Establishing themselves first at Sevenhill, in the newly established colony of South Australia in 1848, the Jesuits were the first religious order of priests to enter and establish houses in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. [119] Major recording artists from Johnny O'Keefe (the first Australian Rock and Roll star) to Paul Kelly (folk rock), Nick Cave (the critically acclaimed brooding rocker) and Slim Dusty (the King of Australian country music) have all recorded Christian themed songs.

[13] The Church of England remained the largest Christian church until the 1986 census. The presence of Christianity in Australia began with the foundation of a British colony at New South Wales in 1788. [49] Missionaries have made significant contributions to anthropological and linguistic understanding of Indigenous Australians and aspects of Christian services have been adapted when there is Aboriginal involvement – even masses during Papal visits to Australia will include traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremonies.

The Christian denominations and European culture have had a significant impact on Indigenous Australians, their religion and their culture. Major religious affiliations in Australia by census year. Both Christmas Day and 26 December (Boxing Day) are public holidays throughout Australia.[90]. "Receive the Power" a song written by Guy Sebastian and Gary Pinto was chosen as official anthem for the XXIII World Youth Day (WYD08) held in Sydney in 2008. [74] The University of Notre Dame Australia opened in Western Australia in December 1989, and now has over 9,000 students on three campuses in Fremantle, Sydney and Broome. [141] This church was formed following a schism with the Range Christian Fellowship and has carried with it some, but not all, of the bizarre manifestations of religious ecstasy associated with that congregation. Over the last decade, Christianity in Australia has declined from 68% to 61.1%. Just over two million Australians indicated a religion other than Christianity, accounting for 14 per cent of religious people and eight per cent of the total population. Episcopal Church in the United States of America, National Council of Churches in Australia, Australian Christian Churches (Assemblies of God), Christian music arrived in Australia with the First Fleet of British settlers in 1788 and has grown to include all genres from traditional Hymns of Praise to Christian Rock and country music. This was exemplified by the highly publicised rise and subsequent fall of Howard Carter[133] and the Logos Foundation in the 1980s. Wardell also worked on the design of St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne – considered among the finest examples of ecclesiastical architecture in Australia. [106], The Salvation Army founded one of the world's first ever movie studios in Melbourne in the 1890s: the Limelight Department. More than two in five (43 per cent) of Christians are Catholic, the largest broad denomination, while a quarter are Anglican (25 per cent). The Reverend Samuel Marsden had magisterial duties and so was equated with the authorities by the convicts. Nevertheless, local adaptations have arisen – large open-air carol concerts are conducted on summer evenings before Christmas – such as the Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne and Sydney's Carols in the Domain.

[116], From the 1970s, Australian Aboriginal artists of the Western Desert began to paint traditional style artworks in acrylic paints. [42][43][44], In recent times, the Christian churches of Australia have been active in ecumenical activity. The 2016 Census of Population and Housing found that three-fifths of the Australian population (61 per cent, or 14 million people) are affiliated with a religion or spiritual belief.
These do not operate for profit and range across the full spectrum of health services, representing about 10% of the health sector and employing 35,000 people. John Bede Polding, a Benedictine monk, was Sydney's first Catholic bishop (and then archbishop) from 1835 to 1877. [37] Pope John Paul II was the next Pope to visit Australia in 1986. The permanent presence of Christianity in Australia began with the arrival of the First Fleet of British convict ships at Sydney in 1788.

Other denominations assist through networks like UnitingCare Australia and the Salvation Army, and around a quarter of students attend church owned schools. [156], Early history of the Catholic Church in Australia, Foundations of diversification and equality, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, James McAuley, ‘In the Twentieth Century’ (1969), in James McAuley, Collected Poems, Sydney 1994, pp. This distinctively Australian style of painting has been fused with biblical themes to produce a uniquely Australian contribution to the long history of Christian art: integrating the mysterious dot designs and evocative circular patterns of traditional Aboriginal art with popular Christian subjects. [65] In the 21st century, with more and more lay people involved in management, the sisters began collaborating with Sisters of Mercy Hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney. Churches of the Western Christian tradition hold Christmas Day services on this day but most churches of Eastern Christian tradition – Ethiopian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox or the Armenian Church celebrate Christmas on 6 or 7 January. More than 300,000 pilgrims camped out overnight in preparation for the final Mass,[41] where final attendance was between 300,000 and 400,000 people. [75], Church leaders have often involved themselves in political issues in areas they consider relevant to Christian teachings. Some Protestant denominations such as the Baptist Union of Australia and the Churches of Christ in Australia grew at a smaller rate, less than 10 per cent, between 1991 and 1996. It is a tradition for international visitors to gather en masse at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Christmas Day. Since the 19th century, immigrants have brought their own expressions of Christianity with them. The Mass, Benedictus Qui Venit, for large choir, soloists and orchestra, was performed in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI and an audience of 350,000 with singing led by soprano Amelia Farrugia and tenor Andrew Goodwin. Johnson was charged by the governor, Arthur Phillip, with improving "public morality" in the colony, but he was also heavily involved in health and education. In 1857, Polding founded an Australian order of nuns in the Benedictine tradition – the Sisters of the Good Samaritan – to work in education and social work.

As a proponent of Australian Federation he denounced anti-Chinese legislation as "unchristian"; became an advocate for women's suffrage and alarmed conservatives by supporting trade unionism and "Australian socialism".
First filming A Melbourne Street Scene in 1897, they went on to make large scale Christian themed audio-visual presentations such as Soldiers of the Cross in 1900, and documented the Australian Federation ceremonies of 1901.[107]. [111][112], Australian literature for a long time assumed knowledge of Biblical stories, even where works of literature are not overtly Christian in character.

Other performing artists such as Catholic nun Sister Janet Mead, Aboriginal crooner Jimmy Little and Australian Idol contestant Guy Sebastian have held Christianity as central to their public persona. Greek immigration increased considerably following World War II, and the Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand was elevated to Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and Metropolitan Ezekiel was appointed archbishop in 1959. They introduced Scottish Presbyterianism, English Anglicanism and Irish Catholicism. The government therefore endorsed the English Benedictines to lead the early church in the colony.