Our membership is scattered across the
states of Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and the Gold Coast. This
is due to both historical reasons and the fact that our main outlet for
television to present the Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) TV program covers
regional Victoria, New South Wales and the Gold Coast. More recently the
GTA program has aired via the Sydney community TV station TVS Digital
Channel 44, and in Brisbane the community TV station 31 Digital. There
is growing interest and there is the possibility of fellowship groups
meeting in these areas in the future.
Adaptable and creative, with simple but highly efficient technology, Indigenous Australians had complex social systems and highly developed traditions reflecting a deep connection with the land and environment.
Asian and Oceanic people had contact with Australia's Indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the European expansion into the Eastern Hemisphere. Some formed substantial relationships with communities in northern Australia.
European contact and settlement
In 1606, the Spanish explorer Luis Vaez de Torres sailed through the strait that separates Australia and Papua New Guinea. Dutch explorers charted the north and west coasts and found Tasmania. The first British explorer, William Dampier, landed on the northwest coast in 1688. But it was not until 1770 that his countryman, Captain James Cook, in the Endeavour, extended a scientific voyage to the South Pacific in order to chart the east coast of the continent that had become known as New Holland, and claimed it for the British Crown.
The American war of independence shut off that country as a place to transport convicts, requiring Great Britain to establish a new penal colony. Sir Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal Society, had sailed as a naturalist with Captain Cook, and suggested Australia for this purpose.
The First Fleet of 11 ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788. Governor Phillip preferred Sydney Harbour and the date he landed in the Harbour, 26 January, is now commemorated as Australia Day. The First Fleet carried 1500 people, half of them convicts. Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore (1987) is a classic book on the convict system. Hughes suggests that the penal system had lasting effects on Australian society. About 160 000 convicts were sent to the Australian continent over the next 80 years.
The wool industry and the gold rushes of the mid-19th century provided an impetus to free settlement. Scarcity of labour, the vastness of the bush and new wealth based on farming, mining and trade all contributed to the development of uniquely Australian institutions and sensibilities.
At the time of European settlement in 1788 it is estimated there were at least 300 000 Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia. European settlement involved the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous peoples. It disrupted traditional land management practices and introduced new plants and animals into fragile Australian ecosystems.
A nation is born
At the beginning of the 20th century, Australia was an open and democratic 'new world' society. In the absence of a strongly defined aristocracy or ruling class, there was a sense that one person was as good as another. It was commonly held that people made what they could of themselves, given their abilities.
The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 through the proclamation of the Constitution for the Federation of six states. The founders of Federation
believed that they were creating something new and were concerned to avoid the pitfalls of the old world. They wanted Australia to be harmonious, united and egalitarian. They had progressive ideas about human rights, observance of democratic procedures and the value of a secret ballot.
They drew the line on matters of race, however; one of the first acts of the new Commonwealth Parliament was to pass the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, which ensured that immigrants would be of primarily European origin. (The 'White Australia' policy was gradually dismantled after World War II until by the mid-1970s it was totally abolished. Australia now has a non-discriminatory migration policy.) Numerous diverse links with Britain existed, which many people continued to regard as 'the mother country'. Australia's constitutional links with Britain have been progressively loosened since that time.
The great champion of Federation was Sir Henry Parkes, who believed that Australia was ready for unity because of 'the vigour, the industry, the enterprise, the foresight, and the creative skill of its people'.
The European population at the time of Federation was 3.8 million people of whom half lived in capital cities. Three-quarters had been born in Australia, the great majority of English, Scottish or Irish descent. Generally, they enjoyed a higher standard of living than their relatives in Britain. From 1900 to 1914 great progress was made in developing Australia's agricultural and manufacturing capacities, and in setting up institutions for government and social services.
The impact of war
World War I had a devastating impact on Australia. In 1914 the male population of Australia was less than 3 million, yet almost 400 000 of those volunteered to fight in World War I. As many as 60 000 of those who volunteered never came back, and tens of thousands more were wounded, many very seriously. Australians have inherited strong traditions from the war years. None is more special or treasured in the Australian ethos than the 'Anzac' tradition of courage, a tradition forged at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915. Anzac Day, 25 April, is now a national day of commemoration of the sacrifice of Australians in all wars in which they have fought.
'In the end ANZAC stood and still stands for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never admit defeat. ' - World War I historian Charles Bean
The period between the two world wars was one of uncertainty and instability as large numbers of servicemen sought to reconstruct their lives. Social and economic divisions widened and became more pronounced during the hard years of the Depression in the 1930s when many Australian financial institutions failed.
World War II was a difficult, but in some respects empowering, event in Australian history. Australian forces made a significant contribution to the Allied victory in Europe and in Asia and the Pacific. The generation that fought in World War II and survived came out of the war with a sense of pride in Australia's capabilities.
Post-war peace and prosperity
With the end of World War II the nation entered a boom period. The number of Australians employed in the manufacturing industry had grown steadily since the beginning of the century, and many women who had taken over factory work while men were away at war were able to continue working in peacetime. While primary industries such as wheat and wool also continued to grow in output, the percentage of Australians employed in the rural sector began to decline.
The economy developed strongly in the 1950s with the opening up of mining resources and major nation-building projects like the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a complex hydro-electric power scheme located in Australia's southern alps.
The 1950s was a time of political stability based on the development of a prosperous society of suburban property owners: the period saw a steady rise in private home ownership from barely 40 per cent in 1947 to more than 70 per cent by 1960.
Other developments included the expansion of social security nets and advances in communications, notably the arrival of television. In sport, Melbourne's hosting of the Olympic Games in 1956 put the international spotlight on Australia.
The influx of migrants that began after World War II has continued. People from some 200 countries in the world have migrated to Australia in the last 50 years.
A changing society
The 1960s saw great changes to Australia's society and culture. There were many causes including the ethnic diversity produced by post-war immigration and the decline of Great Britain as a world power with its subsequent lessening importance for Australia relative to that of the United States. This was especially evident during the Vietnam War. The post-World War II generation - the so called 'baby boomers' - emerged as an active force, seeking changes to political, economic and social relationships.
In 1967 the Australian people voted overwhelmingly in a national referendum to give the federal government the power to pass legislation on behalf of Indigenous people and to include Indigenous people in future censuses. The referendum result was the culmination of a strong campaign by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and was widely seen as a strong affirmation of the Australian people's wish to see its government take direct action to improve the living conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The long post-war domination of the national political scene by the coalition of the Liberal and Country (now National) parties ended in 1972, when the Australian Labor Party was elected to power. The next three years saw major changes in Australia's social and economic policy agenda and a heavy legislative program of reforms in health, education, foreign affairs, social security and industrial relations. However a constitutional crisis resulted in the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, being dismissed by the Governor-General, John Kerr, in 1975. In the subsequent general election the Liberal - National Coalition defeated Labor with a landslide and ruled until 1983, when Labor again won office. A Coalition Government led by John Howard took over from the Labor Party after winning the 1996 general election and was re-elected in both 1998 and 2001.
Contact minister, Murray Allatt at
The activities of the Intercontinental Church of
God are paid for by tithes, offerings and donations freely
Mail: The Intercontinental Church of God
Telephone: (903) 561-7070