Q: What percentage of Australia’s population is estimated to have heard Billy Graham share the Gospel during his Crusades in 1959?
A: About 50 percent (including about 1 in 3 people who attended an event in person).
Sixty years ago, the Gospel of Jesus Christ took Australia by storm.
“For some reason I could not fully understand, although I believed it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, I had developed an overwhelming burden to visit the distant continent of Australia,” Billy Graham shared in his autobiography Just As I Am.
From February–May of 1959, he traveled across Australia and New Zealand, sharing the hope of Christ with millions of people.
Groups of churches from every major city in Australia had invited him to come and preach. Leaving his beloved wife, Ruth, and their young children behind in North Carolina for three months was one of the most difficult things the young evangelist ever did.
Yet, God was faithful. The Australia Crusades saw an unprecedented response as more than 3 million people—about 1 in 3 Australians at the time—crowded music arenas, cricket stadiums and open areas in Melbourne, Hobart, Launceton, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
While about 30 percent of the population attended an event in person, millions more were listening via radio and television broadcasts and over landlines. In all, it’s estimated that half of the population heard the Gospel in 1959. More than 140,000 made a public decision for Christ.
Sixty years after Billy Graham’s tour of Australia, his oldest son Franklin Graham is heading to the continent to share the love of Jesus Christ.