The origin of ALWS can be traced back to 1947 when the local pastor at Albury, New South Wales, Pastor Bruno Muetzelfeldt, commenced a ministry to European migrants and refugees who were being resettled through the Bonegilla Migrant Centre, a short distance from Albury.
In 1971 the Bonegilla Migrant Centre was closed and the LWS office was relocated to Albury. The primary role of the LWS office was now overseas aid.
Recognising that the LWS office was now Australian staffed and funded, it was agreed that it should become an agency of the LCA. The process of handover commenced in 1985 with the office taking the identity of Australian Lutheran World Service and was finalised in 1990 with the official closure of the LWS office and the placement of the first Australian-appointed executive secretary to ALWS.