• Organisation

Australian Board of Mission


The Australian Board of Mission (ABM) was established in Sydney in 1850, and was the missionary body of the Church of England in Australia. It was originally called the Australasian Board of Missions and was led by the bishops of the Church in Australia and New Zealand. In 1872 it was formally constituted as the Australian Board of Mission. In conjunction with local dioceses, the ABM founded the Yarrabah, Mitchell River and Lockhart River Missions in North Queensland. It also supported the Forrest River Mission in Western Australia. In the Northern Territory, the ABM ran Mount Blatherskite Hostel and St Mary’s Hostel. In South Australia, it ran St Francis House. In 1995 the ABM became known as the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia.

Loos writes that although the ABM was established in 1850, the organisation made no attempt to evangelise within Australia or overseas for another generation (Loos, 1992).

The first mission with which it was involved in Australia was the Yarrabah Mission in Queensland.

The ABM raised 9660 pounds for its jubilee celebrations in 1900 and these funds were used to assist the mission at Yarrabah as well as to the creation of the new Diocese of Carpentaria, which took in areas of North Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The aims of the ABM changed over time. In 1967, it reflected on its history. In its earliest years, the ABM hoped to convert and ‘civilise’ Indigenous people:

By the end of the nineteenth century it was struggling to protect and ameliorate the lot of the remnant of a disappearing people. By the middle of this century it was trying to teach nomads to live a settlement life. In the middle years of this century Government support for settlement programmes reached significant proportions and the settlements which the Board had sponsored and supported began to reap the benefit of the new Government policies.
The point has now been reached where Government Departments manage and maintain those settlements leaving only the pastoral care of the people to the church. In respect of the spiritual ministry in those settlements the Board expects to confine itself to assisting the Anglican diocese concerned by finding Chaplains and contributing to their support (Coaldrake, 1967).

Before this shift to government management, Anglican missions like Yarrabah, Mitchell River and Lockhart River were run by the Diocese with ABM providing significant support in the forms of funding, administration and staffing.

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  • Alternative Names

    Australasian Board of Missions


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