Reverend John WestPrint Page
A plaque commemorates the Reverend John West who was the first pastor of the church.
John West was born on 17th January 1809 the son of a Wesleyan clergyman and was reared in an atmosphere of respect for education and culture. He married young and soon after, at 26 years of age, was admitted to the Congregational ministry at Thetford in Norfolk, England. He worked first as a home missionary and then as pastor in several areas in England for the next nine years. .
In 1836 the Congregational Church had established the Colonial Missionary Society. John offered his services and, in 1838, he was accepted. In September of that year, with his wife and five children, he sailed in the ship 'Emu' for Van Diemen's Land, arriving in Hobart on 21st December.
He moved quickly to Launceston and, after some initial friction with the already established Reverend Charles Price, gathered together a second congregation. He held services at first in the Frederick Street Infant Schoolroom, then in a wooden building moved across the town and re-erected on a piece of land in Frederick Street and finally in St. John's Square Chapel after its opening in August 1842.
He soon became one of Launceston's leading citizens, and his activities ranged widely over the town's life. He was one of the prime movers in founding the Mechanics' Institute, the City Mission, the Cornwall Insurance Co. and the General Cemetery. He ardently supported the Temperance Movement and joined James Aikenhead in founding in 1842 The Launceston Examiner, for which paper he wrote the leading articles.
He supported the move to abolish transportation, which had already succeeded in New South Wales. John was not alone in pressing for abolition. This movement led to the founding of the Anti-Transportation Movement in 1847, its expansion into the Australasian League, and the "arduous conflict" fought by John and his supporters to bring about in 1853 the cessation of transportation to eastern Australia.
He is probably most widely remembered as the writer of "The History of Tasmania" (1852), the leader of the Anti-Transportation Movement and, later, the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, and for his work as a preacher, forming and shaping public opinion.
|Address:||11 Frederick Street, City Baptist Church, Launceston, 7250|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -41.441128|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
1840 - 1854
In loving memory of the Revd. John West one of the founders and first pastor of this church from 1840 to 1854.
He was a man of large wisdom, gentle heart, great public spirit, a true friend, and an able minister of Christs Holy Gospel.
He died in Sydney, N.S.Wales, on the 12th December 1873, aged 65 years
"Absent from the body present with the Lord."
"For him to live was Christ to die was gain."
Hebrews 13 C, 7,8 V.