Christian Schools Australia (CSA) is the largest association of Christian schools in the country and has member schools educating 86,000 students and employing more than 13,500 staff at around 200 locations across Australia. CSA member schools provide high quality education within an authentic Christian learning community. The story of Christian schooling in Australia and the commencement of operations of CSA within this story is outlined below.

Origins, 1793

The history of modern Education in Australia stretches right back to the early colonial days.  In 1793, the first chaplain to the Colony of New South Wales, Rev Richard Johnson, along with his wife, Mary, began educating almost 200 students in his newly built church. Over the coming decades, free ‘charity schools’ run by other churches and denominations commenced, with education growing predominantly due to the vision and action of the Christian Community.


In 1872, Victoria became the first Australian state to pass an Education Act providing for free, secular (in the sense of non-sectarian) public education. The other states gradually came online in the public education sphere over the following two decades. These government-run public schools grew to dominate the educational landscape with non-government schooling largely limited to poorly funded Catholic parish schools and higher fee denominational schools.

As public education developed across the country, the public funding of non-government schools was terminated by a number of Australian colonies.  For the next 90 years, independent schools were privately funded.

20th Century

By the turn of the century affordable fee, church schools, staffed by Christians and teaching from a biblical perspective were an established part of the education landscape. For the previous two decades they represented the fastest growing sector of schools. These schools were diverse. Geographically they were spread across Australia, mainly in outer metropolitan areas but also in regional, remote and very remote locations. The schools were community based, serving the local community where they were located, usually low-middle socio-economic groups but also some indigenous communities in more remote areas. Operating with a variety of governance structures some were the ministry of a local church, others having involvement from a number of churches, some parent groups and some with denominational links. While some focussed on serving church families others sought to serve the wider community, but all were committed to communicating the Gospel as an essential part of educating the whole child.


The 1960s were a decade of revolution, and Australian Education was not untouched.  It was during this period that evangelical Christian parents began affordable, low fee Christian Schools.  Their objective was to provide their children with faith-based education that was financially accessible to their communities.  By the mid-1970s, many local protestant churches commenced schools that were staffed by Christians and taught a Bible-based curriculum.


Government aid for non-government schools was introduced. With the passage of the States Grants (Science Laboratories and Technical Training) Act 1964, the Menzies government effectively began federal funding for independent and religious schools. Learn more and access classroom resources


The first Christian Community School, a predecessor organisation to Christian Schools Australia, commenced in 1976 and many other Christian schools followed in the later 1970s and early 1980s.

The history of Christian Community Schools is captured in the Growing Up magazine they produced and in the book, It Only Takes A Spark: The Story of Christian Community Schools, by Rev Bob Frisken, AM. Access the range of magazine issues.


During the 1980s and 1990s, Christian schools represented the fastest growing sector of schools. Operating with a variety of governance structures, all were committed to communicating the gospel as an essential part of educating the whole child.

Many of these newly established schools from across the nation came together as part of the Australian Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. View video footage of this milestone.


To celebrate the bicentennial of the establishment of that first Christian school by Rev Richard Johnson, a wide range of Christian schools marched through the streets of Sydney before a commemoration event in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. View video footage of this milestone.

21st Century

Christian Schools Australia Limited (CSA) arose out of conversations at that time to bring together a number of groups of schools around a common purpose.


CSA commenced operations with a team of 7 pioneering staff dedicated and committed to the cause of Christian education in Australia. CSA provides a wide range of support to schools, and the wider community, through the advancement of Christian education in Australia and internationally.


In 2022, Christian Schools Australia celebrates its 20th Anniversary. The last 20 years has seen CSA grow to a team of 20 people who are still dedicated and committed to the cause of Christian education in Australia. In addition to this, the last 20 years has also seen the growth of CSA membership from 132 schools, teaching over 40,000 students in 2002 to 148 schools, operating on 183 sites, educating some 72,000 students all across the country. Under God, the vision and blessing of Christian education in Australia continues to grow to fruition, and provide excellent opportunities and access to young people all across the country.