On September 23, 1786 John Newton – the man who penned Amazing Grace – approached Rev Richard Johnson with a vision for Johnson to be the chaplain and missionary on the first fleet of convicts being sent to Botany Bay in the uncolonised land of Australia.
Australian modern history was being written when Johnson accepted this challenge put to him by Newton.
Both of the first chaplains to the settlement, Rev Richard Johnson who arrived on the First Fleet and Rev Samuel Marsden who arrived on the Second Fleet, were convinced God had given them Australia as a base for evangelism in this country and throughout the South Pacific. Sort of has a familiar ring with a lot of what's going on in the world at the moment.
Richard Johnson built the first church at his own expense and by his own hands. It was a wattle and daub church he started building in 1793.
A marble obelisk stands by the spot near Macquarie Square.
Fondest memory: The first European ashore on the First Fleet, a seaman who jumped ashore to hold the boat for Captain Arthur Phillip, later used land he had been given for a church.
Owen Cavanough with Thomas Arndell built a church at Ebenezer that still stands to this day – Australia’s oldest church.
The headstones for Owen Cavanough and his wife are in the Ebenezer churchyard.
Rev John Dunmore Lang, the great Presbyterian Minister and member of the first Legislative Council, celebrated Holy Communion at Ebenezer, which has been held there ever since.
A female convict, Mary Parker Small, gave birth to the first European born in Australia on September 22nd, 1788. Baby Rebekah Small was probably conceived in that licentious night when the women convicts first landed a week after the men.
One of Macquarie Square's features is that, well, it's not square. At least if it was meant to be someone must have been drunk at the time when they drew it up!
No, but let that not detract from what it does have to offer like some pieces of yesteryear. I love the script on the little monument type thing in the second pic and, in the first, you can see the anchor of the Sirius and one of its cannon, brought back from Norfolk Island where the vessel perished on the rocks, mounted on stone in perpetuity.
The HMS Sirius, in case you didn't know, was the head ship of the First Fleet.
Macquarie Place, if you didn't know, is down near Circular Quay, just one block south.
The New South Wales state flag was created as a colonial flag - a British Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony added to the blue field. The New South Wales badge is a white disc, with a red St George's cross containing a gold heraldic lion in the centre and a gold eight-pointed star in each of the arms of the cross.
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