On 21 December 1972, Australia established formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. In 1973, Australia opened its embassy in Beijing, China.
After returning from a visit to China, then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser investigated the possibility of establishing a body to improve Australia-China relations. The goal was to establish an institution within the Australian Government devoted to fostering people-to-people and institutional links between Australia and China, including in arts and culture, sports, education and research co-operation, and trade and investment.
In April 1978, Foreign Minister Peacock announced the establishment of the Australia-China Council.
Here is a short video of Dr Jocelyn Chey, Inaugural Executive Officer, Australia-China Council and Inaugural Cultural Affairs Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Beijing, reflecting on 40 years of people-to-people relationships.