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A. Smallest continent; S of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Area: 2,966,200 sq. mi. First contacted by Europeans (Dutch) 1606, who called it New Holland; 1st contact by Eng. 1688; named New South Wales by Capt. Cook 1770; 1st Eng. settlement (convicts) at Port Jackson 1788; came to be called Australia in the 19th c.; whole continent claimed by Brit. 1829; given limited self-govt. 1850; federated into Commonwealth of Australia 1901; mem. Commonwealth of Nations. Ethnic groups: most of Brit. descent; aborigines, Chinese, other non-Europeans. Official language: English. Religion: ca. 35% Angl.; ca. 27%; RC; Meth., Presb., Luth., Bap., and Cong. ca. 23%; aboriginals are animistic. The 1st miss. effort was by the LMS 1825. See also Marsden, Samuel; Taylor, William.

B. 1. Lutheranism in Australia began 1836, when A. L. C. Kavel* of Klemzig went to London to arrange for a whole cong. to emigrate to Am. or Australia. The reason for the contemplated emigration was the way the Prussian Union was forced on confessional-minded Lutherans. Emigration agents in London persuaded Kavel to take his flock to S Australia. The 1st group arrived at Port Adelaide in November 1838 and formed a short-lived settlement that they called Klemzig, a few mi. from what is now the center of Adelaide. In 1839 another colony of several hundred souls was planted at Hahndorf; and in 1841 Pastor G. D. Fritzsche* led another band of emigrants who founded Bethany and Lobethal. Other congregations were founded. With great zeal for the true worship of God and its perpetuation they est. a syn. soon after arrival. But the young ch. was soon disrupted by doctrinal controversies. Pastor Kavel's chiliastic teachings, his attitude toward the Luth. Confessions, and his views on ch. govt. led to a rupture in 1846. Henceforth the followers of Fritzsche and of Kavel pursued separate ways. In 1864, after both leaders had died, there was a brief rapprochement; but this “Confessional Union” did not lead to syn. reunion and was dissolved 1874 on the question of calling pastors from seminaries not genuinely Luth. (e.g., Basel). The followers of Kavel were now known as the Immanuel Syn. The antichiliastic party became the Ev. Luth. Syn. of S Australia; then, after the organization of other districts, the Ev. Luth. Syn. in Australia; finally, since 1941, the Ev. Luth. Ch. of Australia. See also New Zealand, 3.

The body later known as the Ev. Luth. Ch. of Australia (ELCA) developed along sound, conservative Luth. lines and shows a steady, if slow, outward growth. Pastor Fritzsche had founded a coll. and sem. 1845 (Lobethal); but the doctrinal controversies then raging, as well as many other labors that claimed his time, caused the closing of the school 1855 after it had furnished 3 pastors. A number of missionaries were sent by the Dresden Miss. Soc. 1838–40; later the ch. depended on Hermannsburg for ministers. In 1876 a private academy at Hahndorf was taken over by the syn. It turned out some good parish school teachers, but was closed 1885 because of lack of support.

2. With this decade began the “Missourian” influence in the hist. of the ELCA. Pastor Ernst Homann, having become acquainted with “Missouri” through L. u. W., sought counsel from C. F. W. Walther. He became an enthusiastic “Missourian” and convinced others of the correctness of the position held by that ch. In 1881 Pastor Caspar E. Dorsch came as the first emissary of the St. Louis sem. and took charge of Bethlehem Ch., Adelaide. Others followed; but far greater was the number of young Australian Lutherans who received or completed their theol. training at various schools of the Mo. Syn.: Ft. Wayne, Indiana, St. Louis, Missouri, and Springfield, II. This movement was most pronounced at the turn of the c. when the 3d attempt to found a coll. and sem. (at Murtoa, Victoria, 1890) had not yet led to the inception of sem. classes nor of the higher preparatory classes. The abandonment of the Murtoa Coll. was staved off by the advice of A. L. Graebner, who visited Australia 1902 at the request of Ernst Homann (1838–1915). In 1903 C. F. Graebner, who had been called as principal of the coll., arrived and began his work. In 1905 the coll. was moved to Adelaide. For the next 25 yrs. all regularly called teachers (G. Koch, M. T. Winkler,* Wm. Zschech, H. Hamann) were grads. of the St. Louis sem. The coll. is coeduc. since 1927. From 1912–65 Conc. Coll. supplied ca. 200 theol. grads. and furnished most of the parish school teachers. In 1946 Queensland Conc. Coll., Toowoomba, a coeduc. secondary school, was est. A new secondary school at Croydon, suburb of Melbourne, enrolled its first students 1964. Since 1958 Conc. Sem., on the same campus as Conc. Coll., Adelaide, was housed in its own bldgs. as a separate instituts Formation 1966 of the Luth. Ch. of Australia (see C 1) led to merger of the sem. and Immanuel Sem. on the site of the latter in North Adelaide. The resultant school, Luther Sem., was dedicated March 3, 1968.

3. The parish school system, maintained from the beginning of the ch., suffered greatly during WW I, when all schools in S Australia were closed by the govt. Rehabilitation was slow.

4. Der Lutherische Kirchenbote was pub. 1874–1917, 1925–40. The Australian Lutheran appeared 1913 as official organ of what was then known as Ev. Luth. Syn. in Australia (later Ev. Luth. Ch. of Australia), merged at end of 1966 with UELCA The Lutheran Herald in The Lutheran, which appeared 1967.

5. Home miss. work, which languished many yrs. because nearly all old settlers lived in the country, was more energetically pursued in the 20th c. Mission stations for work among aboriginals are maintained at Koonibba (since 1901) and Yalata (since 1954) on the so-called W Coast of S Australia. C. A. Wiebusch (St. Louis grad.) was the first miss. in charge at Koonibba. After supporting the work of the Mo. Syn. in China and India with means and some men, the ch. acquired a for. miss. field of its own 1936, the Rooke-Siassi islands NE of New Guinea. This enterprise suffered from the Japanese invasion in WW II, but the work of restoration proceeded rapidly. In 1951 the work was extended to the mainland of New Guinea.

C. 1. The United Ev. Luth. Ch. in Australia (UELCA) came into being in 1921 after a checkered hist. of secessions and reunions, of the affiliation and reaffiliation of various syns. The branch that followed Pastor Kavel experienced a secession movement 1860, the year of Kavel's death; the seceders linked up with the Ev. Luth. Syn. of Victoria (founded 1856 by Pastor Matthias Goethe). Goethe worked energetically among the many Germans who had come to Victoria for other than the religious reasons that had prompted the first immigration into S Australia. Full Luth. conviction was lacking; and through Goethe's successor in leadership, Pastor Herman Herlitz, the influence of the “United” (unierte) Basel Miss. Inst., as well as “United” influence in gen., became more pronounced. Hence the union of the Ev. Luth. Victoria Syn. with the Kavel branch, which took the name Ev. Luth. Immanuel Syn., was the signal for the dissolution 1874 of the “Confessional Union.” The affiliation of the Immanuel Syn. and the Victoria Syn., known as the Ev. Luth. Gen. Syn., lasted till 1884. Its dissolution was caused by the same circumstance that had led the conservative Lutherans (later ELCA) to part from Immanuel 1874: the determination of the Victoria Syn. to continue calling “United” pastors from Basel. With the Victoria Syn. went a part of the Immanuel Syn. that called itself the Immanuel Synod auf alter Grundlage (a. a. G.). Continuing under the name of Ev. Luth. Gen. Syn., these were joined 1889 by the laxer of the two Luth. churches that had been organized 1885 in Queensland, where missionaries and lay helpers sent by J. E. Gossner* had operated since 1838 and where a heavy Ger. immigration had later set in: the Ev. Luth. Syn. of Queensland. The more confessional-minded pastors (mostly Hermannsburg men), who had called their organization United Ger.-Scand. Ev. Luth. Syn. of Queensland, joined the Immanuel Syn. 1910 in the Ev. Luth. Ch. Union (Kirchenbund), which continued to secure ministers from Neuendettelsau and Hermannsburg. As a result of experiences during WW I the Gen. Syn. and the Kirchenbund joined to form the UELCA at Ebenezer, S Australia, March 8, 1921. One small body that had separated from the ELCA 1902 was for a number of yrs. a dist. of the Ohio Syn. but joined the UELCA 1926. One reason for the merger was the situation in for. miss.: The Immanuel Syn., with the Iowa Syn., had long supported the work of the Neuendettelsau Miss. Soc. in what was then Ger. New Guinea. After WW I this territory was mandated to Australia, which was to dispose of the Ger. miss. Since the govt. would not give the miss. to a ch. outside Australia, the bodies mentioned formed a merger strong enough to handle the matter. In this they were supported by the Iowa Syn., which sent its pres., Fr. Richter, to advise the Australian Lutherans. When Ger. missionaries were permitted to return later, the field was divided bet. the Ger. miss. and the Iowa Syn. (later the ALC), the UELCA taking active part in the work under their Miss. Dir., F. O. Theile. The partnership with the ALC continued through and after WW II. The practical fellowship with the ALC that this work involved became a formally declared fellowship 1959. Connections with various Luth. churches in Ger. were maintained. ELCA and UELCA adopted Theses* of Agreement 1956, which became basis for merger forming the Luth. Ch. of Australia 1966.

2. A coll. was opened 1895 at Point Pass, S Autralia, remained small, and was devoted chiefly to training parish school teachers. As late as 1919 men went to Neuendettelsau, Ger., and Dubuque, Iowa, for theol. training. The formation of UELCA led to a small sem. at Tanunda, S Australia; but 1923 coll. and sem. were moved to N Adelaide (where Angas Coll. had been bought). After WW II a large property was acquired at Camden, suburb of Adelaide, where the coeduc. high-school classes were quartered and taught; theol. classes are in the N Adelaide property. A coll. was opened at Brisbane, Queensland, 1945, and a boarding school with elementary and secondary classes at Walla Walla, New S Wales, 1948. In mid-20th c. the parish school, which had disappeared, was revived.

3. Missions included work in New Guinea and miss. stations for aborigines (Hermannsburg, Cen. Australia; Hope Valley, Queensland).

4. Official organ The Lutheran Herald merged at end of 1966 with ELCA The Australian Lutheran in The Lutheran, which appeared 1967.

5. Metropolitan congregations in Sydney and Melbourne left the UELCA 1923 and 1934 resp. and joined the Reichskirche 1929 and 1934. HH, HPH

A. Brauer, Under the Southern Cross: History of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia (Adelaide, 1956).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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