Friends Farm: Australia's First Quaker Commune
Australia has a long and rich history of religious groups trying to establish some sort of utopia by removing themselves from urban centres to rural idylls. The first of these was H errnhut, in western Victoria (1853–1889), and today there are many such as D anthonia B ruderhof and N ew G ovardhana, in NSW, C henrezig, in Queensland and R ocky C ape H utterites in Tasmania. While Quakers in the UK and USA have a tradition of forming rural communes starting from the seventeenth century, the first, and most important of such in Australia was F riends F arm, established in 1869 on what is now Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. This group was led by the charismatic Alfred Allen, a radical Quaker from Sydney. He believed that he had been reborn, held Christ within him, and had achieved sin-free perfection. He was disowned, twice, by Sydney Quakers after when he led his small band of would-be communards to the “wilderness” of Queensland where they sought to create a perfect society. Not surprisingly, it did not quite work out that way.
Journal of Religious History
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Historical Studies not elsewhere classified