The original inhabitants of the land have been living in existence for centuries before anyone else. The Australian aborigines lived in communities and traveled as nomads from area to area ‘living off the land’ in search of food and shelter from the elements, much the same way as their ancestors have – “Highly dependent on nature to provide, there was no cultivation of crops or domestication of animals to work the land” like most other civilisations.
The Hindus, Buddhists and later the Muslims came close to reaching our shores, but did not venture further south of the Indonesian archipelago. In search of spice and to spread their religion, these Asian travellers were halted by superstition and folklore.
It was the Europeans and the British that actually discovered ‘Terra Australis’ between the 15 and 17th centuries, in search of Australia del Espiritu Santo, the ‘south land of the Holy Spirit’. With these ‘white travelers’ came Christianity. The arrival of the first Fleet in 1788 and their Chaplin, Richard Johnson was the first recorded Christian community living in Australia. The first Church opened on 25th August, 1793 and thus began the gradual spread, growth and development of Christianity in Australia.
What is most notable, is that Christianity in Australia has been recognised as the catalyst for change and modernisation of society as is argued in the following statement:
Sociologists of religion have also almost universally predicted that with modernization comes secularization, both in terms of a diminution of religious belief generally, and in the marginalization of religion to the private sphere. This view has had to be rethought with evidence of resacralization, fundamentalism and religious revival, found both in the growth of new versions of traditional religions and in new forms of spirituality. It is in this context that interest in the place of Christianity in both Australian political life and on Australian identity constructions is occurring.
In this paper, using evidence from a number of sources, it is argued that in the Australian context Christianity is becoming both more overtly and covertly important in influencing political decisions and constructions of national identity, specifically that the increasing visibility of Christianity in the political sphere is reinforcing constructions of Australian identity, culture and values as “Christian“
For what purpose are we occupying the vast territory of Australasia? It is evident that Christian missionaries influenced Australia in many way such as:
The Rule of Law & the legal administration, Australia’s national identity has been forged through her cultural diversity. It is this uniqueness that we celebrate and continue to Source: written by Dr Farida Fuzdar, Senior Lecturer, Sociology and Community Development, Murdoch University, at the: International Conference on Migration, Citizenship and Intercultural Relations 19 – 20 November 2009 Deakin University Australia Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation I Faculty of Arts and Education I Deakin University 221 Burwood Highway I Burwood I VIC 3125 I AUSTRALIA
Christian History Research, Dr Graham McLennan & the salt Shackers web site.