The .au Top Level Domain Name was originally allocated by Jon Postel, operator of IANA to Kevin Robert Elz of Melbourne University in 1986. After an approximately five year process in the 1990s, the Internet industry created a self-regulatory body called .au Domain Administration (auDA) to operate the Top Level Domain.
The challenges facing auDA at this point were significant. Different Second‑Level Domains within .au had previously been delegated to different organisations, some of which operated their own Registry Systems. However the majority of .au country code Domain Names were maintained in an antiquated and insecure Registry System that was in urgent need of replacement. In 2001 auDA therefore issued an open tender for interested parties to bid to implement and operate best practice Registry Systems for the various Second‑Level Domains within .au. AusRegistry was successful with its bid for a consolidated Registry System for all open Second‑Level Domains within .au.
In 2005, after another open tender, AusRegistry was again selected to be the Registry Operator for a second four year period commencing on July 1, 2006. In 2009, auDA announced that it had extended its .au Registry Licence Agreement with AusRegistry until 2014.
In its time as a Registry Operator, ARI Registry Services has worked with auDA to grow the .au Top Level Domain by strategically expanding the Registrar network, and helping empower Registrars to ensure continued Domain Name registration and growth. In doing so, since AusRegistry became the Registry Operator of the .au Domain Name, the number of registrations has grown from just over 270,000 in 2002 to well over 2.2 million in 2011, with an average 25% growth in registration, year on year. AusRegistry also created and expanded the Registrar network to auDA accredited Registrars.
Today, the .au country code Top Level Domain has one of the highest Domain Name penetrations for country code Top Level Domains with strict eligibility requirements and is the default choice for Australian businesses.