Australian Baha’is come from a variety of national, ethnic and occupational backgrounds.

We worship, serve and learn together as equals.

We work side by side with other Australians as we learn how to be an effective, positive force in the community based on our commitment to peace, the oneness of humanity and the unity of religions.

Many Australians are attracted by the inspiring spirituality of our Faith, its vision of a global civilisation and its participatory and inclusive organisation. They want to fulfil their own potential and play their part in building a better world.

We encourage enquiries and like to hear from people interested in joining or working with us to learn how to implement Baha’i principles so that we can address the challenges facing us, our families and our world. We welcome new members, but it is not our way to push the teachings of the Baha’i Faith on anyone.

We also offer a warm invitation to anyone wanting to attend our devotional meetings, study circles, empowerment programs for junior youth and classes for children. There is no requirement to be a member of the Baha’i community to fully participate in these activities.

History

The Australian Baha’i community has its roots in the dedication of a small group of people nearly a century ago.

In 1920, Englishman John Henry Hyde Dunn, and his English-Irish wife, Clara, arrived in Australia from the United States, where they had both emigrated. They were the first Baha’is to settle in this country.

In 1922 the first Australians joined the Faith. They were Oswald Whitaker, a Sydney optometrist, and Effie Baker, a Melbourne photographer.

Soon Baha’i groups sprang up around the country. By 1934 there were enough Baha’is to elect a national governing body, the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and New Zealand (New Zealand later formed its own National Spiritual Assembly).

In 1955 Fred Murray of South Australia was among the first Aboriginal people to become a Baha’i.

The Baha’i Temple at Ingleside, Sydney was opened in 1961 and became the public symbol of a growing Baha’i community reaching out to the wider society.

The size and diversity of the community was boosted in the 1980s when Australia opened its doors to those fleeing the resurgence of persecution of Baha’is in Iran. Their subsequent settlement, integration and contribution to Australian life have been a major success story.

In recent years, the Faith has gained a higher profile through its activities for peace, human rights, interfaith harmony and gender equality, as well as the religious education we provide in many State schools in Australia.

Many Australians now encounter the Australian Baha’i Community through the services we offer in neighbourhoods and other grassroots activities in many parts of Australia.


See the Baha'i New Era choir contributing to the community by performing at an Australia Day ceremony in Perth.


Clara Dunn, above, and her husband, Hyde Dunn, were spiritual pioneers who brought the Baha'i Faith to Australia in 1920. Read Clara's story.