Looking forward to looking back



FamilyHistoryWA (FHWA) is the largest family history society in Western Australia.  We assist members to research family history in Western Australia, as well as all corners of the world.

The Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc, or WAGS, was formed on the 1st January, 1979 with the aim of promoting, encouraging and fostering the study, science and knowledge of genealogy.   This main objective encompasses many other secondary objectives such as transcribing and indexing records, and provides a forum for people with a common interest in family history.

We have a large family history lending Library which enables members to borrow books on their areas of interest and or research.  Our Library enables members and visitors to conduct their own research using the facilities, which include Books, CD-ROMs microfiche, microfilm, and connections to the Internet.

FHWA has a rich program of educational courses, information seminars, lectures and workshops on a wide range of topics to assist members and the public in learning more about their areas of interest.  We utilise the expertise of local, interstate and international speakers.  We also have a number of members who specialise in particular areas of interest and meet to assist each other, and who are there to help each other in overcoming difficulties that arise in research. They meet regularly and have their own sections on this website.

The Western Australian Genealogical Society was formed on the 1st January 1979.  Discover Your Family History cropped

Its aim was to promote, encourage and foster the study, science and knowledge of genealogy. This main objective encompasses many other secondary objectives, such as transcribing and indexing records, and provides a forum for people with a common interest in Family History.  

Foundation Members
Bruce Bott, Peter Bottrell, Jan Bray, Anthonera & Jacolia Butler, Yvonne Coate, Brian & Val Croker, Glenis Piercy, Ted Davis, Tony Harrop, Peter Herlihy, Ruth Keane, Gloria Michalik, Daphne Nichols, DE & PG Shepherd, Teresa Thomson, Jan Trotter, Leo Van de pas, and Bob Wiltshire.

Life Fellow
1986: Brian Croker (dec.)

2014: Yvonne Coate (dec)

Life Members

1986: Val Croker (dec.), Rica Erickson (dec.)
1990: Joy Calder
1999: Sister Mary Albertus Bain (dec.)
2000: Alan Campbell (dec)
2002: Lyn Coy, Stella Short
2004: Loreley Moreling
2006: Martin Pinnell (dec)
2010: Malcolm Parr
2014: Lyn Watt
2015: Chris Loudon
2016: Margaret Hickey, Beverley Russell
2017: Graham Bown, Margaret Pike, Mary Rogers
2019: Liana Fitzpatrick, Edwina Shooter
2022: Ian Simon
2023: Judith Ballantyne
Unknown date: Wendy Maslin, Les Williams (dec)

Honorary Members
Ruth Reid AM


1987-1989 Professor Gordon Stanley Reid AC, Governor of Western Australia
1990-1993 Sir Francis Burt, AC KCMG QC, Governor of Western Australia
1994-1995 Professor Peter J Boyce AO FAIIA, Governor of Western Australia1990 - 21 Oct 1990 - The Brian Crocker Room Opening. Brian Croker with Patron Ruth Reid
1996-2019 Ruth Reid AM CIT WA
2019-2022 The Hon. Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia

Past Presidents

1979-1990 Brian Croker (dec)
1990-1992 Raema Gooch
1993-1996 Maurice Weston
1996-1998 Martin Pinell (dec)
1999-2001 Lyn Coy
2002-2004 Bevan Carter
2005-2008 Ian Scott
2008-2011 Liana Fitzpatrick
2011-2013 Graham Bown (dec)
2013-2016 Liana Fitzpatrick
2016-2019 Ian Simon
2019-2019 Anthony E Turner
2019-2021 Christine Harris (Acting)
2021-2022 Deborah Harvey & Garth Walter (Acting)
2022-present Garth Walter


1979 - Western Australian Genealogical Society is formed - January 1
1979 - Inaugural General Meeting held at 112 Hay St West Perth on January 31
1979 - Inaugural Committee Meeting - February 6
1979 - First edition of Western Ancestor published
1982 - First Directory of Members' Interests published
1984 - Application to WA Register General for  reduction in cost of certificates relating  to events  at least 60 years old
1985 - Incorporation as an Association
1985 - Purchase of Unit 6 48 May St, Bayswater
1985 - First country seminar Family History held in Albany on July 21-22
1986 - First microfilm reader purchased in March
1986 - Library Fund endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient for taxation purposes
1987 - Commenced volunteer service at State Library of WA.
1996 - Website launched
1996 - Purchase of Unit 4 48 May St, Bayswater
2000 - Hosted 9th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry September
2013 - Operating name of the Society changed to FamilyHistoryWA and new logo adopted
2019 - 40th Anniversary of the Society celebrated
2021 - FHWA awarded Fellow of the Library Board of Western Australia for 30 years of voluntary service to the State Library
2022 - New website launched at Annual General Meeting



President - Garth Walter

Vice President - Chris Harris

Treasurer - Neil Bradley

Secretary - Diane Thornton

Management Committee

  • Robert Atkins
  • Anne Giles
  • Garry Keath
  • Beth Perry
  • Edwina Shooter
  • Wendy White

Meet the 2023 Management Committee

If you are interested in taking up a volunteer role please contact the Volunteer Liaison Officer.

AFFHO Representative - Peter Forrestal

Activities - Ian Simon

Archivist - 

Awards Convenor - Robert Atkins

Awards Committee members:

Life Members: Lyn Watt, Margaret Pike

Management Committee: Garry Keath, Edwina Shooter

Ordinary Members: Jenny Patrick, Di Dinsdale.

Bookings Officers - Terri Usher, Chris Harris

enews Editor - Robert Atkins

Information Technology Manager - Christine Harris

Journal Editor - Peter Forrestal

Librarian - Edwina Shooter

Membership - Mal Dennett

Minutes Secretary - vacant

Outside Speakers Coordinator - vacant

Policy and Procedure - Robert Atkins

Projects - Lyn Watt

Promotions Officer - vacant

Property Officer - vacant

Publications Officer - Lyn Watt

Raffle Coordinator - Robert Atkins

Research Officer - Ian Barnes

State Library Volunteer Coordinator - Marilyn Dimond

Volunteer Liaison Coordinator - Garry Keath

Webmaster - Anne Giles

Foundation Date


First Convenor

1981 - July


Alan Campbell

1982 - May


Alan Campbell

1982 - October

South Australian

Brian Croker

1983 - April


Alan Campbell

1984 - April


Graham Bown

1986 - April

(see 2000 & 2012 below)

Raema Gooch

1986 - May


Lorna & Bill Bell

1988 - September

New Zealand

Gillian O'Mara


USA & Canada

Helen Gunnell

1992 - September


Betty Randall

1993 - November


Pat Banks

1993 - February

Swan River Pioneers

Alan Campbell

1995 - January

East Anglian

Liz Rushton

Date Unknown


David Storey

2000 - February

Enrolled Pensioner Guards

Lawrence Doran & Phillippa Ward

2000 - May

South-West European
(see European Group below)

Jo Babis & Susan Salvair

2000 - December

North of England

A. John Parker


(see below India & South East Asia 2011)

Barbara Rosair

2005 - October

London & Home Counties

Mike Murray & Lesley Silvester


The Master Genealogist (TMG)

Neil Bradley & Cynthia Brock

2011 - October

India & South East Asia

Chris Bell

2012 - January

(formerly SW European  Group)

Shirley Babis

2012 - December

London & South of England
(expanded London & Home Counties Group)

Mike Murray & Lesley Sylvester

2013 - April

Western Australian

Lorraine Clarke

2013 - September

Legacy User Group

Diane Foster

2015 – August

Eastern Australia Group
(incorp Tasmanian and Victorian Groups)

Edwina Shooter &
Lee Ann Atkinson

2015 - October

Military SIG

Angela Heymens

2016 - January


Cate Pearce

2018 - August

Writers Group

Liana Fitzpatrick

2019 - November

Family Tree Maker User Group

Christine Harris