Friday, 17 January 2014

Dr Lang's Church

Here I am back at Church Hill again. It really is an under-rated - indeed, unknown - part of Sydney's history. Thus far, I have told you about the second St Phillips which stood on Church Hill from 1800-1856, and the third St Philips which was consecrated in 1856 and is still active today. Then I told you about the amalgamation of St Philips and The Garrison Church into the Parish of Church Hill.

Today, I will introduce you to "Dr Lang's church".
This incarnation of Scots Presbyterian Church stands today on the original site of St Andrew's Scots Church, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1824. This is the corner of Jamieson Street and York Street. This building only dates from 1930. Previously, a centenary service was held in the original The Scots’ Church on Sunday 18th July 1926, and the building was demolished a few months later, to enable the widening of York Street for the southern approaches of the Harbour Bridge.
So, what did the original Scots Church look like? Here is an engraving from 1842. It was designed by Edmund Blackett.
The moody photograph below is by Harold Cazneaux, and was taken immediately prior to its demolition to enable York St to be widened for the Harbour Bridge.

And now to Dr Lang. The Rev’d John Dunmore Lang arrived in Australia in May 1823. He conducted the inaugural service of the Congregation on 8 June 1823. A Crown grant of land was given to him by the Governor in order to build a church. The block was located on the corner of Jamieson Street and York Street in an area later known as Church Hill. On 1st July 1824 Governor Brisbane, also from the same part of Scotland as Dr Lang, laid the Scots Church foundation stone. A stone church, with a plain tower, seating 1000 people, was opened on 16th July 1826. The actual cost was £3000 and it was opened with a debt of £1480. The Rev’d Dr John Dunmore Lang had a long and distinguished ministry. He was also an outstanding statesman and personality, being active in civic, educational and government circles as well as in the Church.

On 14th October, 1856, my great-great-grandfather, Thomas James Selby, married my great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann Puckeridge, in Dr Lang's Scots Church. Thomas was 19. Mary Ann was 17.


Joan Elizabeth said...

Is this the Church that is now fancy flats?

Julie said...

Well, yes and no.

At the end of the 20th century, to ease the financial burden, about 6 or so storeys were added to the existing 1930s structure. The church and all its administration is still there on the ground floor and perhaps 3 original floors. You only notice the addition if you stand and look up. And it is not really offensive. Meaning, I guess, it could have been much worse.

Jim said...

Difficult to photograph. You did well.