ALSWA developed from the Justice Committee of the New Era Aboriginal Fellowship Inc. in the late 1960s. The Justice Committee comprised Aboriginal people, lawyers and other interested people. At that time there were no legal services in Western Australia that met the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In the early 1970s the Justice Committee set up a voluntary advisory legal service in Perth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 1973 ALSWA was established in Perth. It had 2 lawyers, 3 Aboriginal court officers and a secretary. In 1974 the Justice Committee expanded ALSWA to serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Western Australia’s north and south. Two further ALSWA offices were established, one in Narrogin and one in Port Hedland.
In 1975 ALSWA became an Limited body, governed by an Aboriginal Board of Directors and with a membership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
ALSWA continued to expand, to serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Western Australia’s rural and remote areas. By 1983 ALSWA operated Statewide.
In 1993 ALSWA got its official logo.
ALSWA is currently the largest community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal organization in Australia. It provides legal aid services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Western Australia in accordance with grant conditions imposed by the Commonwealth Department of the Attorney General.
In 1993 ALSWA’s official logo came into existence.
A competition was organised. This was to utilise the talent, expertise and skill of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to ensure their participation in ALSWA’s development.
The competition proved to be very successful and the high calibre of entries made the selection process difficult. ALSWA’s governing Board of Directors made its selection at its Broome meeting in June 1993. The winning entry was from Mr Darren J Ogilvie. This logo became the official logo of the organization.