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Education Essay - Christianity's Influence on Education and Public Morality in Australia

In Australia's early years after colonization, Christianity had a stronghold on both the education system as well as on public morality. From religious segregation in schools to the forced re-education of aborigine children, Christianity had a significant monopoly on what the public deemed as proper, right, and true. Though only 61% of the Australian population today identifies as Christian, the Christian fervour that held sway over Australia in its early years still impacts aspects of Australian society today.

Throughout the nineteenth century, education in Australia was largely determined by which Christian denomination one belonged to. If one were Anglican, attending an Anglican school was automatic. Additionally, once Catholics became more prevalent on the continent, they motioned to have the right for their own religious schools as well. And many schools that were run by various non-Anglican Protestants believed that the Bible should be the primary source used in the educational process. Each of these different types of schools promoted their own worldviews, morality, and education.

However, these church schools didn't just have influence over the white settlers. Many of these churches also sought to take aborigine children away from their parents and re-educate them to be Christian, Anglicised Australians. This initiative originally began as a way to protect native children from neglectful or abusive aborigine parents. In reality, however, the children were forcibly taken away from their parents for no other reason than that their parents were non-white Australians without “moral decency.” This has left a notable impact on the Aborigine population till the present day.

Another way that many non-Anglican Protestants sought to influence public morality during this time period was to engage in Temperance and to introduce initiatives to restrict public activities during the Sunday Sabbath. Many did not approve that people in Sidney used Sunday for entertainment that were not exclusively religious. However, this attempt to control public morality was not very successful. Overall, Christianity had a substantial impact on what Australians deemed as moral through their education system until the early twentieth century.

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