Church and State: a case-study of Queensland to 1918

Upham, Bruce W. (1993). Church and State: a case-study of Queensland to 1918 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Upham, Bruce W.
Thesis Title Church and State: a case-study of Queensland to 1918
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1993
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor -
Total pages 333
Language eng
Subjects 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Formatted abstract The story of church-state relationships in Queensland cannot be treated in isolation. It is part of a continuing story with its beginnings in the dawn of religious consciousness in human beings. Consequently, chapter 1 outlines that story, with special reference to the Judeo-Christian tradition. The chapter examines some of the important debates on church and state during the medieval and reformation periods, and then focuses on the post-reformation British scene through to the nineteenth century. Attention is given to the development of liberal-democratic outlooks, as these influenced nineteenth century Australia.

The situation in New South Wales up to the separation of Queensland in 1859 is covered in chapter 2. Attention is given to Anglican presumptions regarding establishment, and to the changes introduced by Governor Bourke. As against Border, it is argued that Bourke was not against establishment as such, but that his 1836 Church Act was a form of 'multi-establishment'. It is argued further that the state continued to accept a commitment to uphold the christian religion in the colony.

Financial aid to the churches in Queensland was cut off by the first parliament in 1860. This left the Church of England in Queensland in a complex situation, due to its ties with the established church in England. This is the subject of chapter 3, which looks at the development of synodical government within the Anglican Church in Brisbane, the constitution which it adopted, and the resulting problems. It is argued that the Anglican 'nexus' was a positive as well as a negative factor in Queensland affairs.

The question of the church's role in education remained. Aid to denominational schools was continued until 1875, when it was decided to cut off all aid to church schools after 1880, and to model the state system on that in New South Wales. Protestant non-conformists were largely behind this move, but it was opposed by most Anglicans and Catholics. The 1880s and 1890s, however, saw the non-Catholic denominations realise that the Queensland state system had gone further in the direction of secularism than its prototype. This led to the successful 'Bible in State Schools' campaign.

Meanwhile, the Catholics had successfully built up their own system, and gained government scholarships for some of their children from 1899. It is argued that because Queensland initially had gone further towards secularism than other states, this produced a reaction which saw limited aid restored earlier in Queensland.

Secondary schools were established by the several Protestant denominations in the twentieth century. Catholic secondary schools had been in existence from the 1860s. Prominent church leaders like Donaldson and Duhig were active in promoting the establishment of the University of Queensland.

Chapter 5 examines the efforts of both church and state to grapple with the problem posed by the aborigines. Reference is made to the various missions established by the denominations, usually with government aid. Special attention is given to statements by church leaders and christian lay people on the subject. It is argued that Meston's proposals adopted by the government in 1897 did not represent new thinking and initiatives as Meston claimed, but most aspects had been put forward earlier by various christian spokesmen. From 1897, church and state have been involved jointly in ventures intended to resolve the issue, albeit without much success.

After a brief survey of christian attitudes to war which had evolved OVCT the centuries, chapter 6 looks at Queensland's involvement in the Sudan War, the Boer War, and the first World War. Reference is made to church leaders' perceptions of war, their involvement with governments in recruitment campaigns and the conscription debates, the work of the chaplains, and finally, comments of church leaders on peace proposals and the mooted League of Nations. It is argued that the traditional christian attitudes to war — pacifism; 'just war' theory; and the crusade mentality — were all manifested in Queensland. World War I brought church and state together in several joint enterprises and common objectives.

Both church and state are concerned for society's problems. Chapter 7 looks at the church's involvement in a selected number of social issues. As well as temperance, gambling, sex and related matters, there were new issues which arose from the 1880s onwards. Socialism and industrial relations posed new problems. The chapter compares Catholic and Protestant attitudes, and argues that there was a strong commitment to social justice in all denominations. It is argued that Protestants were equally ready with Catholics to put pressure on governments for social change.

Chapter 8 concludes the study with a brief review, arguing that overall, the period shows the inevitability of a close relationship between church and state, while accepting that neither should be in a position to dominate the other. Comparisons are made with situations in the United States and Europe, where there are indications of a realisation that rigid separation of the two is neither possible nor desirable. A positive relation between them is possible, even in pluralistic communities, without doing an injustice to minority groups.

Keyword Church and state -- Queensland -- History
Additional Notes The author has given permission for this thesis to be made open access.

 
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