Bibles in State schools

Clarissa Carden (School of Humanities, Languages, Social Science, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Publication date: 4 June 2018



The purpose of this paper is to examine the work of the Bible in State Schools League in Queensland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the 1910 referendum on religious education in Queensland government schools. Through examining its campaign and the statements of supporters and opponents this paper seeks to examine the role of the school in relation to morality in this early period of the Queensland history.


This paper draws upon archival material, parliamentary debates, materials published by the Bible in State Schools League and contemporaneous newspaper accounts. These data are thematically analysed.


There was widespread agreement within the early Queensland society that the school was a place for moral formation. The Bible in State Schools League highlighted the tensions in the relationship between morals and religion in relation to the school.

Research limitations/implications

This research problematises the notion that developments in education have followed a straight line from religiosity to secularisation.


Very little has been published to date about the Queensland Bible in State Schools League. This paper goes some way to filling this lacuna.



Carden, C. (2018), "Bibles in State schools", History of Education Review, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 16-24.

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