The Referend John Dunmore Lang was a Scottish-born Australian politician and Presbyterian minister who advocated for the establishment of a Dutch settlement in Moreton Bay in the mid-19th century.

Lang believed that a Dutch settlement in Moreton Bay would be beneficial for both the Dutch and the Australian colonies. He argued that the Dutch had valuable skills and knowledge related to agriculture, mining, and shipbuilding that could be used to develop the Australian colonies. Additionally, he believed that the Dutch would be able to establish strong trading links between the Australian colonies and the Netherlands.

In 1855, Lang wrote a letter to the Dutch government proposing the establishment of a Dutch settlement in Moreton Bay. The Dutch government initially expressed interest in the proposal, and Lang traveled to the Netherlands to discuss the matter further. However, the proposal ultimately fell through due to a lack of financial and political support from both the Dutch and Australian governments.

Despite the failure of his proposal, Lang remained a strong advocate for closer ties between the Netherlands and the Australian colonies. He believed that the two countries had much to gain from working together, and he continued to promote the idea of a Dutch settlement in Moreton Bay throughout the remainder of his political career.

While in these periods large numbers of people from England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany migrated to places such as Australia and America, the Dutch stayed home. There was no direct reason for them to migrate such as famine or bad economic times. That situation only changed after WWII when there had been a large scale social and economic destruction and the fear for another war.

Today, Lang’s proposal is remembered as an early example of efforts to promote closer ties between the Netherlands and Australia. While it was not successful in its own right, it paved the way for future efforts to build stronger connections between the two countries.

Conrad Martens Brisbane in 1855
Plaque under statue of Rev John Lang cnr York and Margaret Sts, Sydney. He is also remembered in the Lang Stadium in Brisbane.

Who was Referend John Dunmore Lang

John Dunmore Lang was a controversial figure in Australian politics and society during the mid-19th century. He was known for his strong opinions on a wide range of issues, and his outspokenness often put him at odds with other politicians and social leaders of his time.

One of Lang’s most controversial positions was his advocacy for the establishment of a separate, independent colony in Australia that would be run by the Presbyterian Church. He believed that such a colony would provide a haven for those who shared his religious beliefs and would help to promote the moral and social values that he held dear.

This proposal, however, was met with strong opposition from many quarters, including other religious groups, politicians, and members of the general public. Critics argued that such a colony would be divisive and could lead to sectarian conflict, and they accused Lang of seeking to promote his own personal agenda at the expense of the wider community.

Lang was also a vocal opponent of British colonialism and advocated for greater autonomy for the Australian colonies. He believed that the colonies should be able to govern themselves and control their own economic and political destinies. While this position resonated with many Australians, it put Lang at odds with the British authorities and other supporters of the colonial status quo.

Despite his controversial views, Lang remained a highly influential figure in Australian politics and society throughout much of the 19th century. His advocacy for closer ties with the Netherlands and his efforts to promote the development of the Australian colonies helped to shape the course of Australian history and culture in significant ways.

See also:

Convict and Early History of Brisbane

Dutch immigration to Australia, history, stats and other resources