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Photographs supplied by Heather Stevens

The plaque erected by friends commemorates John Fairfax for his unselfish generosity particularly to young men who were strangers to the city. Fairfax was the Foundation President of the YMCA in Sydney and died in 1877. 

John Fairfax arrived in New South Wales from Warwick, England, in 1838. He became a partner in the Sydney Herald in 1838 and sole proprietor in 1851, by which time it had assumed the name by which it is still known the Sydney Morning Herald. His descendants are still prominent in the media to this day.

What is not generally known is that John Fairfax was a lifelong Congregationalist. He was a deacon at Pitt Street Congregational Church in Sydney. In 1851 he returned to England to attend to business and while there addressed the Colonial Missionary Society to promote the cause of Congregationalism in the booming gold town of Bathurst. Renowned for his religious tolerance, Fairfax was active in such interdenominational Christian efforts as the YMCA and the Ragged Schools Committee, and such movements for moral renewal as the anti-transportation campaigns. In church life he remained senior deacon of Pitt Street until his death, assisted in the foundation of Camden Theological College, and was open-handed both with hospitality and money



Address:264 Pitt Street, Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.873607
Long: 151.208201
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

To the memory of John Fairfax, M.L.C. 

Born in Warwick, England, Oct 24th 1805,
Died at Ginnahgullah, Sydney, June 16th 1877.

He was one of the first Deacons of this church.

Devout, industrious, affectionate, public-spirited.

He was useful in the church ; trusted in business ; beloved in his family ; and honoured for his labours.

"Not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."  

and of Sarah, his wife
Born in Warwick, England,
Died at Ginnahgullah, August 12th, 1875.

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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