The Association began in 1975 as a result of a request from the Australian Episcopal Conference.
Those involved in teaching theology in the four cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide were invited to a preliminary meeting held in Sydney.
Fifteen attended the meeting, and another twelve indicated an interest in forming an association. The meeting resolved to do that and gathered names of others who might be interested. This meeting elected as President C. Geraghty, as Vice-President, D. Coffey, as Secretary J. Cowburn. That committee set about the task of drawing up a constitution which was presented at the first annual meeting.
This inaugural meeting was also held in Sydney in August 1975 and took up some considerations of the dogmatic context of the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis of the then yet to be published New Code of Canon Law.
Since 1975 the Association has held an annual conference in July, rotating between Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Brisbane, usually in conjunction with the Australian Catholic Biblical Association.
Liaison has been maintained with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference through the Committee for Doctrine and Morals, with a bishop from this committee attending the conference proceedings.