THP406 Christianity in Australian History (8)

This subject examines the history of Christianity in Australia from 1788 to the present. Drawing upon historical and sociological studies of the Christian churches in Australia, this subject considers the distinctives of immigrant religious traditions and the effects on churches of drought, pluralism, economic depression, two world wars, post-war immigration and exposure to American culture. The subject also investigates interaction between Christianity and Indigenous peoples, and the engagement of the churches in education, welfare, intellectual and cultural life, and politics. That engagement is further considered within the framework of contemporary historical and theological discussion of mission in a post-Christendom context.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2022.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

This subject is not available to students who have completed subject THL231 Christianity in Australian History as this is a paired subject and shares similar content.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are recommended to have prior knowledge equivalent to or studied THL410 and THL419.

Subject Relationships

THL231 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a broad and critical understanding of the principal movements in theology, social context, ecclesiology and politics in Australia since European settlement;
  • be able to analyse and critically evaluate the changing roles of various Australian Christian communities and movements since European settlement;
  • be able to critically review and articulate the historical relevance and implications of Christian beliefs in forming an Australian sense of identity;
  • be able to analyse and critically evaluate historiographical approaches to the church across different cultures, ecclesial communities, and worldviews;
  • be able to demonstrate a broad and coherent knowledge of the history of Christianity in Australia informed by empirically grounded sociological and historical research; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided and collaborative learning, including sound research, writing and communication skills relevant to history as a discipline.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Australian religious history and historiography: contexts and key themes
  • Indigenous, penal, and settler perspectives on religion in early colonial Australia
  • The impact of the Gold Rushes and colonial self-government on Australian churches
  • Prosperity, growth, depression, and drought as crises for a 'Christian country,' 1860-1899
  • The impact of the First and Second World Wars on religious and church life
  • Post-World War II immigration, ethnic churches, and the growth of religious pluralism
  • The contribution of Christianity to Australian society, culture, and identity
  • Missionary expansion of Australian churches at home and abroad
  • Relations between Indigenous peoples, churches, and Australian society
  • Key issues and themes in Australian church-state relations, including Federation, education, and social welfare
  • Revival and decline: historical and sociological perspectives on secularisation in Australia and the West, particularly since the 1960s

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.