The Ditmar Awards are named for Australian fan Martin James Ditmar Jenssen. Founded in 1969 as an award to be given by the Australian National Convention, during a discussion about the name for the award, Jenssen offered to pay for the award if it were named the Ditmar. His name was accepted and he wound up paying for the award for more years than he had planned.
The Best Australian Fantasy/SF Artist category was not one of the original Ditmar Award categories in 1969, and the award had several names after it was introduced. The first art awards given by the Ditmar Awards occurred in 1980 when the category was called Best Australian Fantasy/SF Artist and was won by Marilyn Pride. Over the years, the category has changed titles and direction several times, sometimes being for “Best Australian SF or Fantasy Artist,” sometimes being for Best SF or Fantasy Artist, without concern about origin, sometimes being specifically for Best Fan Artist, and once being for Best Australian SF or Fantasy Artist, Cartoonist, or Illustrator. There have also been times that the award has disappeared or replaced by an away for Best Artwork (or given in addition to a Best Artwork Award. The most recent Best Fan Artist Award was presented in 2016, with Best Artwork being awarded as recently as 2018.