James Buchan, pastor of the Pyrmont Congregational Church, was born in Scotland, educated at St Andrews and Edinburgh University, and came to Pyrmont in 1885 as pastor of the Congregational Church. The building was completed by 1888, and Buchan was its pastor until 1920, the year before he died.
His ministry retained the commitment of worshippers who had moved to healthier suburbs: his retirement (in 1920) and his death a year later, was a blow from which the congregation seems never to have recovered. He was also secretary of the Sydney Ragged School, and immersed in many religious and temperance organisations.
His great granddaughter described him as “a tireless worker for the less fortunate”.