One of the most colourful characters in the
new colonies of Australia. Lang was born in Scotland in 1799 to a strict
Presbyterian family. He graduated from Glasgow University and was
ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1822. He travelled to Australia the
following year and was appalled at the lack of morals in the colony. He
raised the funds to build Australia's first Presbyterian church in 1824,
and returned to England to recruit clergy in 1831.
On his return in 1837 he attempted to
form the Australian College, but sectarian disputes led to its demise in
1854. Lang was prepared to work with the Catholics to defeat the
Anglicans, much to the disgust of the largely Anglican authorities. He
founded the Colonist newspaper to air his views and was repeatedly fined
and even gaoled for libel and slander. He became known as "Dr
Spluttermud" by his political adversaries.
Lang later became a representative of
Port Phillip and campaigned for separation of the Victorian colony and
an end to transportation. He died in 1878.