Print Page print
The fiery Lang was sent to prison several times.

Image title:
John Dunmore Lang

From the collection of the National Archives of Australia

Image ID:
A1200, L32656

John Dunmore Lang (1799–1878)

Presbyterian minister and supporter of Australian independence

Lang came from Scotland in 1823 to be the first minister of the Presbyterian Church in Sydney. He supported many projects for the improvement of Australia, like bringing out from Britain skilled workingmen who were not convicts and expanding secondary education. He was always a doer not just a talker — he himself brought out skilled workers to build his own school, Australian College.

He got very angry with anyone who opposed him, and told lies about them. He had big arguments with other Presbyterians and was finally locked out of his own church.

Lang had a clear idea of what Australia should look like in the future. He supported the separation of Victoria and Queensland from New South Wales. Lang also hoped that, after new colonies were formed, all of the colonies would combine to make an Australian nation. He wanted the nation to be a democratic republic, totally independent from Britain.

Lang was very popular because of his support for democracy, but republicanism was not popular. Once Britain had allowed the colonies to govern themselves from the mid-1850s, most people saw no need for independence.