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History of HIA

History of HIA

HIA was born from a need to advocate for the rights of local builders. Seventy-five years on, it does that and so much more.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) recently celebrated its 75th birthday. Today, we still celebrate the origins of our association.

A twist of fate

Like all great stories, ours began with a chance meeting. In 1945, just after the end of the Second World War, two local builders, Bill Hunt and Perce Newton met each other outside a real estate agent’s office where they had both bought blocks to build ‘spec’ houses. Building at that time was difficult because of acute shortages of building materials, so it’s not surprising that their conversation turned to prevailing problems.

Birth of the Builders and Allied Trades Association (BATA)

Recognising the lack of an organisation prepared to represent and fight for them, Bill and Perce decided to get other builders and subcontract trades to join them in an association that could raise the voice of small builders trying to build houses. When the idea found ready acceptance, they called an initial meeting on 26 November 1945. Enthusiasm for the proposal prompted a follow-up meeting at which the 45 people present agreed to establish the Builders and Allied Trades Association (BATA).

After that inaugural gathering, BATA organised meetings in most Melbourne suburbs and rapidly won support as builders, electricians, plumbers, painters, and others connected with the housing industry learned about the new organisation’s goals. Foremost among these was a political lobbying campaign to rid the industry of the oppressive post-war controls and shortages that were holding it back.

By 1949, BATA had signed up its one-thousandth member. At that time, each member paid an annual membership fee of two guineas.

An industry association takes shape

The following year BATA became an incorporated body. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it extended its operations to other states. Price fixing and severe shortages of materials persisted into the 1950s. There was a growing conviction among the membership that a housing industry association, organised on an Australia-wide basis, would be more beneficial to the industry as a whole.

Between 1960 and 1963, Victorian President David Thomson and Chief Executive Cyril Bennett travelled around the country to canvass the idea of a national association.

As a result, in June 1965, the Housing Industry Association formerly came into being.

HIA today

Today, HIA is recognised as the industry’s unified and authoritative voice. HIA has a membership of 60,000, made up of builders, developers and trade contractors, building material manufacturers and suppliers, consultants, engineers, surveyors, designers and other professionals.

Together, we are united to ensure the safe and secure future of our industry.

Join HIA


It’s easy to join. We’ll take you through a few quick questions about you and your business.

Then it’s pay and you’re on your way to being part of HIA.

Join now