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Backhouse Lectures

The James Backhouse Lecture, commonly known as the Backhouse Lecture, is a public lecture on contemporary issues delivered annually at the national gathering of Quakers in Australia. The lecture is recorded and published, and is available :

Any Friend can nominate a proposed Backhouse Lecturer, download the Backhouse Lecturer nomination form.

The lecture is given in memory of James Backhouse (pictured right), who walked around a great deal of eastern and southern Australia to enquire into the condition of the penal settlements in Australia and the welfare of the Aborigines and the free settlers. He had as his travelling companion George Washington Walker, and there is no doubt that the visit of these two Friends marked the beginning of the history of Friends in Australia.

James Backhouse
James Backhouse

James Backhouse Lectures, 1964 to date

Please note: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia (ABN 160 367 159 33) is the producer/publisher of the Lecture and retains the copyright to the content and owns all rights in all media throughout the world relating to the Lecture. No part of the lecture can be reproduced without obtaining permission from AYM (Australia Yearly Meeting). The recording may be reproduced by AYM for distribution to Friends upon request for educational use in Friends’ meetings and/or for Friends’ discussion groups. Those wishing to use the recording for other purposes must seek permission from the AYM Secretary.(

2017 David Carline & Cheryl Buchanan Reflections on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in the context of two Aboriginal life stories

Note: There was no printed version of the Lecture, however a Lecture Report is available, as well as a MP3 for viewing)

Adelaide Shores Resort, Adelaide South Australia.

The following lectures in Portable Document Format & Audio & Video are free to download.

Date Lecturer Lecture pdf
2017 David Carline &
Cheryl Buchanan
Reflections on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum
 in the context of two Aboriginal life stories. Recorded video version.
2016 Margery Post Abbott Everyday prophets : The link between faith and action.
2015 Sally Herzfeld This we can do Quaker faith in action through the Alternatives to Violence Project 1.2 Gb

2014 Tracy Bourne Our life is love, & peace, & tenderness: bringing children into the centre of Quaker life and worship. 68 kb
2013 Jocelyn Bell Burnell A Quaker astronomer reflects: Can a scientist also be religious? 77 kb
2012 David Atwood From the inside out: Observations on Quaker work at the United Nations 540 kb

2011 Rowe Morrow A Demanding and Uncertain Adventure 393 kb

2010 Young Friends Finding Our Voice, Our Truth, Community and journey as Australian Young Friends 541 kb
2009 Helen Gould The Quaking Meeting 455 kb
2008 George Ellis Faith, hope & doubt in times of uncertainty, combining the realms of scientific and spiritual enquiry 221 kb

2007 Jenny Spinks Support for our true selves, nurturing the space where leadings flow 201 kb
2006 Polly Walker One heart and a wrong spirit 213 kb
2005 David Johnson Peace is a struggle 147 kb
2004 Ute Caspers Growing fruitful friendship 647 kb
2003 Helen Bayes Respecting the rights of children and young people: a new perspective on Quaker faith and practice 696 .kb
2002 Mark Deasey To do justly, and to love mercy: learning from Quaker service 1.1 mb
2001 Hendrik W. van der Merwe Reconciling opposites: Reflections on peacemaking in South Africa 270 kb
2000 Susannah Kay Brindle To learn a new song. A Quaker contribution to real reconciliation with the earth and its peoples 336 kb
1999 Norman Talbot Myths and stories, truth and lies 614 kb
1998 Charles Stevenson Embraced by other selves. enriching personal nature through group interaction 344 kb
1997 Richard G. Meredith. Learning of one another. The Quaker encounter with other cultures and religions 557 kb
1996 Elise Boulding Our children, our partners - a new vision for social action in the 21st century 82 kb
1995 Donna Kyle Anderton and
Barbara Baker Bird
Emerging currents in the Asia-Pacific 709 kb
1994 Di Bretherton As the mirror burns: making a film about Vietnam 143 kb
1993 Ursula Jane O'Shea Living the way: Quaker spirituality and community, 213 kb
1991 David James and Jillian Wychel Loving the distances between: racism, culture and spirituality 201 kb
1990 Jo Vallentine and Peter Jones Quakers in Politics: Pragmatisn or Principle 565 kb
1989 Erica Fisher A new-born sense of dignity and freedom 106 kb
1988 David Purnell Creative conflict 131.kb
1987 Carol and Dougald McLean The vision that connects 205 kb
1986 Susumu Ishitani Looking for meanings of my A-bomb experience in Nagasaki 82 kb
1985 Gerald Priestland For all the saints 82.kb
1984 Peter Jones Pilgrims for justice and peace 311.kb
1983 Sabine Willis An adventure into feminism with Friends 70 kb
1982 Ormerod Greenwood Celebration: a missing element in Quaker worship 78 kb
1981 Roger C. Wilson What Jesus means to me: Jesus as the liberator 57 kb
1980 Hector Kinloch Quakers and Sacramental History: Reflections on Quaker Saints by a Quaker Sinner 119 kb
1979 J. Duncan Wood Quakers in the modern world: the relevance of Quaker beliefs to problems of the modern world 57 kb
1978 Margaret Wilkinson Wisdom: the inward teacher 98 kb
1977 Mary Woodward Papua New Guinea: third world on our doorstep 94 kb
1976 Charlotte and
Stewart Meacham
Imperialism without invading armies 106 kb
1975 W. A. McNaughton A time to reap, a time to sow: retirement 131 kb
1974 Yukio Irie Pilgrimage toward the fountainhead: Quakerism and Zen Buddhism today 119 kb
1973 Otto van der Sprenkel Friends and other faiths 102 kb
1972 L. Hugh Doncaster The Quaker message 85 kb
1970 Keith A. W. Crook Security for Australia? 123 kb
1969 A. Barrie Pittock Toward a multi-racial society 122 kb
1968 William N. Oats In the spirit of the family 127 kb
1967 Douglas V. Steere On being present where you are 94 kb
1966 Rudolph Lemberg Seeking in an age of imbalance 123 kb
1965 Clive Sansom The shaping Spirit 61 kb
1964 Kenneth Boulding The evolutionary potential of Quakerism 66 kb

We acknowledge the generous help and considerable efforts of Amit Klotz in the development of the electronic versions of the Backhouse Lectures over a number of years.

All materials on this page are Copyright to Australia Yearly Meeting, including the pdf documents.

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