The Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) (formerly Baptist Union of Australia (BUA)) is the oldest and largest national cooperative body of Baptists in Australia. Its current National President is Reverend Dr John Beasy.
The Baptist work in Australia began in Sydney in 1831, over forty years after the British penal colony was established. The first preacher was John McKaeg. The first baptism was in Woolloomooloo Bay in 1832. It was not until 1835 that the first church was established in Hobart Town by Henry Dowling, a strict Calvinist. John Saunders, sent by the Baptist Missionary Society of England, formed a church in 1836. The first state Union was formed in Victoria in 1862. The national Baptist Union was founded in 1926 by representatives from existing state unions.
The Baptist Union of Australia is a member of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (formerly Asian Baptist Federation) and the Baptist World Alliance. Ministry arms of the BUA include the Global Interaction (formerly known as the Australian Baptist Missionary Society), Australian Baptist World Aid, Baptist Care, and a number of Delegated Bodies which represent communities of practice, developing strategies and resources that benefit the Australian Baptist movement. These include: Crossover Australia, and Crossover Remote (formerly Northreach) The national work is divided among seven state unions, which operate independently, with the national body functioning as a governance council to facilitate collaborative ministries and mission initiative across the Baptist movement in Australia. In 2007, the Union comprised 61,409 members in 868 churches. The National Church Life Survey in 2001 estimated weekly attendance of Baptist Churches in Australia at 112,200.