The Australasian Hydrographic Society had it's beginning in The Hydrographic Society (THS) which was founded in 1972 with headquarters based at the University of East London, UK, The Hydrographic Society was an international learned organisation registered in the United Kingdom as a charitable concern and a company limited by guarantee. There were five autonomous national branches, in Australasia, the Benelux countries, Denmark, the UK and the USA. Regional representation was also maintained within the Australasian, UK and USA Branches.

Membership of THS was global and broadly based, being drawn from over 70 countries. Members, both individual and institutional, represent the fields of hydrography, oceanography, geophysics, civil engineering and associated disciplines at all levels of expertise. Organisations represented include contract survey companies, port authorities, government, military and public service authorities, petroleum companies, research and educational institutes, professional bodies and other learned associations, acoustic and electro-magnetic system manufacturers, dredging and salvage contractors, and surveyors in all sectors of private practice.

In 2000 it became apparent that the "branch structure" with the focus on the parent society was no longer serving the best interests of its members and the decision was taken at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 28th March 2001 on a proposal that:

1. A new core organisation will be created, to be provisionally known as 'The Federation of Hydrographic Societies', membership of which will be open to autonomous National Hydrographic Societies together with individuals or organisations not represented by a national hydrographic society, and that

2. Existing Branches of The Hydrographic Society be allowed to evolve into autonomous National Hydrographic Societies."

As a result the Australasian Branch commenced work to incorporate as The Australasian Hydrographic Society. The incorporation of AHS was completed on 05 August 2002 when it was registered as an Australian Public Company, Limited By Guarantee, ACN 101 591 502.

In the meantime work proceded in the international arena and at a meeting held on 13 - 14 May 2002 The Hydrographic Society Council formalised the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies with a structure to bring together the National Hydrographic Societies.The International Federation of Hydrographic Societies is a unique partnership of learned national and regional hydrographic societies which, through its international membership, has the ability to reach representatives of every specialism within the hydrographic profession, at all levels of experience and expertise. It, therefore, has great international power as a focal point for ideas and as a catalyst for their realisation.

Membership of the Federation is comprised exclusively of national hydrographic societies or similar organisations. The founding members were the national hydrographic societies which evolved from the former Branches of The Hydrographic Society. From 2005 membership is open to any other national society or similar organisation, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.

The IFHS is a "one national society, one vote" organisation, irrespective of individual membership numbers or in the case of regional societies such as we are, the number of countries that society represents. Each National Society will have one National Representative.

On Monday 01 November 2004, the evening preceeding Hydr04, on the conclusion of the 32nd, and final Annual General Meeting of The Hydrographic Society, the National Representitives of the five member hydrographic societies of Australia, Benelux, Denmark, United Kingdom and USA each signed a Special Resolution formally adopting a new Memorandum and Articles of Association thus formally marking the inauguration of the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies.

Further details of the Federation are to be found on the IFHS website at:

The AHS Logo came into being on 01 January 2002 and was based
on the previous THS Logo.
The STARS in the logo are not those of the Australian flag nor those of the New Zealand flag.
They come from the flag of the Australian state of VICTORIA.
Apart from a desire not to appear parochial, they were chosen as they more nearly accord to the relative magnitude of the stars as depicted on a star globe or chart.

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