Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course examines the history of the Catholic Church in Australia from the early convict and settler colonies through to the late 20th century. It will be set within the general history of Australia in its global context and will include relationships between the Catholic Church and other faith traditions. Topics may include the following: beginnings in convict/settler colonies; Irish and other settler influences; relations with indigenous Australians; sectarianism; 'Australianising' the Catholic Church; and effects of international influences such as World Wars and Vatican II.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2017.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of key developments in Australian Catholic history;

2. Identify Australian and international factors which have influenced Australian Catholicism since 1788;

3. Critically analyse the changing relationship of Catholics within Australian history over the last two centuries;

4. Apply historical methodologies appropriate to the study of Australian religious source material;

5. Demonstrate advanced research, writing and information technology skills appropriate to the study of religion and theology.


The course provides a history of the Australian Catholic Church from 1788 to the present. It will be organized around the following key topics/themes:

  1. Foundations of the Church in Australia 1788-1860: early Catholics and their chaplains; the Benedictines; expansion and developing organization;
  2. Catholics in the colonies, 1860-1900: the Irish influence; Catholic schools; religious congregations;
  3. Towards an Australian Church, 1900-50: Federation and World War I; sectarianism; ‘Australianising’ the Church; World War II and Cold War; immigrants;
  4. Forces of change 1950-2000: the Movement and the Split; Catholic education; Vatican II; Indigenous Australians; changing spirituality.

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Discussion Forum Contribution

Written Assignment: Document Study

Written Assignment: Review

Essay: Research Essay