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The stylised rendering of the Southern Cross is an adaptation of the original symbol of the Australian Church founded by the Rev. Dr. Charles Strong to operate under the Southern Cross.


Current Project

Project Title: The Australian Church and the Australian Settlement.
Major Publication: Marion Maddox, ed., Charles Strong's Australian Church and Christian Social Activism: 1885-1917
Publication details: Melbourne University Press, 2021
In the leadup to Federation, the Australian Church, based in Melbourne, saw itself as a progressive new Christian movement to serve the approaching Australian nation. With aspirations to become Australia's national church, the organisation, under charismatic activist Rev. Dr Charles Strong (1844-1942), brought together many members of Melbourne's social and political elite, mobilising them in the cause of social and political reform under the banner of both theological and social liberalism. Drawing on contemporary European thought, Strong and his congregants variously described their approach as "progressive", "liberal", "radical", and "socialist". Strong and his wife, Janet, either founded or led numerous organisations for social betterment, some of which endure today. Charles Strong's Australian Church and Christian Social Activism offers a new analysis of the Australian Church, from its foundation in 1885, through its period of greatest influence to 1917.

Numerous congregation members and associates are the subjects of biographies in which Charles Strong and the Australian Church make appearances. The church, its offshoot organisations and prominent members also walk in and out of major histories of the period. Until now, however, the only comprehensive, book-length treatment has been a detailed denominational history Badger's The Reverend Charles Strong and the Australian Church (1971). The present volume offers new knowledge by analysing the Australian Church in its intellectual, social and political context. This allows renewed appreciation of the radicalism of the church's ethos, while also taking account of its place in relation to debates and obstacles on the path to social reform, avoiding the hagiographic tone of some accounts of Strong.

The volume brings together leading scholars of history, politics and religion. Part I places the Australian Church within the intellectual, social and political currents of its day. Part II examines the execution and legacy of the church's activism, through individuals and satellite organisations. Strong aspired to take his movement national, and Part III examines the limits of its influence.

​Further publications are planned in the form of journal articles.


The International SBL Conference was cancelled because of the Corona Virus. Not sure whether it will be held in Adelaide at some time in the future. The Trust Lecture at the Conference planned for Anne Pattel-Gray was also cancelled.

Pacifism Symposium

The Strong Pacifism Conference was held in November 2018, 100 years after Armistice Day. Details of the Conference are outlined in a separate heading: Pacificism Symposium. Norman Habel edited the papers from the conference in a volume entitled: Remembering Pioneer Australian Pacifist Charles Strong.


In addition to the book on Pacifist Charles Strong noted above, the Trust supported the publication of Acknowledgement of the Land and Faith of Aboriginal Custodians after Following the Abraham Trail.

The papers from the 2015 International Conference on ecology and religion held at the Serafino Winery in Mclaren Vale are now available in a publication entitled: The Nature of Things: Rediscovering the Spiritual in God's Creation. The publisher is Wipf & Stock.

Constitution and Management of the Trust

The management of the Trust is vested in three Trustees who meet annually with an Advisory Committee to plan the activities of the Trust. The financial management of the Trust is now in the hands of the trustees.

Lectures and Publications of the Trust

For the complete list see Lectures and Publications. Recent lectures are available on line free of charge.

Projects of the Trust

In recent years the Trust has supported The Earth Bible series and The Earth Bible Commentary. The Trust is now in the process of supporting one or more volumes focusing on A Pre-Colonial Reading of the Bible, prepared jointly with elders from the First Peoples of Australia.

The Trust Office

The Trust Office is located with the Chair of the Trust

Dr. Norman Habel
124/8 Marina Ave
Belair SA 5052

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