The union was first registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as a Federal organisation on 12 April 1911, but had been operating on an informal basis for a number of years before that. It was then called The Hospital and Asylum Attendants and Employees’ Union, and its’ only members were in Victoria.
In 1914 the name was changed to The Hospital Dispensary and Asylum Employees’ Association. From 1924 branches in other states were formed.
On May 26, 1922 another Melbourne based Federal Organisation, The Hospital Employees’ Association was registered. All its’ members worked in Victorian and an amalgamation of the two bodies took place in 1930 and formed The Hospital, Dispensary and Asylum Employees’ and Allied Government Officers’ Federation of Australia.
In 1946 the name was then formally changed to The Hospital Employees’ Federation of Australasia and became The Hospital Employees’ Federation of Australia in 1959. This name of the Federal Union continued until its’ modern day Health Services Union of Australia which occurred after the amalgamation of The Hospital Employees Federation of Australia and N.S.W. Health and Research Employees’ Association in 1991.
Following this amalgamation, the HEF No 2 Branch, Victoria, assumed the name of the Health and Community Services Union in February 1991. The name HACSU better reflected the membership and the work performed in the area of psychiatric, drug and alcohol and intellectual disability services.