AIS was established to provide high level coaching to Australian athletes. Since its establishment in 1981, the AIS has employed highly credentialed Australian and international coaches. Original coaches were - Bill Sweetenham and Dennis Pursley (swimming), Wilma Shakespear in netball, Adrian Hurley and Patrick Hunt (basketball), Peter Lloyd and Kazuyu Honda (gymnastics), Jimmy Shoulder (football), Ray Ruffels and Helen Gourlay (tennis), Kelvin Giles, Gary Knoke and Merv Kemp (track and field), and Lyn Jones (weightlifting).
The Australia Institute was sued by retail department store David Jones for allegedly engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct: David Jones Ltd v The Australia Institute Ltd  FCA 962.  David Jones objected to a media release by the Australia Institute entitled "Corporate paedophilia – Sexualising children by advertising and marketing". The press release contained the statements: "It is particularly disturbing that this exploitation of young children appears to be becoming accepted or mainstream. Major retail chains such as David Jones and Myer have jumped on the bandwagon. When family department stores show no conscience on these issues, or are inured to the effects of their behaviour, the situation is very unhealthy." David Jones claimed that this statement contained a number of misleading and deceptive representations - including that "David Jones eroticises children in order to obtain profits". The matter was later settled. [ citation needed ]