This unit will explore a range of themes in the history of Australian churches from the early nineteenth until the late twentieth century. Themes will include community development and welfare, mission and evangelism, theological education, the role of women and responses to war, injustice and indigenous encounter. Biographies and case studies will be used to illuminate these themes and will include the stories of Baptist leaders, Rev John Saunders and Margaret McLean, who engaged publically with issues of justice and equality for indigenous peoples and women. A focus will be the ongoing influence and impact of these themes upon Australian Christian identity.

Unit code: CT3017W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Whitley College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Identify and evaluate themes and challenges faced by Australia’s churches since white settlement


Articulate the ways in which significant Christian individuals have engaged with and responded to these themes and challenges


Describe the ongoing influence or impact of these responses upon the church and wider society


Discuss critically the implications of the issues and responses considered for Christian identity in the Australian context

Unit sequence

15 points in CH and 15 points in CT


Face to Face

Indicative Bibliography

  • Atkinson, Alan. The Europeans in Australia: A History (3 vols). Vol.1 Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1997; Vols 2 and 3. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2014, 2016.
  • Breward, Ian. A History of the churches in Australasia. Oxford: OUP, 2001.
  • Broome, Richard. Aboriginal Australians: black responses to white dominance, 1788-2001 (4th revised edn). Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010
  • Cadwallader, Alan, ed. In the land of larks and heroes. Hindmarsh, SA: ATF, 2010.
  • Carey, Hilary M. God’s empire: religion and colonialism in the British world. Cambridge: CUP, 2013.
  • Costello, Tim. Streets of hope: finding God in St Kilda. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1998.
  • Frame, Tom. Losing my religion: Unbelief in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009.
  • Kenny, Robert. The lamb enters the dreaming: Nathaniel Pepper and the ruptured world. Melbourne: Scribe, 2007
  • Linder, Robert D. ‘The long tragedy’: Australian Evangelical Christians and the Great War, 1914-1918. Adelaide: Open Book, 2000
  • Maddox, Marion. God under Howard: The rise of the Religious Right in Australian politics. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2005.
  • Manley, Ken R. with B Coe. ‘The grace of goodness’: John Saunders Baptist pastor and activist Macquarie Park: Greenwood Press, 2014.
  • O'Brien, Anne. God's willing workers: women and religion in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2005.
  • Piggin, Stuart. Spirit, Word and world: Evangelical Christianity in Australia. Melbourne: Acorn, 2012
  • Thompson, Roger C. Religion in Australia: a history (2nd edn). Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay of 2,500 words

0 50.0
Book Review

Book review of 1,000 words

0 25.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial paper of 1,500 words

0 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 16 Mar, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-04-12 10:38:36 +1000