During his Australian visit in 1930, English university evangelist Dr Howard Guinness fired up Australian university students with the powerful message of the gospel and his single-minded devotion to Christ. He encouraged students to get actively involved in evangelism and as a result Christian groups began to form on university campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane.
Guinness returned to Australia in 1933-34 to encourage the fledgling groups, and small evangelical unions were also formed in Perth and Adelaide. In Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney the future leadership of an evangelical renewal was emerging. This network of groups joined together to form the Australian Inter Varsity Fellowship (IVF) in 1936, and by 1959 around 2000 students were involved with the Australian movement.
In 1947 Australia was one of the founding members of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), which now fosters ministry in 150 countries around the world. As a reflection of this affiliation, the Australian IVF changed its name to Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (AFES) in 1973.
AFES now reaches tertiary students in over 60 student groups on campuses around Australia to proclaim Jesus Christ at universities.