PHA (WA) was established in 1989 as the Professional Historians and Researchers Association (WA) Inc., with the following objects:
- To promote the concept of professional history and research in the community.
- To establish, maintain and promote a code of practice.
- To maintain the Register of Professional and Associate Members.
- To advise members and prospective clients on desirable terms of employment.
- To collect and disseminate information of professional and general interest to members.
- To encourage further professional development by such means as seminars, workshops and publications.
- To maintain links with similar organisations.
PHA (WA) was the third professional historians’ association formed at state level in Australia. By the mid-1990s, with six Australian states having Professional Historians Associations, the formation of a national body became feasible.
The Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations (now Professional Historians Australia) was founded in 1996, with the principal aim of representing professional historians at the national level. Each state and territory in Australia operates as an independent body and has a representative on the PHA Committee. The six member associations of PHA endorsed the National Standard for the Accreditation of Professional Historians in Australia in December 1999. With this development, in 2000, the Professional Historians and Researchers Association (WA) became the Professional Historians Association (WA) Inc. and amended its rules and membership categories accordingly. Provision for the accreditation of researchers was also made.
In 2005, PHA (WA) amended its constitution in line with national PHA standards. Since then, the Rules have been updated on an as needed basis. The current Rules of PHA (WA) are available to download here.
In 2014, the Association celebrated its 25th Anniversary.