Australian Journal of Community Work

The Australian Journal of Community Work is the official journal of the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA).

Mission statement

The Australian Journal of Community Work (formerly Practice Reflexions) publishes original articles on community work, its current practices and development. It is produced for ACWA members and other community workers, researchers, service users, policy makers and academics. The e-journal will publish peer reviewed articles and articles from the field. It seeks to foster shared practice wisdom and rigorous research as well as encouraging and welcoming a broad range of perspectives. Editorial discretion applies to all contributions.

May 2019

Brief history

In December 1971 the official journal of The Australian Institute of Welfare Officers, Welfare in Australia, was first published. The journal’s first editor was Brother Camage, a Friar in the Franciscan Order working in a community aid centre in Paddington NSW. At the outset, Camage stressed that the quality and raison d’etre of the journal would depend on the support of members. He made a call for contributions of original articles and suggested some topics, emphasising the fact that the ‘pages of this journal are offered to anyone who wishes to share an idea, an experiment, or even a vision for the future’.

The journal’s first issue was dedicated to the organisation, informing the readers on its beginnings and purpose. The ‘Aims of Institute’, recorded at the first meeting held on 16 April 1969, were reprinted, and the President presented an article, elaborating on the aims and the direction of the Institute. Brief ‘pen pictures of the executive’ were also presented for members to get to know the Executive Council. Articles of general interest included the problems of the migrant, pre-retirement counselling, and the company welfare officer. Two small articles described the work of the Victorian Youth Welfare Service and the Church of England Counselling Service in NSW. Finally, a full list of members was published and included five New Guinea and Papuan members.

Throughout thirty years of publication, the journal had a number of editors. The inaugural editor, from 1971-1977, Brother Camage, was succeeded by Carmelita Steinke (1977-1984), Bob Brown, Jan Fook and Larry Pohl (1985-1986), Jan Fook (1986-1987), Norm Wotherspoon and Margaret MacMahon (1984-1986), Michael Collingridge and Brian Innis (1986-1990) and George Morgan (1991-1993). Each editor brought different interests and flair to the role. Publication regularity also varied. During 1971 and 1972 the journal was published annually, but commencing in 1973 and for the next decade, three editions were published each year. From 1984 its publication was less regular, with one edition each year becoming the norm.

Practice Reflexions

In 2005 at the Annual General Meeting held on 19 September, a decision was taken that an electronic journal be established. Ian Murray was the primary negotiator with the Social and Community Welfare section of Monash University Gippsland Campus and the idea was mooted to create a joint electronic journal. A committee was formed to develop the journal to be named Practice Reflexions.

The declared aim of the journal was to combine the interests of the social and community welfare and human service sectors through active, reflexive, collaborative and informed engagement between practitioners, service users, communities, researchers, policy makers and academics. In 2005 the National Executive of AIWCW determined to revive the Journal once again and in 2006 a partnership with Monash University (later to become Federation University) was formed. Ian Murray was appointed the AIWCW representative to liaise with Monash University. By September, both AIWCW and the Monash University team were progressing toward production of the first edition. The e-journal now published both refereed and non-refereed articles, letters, comments, a discussion forum, photographs and book reviews. The first edition was published as Volume 1, No. 1, November 2006. Practice Reflexions was published up until 2015 when it once again lapsed.

Three subsequent editions have been published: Volume 2, No. 1, December 2007, Volume 3, No. 1, December 2008 and Volume 4, No. 1, December 2009. In 2015 Practice Reflexions had dwindled to producing only one article.

Australian Journal of Community Work

As of May 2019, ACWA has embarked on revitalising the journal to be renamed the Australian Journal of Community Work. Dr Annette Maher, former editor of the Australian Journal on Volunteering, has been appointed as editor of the ‘new’ journal and the future of the Journal, as they say, is yet to be written.

Editorial Advisory Board

Expressions of Interest for the Advisory Board are currently being sought. Please contact Dr. Annette Maher, AJCW Editor, on ajcw@acwa.org.au for further details. Thank you.

Read Practice Reflexions here

Find out how to contribute here