The material for this research was drawn from the rich collections of the State Library of Victoria.
The Millennial Voice in Victoria to 1914
Article first published online: 12 APR 2011
© 2011 The Author. Journal of Religious History© 2011 Religious History Association
Journal of Religious History
Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 233–263, June 2011
How to Cite
FEATHERSTONE, G. (2011), The Millennial Voice in Victoria to 1914. Journal of Religious History, 35: 233–263. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9809.2011.01034.x
- Issue published online: 24 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 12 APR 2011
The expression of millennial beliefs in Australia has been little studied, perhaps because of the slight impact of adventism on the general religious experience. This essay surveys the millennial ideas current in nineteenth-century Victoria. Both Protestant Christian sects and the mainstream churches of British origin are considered; fringe groups which drew inspiration from Christian concepts are also noticed. An outline of the prophetic concerns which emerged in England late in the eighteenth century and refined in detail thereafter is followed by a discussion of the introduction of those ideas to Victoria. Special attention is given to a number of millennial sects that established a presence in the 1850s. This is followed by a consideration of the millennial beliefs employed later in the century by the mainstream denominations, especially as they were faced with threats from liberals, doubters, and freethinkers. In conclusion, the impact of liberalism and moral enlightenment on the Christian faith is discussed and related to the decline in church membership during the twentieth century.