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Reverend John Dunmore Lang
Reverend John Dunmore Lang

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The bronze statue of the Reverend Dunmore Lang was unveiled on the 26th January 1891 by the Reverend Lang's wife in the presence of several thousand people including the Governor and the Premier Sir Henry Parkes. The statue was completed by Giovanni Fontana in 1890. 

The statue was erected by the Lang Memorial Committee of the Presbyterian Church with donations from the public to commemorate the achievements of this Scots emigrant clergyman and educationalist. The architect of the base of the statue was James Barnett Jnr. and the foundation stone was laid in 1888.

On 14 October 1822 , Lang sailed for Australia  paying all his own expenses. He arrived at Sydney on 23 May 1823, and very soon after gathered together a congregation and obtained the use of a hall from the government. He also set to work to obtain subscriptions to build a church, and the foundation-stone of Scots Church was laid on 1 July 1824.

A plaque on the base of the statue was unveiled in 1999 as a bicentennial commemoration of the life and work of the Reverend Lang and his contribution to Australia. 

The handing over of the statue, erected in Wynyard-square to the memory of Dr. Lang took place on Tuesday, and was made the occasion for a public ceremonial. The members of the memorial committee met the trustees in the reserve at noon, and formally made the transfer. Alderman Riley, M.L.C. and Mr. Chas.Moore represented the trustees and Messrs. W. Neill (chairman). W. Speer, J.P., R.Miller, J. Barnet, J. Barnet, jun., and F. Fullwood, the committee.

Mr. Neill in formally handing over the statue, made reference to the career of Dr. Lang. He said the venerable statesman, patriot, and divine died on August 8, 1878, and the movement for the erection of the memorial was originated at a representative meeting held in the Masonic Hall on October 30, 1882, now nearly nine years ago. Prominent among the movers were Sir John Robertson, the Hon. Edward Flood, the Hon. John Marks,  the Right Hon. W. B. Dalley, and the Rev. Dr. Forrest, of St. John's College, all of whom had passed over to the great majority. Sir John Robertson at the initiation of the movement strongly advocated the selection of a statue, to be placed on the site where it now stood and he lived to see his wishes accomplished, being present and taking part in the unveiling of the statue, in January last. Dr. Lang's lot was cast in a critical period of the country's history, when representative government, and free political institutions were unknown but the exigenesis of time developed the great talents of the man.  At great personal sacrifice he introduced a superior "class" of immigrants from England, and he was mainly instrumental in the formation of Victoria and Queensland into separate colonies. On the site where his statue now stood, Dr. Lang had delivered many orations in the interests of the people. As he had said, it was about nine years ago since the movement to erect a statue originated. For several years the matter was in abeyance; but it was revived, and by the assistance of subscriptions from Victoria and Queensland, and a vote from the Parliament of New South Wales, which the committee gratefully acknowledged, the work had been completed; and the committee had deputed him, as chairman, to hand over to the trustees and their successors the care of the memorial as a tribute of Australia's gratitude to one of her greatest patriots.

Alderman Riley, on behalf of the trustee's of the Wynyard-square, accepted the statue placed under their charge. The remarks made by Mr. Neill with reference to the late Dr. Lang, he, as a native of the colony, cordially endorsed. The life, and labours of the reverend gentleman, by whose statue they were assembled, could scarcely be sufficiently appreciated by the people of Australia. He had advocated popular rights at a time when it was not safe to do so, and it was due in a great measure to his untiring efforts that the country enjoyed the free institutions it now possessed. It was a pleasure for the trustees to receive such an adornment to the city, and he could assure the committee that the statue would be well looked after.
Northern Star (Lismore, NSW), 26 September 1891.


Address:York Street, Wynyard Park, Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.865631
Long: 151.205761
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Giovanni Fontana (London), James Barnett Jnr (Base Architect)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 26th January, 1891
Front Inscription

     Born 1798 A.D
 Greenock  —  Scotland
         Died 1878


(lower plaque)
John Dunmore Lang
(25 August 1799 - 8 August 1878)

The Hon. R J Carr MP Premier of New South Wales, unveiled this plaque as a bicentennial commemoration of the life and work of the Reverend Doctor John Dunmore Lang, and to honour Lang's contribution to Australia. For fifty-five years Minister of the Scots Church, Sydney. Lang founded the Presbyterian Church in Australia. He promoted schemes for skilled and educated migrants. He helped introduce higher education and supported a general school system. He had a vision for Australia as an independent nation with a significant role in the Pacific region. Lang respected the intelligence and culture of the Aboriginal people and he worked to remove the discriminatory poll tax from the Chinese population. Lang was elected to New South Wales Parliament on seven occasions, with Wynyard Park the scene of his triumphs in the popular vote elections to the Legislative Assembly. A fervent democrat, Lang helped establish responsible government in New South Wales, laid the foundation for a future federal structure by urging separation for Victoria and Queensland, and he was one of Australia's pioneer republicans.

A A Edmonds                                                        The Hon R J Carr
Convenor                                                               Premier of New South Wales
John Dunmore Lang Bicentenary Committee


Source: MA, H, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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