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History of the Catholic Church in Australia

Unit overview and content

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.

The history of Catholics and Catholicism in Australia is the main subject of this course. This history will also deal with other religious and social groups, particularly in their relationships with the Catholic Church.

Study hours

10 hours per week for 12 week semester, comprised of:

  • At least one hour per week for online lectures.
  • At least three hours per week of reading.
  • At least six hours per week of directed study, including optional and assessable online activities.

Teaching methods

Online lectures; online activities; guided reading; scaffolded assessments; feedback on assessments. 

Type of Assessment and Weight

  • Discussion Forum (30%)
  • Minor essay (30%)
  • Major essay (40%)
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