Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of History


The purpose of this dissertation is to trace the influence of sectarianism upon the development of elementary education in New South Wales between 1788 and 1918. Because to date none of the historians, social scientists, or sociologists studying sectarianism has constructed a precise and universally applicable definition, a pragmatic approach has been adopted to the phenomenon. For the purposes of this study, sectarianism has'been taken,to mean that fanaticism or narrowness of religious belief which', because of real or imagined attacks upon religious conscience, promotes conflict between the sects. Although the various sects of Protestants differed amongst themselves, •in general they were united in their éndeavours to inhibit the aims and the activities of the Roman Catholic Church. The principal source of conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholics was over tjie provision of religious instruction to children of different faiths. All efforts to devise compromise solutions to the problem within a m general system of education failed. As a result, two major systems of education developed: a public school system which catered for the educational needs of most Protestants and some Roman Catholics and a Roman Catholic school system.