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The Forum > Article Comments > The foreign origins of state schools > Comments

The foreign origins of state schools : Comments

By Paul Duane, published 7/8/2013

Historian Geoffrey Blainey has claimed that Australia's real education revolution occurred late in the nineteenth century, the landmark being Victoria's Education Act of 1872 which introduced what were then called 'state' schools.

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First, please post a link to Blainey's article as I would like to read it for myself.
The history of efforts to establish a secular public education system in Australia goes back a long way before Victoria in 1872. Governor Bourke (look him up on Australian Dictionary of Biography online if interested), who was responsible for laying the foundations of religious freedom in Australia, along with government financial support for churches (with his 1831 Church Act), tried extremely hard to get an act through the Colonial legislative assembly in NSW in the 1830s to establish a government run secular school system. His efforts were blocked by religious communities - the Anglicans in particular - as they saw this as a threat to the religious schools they had already established in the colony. Through the 1870s in NSW there was political debate on the topic, and the NSW Public Instruction Act was finally passed in NSW in 1881, half a century after the first attempt. A secular public school system open to all is a foundation element of a well functioning democracy. I sometimes wonder how much better Australian democracy would be today if Governor Bourke had been successful in establishing a free secular public school system back in the 1830s.
Posted by Johnj, Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:01:14 PM
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