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Religion : Personalities

South Australia has been home to many prominent religious figures, some having achieved world-wide recognition. In January 1995 Mother Mary MacKillop, joint founder of the teaching order of Josephite nuns in South Australia, was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The work of Mary and her sisters of St Joseph was phenomenal in 19th century South Australia.

Another South Australian woman, Winifred Kiek, made history in 1927 when she became the first woman in Australia ordained to ministry. In 1974 Janet Mead, a local Sister of Mercy, was the first Australian performer to sell more than one million copies of an Australian produced recording in the US, with her musical version of the Lord's Prayer.

Other prominent local religious women include Catherine Helen Spence, the Unitarian preacher and the first Australian woman to stand (unsuccessfully) for Parliament, as well as the first woman to write a novel set in Australia. Spence worked to improve conditions for women and children in the 19th century. Serena Thorne, who came to South Australia in 1870 aged 28, had a formidable reputation as a preacher. She went on to become a prominent member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and a tireless campaigner for the vote for women.

Many of the State's founders were deeply devout men and women. George Fife Angas, one of the Colonization Commissioners, was a pious Baptist who hoped the new colony would become the home of similarly pious, evangelical Christians. Another commissioner was Jacob Montefiore, a prominent Jewish businessman. John Barton Hack, an early entrepreneur, was a Quaker and in 1840 provided land for the first Quaker Meeting House in Adelaide.

The Rev. John Flynn achieved national fame as the originator of the Australian Inland Mission and the Flying Doctor Service, in association with Alf Traeger and his famous pedal radio. The Church of Christ pastor, Doug Nicholls, became the first Aboriginal governor in Australia in 1976. The Rev. Lance Shilton of Holy Trinity Church was one of the founders of the Festival of Light organisation. His opposition to permissive trends in South Australia saw him lampooned by student groups.

(Image: Gall, Ernest. Rev Francis William Cox, ca. 1900, PRG 631/102/8)

Archbishop Reynolds
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Bishop Harmer and Bishop Kennion
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California Taylor
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Captain Hancock
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Catherine Helen Spence
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Charles Horan's funeral oration for Bishop Shiel
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David Unaipon
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Emanuel Solomon
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Fr Aloysius Kranewitter
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General Meeting of the Society of Friends
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Geological studies by Julian Tenison-Woods
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Governor Gawler
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