| aamt |

President’s Message

The Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA) is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to improve mathematics education across the state. Originating as a teacher professional association in 1958, MAWA has grown into a vibrant organisation that provides support for anyone with an interest in mathematics including teachers, parents and students.


MAWA receives no government funding and so relies on the support of its members and revenue it generates from professional learning and the sale of publications. We extend a warm welcome to any individuals, families or schools who might be considering the benefits of taking out a MAWA membership (which include discounts on professional learning, competition entry and some of our publications).


The Association is run by a committee of volunteers, as well as paid staff comprising an executive officer, corporate manager, a part-time accounts officer and an office associate. The MAWA committee consists of a dedicated group of educators from all sections of the education community. Several sub-committees are then responsible for directing MAWA’s operations including Membership, Publications, Student Activities and Conferences. If you are interested in joining the MAWA Committee, or assisting with one of MAWA’s events, please contact our friendly office staff.


MAWA supports teachers, students and schools by conducting a wide range of student and teacher activities; and by providing access to an extensive professional library of printed/online materials and journals on mathematics teaching, learning and assessment. MAWA contracts a variety of experienced educators to facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers, including on-site professional learning, mentoring, Maths Meets, and an annual conference that attracts 1000 delegates. For families, MAWA runs an annual Mathematics Expo, school holiday workshops and mathematics pathway information evenings. We also facilitate an extensive range of student activities, including: Have Sum Fun (Face to Face and Online), the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), the National Mathematics Summer School, the Maths Talent Quest and the WA Mathematics Problem Solving Program.


The MAWA team has some exciting plans for 2020 and beyond. We are currently exploring ways in which we can expand our offerings to teachers, parents and students across WA. If you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly office staff and/or sign up for Sigma, MAWA’s quarterly online newsletter.


Dr John West

MAWA President

MAWA improves the quality of teaching and learning of mathematics by advocating for mathematics, and providing teachers, students and the community with professional and/or educationally relevant opportunities and support.

A society of mathematically capable citizens who understand and value mathematics and its contribution to the lives of all Western Australians.

Strategic Goals 2017-2020

  • Contribute to the improvement of the quality of mathematics teaching and learning through enhanced professional support to teachers of mathematics.
  • Contribute to the improvement of student engagement and learning of mathematics by providing relevant opportunities.
  • Strengthen MAWA’s profile, connections and collaboration with the wider community and relevant stakeholders.
  • Streamline and improve MAWA’s operations and management, to provide high quality services which are useful and accessible to interested parties.

Special thanks to Barry Kissane for researching and submitting the following article

This historical note consists of extracts from an article written in 1979 by Larry Blakers, in Number 100 of Sigma, the former MAWA journal:

It is impossible to pinpoint exactly the first discussions concerning the founding of an organisation concerned with the teaching of mathematics, but I remember talking about the possibility of such a development with Frank Gamblen, after I returned from the South Asian Conference on Mathematical Education in early 1956. I also remember that Ernie Bowen, then a lecturer in the Mathematics Department of the University of W.A., was keen to see established here a branch of the Mathematical Association (of Great Britain); he had been a member of the Mathematical Association of Victoria before coming to Perth.

The first formal steps appear to have been taken in 1958. As the result of an informal meeting held on May 22, 1958, I distributed a circular (dated July 18, 1958) “To All Persons Interested in the Teaching of Mathematics”. (A copy is appended.) This circular indicated that a provisional decision had been made at the May meeting that steps be taken to form a Western Australian branch of the Mathematical Association (of Great Britain). The meeting of August 6, 1958, which was held in the (old) Physics Lecture Theatre, University of W.A., approved two resolutions which I had foreshadowed in the circular:

“That this meeting approves in principle the proposal to found a Western Australian branch of the Mathematical Association.

That Mr F. Gamblen be appointed provisional President, and asked to convene a provisional committee as soon as possible, with the view to submitting at an early date, concrete proposals (including a draft constitution) to a General Meeting of interested persons.”

At that time Frank Gamblen was absent on Study Leave, and I was on the eve of departure for Study Leave. Prior discussions with Frank had indicated his willingness to take on such a responsibility.

It is worth noting that the background paper distributed with the above circular gave a brief history of the Mathematical Association and of its Australian affiliations. The Mathematical Association itself had been formed in 1871 as the “Association for the Improvement of Geometrical Teaching”. At the time of the circular (July 1958) there were three branches in Australia: The Mathematical Association of Victoria, founded in 1906 (as the Melbourne Mathematical Society); the Mathematical Association of New South Wales, founded in 1910; and the Queensland Mathematical Association, founded in 1922.

The General Meeting (foreshadowed in the second resolution passed on August 6, 1958) was held on 26 February, 1959, with Frank Gamblen in the chair. The following office bearers were elected: (Names are shown as they appear in the Minutes.)

  • President: Mr F. Gamblen (University)
  • Vice-presidents: Mr S. T. Waddell (Technical Education)
  • Bro. W. G. Hall (Roman Catholic School)
  • Secretary: Dr H. Briner (University)
  • Treasurer: Mr E. W. Bowen (University)
  • Committee: Miss J. Chisslett (Independent Hlgh School)
  • Miss E. Ellershaw (Independent Hlgh School)
  • Mr J. R. Greenway (Teachers’ Training College)
  • Mr F. Samuel (Education Department High School)

The yearly subscription was set at £2 for Full Members and 15/- for Associate Members.

The Mathematical Association was informed (by Dr H. Briner, Secretary, M.A.W.A.) in a letter dated 10 March, 1959, that “a West Australian Branch of your Association has been formed in Perth”.

Thus, the Mathematical Association of Western Australia can be regarded as coming into being from August 6, 1958.

Extra note:
In part as a result of the considerable influence of Professor Larry Blakers, the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers was founded in 1966, as a federation of Affiliated Associations. The Mathematical Association of Western Australia was one of the original Affiliated Associations, and has remained so until the present day.