ATASDA is itself a short history of textiles in Australia.
The Batik Association formed in 1974, as a group of people exploring batik. It was registered as the Batik Association of Australia in 1976 with Inga Hunter as the first President.
In 1985, it developed into BASDA, Batik and Surface Design Association, reflecting the diversification of members' interests. Workshops at the time were in fashion, patchwork, silk painting and different kinds of dyeing and printing on fabric, including batik. The first BASDA President was Klin Sullivan, elected in 1986.
In 1993, it changed again, becoming ABASDA, the Australian Batik and Surface Design Association. Workshops and events at this time covered fabric collage, wearable art, cyanotype, hats and all aspects of dyeing. The first President, elected in 1994, was Alan Tremain.
In September 2003, it became the Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association, ATASDA, with Gail MacDonald as the first President. The group’s interests included hand and machine embroidery, innovative overlocker stitching, jewellery, felting, devoré, mixed media textiles and methods of colouring cloth and paper.
In 2004, a new constitution began development to allow the many interstate members to hold meetings. In September 2006, the new constitution was accepted, creating the national structure.