Engineering the kingdom of god: irrigation, science and the social christian millennium, 1880-1914

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Irrigation was a hot issue in turn-of-the-twentieth century Australia. Most often, it was embraced by booster-visionaries who wanted it to provide Australia with a place at the table of nations. Not all irrigation enthusiasts placed the same emphasis on wealth and national power, however — indeed, there were some who believed it would help achieve a just distribution of social opportunity. In this article, I look at two Australian “social Christians”, the Melbourne minister, Charles Strong, and the South Australian journalist, Harry Taylor, who saw irrigation as an agent of God's Kingdom on Earth. This belief was part of a more general conviction, shared both by these men and other social Christians, that it was possible to merge millennial religiosity with evolution, progressive politics and rational principles.

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Journal Article

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