Statue of Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang
(1891): John Dunmore Lang was a Presbyterian minister who had a major impact on life in 19th Century Sydney. Born in 1799 at Greenock, Scotland, Lang was persuaded to emigrate to Australia by his younger, brother George, a settler from the old country who shared with his brother the moral degradation he believed existed in colonial New South Wales.
Lang arrived in the colony early in 1823 and spent the next fifty years in a high profile war against sin and degradation. Every one from the Governor down came under his wrath if he believed them to be acting out of line. Lang won many major victories during his term as a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1859 to 1864, He also had a major impact on the growth and the development of Sydney when he relieved the colony's shortage of skilled tradesmen, particularly stonemasons by soliciting 50 tradesman from his homeland of Scotland to build his Australian College in College Street on a site now occupied by the Australian Museum. Lang's recruits, who included 17 stonemasons and 18 carpenters, arrived aboard the Stirling Castle in October 1831 and made the area around his church towards Millers Point their new home. Among them were men who would become household names in the fledgling colony. Hugh Brodie and Alexander Craig became business partners and built the Victoria Barracks using a team of 80 free men and 200 convicts. James Kay, a highly skilled carpenter, was soon in big demand by the colony's more wealthy colonists. William Carss, a master cabinetmaker, arrived with nothing, but by using his skills to create some of the finest furniture crafted in the colony from the local timber, acquired sufficient wealth to purchase a large tract of land in the Blakehurst area. The cottage he built still stands beside the calm waters of Kogarah Bay.
Whilst the location of Lang's statue is understandable - it is at the heart of his parish and within a stone's throw of the site of his church - its orientation is seen by many as disrespectful towards the man it honours. He has his back to the site of his Scots Church whilst he is facing Wynyard Park towards the Westpac Bank which in Lang's day was the Bank of New South Wales, an institution he loathed and criticised regularly.