AHRI was formed in 1943 as the Personnel and Industrial Welfare Officers Association. Since formation, the Institute has been known as:
- Personnel Officers Association of Australia (1949-1954)
- Institute of Personnel Management Australia (IPMA) (1954-1992)
- Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) (1992 and continuing)
In 1999, following financial difficulties, AHRI was purchased by Deakin University. In keeping with an undertaking by the University, after seven years of ownership and confident that AHRI had recovered financially, Deakin sold AHRI to a bidding group representing the AHRI members. The winning bidders completed the purchase on 16 October 2006.
To facilitate the purchase, two companies were initially formed: AHRI Limited and AHRI Services Co Limited. In November 2007, as part of a resolution proposed by the AHRI Board and passed at the AHRI Annual General Meeting, the two companies were merged into AHRI Limited and a Constitution was approved.