The Influence of Education & Public Morality in Australia during 1788-1900
While Christianity played a crucial part in all aspects of Australian society throughout the pre-federation years 1788 to 1900, it had a significant impact on education and public morality.
Th influence of Christianity in education was evident through the establishment of a separate education system and, in public morality the formation of the temperance movement as well as other actions.
Education was greatly influenced by Christianity during 1788 through to 1900. Settlers concerned to leave religious divisions in Britain believed that ties between church and state should be eradicated and that churches be supported by their own followers. Subsequently, with numerous denominations supporting this idea, concerns were partly met by the granting of financial aid to the major religious groups, including the Church of England. Individuals churches used this aid to maximise its religious and educational influence. Governor Bourke later extended the state financial aid and attempted to introduce government schools based on the national system in his native Ireland. However, non-Anglican Protestants, who had formed in 1835 a society for promoting schools where the Bible would be a basis for general education, insisted on its wider use in the proposed national schools than was permitted in the Irish system. Catholics supported the Governor's proposal which further angered the Protestants. The successive alliance between the Anglicans and the Protestant denominations favourably brought about an anti-Catholic move to condemn concessions to a religious minority at the expense of national school systems based on the religious teachings of the Bible.
In 1839, when Bishop Broughton's agenda was completely revealed, it was brought public that he intended to include the teachings of Anglican evangelists. This was revealed when Governor Gipps attempted to enforce a Bible-based national system and separate Catholic schools. Broughton successfully organised a commotion against this plan in favour of the continuation of state support for Anglican schools. Using this success, Protestants called for government aid for their own educational programs. When an elite committee of the New south Wales Legislative Council proposed the Irish system in1846, Catholics, concerned that the schools could become completely empowered by Protestants, joined Anglicans and other denominations, especially Wesleys, in opposing it. A compromise in 1848 agreed to separate denominational and Irish-type national schools.
Although this view was strongly supported, some influential colonists wanted the financial aid to end in order to eliminate duplication and ensure that public instruction was controlled and financed by each colonial government.