During his Australian visit in 1930, English university evangelist Dr Howard Guinness fired up Australian university students with the powerful message of the gospel and his single-minded devotion to Christ. He encouraged students to get actively involved in evangelism and as a result Christian groups began to form on university campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane.
Guinness returned to Australia in 1933-34 to encourage the fledgling groups, and small evangelical unions were also formed in Perth and Adelaide. In Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney the future leadership of an evangelical renewal was emerging. This network of groups joined together to form the Australian Inter Varsity Fellowship (IVF) in 1936, and by 1959 around 2000 students were involved with the Australian movement.
In 1947 Australia was one of the founding members of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), which now fosters ministry in 150 countries around the world. As a reflection of this affiliation, the Australian IVF changed its name to Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (AFES) in 1973.
Over the last few decades AFES has developed into a strategically vital movement under the leadership of General Secretaries and National Directors Lindsay Grant, Paul White, Charles Troutman, Ian Burnard, Bryan Cowling, Tony McCarthy, Andrew Reid, Kerry Nagel and Richard Chin.
AFES now reaches tertiary students in over 50 student groups on campuses around Australia. We engage over 180 men and women who minister to students and help them in their Christian growth and understanding of the Bible. Students are equipped to minister to their peers, to evangelise on their campuses, and to lead godly lives in relationship with Christ.
Out of the Tower
John and Moyra Prince
ANZEA Publishers 1987
The Day of His Power
Decisive Years - Experiences of Christian University Students
David E Angus (ed)
available through Melbourne Uni CU
Proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord: a history of the Sydney University Evangelical Union
Sydney Uni Graduates Fund 2005
available through Sydney Uni Graduates Fund