The Modern Era of Education




The 1960s were a decade of revolution, and Australian Education was not untouched.  It was during this period that evangelical Christian parents began affordable, low fee Christian Schools.  Their objective was to provide their children with faith-based education that was financially accessible to their communities.

In 1962, the first ‘Christian Evangelical’ school in Australia, Calvin Christian School, was founded in Hobart.

By the mid-1970s, many local protestant churches commenced schools that were staffed by Christians and taught a Bible-based curriculum.


Government aid for non-government schools was introduced. With the passage of the States Grants (Science Laboratories and Technical Training) Act 1964, the Menzies government effectively began federal funding for independent and religious schools.  The catalyst was a strike by the Goulburn community, that saw 7 Catholic Schools close due to financial distress.  The fallout saw 2000 children descend on the town’s government schools for enrolment, who were only able to accommodate 640 of them.  The national media attention and political pressure resulted in Menzies announcing funding ‘available to all secondary schools, Government or independent, without discrimination’.


During the 1980s and 1990s, Christian schools represented the fastest growing sector of schools. These schools were diverse. Geographically they were spread across Australia, mainly in outer metropolitan areas but also in regional, remote and very remote locations. The schools were community based, serving the local community where they were located, usually low-middle socio-economic groups but also some indigenous communities in more remote areas. Operating with a variety of governance structures some were the ministry of a local church, others having involvement from a number of churches, some parent groups and some with denominational links. While some focussed on serving church families others sought to serve the wider community, but all were committed to communicating the Gospel as an essential part of educating the whole child.

New Schools were commencing in the 1980s. First class of Cornerstone Community School in 1986
School Community Gathers for independent school opening in 1987

Press captures the Christian School Bicentennial Gathering in March 1993, which celebrated 200 years of Christian schooling in Australia


To celebrate the bicentennial of the establishment of that first Christian school by Rev Richard Johnson, a wide range of Christian schools marched through the streets of Sydney before a commemoration event in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.


The independent sector of education is still the fastest growing sector in the country.  In 2022 – 15.9% of students across Australia were enrolled in independent schools.  That’s 643,000 students, and it continues to grow.1  A 35% growth over the past decade.

Despite the enormous popularity and increasing role Christian Education plays in the national education landscape, 2023 was a year of challenges.  Parents continue to speak loudly about their preference for faith-based education that allows for the selection of staff with similar values and instruction that embeds biblical teaching, yet the political landscape has at times, interpreted the beliefs and methods as a threat. To find out more head to MyChristianSchool.

Despite the opposition, the voice of parents, students, and the evidence provided with outcomes of excellence remains firm.  Christian Education is a critical addition to the options available for students across our country.

Glasshouse Christian School 2023
Discovery Christian College 2023

The History
of Education
Since 1793

1.  Based on 2022 ABS and ACARA data that Australia’s student population was 4,042,512, of which 15.9% were enrolled in independent schools, or a total of 642,759 students.

Some images are used with permission of Christian History Research.