Explaining how Australia’s secular society derives from its colonial past, this book examines:
• the environmental and social context that encouraged godlessness, including the convict system, the bush, materialism and cultural development;
• religious practice and sectarianism;
• the state’s policy of denominational even-handedness to ensure social harmony;
• the challenges to faith that science and critical biblical scholarship posed; and
• churchmen’s attempts to foist a moral code on society, and their ambivalent attitudes to society’s poor and distressed.
Dr Malcolm Wood is an independent scholar living in Canberra. Australian Scholarly Publishing published his Presbyterians in Colonial Victoria in 2008.