Religion, church & missions in Australia | State Library of New South Wales

Religion, church & missions in Australia

Religion, church & missions examines the fascinating history and impact of religious beliefs, practices and institutions on the development of Australian society.

The story of religion in the first hundred years is dominated by the activities of the traditional Christian churches and evangelical missionaries. Their activities are reflected through official government and church records and through the personal papers of significant churchmen, missionaries and religious activists held in the Library's collections. Post-war immigration has brought with it a diverse range of religious beliefs and practices. This emerging religious diversity is gradually being reflected in the Library's collection particularly through the images of documentary photographers.

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Significant change has also come in our recognition of the complex spiritual traditions of the original inhabitants. The European settlers regarded with suspicion and hostility the concept of Aboriginal spirituality, their belief in spirits behind the forces of nature and the influence of ancestral spirit beings.

[Kuree Paltee] by William Anderson Cawthorne

[Kuree Paltee], c.1894 – 1895, by William Anderson Cawthorne
Watercolour drawing, V/95


Religion, Church & Missions in Australia is made possible through a partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

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Religion, Church & Missions in Australia
Made possible through a partnership with Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation