Date of Submission



This thesis covers the period 1950-1980, chosen for the significance of two major events which affected the apostolic lives of the women religious under study: the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and the progressive introduction of state aid to Catholic schools, culminating in the policies of the Whitlam government (1972-1975) which entrenched bipartisan political commitment to funding non-government schools. It also represents the period during which governments of all persuasions became more involved in the operations of non-government agencies, which directly impacted on services provided by the churches and the women religious under study, not least by imposing strict conditions of accountability for funding. As a contextual history, the thesis draws heavily on explanations of the social, economic and cultural features of the period of time and takes into account the argument of the American sociologist, Todd Gitlin, that the 1950s were “a seedbed as well as a cemetery (because) the surprises of the sixties were planted here”. The period provides “…a vantage point for viewing twentieth century Australian Catholicism… a time when significant movements of the century had reached a kind of a balance, and before the turmoil of the 1960s”.


School of Arts and Sciences

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


347 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Research Location