Defence Families of Australia’s origins begin with the Hamilton Report in 1986, a comprehensive report written by Sue Hamilton from the Office of the Status of Women which identified significant challenges facing Defence Families. The National Consultative Group of Service Spouses (NCGSS) was formed in 1986 to assist in articulating the needs of Defence families and assist the Department of Defence with the implementation of the recommendations from the Hamilton Report.

The group gained regular Defence funding and office space in 1993 to carry on its work after Defence leaders recognised that no other organisation or system carried out the same necessary functions. In 2002, the group was renamed Defence Families of Australia.