A Commonweath statutory authority established in 1961 to facilitate and promote research into Aboriginal cultures, and to house and maintain a cultural resource collection of materials about Aboriginal studies.
In 1989 the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies was reconstituted under a new Act of Parliament to include reference to both of the Australian Indigenous cultural groups. Thereafter it became known as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). It is located in Canberra.
The establishment of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies resulted from a number of initiatives among scholars, officials and activists in the early 1960s. These included the National Conference on Aboriginal Studies, held in Canberra in May 1961. W. E. H. Stanner was convenor and chairman of the conference, which was attended by 55 eminent Australian anthropologists, prehistorians, linguists and other specialists engaged in research into Aboriginal people, culture and history. The federal government led by Robert Menzies subsequently created the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies as a national body that would coordinate scientific research into Australia's Indigenous groups.
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies received its statutory charter in 1964.
Diane Elizabeth Barwick was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. She served on three of its advisory committees, and was the first woman to be elected to its council in May 1978.