whole_MaddenKathy1995_thesis.pdf (2.01 MB)
Dreams and realities : some insights into the National Catholic Rural Movement
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 20:01 authored by Madden, Kathy
\They _frightened me old friend. All they want for a rural policy is a sheep a goat three acres - and a migrant.\" So commented a former Governor General returning from a rural conference in Albury according to Alan Reid a political journalist writing a newspaper story in October 1954. Who were the mysterious they? Forerunners of the communes of the sixties perhaps the cult movements of the seventies? Certainly it was a religious organisation but one where most of the members belonged to that oldest form of institutionalised Christianity - the Roman Catholic Church. Co-operation was an esteemed principle but the freedom \"to do your own thing\" was not. The National Catholic Rural Movement (NCRM) as it was called was an expression of Catholic Action a concept formulated in Rome but which the Australian hierarchy was struggling to establish in a country far removed from Europe. Yet with a mixture of somewhat naive romanticism and ironclad ideology the NCRM had its own idealistic visions for Australia much as the poet McAuley was to write in 1956. \"Help of Christians guard this landfrom assault or inward stain. Let it be what Christ has planned His Eden where you reign.\" By 1950 the National Catholic Rural Movement had about 6000 members 300 rural groups and a periodical \"Rural Life\" The NCRM however was never a truly 'grass roots' rural based movement nor did any initiatives develop from the country branches. During the period of its growth post war reconstruction was a subject of wide interest and debate in Australia and there was strong support for such concepts as decentralisation and land settlement which were central to NCRM theories. Yet attempts to implement NCRM policies provoked suspicion and antagonism because they ran counter to values deeply held in Australia at that time. With the incoming tide of new technology and cultural changes in post-war Australia the assumptions basic to the NCRM's vision crumbled as surely as sand castles on the beach."
Rights statementCopyright 1994 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (M.Hum.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references