Testimonies from the field: The coming of Christian Science to Australia, c. 1890-1910

Jill Roe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The account of the coming of Christian Science to Australia given in this article is based on testimony contributed by early adherents to the two main church publications, The Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Sentinel, supplemented by Church records and other sources. The first two decades are covered, from the earliest known intimations of interest to the death of Mary Baker Eddy in 1910, when a Christian Science presence in Australia was assured. Interest shown by writer Miles Franklin, and her association with Melbourne adherents such as leading feminist Vida Goldstein, provides the starting point. The focus is on positive responses. It is postulated that in addition to the documentary and expressive value of the testimonies, they point to problems of class and health in turn-of-the-century Australia. A preponderance of women in both the testimonies and the practice is evidenced, and the openness of progressive women to new approaches is noted. With reference to male testimony, it is suggested that further research into responses to American ways in religion by the urban midle class would be very valuable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-319
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Religious History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998


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