ISS emblem  

Seminar 11:
The Religious Crisis of the 1960s in Australia

The 1960s were years of decisive change in the religious history of Australia, as elsewhere in the Western world. By the '1960s' we usually mean the cultural sixties or the 'remembered sixties,' which began about 1963 and ended about 1975. During this period the Protestant churches were affected by the radicalisation of theology, while in the Roman Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council initiated huge changes in worship and church life. The barriers that had separated Catholics from other Christians crumbled.

The interaction of movements for church reform and modernisation with other currents of change in society produced an upheaval in the religious landscape. So the 1960s saw a decline in regular churchgoing, a falling away in active church membership, declining participation in Christian rites of passage, a rise in the number of people who were willing to declare they had no religion and, as Sunday schools collapsed, a break in the process by which Christianity was passed on from one generation to the next.

The 1960s were also a religious seedbed. From this period emerged the charismatic and modern Pentecostal movements, a shift of attitudes within the major churches towards social action, the Christian feminist movement, and a new interest in Eastern religions, meditation and 'alternative spiritualities'. These trends set the pattern for the rest of the twentieth century.

You will be invited to share your own recollections of the religious changes of the period.

Date Wednesday 12 August
Time 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
Venue St Peter's, Eastern Hill
Cost $15 (concession: $12)
Conductor David Hilliard
is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Flinders University. He has published a number of articles on Australian religion in the 1950s and 1960s.

Authorized by the Vicar (
and the Institute for Spiritual Studies
Maintained by the Editor (
© 2009 The Institute for Spiritual Studies