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Lay defender of Catholicism: Dr. Edward Swarbreck Hall in Tasmania 1833-1881


Petrow, S, Lay defender of Catholicism: Dr. Edward Swarbreck Hall in Tasmania 1833-1881, Journal of Religious History, 40, (4) pp. 565-588. ISSN 0022-4227 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Religious History Association

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-9809.12343


Tensions between Protestants and Catholics persisted throughout nineteenth-century Australia. Historians have tended to examine the part played by the clergy, pressure groups or newspapers in sectarian disputes in the main colonies of New South Wales and Victoria. This article contributes to an understanding of anti-Catholicism in the Australian colonies by focusing on the actions and writings of one Catholic layman, Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall, in mid nineteenth-century Tasmania. To minimise religious hostility, Hall was tolerant towards Protestants, loyal to the British Crown, and worked co-operatively with other creeds in helping the poor. This approach made Catholicism more acceptable to Protestant society until the late 1860s. Thereafter religious divisions became more pronounced with the appointment of Irish Bishop Daniel Murphy, who adopted the authoritarian policies of the papacy and asserted the rights of Catholics. Feeling threatened by Catholic assertion and antagonised by Catholic doctrinal beliefs, Evangelical Protestants expressed anti-Catholic sentiments at public meetings and in newspapers. In showing how Hall defended Catholics when aspersions were cast on their clergymen, their character, or their religious practices, this article concludes that Catholics were not passive victims, but Hall's fierce polemical style worked against his desire for religious peace

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:anti-Catholicism; Evangelicalism, Evangelicalism;, sectarian conflict; Tasmania
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Petrow, S (Professor Stefan Petrow)
ID Code:109596
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2016-06-23
Last Modified:2018-03-08

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