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Our History

Standards are an invaluable resource. Globally there are well over half a million published standards from over 1,000 recognised standards development organisations.

A brief history of standards

Standards have been around a long time. There is evidence of standards being used 7,000 years ago by the civilisations of Babylon and ancient Egypt.

Standards started as a benchmark for weights and measures. They provided a single reference point against which all other weights and measures in that society could be standardised. As societies evolved, the need for mutually-agreed standards grew too. With the development of trade and commerce, standards extended into agriculture, ships, buildings and weapons.

A uniform set of criteria evolves

Initially, standards were unique documents and part of a single contract between the supplier and purchaser. Later, the same standard could be used across a range of transactions. This uniform set of criteria, using common knowledge, requirements and needs, is the basis of modern standardisation.

After the Industrial Revolution

After the rapid industrialisation of the early nineteenth century, the lack of national standardisation caused huge inefficiencies. Proof of this lack of conformity is still apparent today, for example, in the number of different railway gauges that exist.

After the Industrial Revolution, occupational injury became a major issue for many workers. By the late 1870s, workplace explosions were causing more than 50,000 fatalities each year. In response to this, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), one of the first voluntary standardising bodies, was established in 1880.

Standards in contemporary society

By the end of the nineteenth century, the value of standardisation was recognised as a national priority. From then on, standardisation started to flourish and is now intrinsic to modern society. From its industrial roots it now includes consumer safety, occupational health, energy management and more – all with the purpose of improving the quality and comfort of everyday life.

Company History

Our Centenary

In 2022, to mark Standards Australia’s centenary, the organisation created a souvenir book which captures key moments in its important story.The book acknowledges the organisation's heart and soul – its contributors – who generously give their time, knowledge and expertise to make a safer, more efficient Australia.During 2022, significant contributors were honoured on our standards heroes page.

History of our Executives

Chair of the Board
1922 - 1926
Sir George Knibbs
1926 - 1939
Sir George Julius
1939 - 1948
Alex Gibson
1948 - 1956
Thomas Upton
1956 - 1958
Sir John Tivey
1958 - 1965
George Hutcheson
1966 - 1980
Frank Matthews
1981 - 1988
Robert Mitchell
1988 - 1994
James Davidson
1994 - 2001
Don Gray
2001 - 2003
George Edwards
2004 - 2010
John Castles
2010 - 2014
Alan Morrison
2014 - 2020
Richard Brooks
2020 - present
Tracey Gramlick
Chief Executive Officer
1924 - 1953
William Hebblewhite
1953 - 1974
Allan Stewart
1974 - 1979
William Ian Stewart
1979 - 1988
​​​​​John Paton
1988 - 1996
Stewart Horwood
1996 - 2003
Ross Wraight
2004 - 2009
John Tucker
2010 - 2013
Colin Blair
2013 - 2019
Bronwyn Evans
2019 - present
Adrian O’Connell