
Among the former members of the AFC were many whose names were significant in the aviation history of Australia.
The most well known was Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams, who became the first Chief of Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air Force, formed on 31 March 1921, some months after the AFC Association was formed. He was CAS for seventeen years, rising to the rank of Air Marshal, the first member of the Royal Australian Air Force to do so. Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams’ long career as National President of the Association continued until 1966, when he became the Association’s first President of Honour.
Initially, membership in the Association was restricted to those men who had served in any Branch of His Majesty’s Air Forces, in war. The Air Force Association played a major part in organising welfare facilities for airmen in the capital cities and in looking after the many welfare problems which arose. In 1947, members of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force were accorded full membership of the Air Force Association.
Today, with the Air Force Association’s strong focus on veteran and family support, membership is open to all former and currently serving members of the Royal Australian Air Force and other Australian Defence Force veterans and families.
It also welcomes the members of those admirable organisations, the Australian Air Force Cadets (the successor of the Air Training Corps), and the Australian Air League, and similar organisations having an interest in aviation. Although the membership emphasis is on those within the veteran community, the Association is pleased to provide membership to any person who supports the Association’s values and objectives.
The Association has broadened its potential membership base to include spouses/widows(ers), children and siblings of members of the Association.
The Constitution of Air Force Association Ltd is below:
Additional important governance links:
Corporations Act 2001: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00328
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC is Patron of the Air Force Association.
His biography can be viewed at https://www.airforce.gov.au/our-people/our-leaders /chief-air-force.
Wing Commander (Retd) Sharon Bown, RN, FACN, is an Official Ambassador of the Air Force Association.
Read more about Sharon Bown at https://www.sharonbown.com.au
Relations With Other Ex-Service Organisations
The Air Force Association enjoys a strong, collaborative relationship will all the major veteran support organisations operating in Australia.
AFA is a member of Department of Veterans’ Affairs ESO Round Table (ESORT) that comprises ESOs represented at the national level. ESORT membership can be viewed by visiting https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview/consultations-and-grants/how-we-consult-ex-service-community/eso-round-table-esort.
The Association is also a founding member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) and remains closely connected with the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA).
The Association membership is open to all former and currently serving members of the Royal Australian Air Force and other Australian Defence Force veterans and families.
We offer a range of membership options through individual membership in one of our many Branches within a State/Territory Division, or as a member not associated with any Branch.
There is also an opportunity for Corporate Membership, which may be be attractive but not limited to businesses associated with the Department of Defence and/or those that wish to support veterans and their families.
Whichever membership category you choose, the Association welcomes you into an organisation that holds veterans and families in this highest regard.
CORPORATE MEMBERSHIPS — Join now
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIPS — Join now
Special Topics contains, but is not limited to articles on civilian and military aviation, and general areas of interest.
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SALUTING THEIR SERVICE
Saluting their Service is devoted to Air Force activities in pursuit of the Air Force and the Association’s aims and objectives.