This subject approaches Australian religious history through four key ‘secular’ sites in order to locate religious belief and approaches to ‘the sacred’ in the wider context of Australian culture. Exploration of change over time in the role and significance of the beach, the family home, the war memorial and the sports ground lays a foundation for discussion of the place of the church as an institution and a community in Western post-industrial democracies and casts light on Australian perceptions of ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘God’. You will be able to draw on your own interests and expertise to formulate research questions and will be supported as you undertake independent research in response to those questions.

Unit code: CH3029P (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Demonstrate a critical understanding of the place of the Christian churches in Australian social and cultural history


Articulate the significance of a public place in the student’s local area as symbolic of a key theme in Australian public life or history;


Offer appropriate peer feedback on a research proposal


Analyse feedback received from peers and apply it to a research task


Analyse and interpret a range of historical and theological sources

Unit sequence

15 points in CH and 15 points in CT


Participatory student-centred seminars, reflection on experience, guided engagement with source material, student formulated research questions, peer feedback.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bachelard, G. The Poetics Of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
  • Gorringe, T. Furthering Humanity: a theology of culture. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.
  • Gorringe, T. A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Power and Redemption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Host, J.T. and Chris Owens with the SouthWest Land and Sea Council, ‘It’s Still in My Heart This is My Country’: The Single Noongar Claim History. Crawley: UWA Press, 2009.
  • Inglis, K.S. Sacred Places. Carlton, Miegunyah at MUP, 1998.
  • Kinast, R. What Are They Saying About Theological Reflection?, Paulist Press, 2000
  • Lane, B. Landscapes of the Sacred: Geography and Narrative in American Spirituality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
  • Malouf, D. A First Place. Sydney: Random House, 2014.
  • Peel, M and Twomey, C. A History of Australia. London: Palgrave, 2011.
  • Read, P. Belonging; Australians, Place and Aboriginal Ownership. Cambridge: CUP, 2000.
  • Sheldrake, P. Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory and Identity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (2.500 words)

0 60.0

Site report (1000 words)

0 20.0

Poster (equivalent 1,500 words)

0 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 5 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-03-22 10:03:04 +1100