Request for Australian research: ban on Jehovah's Witnesses in 1941

by JW83 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • JW83

    Hi there,

    I am planning on revisiting my (academic) research into the banning of JWs in Australia in 1941, and was wondering if anyone would have contacts I could interview? This is obviously a long shot (and it may be children/grandchildren) but I thought it may be worth a shot!

    I am an ex-JW and academic historian, you can see my former published work on JWs here:

    I don't have ethics approval for this project yet, just putting out feelers.



  • careful

    Thanks, Jayne, for the links. I'm not down under so have no contacts to offer.

    For your work on the child abuse issue you might consider some factors other than just the two-witness principle that are at work in WTS policy, such as the generally accepted (in Western lands) confidentiality between confessor and minister, the implications of that if it is lost, and the Witness belief that the governing structure in congs today is the basis for what will be used for governing in the new order/forever. The last is a potent factor in understanding the GB's policy on anything, including the child abuse scandal, and it is founded on the notion that the world's governments are controlled by the devil, but the Witness in-house one is not. If you are going to publish on JWs, these sorts of things are crucial to include for your audience, non-JWs.

    As for your work on the Aussie government banning JWs during WWII, have you ever read the transcript of the court case that took place in San Diego after Rutherford's death over the controversy of where to bury him? It occurred shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, when feelings in the USA toward JWs were similar to those among Aussies. Of course, the US didn't ban JWs then, but you might want to look at the trial transcript for similar sentiments, for they are patent.

  • shepherdless

    In case you do not have a copy, here is a link to the 1943 High Court case where they applied to have the relevant regulations held unconstitutional, on religious freedom grounds.;query=jehovahs%20witnesses;mask_path=au/cases/cth/HCA

    It is quite a complicated case; a few parts of some regulations were held unconstitutional. I think that for practical purposes, though, the Borg lost.

    Good luck with your research project.

  • Diogenesister

    You could try the exjw Australian and New Zealand face book page. I think @wakemeup before you Jo-ho could help there!

  • JW83

    Careful, absolutely, noted.

    Thanks Shepherdless, I didn't have that!

    Diogenesister, will do, that was my next stop. What a great user name is wakemeup before you Joho :)

  • Listener

    If you haven't already done so, a search in this site will give you some information about JWs history in Australia. This link is just one

  • JW83

    Thanks Listener!

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Hi Jayne,

    In the late 1970s I located a number of articles in "Smith's Weekly". I do not think that I have either the copies nor my summary of dates, but I will have a look.

    These are at the State Library of Victoria. At that time, all we had were micro fiche, but you could search the Library Catalogue. Just poke SLV into your search engine.

    I wish you well. My email address is:






  • OrphanCrow

    Hello JW83. I checked your references in the link you provided and I didn't see this letter referenced. Not sure if you can use it or not...or if it is relevant to your research

    This is a letter written in 1941 to the Australian WT branch:

  • JW83

    Thank you both!

    I have the Smith's Weekly articles, they are searchable now on NLA Trove, which is a lot easier than when I last looked at this stuff, in 2005.

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