Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 71 - Autumn (Mar-May) 2022 > Book Review - Christianity in Australia

Book Review

Christianity in Australia

This article will look at 3 books that give an overview of the impact of Christianity in Australia.

1. The Bible in Australia - by Meredith Lake
2. Beginnings Down Under - by Reg Brown
3. Our Mob, God's Mob - Researched and Edited by Louis Sherman and Christobel Mattingley

Meredith Lake who authored The Bible in Australia, is a historian with a PhD from Sydney University.  It was first printed in 2018 and is available from Koorong.  The book covers the history of Christianity in Australia from the commencement of the colony at Port Jackson to the beginning of the 21st century.

Reg Brown in Beginnings Down Under commences the history of the Adventist Church in Australia from 1885 when the first missionaries from America arrived.  This book was copyrighted in 2005 and is available for purchase from the Adventist Book Centre.

Our Mob, God's Mob was published in 2017 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Bible Society in Australia.  This book is available from Koorong.  This is an art book showing Aboriginal Art with a Christian theme.  A lovely coffee table book.

The Bible in Australia, looks at the history of the Bible in Australia over 12 chapters.  The first part of the book looks at the arrival of the penal system, encounters with the Indigenous people of Australia and then the commencement of the immigrants to Australia in the 1800's.

The second part of this book looks at the spread of the Bible within Australia.  Prior to 1920 and the advent of the radio one of the main centres of public speech in Australia were religious meetings.  One historian has estimated the Anglican church in a single year - 1851 - produced 16,744 sermon events.

The influence of the Bible impacted the society of Australia.  Organisations that were initiated by Christians included benevolent societies, saving banks, a free press, and schooling to just name a few.

Part 3 of the book commences at the end of the 1800's, looking at the impact of war and the politics of Australia.

Part 4 of the book studies from the mid 1900's and the impact of secular Australia.

Many people have often been brought up with the belief that Australia was founded by prisoners and has had very little Christian influence in the building of this country.  This book will dispel this myth and show that GOD through His Bible has been active in the history of our country.

Beginnings Down Under has 18 chapters.  The early chapters cover the arrival of the missionaries in Sydney, then their influence throughout the states of Australia.  The missionaries soon moved from Sydney to Melbourne where the work really commenced.  They arrived in July and tried to run a tent meeting - but the effects of the Melbourne winter weather soon saw the closure of the meeting until in October as the weather became warmer, they tried a public tent meeting once more.  This saw the commencement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia.

The second half of the book looks at the establishment of many of the church's entities - publishing, educational, health work, media etc.

The final chapters in the book look at the time Ellen White spent in Australia, the governance of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the influence the church had in the forming of the Australian Constitution, and the spread of missionaries from Australia to the Pacific and the world.

Our Mob, God's Mob is a wonderful art book that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists the ability to share their talents and their faith.  There are 166 paintings within the book and the book also explains the symbols that are used in Aboriginal art.  Once you understand the meaning behind the symbols the pictures become so much more meaningful.  Some of the pictures are shown in earthy colours - other paintings are in wonderful colour.  With each painting there is a Bible text and information regarding the painter and the story behind the painting.

The book is divided into two main sections - the Old Testament and the New Testament.

In the Old Testament the first artwork is a large work typifying the 7 days of creation.  Not only is it Australian fauna and flora that is shown but also included into the painting is the cross.  The 7th day shows all creation coming to worship God - God is shown as comprising of 3 (the trinity), the cross leads to God showing that it is only through Jesus and his death that we can come to GOD.

A painting towards the end of the book - So Loved - is a depiction of John 3:16. The cross of Christ is central to the picture, people from many countries are depicted, and the heavenly realm is shown above the cross, the triune GOD at the central top of the picture.


If you are asking how does history impact me - a quote from Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, 'A nation, which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.  We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about'.

The Bible in Australia, is a highly researched book of over 400 pages.  The detail found in this book is extensive looking at many layers of society and is a wonderful bridge to the book Our Mob, God's Mob as it shows the story of the introduction of the story of GOD to the Aboriginal people.  A story that is both uplifting and, in some places, very sad.  This book also references the work of the Seventh-day Adventist church during the time of the forming of the Australian Constitution and it also mentions the Seventh-day Adventist church in the reaching to society using radio and television.

The arrival of the ships from England began the commencement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being introduced to Jesus.  In 1817 the Bible Society commenced in Australia and part of its charter has always been placing the Bible in the language of the people.  The sale of Our Mob, God's Mob will generate further funds to expand the translation and distribution of the Bible in the Aboriginal languages.


Picture Credits

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 71 - Autumn (Mar-May) 2022 > Book Review - Christianity in Australia