Anglican clergymen in Britain's Australian colonies in their earliest years faced very particular challenges. Lacking any relevant training, experience or pastoral theology, these pioneer religious professionals not only had to minister to a convict population unique in the empire, but had also to engage with indigenous peoples and a free-settler population struggling with an often inhospitable environment. Previous accounts have caricatured such clerics - several of whom doubled as magistrates - as the imperial authorities' lackeys: "moral policemen", "flogging parsons". While the clergy did indeed make important contributions to colonial and imperial projects, this book shows that they explicitly rejected the subordination of Church to state, vigorously asserting their independence in relation to both religious duties and humanitarian concern for convicts, indigenous peoples and the poor. The author also demonstrates the clergy's vital contribution to the evolution of the new colonies in their economic development, and in the emergence of civil society and distinctive intellectual and cultural institutions and traditions.
The clerical contribution was shaped by their social origins, intellectual formation and professional networks in an expanding settler empire, explored systematically here for the first time. What emerges is a much more nuanced understanding of the place of the Anglican Church in the history of colonial Australia than has previously been presented, shedding important new light on the religious, social and political history of both Australia and the British World of which it formed a part.
Anglican Clergy in Australia, 1788-1850 by Michael Gladwin was published by Boydell & Brewer Ltd in February 2015. The ISBN for Anglican Clergy in Australia, 1788-1850 is 9780861933280.