The Church Act, 1836 | State Library of New South Wales

The Church Act, 1836

Governor Richard Bourke by Unknown artist

Governor Richard Bourke, c.1835, by Unknown artist
Oil, ML125

Sir Richard Bourke (1777–1855) succeeded Governor Darling as Governor in 1831. The Church Act of 1836 provided Government subsidies for clerical salaries and for new church construction. Church communities that raised a minimum of £300 pounds were subsidised on a 'pound for pound' basis up to a maximum of £1000. Additional land grants were also made available for churches and schools. Originally intended for Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian denominations Bourke later extended the provisions of the Act to other denominations including the Jewish, Wesleyan and Baptist communities. By supporting the development of a diverse number of religious communities the Church Act diminished the power of the Anglican church in the colony and provided the impetus for a number of building projects across the colony.

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