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Our History

Our history

"The opening years were fascinating, when the Marriage Guidance Counselling Movement (MGC), was brought from England by the Maces, who visited Australia in the early 1960s. An MGC was established in Sydney by Rev Bert Coghlan, and another in Canberra by a number of us associated with St John’s, Reid.

Later we separated formally from the Church as we began to train people for their voluntary work and obtained financial support from the Attorney-General’s Department. Starting as an informal association, we adopted formal association arrangements about 20 years ago and now are incorporated and have formal legal status under the ACT Associations Act 1961.

Substantively, we have developed into a genuinely professional body, with a CEO and links with Relationships Australia, the much broader name we all adopted in the 1990s. Early on (1970s) we agreed to support a small group in Wagga Wagga, which now has representatives on our Board. We have for some years now managed the Family Relationships Centre.

As always, we are looking forward to improving and extending our services. I am grateful for the opportunity of continuing as a member of this thriving and dedicated agency."  Peter Bailey - Life member


Relationships Australia was established in 1948 to support Australian soldiers returning from World War II to reconnect with their families. In 1994 our name was changed from the National Marriage Guidance Council of Australia to Relationships Australia to reflect the changing needs and family choices of Australians.

Relationships Australia Canberra & Region has worked to support all people in the ACT and southern NSW region to achieve positive and respectful relationships since 1964. In 2014 the Canberra branch celebrated their 50th birthday while the Riverina branch celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Throughout our ears of operation our services have morphed to respond to new and emerging needs in our communities. Our services now include:

  • the provision of counselling services to individuals,  couples, children, young people and families;
  • provision of family dispute resolution to high conflict and low income families living in the ACT, Riverina and the NSW South Coast Regions;
  • relationship education group work services;
  • provision for parenting support program;
  • family dispute resolution services;
  • family referral services;
  • family violence support services;
  • training; and
  • children's contact services.

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