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Review: Stories of Australia’s Christian Heritage

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Author: E.R. Kotlowski

Publisher: Strand, Sydney

The author focuses on significant people who lived between the arrival of the Duyfken in 1606 and Alfred Deakin some 300 years later. She briefly traces the lives of explorers, pioneers, governors and missionaries, touching on the Christian foundations they laid.

Whatever may have been their motivation, Kotlowski asserts that God’s ultimate purpose was at work. To support this belief, she refers to letters and journals to provide evidence of their Christian connections and their faith.

At times she tries a little too hard to weave in a Christian perspective and becomes almost speculative. This is certainly the case when she considers the contribution of Matthew Flinders.

The section on the early explorers is probably the most relevant and interesting, as these men were very aware of their own mortality and their dependence on God for survival. Charles Sturt, we are told, documented his Christian faith as well as his great discoveries. He was a role model of Christian character, and constantly recognized God’s providential care.

New South Wales was strongly influenced by two Anglican chaplains, Richard Johnson and Samuel Marsden. Both men had a significant role in the colony, founding churches and schools, and their heritage is evident today.

South Australia, on the other hand, is the only state settled by groups of Christians with no Church of England connections.

Although this is very clearly a ‘potted’ history, the author has read and researched extensively. Many readers may well be inspired to read more about some of the significant men and women of Australia’s past.

Added on 28/02/2009 by Jenni van Wageningen