Bahá'í Faith in Australia

Bahá'í Faith in Australia

The Bahá'í Faith in Australia has a long history beginning with a mention by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, in 1916cite book |author = `Abdu'l-Bahá |authorlink = `Abdu'l-Bahá |origdate = 1916-17 |year = 1991 |title = Tablets of the Divine Plan |edition = Paperback |publisher = Bahá'í Publishing Trust |location = Wilmette, Illinois, USA |id = ISBN 0877432333 |url =http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/TDP/tdp-12.html.iso8859-1 | pages = p. 40/42] following which United Kingdom/American emigrants John and Clara Dunn came to Australia in 1920.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Australian Bahá'í History
work = Official Website of the Bahá'ís of Australia
publisher = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia
date =
url = http://www.bahai.org.au/scripts/WebObjects.exe/BNO.woa/wa/pages?page=who_we_are/australian_bahai_history.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] They found people willing to convert to the Bahá'í Faith in several cities while further immigrant Bahá'ís also arrived. [http://www.breacais.demon.co.uk/sbn/sbn33/sab3.htm William Miller (b. Glasgow 1875) and Annie Miller (b. Aberdeen 1877) - The First Believers in Western Australia] The Scottish Bahá'í No.33 – Autumn, 2003] The first Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in MelbourneCitation
first = Graham
last = Hassall
contribution = Seventy Five Years of the Bahá'í Faith in Victoria
contribution-url = http://bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/seventy.htm
title = presented at a dinner marking 75 years of the Bahá'í Faith in Victoria
year = December 1998
pages =
place =
publisher = Association for Bahá'í Studies, Australia
url = http://bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/seventy.htm
doi =
id =
] followed by the first election of the National Spiritual Assembly in 1934. [http://bahai-library.com/?file=handscause_statistics_1953-63&chapter=1#22 The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953-1963] , Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land, pages 22 and 46.] Though at first denied in 1948, Iranian Bahá'ís arrived in number after 1973 following the persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran.Citation
last = Hassall
first = Graham
author-link =
last2 = (ed.) Ata
first2 = Abe
author2-link =
title = Religion and Ethnic Identity, An Australian Study
place = Melbourne
publisher = Victoria College & Spectrum
year = 1989
pages = Chapter "Persian Bahá'ís in Australia"
volume =
edition =
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=hassall_persian_bahais_australia&language=All
doi =
id =
isbn =
] Since the 1980s the Bahá'ís of Australia have become involved and spoken out on a number of civic issues - from interfaith initiative such as "Soul Food"Citation
first = Richard
last = Coker
first2 = Jan
last2 = Coker, University of South Australia
contribution = Soul Food: collaborative development of an ongoing nondenominational, devotional event
contribution-url = http://www.cpe.uts.edu.au/pdfs/2004Handbook.pdf
title = Education and Social Action Conference
date = 2004-12-09
pages = pp. 65-7
place = Building 10, 235 Jones St, Broadway 2007
publisher = Centre for Popular Education, University of Technology, Sydney
url = http://www.cpe.uts.edu.au/
doi =
id =
] to conferences on indigenous issuescite web
title = Social and Economic Development and the Environment
work = International Conference "Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting"
publisher = Australian Association for Baha'i Studies
date = 2004-04-28
url = http://www.ocs.mq.edu.au/~cjone005/ABS.htm
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] and national policies of equal rights and pay for work.Citation
contribution = Submission in response to selected questions from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission discussion paper, Striking the Balance: Women, men, work and family
contribution-url = http://www.hreoc.gov.au/sex_discrimination/publication/strikingbalance/submissions/91.doc
title = Striking the Balance - Women, men, work and family
year = June 2005
publisher = Australian Bahá'í Community
url = http://www.hreoc.gov.au/sex_discrimination/publication/strikingbalance/
doi =
id =
] The community was counted by census in 2001 to be about 11000 individuals [http://web.archive.org/web/20050619070219/www.apmab.gov.au/guide/religious2/religious_guide.pdf A Practical Reference to Religious Diversity for Operational Police and Emergency Services "2nd" edition] ] and includes some well known people (see below - National exposure.)

`Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan

`Abdu'l-Bahá wrote a series of letters, or tablets, to the followers of the religion in the United States in 1916-1917; these letters were compiled together in the book titled Tablets of the Divine Plan. The seventh and eighth of the tablets was the first to mention taking the Bahá'í Faith to Australia and was written in April 11 and 19, 1916, but was delayed in being presented in the United States until 1919 — after the end of the First World War and the Spanish flu. These tablets were translated and presented by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab on April 4th, 1919, and published in Star of the West magazine on December 12th, 1919. [cite book| last = Abbas | first = 'Abdu'l-Bahá | coauthors = Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, trans. and comments | title = Tablets, Instructions and Words of Explanation] | year = 1919 | month = April | url = http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=abdulbaha_tablets_instructions_explanation.html]

(Tablet 7) "The moment this divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion..., if some teachers go to other islands and other parts, such as the continent of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, also to Japan, Asiatic Russia, Korea, French Indochina, Siam, Straits Settlements, India, Ceylon and Afghanistan, most great results will be forthcoming."

(Tablet 8) "The teachers traveling in different directions must know the language of the country in which they will enter.… In short, after this universal war, the people have obtained extraordinary capacity to hearken to the divine teachings, for the wisdom of this war is this: That it may become proven to all that the fire of war is world-consuming, whereas the rays of peace are world-enlightening.… Consequently, a number of souls may arise and … and hasten to all parts of the world, especially from America to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and travel through Japan and China." [cite book |author = `Abdu'l-Bahá |authorlink = `Abdu'l-Bahá |origdate = 1916-17 |year = 1991 |title = Tablets of the Divine Plan |edition = Paperback |publisher = Bahá'í Publishing Trust |location = Wilmette, Illinois, USA |id = ISBN 0877432333 |url =http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/TDP/tdp-8.html.iso8859-1?#pg56 | pages = p. 56]

Establishment

In 1920 Englishman John Hyde Dunn, and his Irish wife, Clara, sailed to Australia from the United states where they each had emigrated, converted to the religion, met and married.cite web
last = Moores
first = Marjorie
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Bahá'í Faith in Queensland
work =
publisher = Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Brisbane
date = 2008-01-16
url = http://brisbane.qld.bahai.org.au/blog/2008/01/16/the-bahai-faith-in-queensland/#more-64
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] They stopped briefly in Samoa along the way.cite conference | last = Hassall | first = Graham | title = Clara and Hyde Dunn | booktitle = draft of "A Short Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith" | publisher = Bahá'í Library Online | date = 1994-03-09 | url = http://bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/Dunns.html | accessdate = 2008-06-15] They were first Bahá'ís to set foot in Australia. In 1922 the first Australians joined the religion. They were Oswald Whitaker, a Sydney optometrist, and Effie Baker, a Melbourne photographer who were members of different metaphysical groups.Citation
first = Graham
last = Hassall
contribution = Australian Women and Religious Change: Margaret Dixson and the first Melbourne Bahá'ís
contribution-url = http://bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/margaretdixson.htm
title = Proceedings of the Association for Bahá'í Studies, Australia
year = 1988
pages =
place =
publisher = Association for Bahá'í Studies, Australia
url =
doi =
id =
] News of John Esslemont's 1915 declaration of faith, and his forthcoming book Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, had also spread to some of his associates, William and Annie Miller in Australia who then became Bahá'ís in the 1920s. Melbourne Bahá'ís elected their first Local Spiritual Assembly, the first one of all Australia, in 1923 mostly from single or widowed women. The community struggled to maintain itself for a number of years. World traveling Martha Root spoke at many public meetings on a visit to Melbourne in 1924 and again in 1939. The Dunns and Martha Root also visited Hobart in Tasmania during which Gretta Lamprill converted and continued to sustain the religion on the island - eventually she was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly and later was named a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh together with Glad Parke, who travelled with her to the Society Islands (now French Polynesia) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.cite web
last = Hassall
first = Graham
title = Bahá’í Faith in Tasmania 1923-1963
work = Articles / papers, unpublished
publisher = Bahá'í Library Online
date =
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=hassall_tasmania_history&language=
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] During Roots subsequent visits each time the Bahá'í community grew in Tasmania.

Following a temporary move of Margaret Dixson to Sidney from Melbourne who helped elect the first local spiritual assembly of Sidney in 1925 (eventually Margaret Dixson, an early Esperantist pioneered to Brisbane, and Adelaide.) While many of the early converts refused to stay Bahá'ís when pressed to leave their former associations many others did join the religion. By 1928 a list shows Australia with 6 local spiritual assemblies each with 9 members plus the general community. ["The Bahá'í World: A Biennial International Record, Volume II, 1926-1928" (New York City: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1928), 182-85.]

Expansion

Soon Bahá'í groups sprang up around the country. By 1934 there were enough Bahá'ís to elect a national governing body, the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand (in 1957 New Zealand separated to form its own National Assembly). The first pioneer to reach New Caledonia was Australia's Margaret Rowling in early 1952.cite book
last = Effendi
first = Shoghi
authorlink = Shoghi Effendi
title = Messages to the Antipodes:Communications from Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'í Communities of Australasia
publisher = Mona Vale: Bahá'í Publications Australia
year = 1997
location =
pages =
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=shoghieffendi_messages_antipodes&language=All
doi =
id =
isbn = 9780909991982
] Lilian Wyss pioneered to Western SamoaCitation
last = Hassall
first = Graham
authorlink = Graham Hassall
editor-last = H. Rubinstein
editor-first = Donald
contribution = Pacific Baha'i Communities 1950-1964
contribution-url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=hassall_bahai_pacific&language=
title = Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference
year = 1992
pages = pp.73-95
place =
publisher = University of Guam Press & Micronesian Area Research Center, Guam
url =
doi =
id =
] from Australia in January of 1954cite web
coauthors = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Samoa
title = 50th Anniversary of the Bahá'í Faith in Samoa
work = Waves of One Ocean, Official Bahá'í website
publisher = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Samoa
year = February, 2004
url = http://bci.org/bahaisamoa/information.html
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] leaving behind a position on the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia [cite web
last = Hassall
first = Graham
authorlink = Graham Hassall
title = Yerrinbool Baha'i School 1938 - 1988 - An Account of the First Fifty Years
work = collections Asia-pacific and Article_published
publisher = Bahá'í Academics Resource Library
year = 1988
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=hassall_yerrinbool_1938-1988&language=
accessdate = 2008-06-15
] at the age of 24 while her brother, Frank Wyss, introduced the religion that year to the Cocos Island. For their service, Shoghi Effendi awarded both of them the accolade of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh.Citation
last = International Community
first = Bahá'í
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = Royal welcome at jubilee gathering in Samoa
newspaper = Bahá'í World News Service
date = 2004-11-30
url = http://news.bahai.org/story/337
] In 1955 Fred Murray of South Australia was among the first Aboriginal people to become a Bahá'í. After decades of service in the Australian community, Collis Featherstone was distinguished by being appointed as a Hand of the Cause of God in 1957 - he passed away in 1990.

Yerrinbool Bahá'í School

In 1937, one hundred delegates and observers attending the national Bahá'í convention in Sydney celebrated the founding of the Yerrinbool Bahá'í Schoolcite web
last = Hassall
first = Graham
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Yerrinbool Baha'i School 1938 - 1988, An Account of the First Fifty Years
work = Published Articles
publisher = Bahá'í Library Online
date =
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=hassall_yerrinbool_1938-1988&language=
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] which was next to "Bolton Place" founded just the year before. Kitchen and dining facilities were added in 1946. In 1947 non-Bahá'í speakers Harold Morton, a Sydney radio announcer, and Muslim Fazel (Frank) Khan presented at the school and the Khan family converted shortly thereafter. By 1963 the Yerrinbool Bahá'í School was wholly owned and managed by the National Spiritual Assembly. The second national youth conference was held at Yerrinbool in 1970 and succeeding youth conferences were held in Canberra (1972), Adelaide (1973), Perth (1974), Canberra (1975), Brisbane (1976), Sydney (1977), Hobart (1978), and Melbourne (1979). In 1983 the schools program included summer, spring and autumn schools, three deepening institutes, an annual studies conference, a "Third World Awareness" weekend sponsored by the Sydney Bahá'í youth, Bahá'ís studies conferences sponsored by the University of Tasmania Bahá'í Society which lead to the initial formation of the Association for Bahá'í Studies chapter in Australia whose first meeting was at Yerrinbool. [cite conference
coauthors = Association for Bahá'í Studies — Australia
title = Report on Scholarship, 1997
booktitle = Scholarship Institute
publisher = Association for Bahá'í Studies — Australia
date = 1998-04-10
location = Yerrinbool, Australia
url = http://bahai-library.com/resources/scholarship.report2.html
accessdate = 2008-04-06
] More recently, Yerringbool Bahá'í School was formally registered as a not-for-profit college in Australia under the name of Yerringbool Bahá'í Center for Learning Ltd (YBCL) which operates two divisions of Education for Peace Institute of Australia, and Yerrinbool College. [cite web
last = Hayati
first = Souri
title = A Historical Institution
work = Yerrinbool Bahá'í Center for Learning
publisher = Yerrinbool Bahá'í Center for Learning
date =
url = http://www.ybcl.org/joomla_1.5.3/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=28
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
]

Development in provinces

Bahá'ís in Brisbane were established as early as 1928 but it wasn't until 1949 that a local spiritual assembly was elected. A Baha’i Society was established on the campus of the University of Queensland in 1961. By 1978 there were Local Assemblies in Albert Shire, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Mornington Island and Palm Island, Pioneer Shire, Redland Shire, Toowoomba and Townsville, as well as groups in Gympie, Ipswich, Mackay, Mulgrave Shire, Murweh Shire, Noosa Shire, Rockhampton Wondai Shire and Caboolture in 1983. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Welcome
work = Caboolture Bahá'í Community
publisher = Caboolture Bahá'í Community
year = 2003
url = http://www.caboolture.qld.bahai.org.au/home.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-22
] In 1987, local assemblies in Queensland numbered 25.

Refocussing attention on the Melbourne community active projects were initiated and the assembly was reformed in 1948. The members of that local spiritual assembly were Emily and Cyril Easey, Ron Cover and his mother Irene Cover, Freda Adams, Mrs E. Bennett, Madam Holden-Graham, Eleanor Wheeler, and Vi Hoehnke and by 1953 communities near Melbourne included Ballarat and Geelong however reorganizing along civic boundaries in 1957 spit the Melbourne community into Melbourne, Camberwell, Malvern, Caufield, Oakleigh, Mordialic and Brighton.

In an atmosphere of growing tension over war, in October 1940 Gretta Lamprill in Tasmania was visited by government officers seeking information about the group's activities and from then on the Bahá'ís consciously sought out collaboration with like-minded social movements and involved academics and outstanding public figures of the day in their public meetings and by 1949 the Hobart community was able to elect it's local spiritual assembly with founding members of Frank & Myra Brown, Mabel Bailey, Kit Crowder, Eileen Costello, Katherine Harcus, Gretta Lamprill, Katie Pharoah, and Ben Raynor. Shirin Fozdar visited Tasmania in September 1952 for several talks before going on to introduce the religion to Vietnam in 1954.

Iranian immigrants

In 1948, Iranian Bahá'ís seeking to emigrate to Australia were classified as "Asiatic" by Australia's White Australia policy, and were denied entry and the policy largely remained in place until the 1960s and was lifted in 1973. The size and diversity of the community was boosted in the 1980s when Australia opened its doors to those fleeing the resurgence of persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran, characterized as a diaspora. [cite paper
first = Margaret
last = Bluett
author =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Nightingales in Terra Nova
version = final
publisher = Dept. of Philosophy, School of Humanities, James Cook University, Cairns
date = November, 2005
url = http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/1787/02/02thesis.pdf
format = pdf
accessdate = 2008-07-22
] In 1981 the Minister for Immigration announced a Special Humanitarian Assistance Program for Iranians to seek refuge in Australia. By 1986, 538 Persian Bahá'ís had entered Australia under the program, and by 1988, some 2,500 had arrived in Australia through either the Assistance or Refugee Programs. Together with Persians already living in Australia, Persian constituted 38% of the Australian Bahá'í community where majorities of Iranians formed in 59 of 169 Bahá'í communities that had local assemblies, and in 19 Bahá'í communities, more than 75% of the members were Persian. See also Iranian Australians.

Bahá'í House of Worship

The Bahá'í House of Worship in Sydney, Australia was dedicated on 17 September 1961 and opened to the public after four years of construction. The initial design by Charles Mason Remey was approved in 1957 with seating for six hundred people. The building stands 38 metres in height, has a diameter at its widest point of 20 metres, and is a highly visible landmark from Sydney's northern beaches. It's surrounded by gardens contain native plants including waratahs, several grevillea including the unique caleyi, Australian wattle (Acacia) and woody pear, plus three species of eucalypts. Other buildings located on the site include a visitor's centre, bookshop, picnic area, hostel, caretaker's cottage, and the administrative offices of the Australian Bahá'í community. [cite web | url = http://www.bahai.org.au/scripts/WebObjects.exe/BNO.woa/wa/pages?page=temple%2F41 | title = Bahá'í House of Worship: Facilities | author = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-06-17] [cite web | url = http://www.bahai.org.au/scripts/WebObjects.exe/BNO.woa/wa/pages?page=temple%2F44 | title = Bahá'í House of Worship: Construction | author = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-06-17] The property is set high in a natural bushland setting of 380,000 square metres (38 hectares) in Ingleside, a northern suburb overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This Temple serves as the Mother Temple of Australia.

Six conferences held in October 1967 around the world presented a viewing of a copy of the photograph of Bahá'u'lláh on the highly significant occasion commemorating the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's writing of the "Suriy-i-Mulúk" (Tablet to the Kings), which Shoghi Effendi describes as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh".cite book |first=Shoghi |last=Effendi |authorlink=Shoghi Effendi |year=1944 |title=God Passes By |publisher=Bahá'í Publishing Trust |location=Wilmette, Illinois, USA |id=ISBN 0-87743-020-9 |url=http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/|pages = pp. 171] After a meeting in Edirne (Adrianople), Turkey, the Hands of the Cause travelled to the conferences, 'each bearing the precious trust of a photograph of the Blessed Beauty, which it will be the privilege of those attending the Conferences to view.' Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery conveyed this photograph to the Conference for Australiasia at Australia at the House of Worship. [cite book
last = House of Justice
first = Universal
authorlink = Universal House of Justice
title = Wellspring of Guidance, Messages 1963-1968
publisher = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States
date = 1976
location = Wilmette, Illinois
pages = p. 109-112
url = http://bahai-library.com/published.uhj/wellspring.html
doi =
id =
isbn = 0877430322
]

Multiplying interests

The Bahá'ís of Australia have taken up efforts in a number of interests - internal and with respect to the civic discourse in Australia.

Through a voluntary program in Australian public/state schools for 30 minutes a week on religious classes [cite web
last = Rossiter
first = Graham
title = Finding the Balance: Religious Education in Australia
work =
publisher = International Association for Religious Freedom
date =
url = http://www.iarf.net/REBooklet/Australia.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
] (called Special Religious Education, open to all religions), the Bahá'í Faith is being presented to students. The Bahá'ís developed a "Peace Pack" that was approved by the State's Department of Education and Training starting in the 1980s. Some 6,000 primary school children, about 10% of Bahá'í families, among more than 300 state-run schools attended in 2007. [Citation
last = International Community
first = Bahá'í
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = Baha'i classes find wide appeal
newspaper = Bahá'í World News Service
date = 2005-04-05
url = http://news.bahai.org/story/361
] [cite web
title = Bahá’í Education in State Schools
work = Children's Activities
publisher = Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Shellharbour
year = July 2008
url = http://www.shellharbour.nsw.bahai.org.au/ca.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-20
]

For the International Year of Indigenous Peoples and the Australian Association for Baha'i Studies set their annual conference in 1993 (at Queensland University) on an Indigenous related theme on building a positive understanding of Native title and produced a book "Indigenous Peoples: In the Wake of Mabo" in 1997 as a followup (see Mabo v Queensland.) In closing the UN International Decade of Indigenous Peoples (1993-2004) it held another conference (at Macquarie University) but this time ensuring as great a level of participation by Indigenous participants and keynote speakers and as many female participants and keynote speakers as possible and other similar priorities in order that the views and needs of Indigenous Peoples could be seriously heard and discussed and of practical benefit.

Informally since 2002 the Bahá'ís of Adelaide, (and formally since 2003 by the Adelaide Local Spiritual Assembly) has run the "Soul Food" event - a once a month 1 hour program of readings from religious and non-religious texts mixed with music performed by a variety of Adelaide’s professional musicians in the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Auditorium during which no financial contribution is asked for or accepted and no promotions are permitted. The event has since developed similar events in other locations in Australia. [cite web
title = Relaxation and Spiritual Development
work = Soul Food
publisher = Baha'i Communities of South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia
year = 2007
url = http://www.soulfood.com.au/
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-22
]

In 2003 the Australian Bahá’í Community testified in support of Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill of 2003 suggesting that reviews of its provisions should be considered in light of the Paris Principles. [Citation
first = Tessa, Executive Officer Government Relations
last = Scrine
contribution = Testimony of the Australian Bahá'í Community to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, 2003
contribution-url = http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/completed_inquiries/2002-04/human03/submissions/sub24.doc
title = Inquiry into the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003, SUBMISSIONS AGREED TO BY THE COMMITTEE
year = 2003
publisher = Australian Bahá'í Community
url = http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/completed_inquiries/2002-04/human03/submissions/sublist.htm
doi =
id =
] In 2005 it testified to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia making suggestions on a variety of issues affecting the challenges to equal rights and work/employment and pay for work. In 2007 YWCA Australia's WomenSpeak Network submitted a paper to the Australian Government through the Federal Office for Women to delegations addressing the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Their statement mentions that most women’s groups didn't believe the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality caught the imagination of many of the organisationsinvolved in the WomenSpeak Network. They specified a notable exception of this position is of the Australian Bahá'í Community Office of Equality in that many men in the Bahá'í community play an active role in working towards gender equality.Citation
contribution = "The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality"
contribution-url = http://www.ywca.org.au/pdfs/role%20of%20men%20and%20boys.pdf
title = Striking the Balance - Women, men, work and family
year = 2007
publisher = YWCA Australia
url = http://www.ywca.org.au/projects/womenspeak/submissions.php
doi =
id =
]

National exposure

From the 1980s onward various personalities associated with the Bahá'í Faith have been national figures in Australia. Combined with the swelling membership the religion has emerged from obscurity in Australia on national level. The first mark of this emergence is probably graduate of the University of Sydney, Tom Price. He was musical director of the Sydney Bahá'í Temple Choir in Australia for 14 years and became well known in Australia when he produced and co-wrote the double-platinum Bad Habits album by singer Billy Field, which was the largest selling album in Australia in 1981. [ [http://www.audiophile.com.au/music_aus-01.html Welcome to Audiophile] Billy Field - "Best Of: You Weren't In Love With Me" comments] Price went on eventually to be director of the 420-voice choir and 90-piece symphony orchestra for the second Bahá'í World Congress in New York in 1992 and many other notable events. In the mid and late 1990s Cathy Freeman added some awareness of the religion in Australia as an Aboriginal Olympic medalist who grew up as a Bahá'í. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/message/tv/ms/s1584631.htm "Cos I'm Free (AKA Cathy Freeman)" Transcript of Program] ] In 2001 the 2nd edition of A Practical Reference to Religious Diversity for Operational Police and Emergency Services added the Bahá'í Faith in its coverage of religions in Australia. A TV medical-drama called "MDA - Medical Defense Australia", which went on the air on July 23, 2002 through 2005 with an ongoing Bahá'í character, Layla Young, played by a non-Bahá'ícite web | title = First Bahá'í Character | author = Australian Bahá'í Community | publisher = National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia | url = http://www.bahai.org.au/docs/abr%206-2.pdf | accessdate = 2006-08-12 | date = 2006-06-05] actress Petra Yared. [cite web | title = Layla Young - Receptionist/Student Liaison Officer, MDA | accessdate = 2006-08-14 | url = http://www.abc.net.au/mda/episodes/archive.htm | date = 2005 | author = Australian Broadcasting Corporation | publisher=abc.net.au] [cite web | title = Medical Defense Australia: Episode Guide | accessdate = 2006-08-14 | url = http://www.abc.net.au/mda/staff/layla.htm | date = 2005 | author = Australian Broadcasting Corporation | publisher=abc.net.au] And Luke McPharlin has been visible as a distinguished Australian footballer who mentioned his spiritual beliefs in his reasons for his sportsmanship. [ [http://news.bahai.org/story/316 Top sportsmen find support in faith] , 11 August 2004 (BWNS)]

Demographics

The 1996 Australian Census lists Bahá'í membership at just under 9 thousand Bahá'ís and in 2001 edition noted the community had grown to over 11 thousand. The community of Whitehorse had some 200 Bahá'ís. [Citation
last = Kinsella
first = Elise
title = Whitehorse Baha'i group makes Iran rights plight plea
newspaper = Whitehorse Leader
date = 2008-006-25
url = http://www.whitehorseleader.com.au/article/2008/06/25/37844_whv_news.html
]

In 1998 the Victorian province Bahá'ís celebrated their 75th anniversary and counted approximately 1600 adults, youth, and children, organised in more than 50 communities, with 29 local assemblies in the Melbourne metropolitan area with public events where hundreds of people come.

In 2008 the Tasmanian Bahá'í community neared the opening of its Bahá'í Center in Hobart with assemblies in Clarence, Devonport, Glenorchy, Kingborough and Launceston and more than 300 on the island. [Citation
last = Martin
first = Tim
title = Baha'i building on faith
newspaper = Sunday Tasmanian
date = 2008-06-22
url = http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23902992-921,00.html
]

ee also

*Religion in Australia
*Bahá'í statistics
*List of religious populations

Publications

* [http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/LANZ/ Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand] Author: Shoghi Effendi, Source: Australia, 1971 reprint.
* [http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/ARO/ Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand] Author: Shoghi Effendi Source: Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Suva, Fiji Islands, 1982 edition.
* [http://bahai.org.au/video/video.html The History of the Bahá'í Faith in Australia] (flash video)

References

External links

* [http://www.bahai.org.au Official Webpage]
** [http://www.act.bahai.org.au/ Canberra Bahá'í Community]
** [http://www.farnorthcoast.nsw.bahai.org.au/index.htm Far North Coast Bahá'í Community]
** [http://www.goldcoast.qld.bahai.org.au/main/index.html Gold Coast Bahá'í Community]
** [http://hunter.nsw.bahai.org.au/ Greater Hunter Bahá'í Community]
** [http://www.melville.wa.bahai.org.au/ Melville Bahá'í Community]
** [http://www.perth.wa.bahai.org.au/ Perth Bahá’í Community]
** [http://www.shellharbour.nsw.bahai.org.au/index.html Shellharbour Bahá'í Community]
* [http://www.soulfood.com.au/ Soul Food] , initiative of the Baha'i Communities of South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
* [http://www.ybcl.org/ Yerringbool Bahá'í Center of Learning] (formerly Yerringbool Bahá'í School)
* [http://www.theheyday.com Australian Bahá'í Youth] online portal.
* [http://home.vicnet.net.au/~bahai/bsociety.html University of Melbourne Baha'i Society]
* [http://clubs.uow.edu.au/websites/bahai/Home.htm University of Wollongong Baha'i Society]


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