The Presbyterian Churches in New South Wales, 1823-1865 : with particular reference to their Scottish relations
This study covers the period from arrival of the first minister to union of most congregations in a Church unconnected with the Scottish parent Churches. My thesis is that reliance on the Scottish Churches was a necessary condition for establishment of the Presbyterian Church in the Colony but also the principal cause of failure to attempt to become a major religious force. Equality with the Church of England was conceded gradually and, initially, reluctantly and from the first State aid and religious rights derived from adherence to the Church of Scotland. Almost the entire ministry derived from Scotland or, to a lesser extent, Ulster, and both the Established and Free Churches of Scotland resisted recruitment of outsiders. Consequently, the ministry remained Scotland-oriented and imbued with all the passions of divided Scottish Presbyterianism. Control over State aid and recruitment assisted the Scottish Churches in forcing a disruption in 1846 and for a generation the Church remained weak, fragmented and in conflict over alleged erastianism in the Church of Scotland, indiscriminate aid and voluntaryism. These Churches involved themselves in local ecclesiastical contentions and were used against opponents by Colonial ministers with influence in Scotland. Colonial Presbyterianism was introverted, backward-looking, unassimilated holding to Scottish standards and to concepts inappropriate for the local environment. The Church appeared a sect for expatriate Scots and Ulstermen. Others, ministers and lay people, felt rejected. The native-born saw the Church as an exotic institution which did not relate to them. Some ministers espoused the Church ideal, but made little headway. Others were concerned only to retain the Established Church connection or the purity of 'Free Church principles' and some resisted accommodation of divergent viewpoints. Eventually compromise, unity, independence and assimilation were accepted as essential to progress.