Today I’d like to review a book I’ve been reading – and which Jim Le Huray has also read recently! – called The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740-1914 by Piggin and Linder. It challenges the secular view of Australia’s origins, telling of the many evangelical Christians who came to the colonies in the fervent hope of making a godly society. An example is George Fife Angas, the father of South Australia, who sought God’s blessing on SA by seeking “God-fearing people” to settle it (p. 231).
It also details the keen interest of early evangelical Christians in Australia’s aboriginal people. Lancelot Threlkeld, for example, learned Awabakal, the Lake Macquarie aboriginal language, eventually producing a translation of Luke’s gospel. While his flock had sadly dwindled by the time of the work’s completion, his pioneering grammatical work has exercised a lasting influence (pp. 179-82).
It is encouraging to read of how God has used his people for the good of our nation, perhaps to a much greater extent than is commonly realised. If you don’t mind a weighty tome, I recommend it!