Church alliances that led to Biblical victory

The campaign to pass the referendum was led by the Bible in State Schools League, a multi-denominational Protestant organisation created in 1890 with the objective of persuading the Queensland government to reintroduce religious instruction in the state’s schools.

In 1911 Catholics formed 24% of Queensland’s population, Anglicans 35%, Presbyterians 12%, Methodists 10% and Lutherans 4% of the population. This level of Christian diversity meant that no group formed a natural majority and needed to form alliances with other groups if they were to effect change. The Bible in State Schools League reflected this demographic imperative….

A decisive result ensued: 56.7% of voters approved of introducing religious instruction and Bible reading in state schools while 43.3% of voters disapproved. The Referendum passed in 43 of the state’s 61 electorates. The lack of organised opposition presenting a clearly articulated case against the proposition would have been a strong factor contributing to the result….

Without the Bible in State Schools League effectively and persistently applying the pressure, the referendum would never have been held, passed and enacted. Rev. [D.J.] Garland as the outspoken organising secretary had been instrumental in marshalling support from the fractious Protestant churches, parliamentary representatives and the people of Queensland.

Quote source

Perkins, Y, (2010). Queensland’s Bible in State Schools Referendum 1910: A Case Study of Democracy. [BA thesis, University of Sydney], pp. 5, 56-57, 90


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