John & Mary LeesPrint Page Print this page

White marble tablet erected in 1921 commemorates the centenary of the conveyance of the property and is in honour of the Lees, the pioneer methodists of Castlereagh who opened their home for services in 1815 and in 1817 erected the first Wesleyan Chapel in the southern hemisphere.

Rum Corps soldier turned pastoralist, John Lees, donated the land on which the first Wesleyan Church in Australia was built in 1817. He is buried in the Cemetery which dates from 1836. The adjoining weatherboard Hall (1864) housed the Wesleyan school which was established by 1840 and operated until the Upper Castlereagh school opened opposite in 1887.

Methodists from various parts of the State assembled in the Castlereagh Methodlst Cemetery, Penrith, on Saturday afternoon to witness the reinterment of the bodies of John Lees and his wife, Mary Lees, which had been exhumed in the old Lower Castlereagh Church of England cemetery on the 7th instant. John Lees is described as the "Pioneer of Methodism in Australia," he having given the first acre of ground owned by the Church in Australia, and having built thereon the first Wesleyan chapel in the Southern Hemisphere. That chapel has long since been pulled down, but on the adjoining site, and within the "consecreted acre" given by John Lees, stands the Methodist Church built in 1847. Therein the service prior to the reinterment took place and was presided over by the president of the conference (the Rev. W. Henry Howard). Mrs. Wright, a granddaughter of John Lees, unveiled inside the church a tablet of Italian marble, on a block Australian marble black, commemorating the centenary of the conveyance of this property (the church grounds) by free gift to the Methodist Church, and in honour of John and Mary Lees, who opened their home for services and gave this consecrated acre in the year 1815, and in the year 1817 erected thereon the first Wesleyan chapel in the Southern Hemisphere.
Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW), 17 October 1921.


Address:297-305 Old Castlereagh Road, Uniting Church, Castlereagh, 2749
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.720374
Long: 150.666805
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 15th October, 1921
Source: H, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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