The concept of an extension network was discussed for many years before APEN was formed. It took two initiatives to focus a core group of people to start the process.

One initiative was a taskforce from a conference at University of Western Sydney – Hawkesbury to investigate an Australian Chapter of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) at the University of Queensland in November 1992. The other was a working party to draft a prospectus for a National Extension Network.

These initiatives were incorporated into plans for an extension breakfast meeting at the 1st Australasia Pacific Extension Conference at Surfers Paradise in Queensland in October 1993.

At the breakfast meeting 120 extension practitioners from around Australia and surrounding regions supported the establishment of an extension network. The Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) was then born!

An interim Steering Committee was formed to establish the new body. Terry Makin, a farmer from Victoria, was appointed the Chairman. The committee consisted of a core working group and regional representatives.

Past President Tracey Gianatti and Inaugural Chairman Terry Makin
at the 2009 Australasia Pacific Extension Conference

The first edition of ExtensionNet, the newsletter of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network, was sent out in December 1993. 

APEN was formally incorporated in Victoria on the 9th August 1994.

This was later complemented by the launching of the APEN website in 1997 through Charles Sturt University.

By the second Australasia Pacific Extension Conference in 1997 held in Albury, New South Wales, APEN had over 500 members including corporate and student members covering all states of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

See the Timeline for a chronology of events and milestones.