When the famous merchant of the early colony in NSW, Robert Campbell, was first granted land on the Limestone Plains (in compensation for the loss of a ship on government business), he was disappointed with its quality and value.
However the property he established, centred on Duntroon House, was significantly to shape the context in which the future Australian federation would emerge.
As the dominant local benefactor, Campbell contributed half the cost for the construction of a new church that was to minister to the scattered labourers and farmers of the area.
He was also responsible for the construction of a schoolhouse (still standing on the site, and now a museum run by the church), to enable children from the nearby farms to receive a basic education.
The church’s foundation stone was laid in May 1841 and the newly completed church was consecrated in 1845 by the first (and only) Bishop of Australia, the Right Reverend William Broughton. The new church was named ‘St John the Baptist’ – appropriately identifying with the prophet who is celebrated for courageously declaring the arrival of the Christ from the wilderness near the Jordan River. This new church, in the wilderness of another continent, and by another river, would likewise seek to make Christ known.
You can find more information about St John’s rich history, its significant figures, and some interesting memorials here.