Celebrating 125 years of actuarial professionalism

19 October 2022 marked the 125 Year Anniversary of the Actuaries Institute of Australia. From humble beginnings in the late 19th century to the complex world of the 21st century, actuaries have been there every step of the way. 

That's why we're celebrating the experiences, moments, and milestones that shaped the profession and Institute we know today.

How it all came to be...


In 1897, a young actuarial student in Sydney proposed an idea that would live on for more than a century.

William Reginald Day, a 23-year-old actuarial trainee at Australian Metropolitan Life (AML), wrote to all actuary fellows and associates in Sydney with a simple proposal: to create a society in the interests of Actuarial Science in Sydney.

By August 1897, William had recruited other actuarial students from his study group, including Elphinston 'Micky' Moors and Charles Elliot, and organised a preliminary meeting.

Eight actuaries showed up to the meeting that day. This represented almost half of actuaries working in the colonies of Australia. It was at this meeting that they decided: in the interests of actuarial science, they would create an actuarial society. On 19 October 1897 the Actuarial Society of NSW was officially formed — the precursor to today’s Actuaries Institute Australia.

William Day-edited
William Day with other executives of the Australian Metropolitan Life. Day is seated on the left of this photograph, taken in the 1920s at the AML's office on the corner of Hunter and Bligh Streets, Sydney.

The first full meeting of the Council of the Actuarial Society of Australasia, on 3 June 1953.
This marks the first time the NSW and Victorian branch committees of the early Institute
had their first full meeting together in the MLC’s boardroom. 

Looking back on those early days, members of Australia’s actuarial community could be counted on just two hands. However, their influence and expertise was invaluable for a country still reliant on educated professionals from Europe and the US.

Without knowing it, the work of these early pioneers had built a foundation for not only an incredible community but also some of the most trusted institutions we still know today.

  • Celebrating 125 Meeting Notes
The meeting notes from the first preliminary meeting of actuaries 12 August 1897. 

And for our next 125 Years?

So what will actuaries be doing for the next 125 years? What does the future hold for our profession and the people, businesses and societies we serve?

Many things will stay the same. We’ll still be helping business run their operations and drive their strategy using our mathematical skills, crystalline thinking and rigorously assessed evidence.

Our expertise will still be helping to inform public policy and drive change in areas like climate, health, energy adaptation - and public policy fields we don’t even have names for yet.

We’ll still hold sacred that which has always been sacred. Impartiality. Independence. The ethical and equitable treatment of people rich and poor.

But our tools will change. Today is the age of the actuary because it is the age of data. Tomorrow is our time too, because AI, machine learning and data science have only just begun to change the world we live in. And as it reshapes the world, we’ll be there, helping to harness, integrate and question that data. Ready to make sure it’s used wisely and well – and for good.

That’s a job worth doing. A job that might go on for another century. Or even more.  



Learn more about our professional history and the important role the Institute has played for more than a century.

History timeline

Morris Pell

See the history of the profession and the Institute in the interactive online timeline.
125-year stories

Phil-Ricketts, Alf-Pollard, Geoff-Lane-(L-R)-(1938

Enjoy this compilation of photos throughout our history.