The Arrival of Christianity in Australia

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church, Christianity Pages: 6 (1778 words) Published: March 26, 2014
Religion in Australia Pre-1945.
The arrival of Christianity in Australia.
26 January 1788- followers of the Church of England, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, deists, agnostics and unbelievers come to Sydney. Deists- person who believes, on the basis of reason rather than revelation, in the existence of a God who created the earth but is not involved in it. Agnostics- person who holds the view that you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of god and that the essential nature of things is unknowable. They bought a growing tolerance of this diversity of beliefs and the sectarian intolerance that had characterized England, wales, Scotland and Ireland since Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1543. Act of Toleration (1779)- written for the coexistent of virtually and denominations of all Protestant and Catholicism in England. Not until Test and Corporation Acts of 1828 that British law permitted ‘non- conforming’ (non- Church of England) Protestants to hold government offices and be members of parliament or attend university. Catholics receive the same rights after the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. William Broughton- the first Anglican Bishop.

Official sectarianism.
Sectarianism (1788)- excessive devotion to a particular religious denomination. It is a bitterness, hostility, division between 2 religions to the extent that one thinks they are better than the other – mainly between Catholics and Protestant, i.e. Irish and England. Arthur Phillip (first governor)- supported the Church of England by insisting that all convicts, no matter what their beliefs, should attend church’s service on Sundays. “Transubstantiation shall not exist in this Australia Colony” (the real presence). I.e. catholic could not practice in Australia. This decision not allow Catholics to worship according to their own religion. For most of the first 30 years of the colony Catholics were not permitted to have a Priest minister to their community. Marriages were not considered valid unless performed and recorded by a Church of England clergyman. Lieutenant- Governor Grose (Phillip’s successor) was less tolerant of the work of Richard Johnson (colony’s first church of England minister and first Anglican Chaplain in NSW, he arrived with the First Fleet). Governor Hunter, a Presbyterian who accepted some denominational diversity, was intolerant of the public immorality that he ascribed to the colony’s many ‘irreligious’ people. 1800- governor king appointed James Dixon, who had been transported for involvement in the Irish rebellion of 1798, to minister to Catholics. After an Irish convict rebellion (The Battle of Vinegar Hill) in 1804, King removed Dixon and insisted on the primacy of the Church of England. William Bligh (governor 1806-1808) supported the denominational diversity of small farmers and traders against threats from the Church of England- but were disturbed by the general ‘filth of moral corruption’.

Official establishment of Christianity in Australia.
Thomas Brisbane (governor Macquarie’s replacement in 1821)- supportive of the Church of England. But he broke its monopoly on government grants by giving assistance to Catholic and Methodist ministries to help reduce the ‘barbarous ignorance and total wan of education’ of the convicts. At first he did not include the Presbyterian Church, but after a rebuke from the colonial office in London, he extended subsidies to the Church of Scotland. The Church Act- provided government subsidies for salaries and church buildings and now became the 4 officially recognized denominations in Australia: Church of England, Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian.

Presbyterians.
It is Scottish in origin and broken from English control in the mid- 1600s. 1795- first Presbyterian service in Australia by Thomas Muir, a Scottish elder and convict, one of five ‘Scottish martyrs’ transported for their support of trade unions. 1823- minister John Dunmore Lang arrived...
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