Reverend John WestPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

A pulpit commemorates Reverend John West who was the first pastor of the church at 11 Frederick Street, Launceston.

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.

Note : This object has been moved from its original church location in 11 Frederick Street, Launcestion and is in storage at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery




Address:2 Invermay Road, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Invermay, 7248
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -41.427964
Long: 147.139876
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Religious Object
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription



Source: MA,JG
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design