Australian Baha'i Sites

A centenary of building vibrant communities in Western Australia 

In 1924, newly-arrived American Baha’is John Henry Hyde Dunn and Clara Dunn visited Perth along with the first Australian Baha’i woman, Effie Baker. Spending four months in the Western Australian capital, they presented Baha’i talks and attracted a small number of friends to the teachings of the Faith.   

In July of that same year, American Baha’i journalist Martha Root presented 38 public lectures across Perth. It was in that same month that the city’s first Local Spiritual Assembly was formed. 

This year, the Baha’is of Western Australia mark the centenary of the Faith’s arrival in the state, paying tribute to the pioneering spirit of the early Baha’is while celebrating the vibrant and diverse community that exists today. 

A reception was held at the State Parliament House in May to coincide with the centenary, with about 70 guests in attendance including Minister for Education, Aboriginal Affairs; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Tony Buti, who represented the Premier, as well as the Leader of the opposition, Shane Love.  

Other guests included members of the state parliament, representatives of religious communities, civil society and academia, and friends from the Baha’i community. The celebration included a brief history of the Faith in Western Australia, addresses by Minister Buti and Shane Love, and a musical presentation.  

The Premier of Western Australia and Leader of the Opposition also sent video messages to the Western Australian Baha’i community in recognition of the centenary. 

Western Australia’s community extends beyond Perth through to Albany in the south and Kununurra in the north. More than 30 elected Local Spiritual Assemblies, the local governing councils of the Faith, administer to the affairs of the Baha’i community in localities across the state, as each of these communities band together alongside all well-wishers of humanity to build capacity, foster dialogue, and lay the foundation for an evolving community-building process that is inclusive of all. 

From children’s classes nurturing the spiritual qualities inherent within young ones, junior youth groups that instill a sense of purpose within young people and empower them to better their neighbourhoods, through to collaborative social transformation initiatives that foster friendship and inclusivity, the Baha’i moral education process unfolding in Western Australia over the past century has set the foundation for the building of a more inclusive and harmonious society. 

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Perth

The Perth Baha’i community is comprised of a number of Local Spiritual Assemblies that guide the administrative affairs of the Faith and oversee the community-building activities unfolding across the city, working alongside hundreds of people in a bid to contribute towards the betterment of the world.

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Published in May, 2024, in Community Stories > Our History

Available online at: horizons.bahai.org.au/community-stories/a-centenary-of-building-vibrant-communities-in-western-australia/

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