Monday, March 28, 2016

BH 2.3 Dr John Dunmore Lang His involvement with the early Scottish settlers.

This chapter about Dr John Dunmore Lang is quite lengthy, but provides a brief understanding of  his involvement with the Scottish immigrants in relation to the settlement of  Queensland 

Dr John Lang in Hyde Park Sydney

Finding the missing links that bound all these settlers together, became the answer to so many of my questions that arose when researching each of the landowners..  It was impossible to move on until my theories were either proven or disproven.

Those reason for all these co-incidences and the why's were found, and it all came back to one particular English man called Dr John Dunmore Lang.  Without this man, our suburb may not be known as Bracken Ridge, and certainly the parks and streets may very well have had different names.

Who was Dr John Dunmore Lang?  The very same man that gave his name to Lang Park, the home of rugby league in Brisbane.  Perhaps he may not regard that honour fitting, but clearly he was a man who didn't mind a challenge or two!

Dr Lang and Queensland

Dr Lang had an idea about the sort of people who would make the best residents for a new Colony.

His idea was at odds with the authorities, and in the end, despite some outlandish promises that he had made, which were unfulfilled, more than 600 people said good-bye to England and travelled half-way around the world, to begin a new life in Queensland.

 Many thousands more had previously landed in NSW.

The Queensland contingent arrived on three ships,  the "Fortitude", the "Chaseley"  and the "Lima".

The immigrants were often hand picked by Dr Lang, and were the "cream" of the crop.  He financed these three ships.

He later formed a bank, the Moreton Bay Immigration and Land Company.

And why are the shipping and immigration records not able to be found?   From the stories about Dr Lang, the answer is simple:  There are none, because the Government did not recognise his immigrants.

At a meeting of the Genealogical Society in 1959, at the time of the Centenary of Queensland's separation from New South Wales, the following snippet from the report

(Papers read on January 22, 1959)
The Society is usually in recess during January, but as a special gesture in the Centenary Year, a meeting was held in January devoted to Dr. Lang, who had such a tremendous influence on the history of Queensland.

The following papers were read dealing with Dr. I.ang as a man, as emigration supporter and as an advocate for Separation from New South Wales. Sir Raphael Cilento summed up the papers, and spoke on the end of Convictism in New South Wales.

DR. LANG—THE MAN  [Read by Mr. C. G. AUSTIN]

John Dunmore Lang was born at Greenock, Scotland, on August 25, 1799, but in a few years his
parents went to Largs in Ayrshire, and he attended a parish school there for five years. It is a coincidence that his early schooling was obtained at Largs; the town of Sir Thomas Brisbane, after whom this capital city is named.

On leaving the parish school the young man attended the University of Glasgow, and having chosen
the Church for his calling decided to pursue his ministry in one of the Colonies.
His brother George was already in New South Wales and his description of the moral condition of
the colony roused the missionary zeal of the young minister, who decided to live in New South Wales.
From all accounts there would have been ample opportunity to improve the moral condition of the colony.

After obtaining his degree and being ordained by the Presbytery of Irvine one September 20, 1822, the
man who was to have such an impact on the history of Queensland left Scotland and arrived in Sydney on May 23, 1823, aged twenty-three years

The Paterson River website reports:

George Lang, son of Mary Dunmore and William Lang, arrived in New South Wales in 1821 at the age of 20 and was granted 1,000 acres of land by Governor Macquarie. Some time later he took up his grant, measured at 1,050 acres after survey, on the Paterson River immediately south of William Evans block "Belle Vue" and across the river from John Galt Smith's block "Woodville" George Lang named his grant Dunmore after his mother's maiden name.

In 1823 George's parents William and Mary arrived in New South Wales along with George's brother Andrew and sister Isabella.

Another brother, John Dunmore Lang, who would become a well known colonial cleric, politician and historian, had arrived in the colony a few months earlier.

In January 1825 George Lang died from illness, aged in his early 20s. Andrew then took over the Dunmore estate, assisted by his parents. William was killed in 1830 when the ship on which he was travelling was wrecked on its way from Newcastle to Sydney.

The home, Dunmore House

Dunmore House represents a fine and early example of a convict-built Colonial Georgian homestead complex dating from c.1833. The Georgian property maintains links to the earliest establishment of the New South Wales colony in the Hunter region. It represents the early settlement and farming practices of the colony, as well the colony's early connections to the Presbyterian Church, evangelism, Scotland and Scottish migration.

Dunmore House has strong associations with the colony's first Presbyterian Minister, the Reverend John Dunmore Lang. The land was granted to, built for and used as the principle residence for his brother's family, as recorded in Lang's journals. John Dunmore Lang was an active proponent for moral reform in the young colony and served as a Member of Parliament. Lang was instrumental in establishing the Presbyterian Church and education in the colony, including successfully agitating for British funding for building churches for this faith. Scots Church in Sydney was largely funded by the Lang family through income derived from farming this estate.

Dunmore House is also closely associated with John Dunmore Lang's significant endeavours for promoting early Scottish migration to the colony during the early to mid-19th century, which influenced the development of society and religious values in the early colony, as well as the development of early Australian industries such as viticulture. From 1837 to 1852 Lang's pioneering Bounty migration scheme provided assisted passage to Scottish, German and Irish settlers who were carefully selected to inject religious values into the colony as well as much needed trades and skills. Dunmore House has direct associations with this migration scheme as the destination point, place of settlement and work for many of the Scottish migrants imported through this scheme.

Dunmore House provides evidence of two forms of early colonial settlement - in its use of convict labour under private assignment for constructing the buildings and farming the estate, as well as the migration, settlement and use of skilled free settlers mostly from Scotland and Germany for farming the estate and establishing a society modelled, it seems, on Scotland.

Dunmore House is likely to have social significance to members of the Scots Church in Sydney, the Presbyterian community and present-day descendants of the early German, Scottish and Irish settlers who Lang was responsible for shipping out to the Colony and who settled at and worked for the Lang family on the Dunmore House estate.

New South Wales Department of Environment 

From The Williams Valley History 

Perhaps most distinctive among the groups from the British Isles were poorer Gaelic speaking Scots Presbyterians who at first settled near Paterson and later moved to the Gloucester area. While at Paterson, the Presbyterian School advertised in 1848 that: ‘Preference will be given to one who can speak and teach the Gaelic language grammatically’

These Scots were ‘Free Church’, and later this Barrington River community of ‘Scotch’ whose ‘elder folk spoke Gaelic almost exclusively’, preferred to welcome a Wesleyan minister to any representing the Presbyterian Church of NSW, even contributing to his ‘stipend

Go Forth and Multiply...and they did 

In 1899 there was a picnic, as reported in the newspaper.




The happy idea of having a reunion of the surviving passengers, with their descendants and friends, of the three of Dr. Lang's im-migrant vessels-the Fortitude, Chaseley, and Lima-which arrived at Moreton Bay in 1849, was carried into effect yesterday, with very great success.

The arrival of those vessels, with their 700 passengers, marked a very important event in the history of Queensland ; and the idea of celebrating the jubilee of the occasion was taken up with a great deal, of enthusiasm. Appropriately enough, the holiday of'1st May was the anniversary of the arrival in the Bay of the second vessel, the Chaseley. Mr. S. Grimes, M.L.A., made an energetic secretary to the movement.

He and the committee decided to have the reunion at Goodna, where a large number of the immigrants settled. The spot chosen was in the recreation reserve, on the banks of the river.

To that place about 300 persons repaired by train from Brisbane, and their number was swelled by a contingent from Ipswich. The day was spent in a very pleasant manner, the older people recalling scenes in a very interesting past, and the younger members of the party playing all kinds of games.

In the afternoon, the Hon. W. Pettigrew presided over a meeting of the people, the proceedings at which were opened by the singing of the "Old Hundredth." An apology was received for absence of Mr. J. C. Cribb, member for Bundamba, who had been asked to take the chair.

The Chairman made an address, in which he reviewed the actions which induced Dr. Lang to resort to immigration to the colonies. Civil and religious liberty headed Dr. Lang's desires, he said, in getting the immigrants by the three ships. The question whether what he strove for had been accomplished he left those who followed to answer.

His own employment in connection with the party was as surveyor, and he recommended for settlement land just beyond the river from where the gathering was being held. Of the ship Fortitude, he stated that 255 souls landed ; the number known to have left, and who never returned, was 40 ; the number who remained, including Mr. J. Roper and wife, of Tenterfield, was 215; the number now known to be alive,   72 ; ditto, dead, 89 ; the number whose connection was unknown was 54.

Of those deceased and over 80 years of age there were 9 ; ditto, between 70 and 80, 14. Of those alive and over 70 years of age there were 14 ; ditto, between 60 and 70, 32 ; ditto, between 50 and 60, 26. The passengers by the Lima were more fortunate than the others, as they carried land orders ; but the orders drawn were more in amount than the Government land order. The passengers then agreed, with one exception, to share according to their orders. This exception was given his full amount.

Mr. S. Grimes, M.L.A., explained that the Fortitude arrived on 20th January, the Chaseley on 1st May, and the Lima on 3rd November ; but in each case there was a delay in landing. Of those who were grown people at that time, two were present-Mr. Pettigrew and Mrs. Johnson. There were only about half-a-dozen alive, all of whom had been asked to be present.

 Mr. J. N. Roper, of New South Wales, wrote in grateful terms at having been persuaded to come to " this land of peace, plenty, and prosperity." There was another letter from Mr. J. W. Thompson, now reaching 80 years of age ; another from Mrs. Lewis ; another from Mr. William Stanley Hail, now 88 years of age, and living in Sydney. There was also a  letter from Mrs. W H. Barlow, who went to New Zealand and afterwards to Melbourne.

Letters had also been received, with interesting facts, from the Hudson family, who went to New Zealand, Mr. Stanley Hall, jun., and Mrs. John Cannan. Mr. Grimes went on to say that he had some statistics to show that the immigrants had obeyed the injunction to go forth and multiply ; for he read a list of names, with the number of descendants, showing that the families numbered from 6 up to 330 descendants.

In the later case there were two great-great-grand children. The list, however, was incomplete ; but the twenty-one names given showed 977 descendants. This fact, he said, would show the great effect the arrival of the vessels must subsequently have had upon the history of Queensland. He announced that complete lists of the passengers by the Fortitude and Chaseley were on exhibition ; but the list of the Lima was not complete.

Mr. J. G. Cribb gave an interesting account of the influence exercised by the immigrants upon the community to which they came. He said, to obtain anything like an adequate view of the nature and quantum of this influence, it would be necessary to review the previous social and political history of New South Wales (of which Moreton Bay was then a part). Still, a cursory glance at a point or two in that history would be serviceable in partly understanding the need of such an immigration as they were considering, and its beneficial results upon the history of Queensland.

Dr. John Dunmore Lang, under whose auspices the ships were despatched to the colony, was the first Presbyterian minister settled in the colony of New South Wales, arriving in Sydney in 1823. The condition of the country was terrible. Dr. Lang set about improving it, and in 1831 despatched from Britain, where he went on a pilgrimage, a first batch of sixty Scotch mechanics, in the Stirling Castle.

This stimulated the Government ; but their men were mostly Irish Romanists, the number causing alarm to the Protestant portion of the community. The doctor then undertook another mission to organise an emigration of industrious, capable people from the evangelical Free Churches, and his efforts so far succeeded that arrangements were made in 1848 for the despatch of the John Edwards.

Owing to the number of passengers, however, the Fortitude was substituted, and left London docks on Sunday, 10th September, arriving in Moreton Bay on 20th January, 1849. The other vessels followed on the dates specified. The immigrants had expected to go on the land but owing to the disappointment with respect to the land orders, they drifted in all directions, and into all services.

Notwithstanding the failure of the land orders, and the endeavours of Earl Grey and Sir Charles A. Fitzroy to set them against the doctor, they continued his fast friends, and even induced their friends to follow, so that the number who arrived as the result of Dr. Lang's mission was estimated at not less than 2000. As to the influence of the immigrants, there was established the United Evangelical Church which had to undergo much opposition from the State - aided Church, and the independence of action, of which stimulated a spirit of self-help and co-operative effort.

The new-comers established a reading-room and school of arts, and a series of terminable building societies. Their political in-fluence was apparent in the war they waged against the introduction of convicts, which the squatters were endeavouring to effect ; and the efforts made to secure separation from New South Wales. The latter led to the endeavour to open Cleveland as the chief port. The party with which the immigrants stood won. The last really great struggle took place in 1854, when Dr. Lang was opposed by Arthur Hodgson, as the squatters' representative.

Notwithstanding all the difficulties, Dr. Lang won by one vote. The next five years were full of events, culminating in 1859 in the erection of these fair territories into an independent colony, as a free land for free men. Even in such a bare and scattered outline the thoughtful mind could see what a power for good these old time immigrants were, and how that influence permeated every fibre of our civil as well as our religious life.

Mr. T. B. Cribb, M.L.A., made a short and humorous address, in the course of which he marked the deep religious feeling of the immigrants, and their influence upon the life of the community.

Mr. George Grimes spoke on the moral and social influence of Dr. Lang's immigrants. He said people of the present day could form no idea of what Brisbane was when the ships arrived. Some conception might be formed by going to a present border town, where a clergyman was never seen, and where the Lord's day was devoted to sport instead of prayer.

Up to 1841, the place had been a convict settlement of a convict settlement-that was, only the worst criminals were sent up. The place was then thrown open to free immigrants ; but there was sufficient indication eight years afterwards of what the settlement had been. The time was scarcely sufficient to eliminate the moral evil, and make the place fit for the reception of respectable people. So that things were much worse then than now.

More than that, it was Dr. Lang's idea that the immigrants he sent out should be those who would lay the foundations of a country In such a way as that they would be permanently based upon righteousness and liberty. No more important was the arrival of the Mayflower to America than was the arrival of these three ships to Queensland.

Also, Dr. Lang's immigrants came to a large extent imbued with Dr. Lang's ideas, and no better sentiment could have actuated them. In the Moreton Bay district there were not more than 1500 or 1600. The influence of the arrival of 600 or 700 people could be imagined. Practically many of our institutions dated from that time. The influence was manifested in the first six months.

Churchgoing came to be quite a respectable thing. Licentiousness was checked, and was no longer possible in the light of day. The immigrants supported Dr. Lang's idea of a separate colony. They knew it would be more easy to maintain that moral influence which had been shown on Brisbane at that time. The town's moral tone had arrived ahead of any of the cities of Australia ; whether it had maintained that position he did not know.

Certainly, it was not a disgrace to be known then that one came from Brisbane. Therefore, he impressed upon those present that it was not a disgrace to be connected with those who came in these three ships ; in fact, in time to come they would be glad to trace back their ancestry to those who were immigrants.

In connection with the Parliament of the colony, great influence was manifested by the immigrants, one of the first acts being to cut away State aid to religion. Their efforts in an educational sense might be impressed ; and in connection with the establishment of religious bodies, they laid the foundations of some of those at present flourishing in the colony. Incidentally, it was mentioned that the immigrants erected the church near the Government Printing Office, now occupied as a residence by the Government Printer.

There was great dis-appointment when the immigrants found they could not get the land that had been promised them, but not a single hand would have been held up against Dr. Lang. All believed in the purity of his motive, and his desire to promote the good of the country. Although it was known that money would be forthcoming if the law was resorted to, none would take a stand against him. It was, therefore, only right that he should move, and he knew the resolution would receive sympathetic support, " That this meeting desires to record its admiration of the patriotic and statesmanlike efforts of the Rev. Dr. Lang to secure that the foundations of the future colony should be laid by the introduction of free, industrious, and religious immigrants, and affirms its conviction that had the proposals of Dr. Lang been adopted, the influence for good on the new colony would have been incalculable." (Applause.)

Mr. E. B. Southerden seconded the motion, and briefly endorsed the sentiments of the previous speaker.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Mr. S. Grimes afterwards delivered an address, in which he recalled some interesting events of the early times. He mentioned that the electoral roll of Brisbane and suburbs in 1849 contained only ninety-nine names, many of which were familiar.

He believed there was not now a survivor, save Mr. John Hardgrave. He said, though there was some disappointment among the immigrants on arrival, all recognised that on Dr. Lang's part there was a sincere desire to do what was right. No one knew how he fought for the colonies. He was to have come out in the Chaseley; but remained behind to look after the interests of Queensland in the framing of a new constitution.

His courage was obvious from a letter which he addressed to 'Downing-street in 1849, which he held out almost a threat that if they continued to treat the colony as they had done an effort would be made to establish a republic. (Applause.)

A vote of thanks was accorded the trustees for the use of the reserve. This portion of the proceedings closed with the singing of " God be with you til we meet again."

The party reached town about 5.30. Among those present during the day were many well-known citizens, including Mr. W. H. G. Marshall (town clerk), Mr. J. B. Hall, Mr. Edmund Gregory (Government Printer), Mr. William Grimes (of Grimes and Petty), and others.

More information on Dr Lang including his biography

Dr John Dunmore Lang Sponsored Immigrant Ships

The Further References on this Page are from J.J. Knight's 'In The Early Days'

Towards the end of the forties and throughout the fifties of last century there was in Brisbane a small band of indefatigable fighters who were unending in their efforts to prevent the further introduction of convicts from Great Britain and to obtain separation from New South Wales.

Democratic agitation had compelled the abandonment of transportation to the southern towns some years previously, and a few years later the Imperial Government was looking for a place to which to dump convicted felons, and it was thought that Moreton Bay was admirably suited for the purpose.

It was so far removed from the centres of population in the south and was so sparsely populated that no great objection to the renewal of the system was anticipated by the British authorities. It had been estimated by some of the old residents that in 1849 there were between 400 and 500 convicts in Brisbane and neighbourhood probably about a fourth of the whole population.

Forty had arrived in the Hashemy about the middle of the year 1849, and a number of others by the Rudoph. Later in the same year the Mount Stuart Elphinstone bought 225 while the Bangalore arrived in Moreton Bay on April 30, 1851, with nearly 300 felons.


Almost coincident with the arrival of these convict ships these three vessels chartered in England by Dr. John Dunmore Lang the ships Fortitude, Chaseley and Lima arrived in Brisbane with about 600 immigrants, and the new arrivals soon began to make their influence felt in the city. They entered the contest freemen versus bondmen with enthusiasm and determination.

The passengers by these immigrant ships had been personally selected by John Dunmore Lang himself. They belonged to the cream of British artisan classes and were endowed with more than the average intellectual equipment; and possessed courage, endurance and self-reliance.

They had come to Australia to raise the level of their lives (said the late Mr. William Clark, who was a passenger on the Lima, to the present writer a few years ago), and they were not likely to willingly submit to the degradation of sharing the country with convicted felons; while passengers by the ship Fortitude emphatically declared, "We do not intent to let our children hear the swish of the lash or the clank of the chain."

Their eyes were focused on a State whose institutions should be absolutely free, and every part of which may be occupied by freemen of their own race and colour.

Dr John Dunmore Lang Sponsored Immigrant Ships

The Further References on this Page are from J.J. Knight's 'In The Early Days'

Towards the end of the forties and throughout the fifties of last century there was in Brisbane a small band of indefatigable fighters who were unending in their efforts to prevent the further introduction of convicts from Great Britain and to obtain separation from New South Wales.

Democratic agitation had compelled the abandonment of transportation to the southern towns some years previously, and a few years later the Imperial Government was looking for a place to which to dump convicted felons, and it was thought that Moreton Bay was admirably suited for the purpose.

It was so far removed from the centres of population in the south and was so sparsely populated that no great objection to the renewal of the system was anticipated by the British authorities. It had been estimated by some of the old residents that in 1849 there were between 400 and 500 convicts in Brisbane and neighbourhood probably about a fourth of the whole population.

Forty had arrived in the Hashemy about the middle of the year 1849, and a number of others by the Rudoph. Later in the same year the Mount Stuart Elphinstone bought 225 while the Bangalore arrived in Moreton Bay on April 30, 1851, with nearly 300 felons.


Almost coincident with the arrival of these convict ships these three vessels chartered in England by Dr. John Dunmore Lang the ships Fortitude, Chaseley and Lima arrived in Brisbane with about 600 immigrants, and the new arrivals soon began to make their influence felt in the city. They entered the contest freemen versus bondmen with enthusiasm and determination.

The passengers by these immigrant ships had been personally selected by John Dunmore Lang himself. They belonged to the cream of British artisan classes and were endowed with more than the average intellectual equipment; and possessed courage, endurance and self-reliance.

They had come to Australia to raise the level of their lives (said the late Mr. William Clark, who was a passenger on the Lima, to the present writer a few years ago), and they were not likely to willingly submit to the degradation of sharing the country with convicted felons; while passengers by the ship Fortitude emphatically declared, "We do not intent to let our children hear the swish of the lash or the clank of the chain."

Their eyes were focused on a State whose institutions should be absolutely free, and every part of which may be occupied by freemen of their own race and colour.

A splendid optimism dominated them, and they had a high conception of citizenship. These pioneers neither have nor accepted quarter and did not cease to fight until they were assured of a successful consummation of their efforts. Perhaps it is not too much to say that the work done by these fine old pioneers had a more important influence on the industrial development of Queensland than anything that has since been done by State Parliament.

Their love of liberty has been strengthened by a long sea voyage, and the blue skies and wider horizons of this new land, had given a larger meaning to the word "patriotism". Besides deep down in their hearts they felt what Lord Curzon had once described as the "ineradicable pride of race. " Anything therefore inimical to the welfare of the community was condemned by them and in this matter they allowed neither profession nor creed to divide them.

They were bound together by the strongest ties and sympathies and permitted no jealousies to separate them from their efforts to secure the general good. They felt that they were laying the foundations of a great State, and they could not allow inferior material to be used in the cement.

Owing to some difference which had arisen between Dr. Lang and the Colonial Office in London, Captain Wickham the representative in Brisbane of the Sydney Government was instructed that "the immigrants should not be allowed, even temporarily to occupy Crown lands, nor yet be supplied with Government rations."

As Captain Wickham would have nothing to do with them, they had themselves to pay for their conveyance to Brisbane. No accommodation was provided for them in town, but they had permission to camp out of sight beyond the ridge, and from this encampment Fortitude Valley derived its name.


When the next ship the Chaseley arrived a few months later Captain Wickham informed the passengers that he had received instructions from the authorities in Sydney that he was not to render them any assistance.

There was however, the old convict barracks in Queen Street; but a shipload of convicts was expected in a few days and he would give them accommodation in this building if they would promise to vacate it when the felons arrived.

This they readily agreed to do and bark huts were erected by sympathetic residents for their accommodation on the slope where now stands Central Railway Station and the Normal School. 


The last ship - the Lima - arrived in Moreton Bay on November 3, 1849. She had previously put into Sydney Harbour, and found lying there the Mount Stuart Elphinstone, with convicts on board.
The Sydney people however, had refused to allow them to land, and the ship was ordered to take her cargo of felons to Moreton Bay, where she arrived two days in advance of the Lima. This action on behalf of the New South Wales authorities intensified the dissatisfaction in Brisbane, and strengthened the movement in favour of separation.

As with the two previous ships, no arrangements had been made to convey the passengers and their luggage to town. A meeting was held on board the ship, and a committee was appointed to proceed to Brisbane to make the best possible arrangements for their conveyance to the town wharves.

The delegates interviewed the late Mr. Henry Buckley who was then Brisbane agent for the Hunter River S.N. Company, from whom they chartered, at a cost of £30, the steamer Tamar, which bought the passengers and their belongings to Brisbane. But the people of Brisbane were determined to put a stop to the further importation of transported felons.

In November 1849, a few days after the arrival of the Lima with free men, and the Mount Stuart Elphinstone with convicts, a great anti-transportation meeting was help in Brisbane. At this meeting Dr. Lang's immigrants rolled up in great force.

One of the passengers by the Fortitude declared that "he and others had given up such prospects as they had in the Old Country, and removed themselves and their families to this one in the hope and expectation that they would not be contaminated by association with convicts, and he objected to being placed in disadvantageous competition in this new country with the convicted felons of England. Let England keep her convicts," he concluded, "and let us have free, poor, but honest artisans."

- Nut Quad

His Biography Dr John Dunmore Lang (1799–1878)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

John Dunmore Lang (1799-1878), Presbyterian clergyman, politician, educationist, immigration organizer, historian, anthropologist, journalist, gaol-bird and, in his wife's words engraved on his statue in Sydney, 'Patriot and Statesman', was born on 25 August 1799 at Greenock, Scotland, the eldest child of William Lang, a small landowner who worked as a ships' joiner, and his wife, Mary Dunmore, who came from a similar background; she had formidable powers of moral indignation and such capacity for vituperation that in comparison her son's most savage strictures seemed but a mild remonstrance. Lang was educated for the ministry at the Largs parish school and the University of Glasgow, winning many scholarships and prizes (M.A., 1820).

He later remembered the divinity professor, Dr Stevenson Macgill, as his most influential teacher, but was perhaps even more impressed by Dr Thomas Chalmers, then minister of the Tron Church in Glasgow. Thus Lang was brought up by Evangelicals who were beginning to challenge the prevailing moderatism within the Church of Scotland. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Irvine in 1820 but, having an Evangelical aversion to the common system of lay patronage, considered emigrating overseas and, being assured by his younger brother in Sydney that a suitable field of labour there awaited him, he sailed in 1822, arriving in May 1823. He was the first Presbyterian minister in Sydney, although Rev. Archibald Macarthur had settled in Hobart Town in December 1822.

The Scottish community in Sydney welcomed Lang as their minister. His first task was to build a church. Private subscriptions, he hoped, would be supplemented by a grant from the government which was both aiding Catholics and supporting the Church of England. An official refusal in insulting terms signed but not written by Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane provoked Lang to a spirited defence of the Presbyterians; this sharp rebuke to the governor deprived Lang of support from influential sections of the community. Yet sufficient private funds were collected to begin Scots Church, which was finished in 1826.

Early in 1824 Lang's parents and their family arrived in Sydney. Soon afterwards Lang returned to England where he persuaded Bathurst to grant him an annual stipend of £300, obtained his doctorate of divinity and induced Rev. John McGarvie to become the minister at Portland Head. Back in Sydney friction between Lang and Dissenting Presbyterians was caused by personal conflicts, suspicion that Lang was insufficiently Evangelical and alarm at his readiness to challenge the civil authorities.

This culminated in Lang's first polemical work, Narrative of the Settlement of The Scots Church, Sydney, New South Wales (Sydney, 1828), which was a violent attack on Deputy Commissary General William Wemyss, the leading Presbyterian layman, who had first befriended and provided hospitality for Lang but whose support for Lang's church had since grown cold. However, one of Lang's minor targets was James Elder, who sued him for libel, claiming £300 for being described as a 'renegade missionary'; he was awarded damages of one farthing.

Lang, always eager to promote education, opened a primary school in 1826; John Robertson was one of its first pupils. In 1829, prompted by proposals to revive the Free Grammar School, Lang approached Archdeacon William Grant Broughton, who was then planning The King's School, to see if he could co-operate with him in promoting secondary education.

At first he thought this possible, but later feared that Presbyterians would not receive fair treatment in an Anglican school. He therefore appealed to Governor (Sir) Ralph Darling to grant land for a Presbyterian school. This was refused, so in 1830 Lang joined, much to Broughton's disappointment, a group, predominantly Dissenting and emancipist, which was proposing to establish the non-denominational Sydney College. This venture provoked much sound criticism, not only from Broughton, as tending to produce irreligious education; but in the thinly settled colony the smaller denominations had little alternative.

In 1830, however, before Sydney College was built, Lang inherited considerable properties from his father and, hiding his intentions from the governor and public, decided to abandon Sydney College and to sail again for England to make arrangements for a Presbyterian secondary school.
In England in December 1830 Lang was struck by the country's poverty and thought this might be relieved by emigration, while well chosen migrants might produce a moral reformation in New South Wales. Lang was alarmed by the gross wickedness produced by transportation, and free emigration complemented his plans for education. He persuaded the Colonial Office to grant a loan of £3500 for the establishment of a college on condition that an equal sum was subscribed privately. He obtained an advance of £1500 on this loan to take free migrants to Australia. Lang selected about 140 persons, Scottish tradesmen and their families.

They agreed to repay their fares out of wages received when building the college. Lang recruited three schoolmasters and two more Presbyterian ministers. He also persuaded his 18-year-old cousin, Wilhelmina Mackie, to marry him. The wedding was to be at Cape Town to avoid opposition from Lang's mother, anticipated because of the difference in their ages. The marriage was happy and in all his public controversies Lang was comforted by a warmly harmonious family life, marred only by tragedies involving his children; of ten, five died in infancy.

Returning to Sydney in 1831 Lang was applauded for his patriotism and enterprise in bringing such valuable migrants, tradesmen better than any in the colony, who were to raise standards among Sydney builders. The Australian College buildings were commenced. But an intemperate attack by Lang on the Church and School Corporation, the lands of which, he suggested, could be sold to pay for immigration, led to a censure by the Legislative Council in 1832 which impaired his credit and lessened the public's financial support; so Lang was forced to use his own property to complete the buildings. Nevertheless the Australian College opened in 1831, and survived with ups and downs till 1854; at its best in the late 1830s it appears to have been run very efficiently.

In 1833-34 Lang again returned to Britain. As always on voyages, he wrote; this time it was his An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales, both as a Penal Settlement and as a British Colony, 1-2 (London, 1834) which ran to four editions. The Westminster Review suggested that its title should read 'The History of Doctor Lang, to which is added the History of New South Wales'; however, it was among the most widely read and fully informed accounts of Australia.

In 1835 Lang commenced the weekly Colonist, which ran till 1840. The Colonial Observer (1841-44) and the Press  (1851) were also Lang papers. Lang wished to use these journals to protect himself and the Australian College from newspaper attacks and to improve colonial morality. The upright young minister was always horrified by the licentiousness of the convict colony. Even his agitation for free immigration had a moral purpose, for he hoped the immigrants would behave better than convicts and emancipists and, by reducing colonial wages, lessen the workers' deplorable dissipation. He attacked fancy dress balls, Sabbath picnicking and alcoholic intemperance.

A major target was the colonial press, especially that section run by convicts or emancipists. In June 1835 the emancipist, Edward O'Shaughnessy of the Sydney Gazette brought a libel action prosecuted by William Charles Wentworth. At the preliminary hearing Lang defended himself so ably that the case lapsed. Lang's sharpest journalistic attacks were made on sexual immorality; he was determined that none should enjoy the pleasures of matrimony without undertaking its responsibilities. He drove some offenders from society, one of whom later committed suicide. Lang recounted their sufferings with an implacable, hard impartiality.

In 1836 Lang again visited Britain, determined to recruit sufficient new clergy to outvote the backsliders and their abettors. The clergymen who had been recommended to him were often deemed suitable for the colony because they were unsuitable at home. Too many were over-fond of the bottle. Other members of the Presbytery of New South Wales, established in 1832, were far away in the bush, in ill health or insufficiently energetic to take action against this evil.

He embarked in July, and before leaving Sydney Harbour wrote an article on the settlements at Twofold Bay and Port Phillip, which was sent ashore by the pilot for publication in the next issue of the Colonist. His recruitment of  clergy in Scotland, northern Ireland and Germany was made easier by Bourke's 1836 Church Act which provided more liberal government support for religion. Lang obtained twelve Presbyterian clergymen, three Lutheran missionaries and ten German lay assistants, none too many, for he saw the Roman Catholic Church making every effort 'not only to rivet the chains of popery on a deluded people in the Australian Colonies, but to extend the reign of superstition over the neighbouring and highly interesting isles of the Pacific'.

Lang also greatly stimulated Australian immigration by persuading destitute Scottish Highlanders, vainly seeking government funds to emigrate to Canada, to request government assisted passages to Australia. Over four thousand individuals were thus gained for New South Wales.

Lang returned to Sydney in December 1837 confident that 'McGarvie and his drunken party' would be 'done now and for ever'. But instead of relying on the increased numbers within the Presbytery of New South Wales to purify that court, he decided to establish, with the support of five new ministers mostly from Ulster, a new church court, entitled the Synod of New South Wales, which he hoped would soon embrace several presbyteries and quickly deprive the Presbytery of New South Wales of all influence. He miscalculated. McGarvie, a moderate, whose respect for civil authority approached Erastianism, retained the support of the government and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. So schism grew, for the Synod of New South Wales, while embracing the Westminster Confession of Faith, forbade appeals from its decisions to any church court overseas. The schism caused Lang's fifth trip to England in 1839 to secure the disallowance of an 1837 Presbyterian Church Act which recognized the Presbytery of New South Wales as the controlling body of the Presbyterian Church, to persuade the British government that colonial Presbyterians were independent of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and to obtain for the Synod of New South Wales the hitherto withheld financial support implied by Bourke's Church Act. But the Colonial Office, advised by the General Assembly, refused to interfere with the Presbytery of New South Wales, and Lang failed to assert his clerical independence.

Early in 1840 he sailed for the United States to investigate how its churches managed without government support and, if possible, to raise sufficient money to make him independent of the General Assembly. In travels through eleven States from Massachusetts to South Carolina he was horrified by the wickedness of Catholic immigrants who both desecrated the Sabbath and formed an undue proportion of convicted criminals, was delighted by the evident moral and financial success of Presbyterian churches, and deeply impressed by the great merit of republican government based on the  independent sovereignty of each State and a large measure of local autonomy. During Lang's absence the two Presbyterian groups in New South Wales combined to form the Synod of Australia in connexion with the established Church of Scotland. Lang returned from England in March 1841 and joined this body.

In October the synod agreed to accept suitable Australian College graduates as candidates for the ministry. This decision was important to Lang as it affected three of his great interests, the training of a native-born ministry, the future of the Australian College and the extension of the church. He immediately went to Port Phillip and Van Diemen's Land to raise funds for the college. With the approval of a congregational meeting, he was absent from Scots Church for five Sundays, arranging supply for his pulpit by Rev. Thomas Atkins, a Congregationalist who had unsuccessfully applied to join the Presbyterians, but in November twenty-eight members of Lang's congregation formally complained to the Presbytery of Sydney of Atkins's unsuitability.

 In January 1842 the presbytery resolved generally on the undesirability of ministerial absences and referred the complaint about Atkins to synod, which admonished Lang to pay more attention to resolutions of church courts. On 6 February from his pulpit Lang denounced the Synod of Australia as 'a mere synagogue of Satan', actuated by 'a spirit of rancorous hostility' which 'could have emanated only from the Father of Evil'. He said he saw no abstract objection to a connexion between church and state, but that in New South Wales this meant state support of error, and, indeed, of the 'damnable delusion'. Moreover, within the Presbyterian Church it produced 'worldly-mindedness … lamentable inefficiency … clerical delinquency and … strife and contention'.

He announced his resignation from Scots Church, intending to establish Presbyterianism in New Zealand. But his congregation wished him to stay and it was agreed that he should, and that Scots Church should renounce all state support and all connexion with the Synod of Australia. Lang's letter of resignation to the presbytery announced that he and the congregation would retain the Scots Church property. In October the synod ordered Lang to answer charges of slander, divisive action and contumacy. At the meeting Lang prepared to answer charges relating to his actions before 6 February, but refused to acknowledge synod's authority on or after that date.

There were no charges for anything before 6 February so Lang and his supporters left the meeting, which proceeded to depose him from the Christian ministry, the heaviest sentence within its power. However, synod took no legal action in the civil courts at this time to obtain the Scots Church property. Lang could abandon the synod and renounce state aid because his congregation was perhaps as large and wealthy as all other Presbyterian congregations in the colony put together. He thus anticipated the disruption of the Church of Scotland and the subsequent formation of colonial Free Churches. But despite some similarity of principle Lang did not join with the Free Churchmen in New South Wales.

In June 1843 Lang was elected by the Port Phillip District to the Legislative Council in Sydney. In the next five months he served as chairman or member of nine select committees and made 184 speeches and statements and, irked by the £81,000 civil list, spoke of no taxation without representation, hinting that 100,000 free-born Australians, though now loyal to the Crown, would presently emulate the North American colonists.

In August 1844 Lang moved for the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales. He ably described the evident political and financial disadvantages suffered by the residents of Port Phillip and the gross injustice of holding them to New South Wales against their will. But the motion was supported only by members elected by the Port Phillip District. Lang later suggested to the Separation Committee in Melbourne that the members for Port Phillip should present a joint petition to the Queen.

Lang prepared this petition which was favourably received and he became widely regarded, not only in Melbourne, as the author of separation. In 1844 Robert Lowe's select committee on education reported strongly in favour of a National system. Lang had earlier opposed this proposal, but now gave it his full support. Lowe resigned his seat before the report was submitted and Lang moved its adoption. The report was adopted, but Governor Sir George Gipps refused concurrence and continued the denominational system.

In 1845, when the colony was recovering from depression and it seemed likely that assisted migration would be resumed, Lang decided to visit England again to encourage Protestant migration. He accordingly made two extensive tours in the Moreton Bay and Port Phillip Districts to gain information about Australia as a field for British emigration. He sailed with his wife and family in July 1846 by way of Brazil where he visited the University at Olinda and was afterwards elected an honorary member of the Literary Institute there.

The next three years were among the busiest of Lang's busy life. He tried unsuccessfully to modify the Order in Council implementing the 1846 Squatting Act and to promote colonial railway and steamship companies. He published a pamphlet urging Irish Home Rule. But his main task was persuading people to migrate to Australia. Besides his books and pamphlets, some distributed free, he wrote many letters for the English press, including a weekly letter from March 1848 in the Evangelical British Banner.

He made extended lecture tours beginning in the cotton manufacturing districts. He hoped to promote cotton growing in the Moreton Bay District and thereby add a valuable industry to Australia, provide employment for migrants and also undermine negro slavery, which he thought would collapse when free labour proved more efficient. By popular request he lectured widely, speaking in London, Bristol, Birmingham and many other English cities. He twice toured Ulster and spoke many times in the smaller towns as well as in the larger cities of Scotland. Despite a little money from well wishers in Australia he mainly supported himself and was often short of funds. Once he had to flee Edinburgh to avoid arrest for debt.

His continual theme was that the grinding poverty of Britain could be readily relieved by the boundless opportunities in Australia. He believed a prosperous Protestant peasantry in Australia would ease the evils of English industrialism. He gave many a desire to migrate to Australia; but the costs of transport remained an obstacle, especially when the fare to America was so much cheaper.

Lang vainly tried to overcome this problem by founding emigration societies and joint-stock companies, and sought assistance from the government, which was then subsidizing approved migrants. He proposed that reputable migrants who paid their own fares should, in return, receive a free grant of crown land. Prolonged correspondence failed to secure this concession, so Lang visited Benjamin Hawes, under-secretary for the colonies, at his home in Brighton.

According to Lang, Hawes twice verbally approved his plans, although Hawes later denied it. But Lang at once arranged for about 270 migrants to sail in the Fortitude in September 1848, on the assumption that they would receive free land in proportion to their passage money. This land, of course, was not granted. Lang attempted to co-operate with the emigration officials over his next three emigrant ships, but was so annoyed by them that he decided for his fifth and sixth ships, in 1849, to act independently.

Three ships went to Port Phillip and three to Moreton Bay, taking more than 1200 migrants. Before returning on the last of his emigrant ships, Lang addressed an open letter to Earl Grey in which he criticized the whole administration of the Colonial Office, suggesting that assisted migration was a plot, through mixed marriages, to Romanize New South Wales. He bitterly attacked proposals to resume transportation and insisted that the Australian colonies be given control over their own affairs. After suggesting that Grey be dismissed and impeached he forecast the emergence of the United States of Australia.

In lectures delivered in Sydney in April 1850 Lang proclaimed his republicanism for the Australian colonies. This republicanism was due partly to his belief in the necessity of local self-rule, because he thought all government from a distance was bad government, and partly to his recent treatment by the British government and his dislike of aristocratic influences in English society and politics. Usually he chose to express his republicanism in his published writings, but ignored it at elections, preferring instead to cheer enthusiastically for the Queen when his opponent called for this show of loyalty.

 In 1850, however, he thought an Australian republic a serious possibility, for with aid from Henry ParkesJames Wilshire and other radicals he founded the Australian League to encourage a sense of national identity, to resist any further convict transportation and to promote, by moral means exclusively, the entire freedom of the Australian colonies and their incorporation into one political federation. The Australian League made little impression, although Lang's republican ideals, as published later in Freedom and Independence for the Golden Lands of Australia (London, 1852) and The Coming Event; or, the United Provinces of Australia (Sydney, 1850) were in considerable measure realized after the granting of responsible government and still more so in the twentieth century after the formation of the Commonwealth.

In July Lang was elected to the Legislative Council and sought a select committee to investigate Grey's charges against him of having selfish motives, deluding his migrants and attempting to deceive the New South Wales government. Without appointing a committee the council debated these charges and, while there was a bare quorum of thirteen, passed a motion censuring Lang. In February 1851 he published in the Press sketches of the 'De'il's Dozen' who had voted for his censure.

 The sketch of Thomas Icely alleged that in 1824 he had nefariously acquired the ship Midas and thereby heartlessly ruined its previous owner. This was untrue, as Lang apologetically acknowledged in a later issue; he had been deceived by a rumour current for many years. Lang was convicted of malicious libel and sentenced to four months gaol and £100 fine, which was paid by a public subscription of 1s. a head.

In the general election of 1851 Lang headed the poll for the city of Sydney, but did not take his seat as he was still in debt from his migration expenses and was being pressed by creditors. Some months earlier he had been gaoled in Melbourne until able to effect a compromise.

In February 1852 Lang sailed again for England. A public meeting in Brisbane had authorised him to seek separation and increased immigration for the Moreton Bay District. He also had business with his publishers. He spent a year in Britain, terribly lonely and desperately short of money. His emigration projects were snubbed by the Colonial Office, but some migrants were perhaps gained by the lectures he delivered as occasion arose.

In 1854 Lang was elected to the Legislative Council by the Moreton Bay District. He chose to stand for this district so that he could press for its separation. In December the council passed an address of farewell to Sir Charles FitzRoy. Lang, who alleged, probably correctly, that FitzRoy had got a girl in Berrima pregnant, moved an amendment, supported by five other members, criticizing the governor's moral influence as 'deleterious and baneful in the highest degree' and tending 'to alienate from Her Majesty the affections and respect of the Australian people'.

In December Lang's eldest son, George, was manager of the Ballarat branch of the Bank of New South Wales. He had been exceedingly lax in keeping records and submitting regular returns to headquarters. A senior bank official, Alexander Stuart, was sent to investigate and found deficiencies of about £9000. George Lang and the accountant, F. L. Drake, were charged with embezzlement, and sentenced respectively to five and four years hard labour. Lang refused to accept his son's guilt, and in January 1855 published a letter in the Melbourne Argus unhesitatingly and firmly denying the fairness of the trial, the impartiality of the judge, the criminality of the prisoners, the justice of the verdict and the equity of the sentence. Lang was charged with bringing the administration of justice into contempt.

He spoke for two hours in his own defence and the jury unanimously and immediately acquitted him. Lang then published The Convicts' Bank; or a Plain Statement of the Case of Alleged Embezzlement(Sydney, 1855), in which he charged Stuart with 'malice prepense of the foulest character imaginable … and a degree of low-bred brutal malignity worthy only of an incarnate daemon'. At the instance of Stuart and the Bank of New South Wales Lang was charged with criminal libel and sentenced in July to imprisonment for six months. Despite 10,000 signatures on petitions for his release the sentence was served in full.

In 1856 Lang petitioned the Victorian Legislative Assembly for a select committee to enquire into the conviction of his son and Drake. It reported in August 1857 that if evidence it heard had been allowed by the trial judge it was very questionable that the jury would have convicted. This evidence concerned a gold-buyer employed by the bank named James Burtchell who rapidly and mysteriously acquired a fortune and hurriedly left Australia just before the bank's deficiencies were discovered. The report, however, was equivocal, not definitely exculpating Lang and Drake, who nevertheless were released.

In December 1858 the Presbyterian minister at Shoalhaven invited Lang to preach in his church, which legally belonged to Alexander Berry who forbade Lang to use it. Lang wrote two letters to the Illawarra Mercury which were reprinted in the Kiama Examiner. Berry, said Lang, was the exact type of those antediluvian oppressors for whose enormous wickedness God was pleased to shorten the duration of human life; and he asked what would become of the world if creatures like Berry were to live for hundreds of years and reduce whole generations of Shoalhaven serfs to miserable vassalage and degradation.

Five legal actions followed. Lang was twice acquitted of criminal libel. Berry got substantial damages from both newspapers. At a public meeting to raise funds to pay these damages, Lang read out the offending letter and was again charged with libel but acquitted.

In March 1860 Lang announced in a letter in the Empire that, following a recent English Divorce Act, a divorced husband with three Scottish names had married his adulterous concubine. Such marriages, Lang said, were abominable in God's sight, and he suggested that the parties concerned, instead of applying to a Protestant clergyman, might rather have approached the lessee of the parish bull, or the jockey who let out stallions for hire. Soon afterwards Lang was accosted in Hunter Street by a large muscular man, twenty years his junior, who thrashed him with a horsewhip and left his card entitled Malcolm Melville Macdonald. Captain Macdonald, a well-known Sydney sportsman, was fined £5 for assault.

In 1862 Lang piloted a bill through the Legislative Assembly to abolish primogeniture in intestate estates. It was probably his most lasting legislative achievement. In May 1863 he libelled Rev. John West in the Empire and escaped with only £100 damages. In May 1865 Lang won £350 damages from the Sydney Morning Herald, after it alleged that he had been financially dishonest in 1840-41. This was the only time he abandoned his principle of never suing for libel.

After his rejection by the Synod of Australia in 1842 Lang had enlisted several ordained clergymen during his long stay in Britain in 1846-49, and in April 1850 he established the Synod of New South Wales, thus creating an ecclesiastical jurisdiction without which his voluntary Presbyterianism must have evolved into Congregationalism. He then devoted much time and energy to establishing and maintaining ministers of this synod in different parts of the colony. In 1853 the Presbytery of Irvine, on an application from the Synod of Australia, and, without even citing Lang to appear before it, declared he was no longer a minister of the Church of Scotland as he had since 1842 withdrawn himself from that church's recognized court in New South Wales.

Strengthened by this decision the Synod of Australia commenced an action against Lang to obtain the Scots Church properties. After several years delay the Equity Court in October 1859, and the Supreme Court on appeal in July 1860, found for the synod. Despite opposition from his congregation Lang determined to appeal to the Privy Council and sailed for England in December 1860. Several complicated legal actions followed in the Presbytery of Irvine, the General Assembly and in the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, before the presbytery in March 1863 reversed its previous endorsement of Lang's deposition from the ministry. Lang returned to Australia in July 1861.

Eight months later the Privy Council found for him because he had occupied Scots Church twelve years before confirmation of the sentence of deposition was sought from the Presbytery of Irvine. In November the Synod of Australia, following the Scottish and English legal decisions, resolved that though Lang had been guilty of schism, slander and contumacy its sentence of deposition should be rescinded.

After several years negotiations between the four Presbyterian groups in the colony, the Synod of New South Wales dissolved itself in 1864 in preparation for the general Presbyterian union achieved in September 1865. Some, especially within the Synod of Australia, had wished to exclude Lang, but his position as senior Presbyterian clergyman in the colony and as a member of its legislature secured his inclusion. In December 1867 an Act was passed for the establishment of a Presbyterian college within the University of Sydney.

Public subscriptions for its support were collected, the subscribers to elect the college council. Out-manoeuvred, Lang was restricted in the collection of subscriptions, and therefore of votes, to the more distant and thinly-settled parts of the colony. When the twelve councillors were elected in November 1870, Lang and only one of his supporters secured places, and there was no representative of those who had adhered to the established Church of Scotland.

It was Lang's great ambition to become principal of the college. In July 1871 the Free-Church-dominated council voted against appointing Lang. In February 1872 it appointed Rev. John Kinross, but discovered that under the Act it was necessary to appoint as principal a member of the council, which Kinross was not. On 1 September Lang announced his resignation from Scots Church to devote himself to the training of a native-born ministry. On 24 September the council elected Rev. Adam Thomson as principal, but Lang, ever fertile in defeat, objected that this too was illegal, as Thomson's election meant there was a principal and only eleven instead of the statutory twelve councillors.

He hoped, by referring the matter to parliament, that another tribunal might alter the arrangements whereby he was consistently outvoted in the council, but neither premier nor governor was impressed and the incorporation of St Andrew's College was duly proclaimed in the Government Gazette, 24 March 1873. Lang challenged the legality of the college in the Supreme Court, but in June lost the case and decided to appeal to the Privy Council. In October a public meeting was held to inaugurate St  Andrew's. Uninvited, Lang attended to protest. His supporters reduced the proceedings to complete disorder, the pandemonium being so great that when members of the audience went across the street to the police station they found the constabulary had discreetly retired to avoid the necessity of assisting at the inauguration.

In December Rev. Dr Archibald Gilchrist was inducted to the charge of Scots Church. Earlier and not always happily, Lang had several colleagues at Scots Church but his position now was altered and subordinate. He retained the nominal status of senior minister but received only a retiring allowance and devolved responsibility and executive functions upon Gilchrist. In April 1874 he sailed for the last time for England, travelling by way of the United States. In London he arranged for the fourth edition of his history of New South Wales and for his Privy Council appeal. This, however, was allowed to lapse. He returned in 1875.

In March 1877, when Archbishop John Bede Polding lay on his death-bed, John Robertson persuaded him to receive Lang, and Lang to visit him; both needed persuading as each thought the other would not agree to the meeting. The two clerics, antagonists for four decades, were alone together for about three-quarters of an hour while Robertson stood outside to prevent interruption. It is said that when Lang was driven home he had tears in his eyes and for once in his life remained silent.

In May Gilchrist resigned to accept a call from North Melbourne. The Scots Church congregation was unwilling that Lang should resume full responsibilities but, with the support of the Presbytery of Sydney, he determined to do so. The congregation's officials then locked and boarded up the church to prevent entry by either minister or people, so Lang was reduced to seeking a policeman and a builder to gain access to the pulpit he had founded and preached from for more than fifty years.

Lang died, after a stroke, on 8 August 1878. His widow, faithful to his memory, rejected a letter of condolence from the congregation as unfitting after their recent treatment of her husband, and also refused to accept a grant of £3000 from the government because the Legislative Assembly had voted against such expenditure while Lang was still alive.

Above all, Lang was a Presbyterian minister and always retained the Calvinism of his youth. Yet he co-operated willingly with other Protestant clergymen, especially Baptists and Congregationalists, often more cordially than with fellow Presbyterians, for his anger was most strongly aroused by those whom he felt had put their hands to the plough and then looked back. That he was responsible, even when elected moderator of the General Assembly in 1872, for divisions and tensions within the Presbyterian Church is obvious.

But he was not alone responsible, for the history of Presbyterianism in Scotland and the other colonies was almost equally schismatic. Self-consciously an upright man he always castigated public immorality, but hundreds of the poor, homeless and bereaved remained deeply grateful to him as benefactor and friend. His belief in the authority of a literal interpretation of scripture, together with opinions about the imminent collapse of the Papacy, persuaded him that the end of the world was at hand. But neither this millenarianism nor his fundamental pessimism, which saw almost all men doomed to early and utter destruction inhibited his continual activity for the temporal welfare of the unregenerate.

His achievements in promoting education and immigration bear comparison with those of any of his contemporaries, but would have been much greater had his intense inner drive not been inextricably compounded with an irresistible impulse to hurt those who showed opposition or were even merely lukewarm towards his designs. Lang's political career, which finished in 1870, was marked by many electoral triumphs and he witnessed the achievement of almost all his political aims: the cessation of transportation, the separation of Victoria and of Queensland, the introduction of responsible and democratic government, radical land reform, National education and the abolition of state aid to religion.

Was Lang influential in this long process which culminated in a liberal, democratic and secular society? Or, was he like a man in a boat, shooting over the political Niagara, and furiously whipping the water to make it go faster? He never took office, nor is it likely that any cabinet containing him would have lasted a fortnight. His penny postage and the abolition of primogeniture in intestate estates are meagre achievements when compared with Robertson's reform of the land laws or Parkes's reform of education.

Lang was never a member of any of the factions which dominated New South Wales politics after 1856, and visitors were surprised to see how little notice the great Dr Lang excited in the Legislative Assembly. The failure of his republicanism also suggests a limited political influence, for he was quite powerless on this issue so dear to his heart.

Yet it would be wrong to think that his advocacy of other causes was successful only because he was preaching to the already converted, for his was undoubtedly one of the most powerful voices extolling the virtues of liberal and secular values. His published works, whether of a polemical propagandist or more broadly educational nature, were not confined to his numerous books and pamphlets, for almost every day, it seems, he wrote an article for the press or at least a letter to the editor. His writings, though repetitious and egotistical, are nevertheless always vigorous and informative and often tinged with powerful sarcasm.

 These, together with innumerable lectures given in Sydney or in the bush on his never-ending colonial journeying, must have had a large, though unmeasurable, influence in inculcating the colonial values which were dominant in Australia by the end of the nineteenth century.

John Dunmore Lang (1799-1878), by unknown artist, 1888

What a colourful person, Dr John Dunmore Lang was.  So many people owe their Australian Ancestry to his endeavours.  

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