xii. Oct-Dec 1835
[note] Rec. Nov. 28/36
Rev. J.C.S. Handt’s Journal,
Oct. to Dec. /35
J.C.S. Handt’s Diary
J.C.S. Handt's Diary from Oct. to December 1835.
[2 October 1835]
Friday, October 2. About 15 Blacks arrived here to-day; and in the evening some of the Women made a howling mournful noise, on account of the man, who died on the 3rd of last month, one of them being the wife of the deceased.
[4 October 1835]
Sunday, 4. Two of the Boys went a fishing to-day after divine worship, and returned late in the evening. It is very difficult to make them sensible of the sin, which they contract by breaking God's commandment. The Spirit of God alone can convince them. The Adults paid a little attention, when spoken to of the pleasures of religion.
[5 October 1835]
Monday, 5. The Boy Ngalgan went away with his mother: the party, who arrived here last Friday, also left.
[6 October 1835]
Tuesday, 6. The other two Boys, who were staying here, went to-day into the bush.
[10 October 1835]
Saturday, 10. The Boys returned to-day, and also the Adults who left here on Monday .
[11 October 1835]
Sunday, 11. Most of the Blacks left again; but though they came yesterday only, they afforded us another opportunity of recommending them to the love of God.
[14 October 1835]
Wednesday, 14. The Blacks have encamped about a mile distant. Observed to-day, as I have done many times; that
they are justified with a great fear of death; and yet it is impossible to speak to them about religion, even with regard to the joys of heaven, without teaching the point of death. May the Lord deliver them from this slavish fear, and from him who has the power of death.
[15 October 1835]
Thursday, 15. Most of the Adults went away to-day; but I hope the things, of which they were informed while here, will not be entirely forgotten by them.
[19 October 1835]
Monday, 19. Have at present four Boys under instruction; and though they do not behave and learn so well, as we could wish; it is to be hoped, that the seed sown will produce some fruit in future, or at last not altogether be lost.
[20 October 1835]
Tuesday, 20. One of the Boys who has been sulky for some days, and behaved in an improper manner, went away this forenoon.
[22 October 1835]
Thursday, 22. The above mentioned Boy returned last night, but another went away after dinner, when I thought he had gone to fetch up the cows, taking his blanket with him. A young woman is very sick, and has laboured under indisposition for some time past. According to all appearance she will soon die. She listens, when told to pray to Christ etc.; but makes no reply.
[26 October 1835]
Monday, 26. The poor woman cries pitifully by reason of pain, and is so weak that she can scarcely move. In her healthy days, she has associated with various Stockmen in the neighbourhood, being lent by her husband
as is the common practice among them, no wonder therefore, if she dies in the bloom of life.
[27 October 1835]
Tuesday, 27. The above mentioned woman died last night and thus her sufferings were put to an end; but a gloomy thought pervades the mind, when reflecting upon the state of the immortal souls of these poor creatures. May the Lord speedily enlighten their minds, and sanctify their hearts.
The Boys who were here under instruction, went away yesterday; of Adults also there are not many at present; and therefore, if it please God, I shall take a journey into the bush tomorrow, to converse with the Blacks wherever they are to be found.
[28 October 1835]
Wednesday, 28. Undertook my intended journey, and proceeded towards the East, in order to see the Yar´ryar´ru Blacks and the Kam´millarai Blacks, who are so called on account of their different dialects. It is but seldom that the former come to Wellington; and the visits of the latter are still more infrequent. Met a Stockman, a Roman Catholic, who refused to accept a tract, and behaved in an insolent manner towards me. My way leading through a creek, I thought it best to follow the course of it, hoping to fall in with some Blacks; as this was not the case, I turned towards the direction, for which I had set out at first; but was benighted before I could find water. At the foot of mount Bondanggeri, I tethered the horse, and made a fire; and now write this, sitting by the side of my fire, and having beside the Friend of friends no companion with me, except my faithful
dog, which is lying behind me. It is moonlight and everything around me is serene, and calls for devotion.
[29 October 1835]
Thursday, 29. Started early this morning, my horse however was unwilling to go any farther, and seemed bent upon going home. This circumstance probably arose from my not having found water last night. While I alighted, it availed itself of the opportunity and set off in full gallop, before I was aware, towards home. I ran after him, but he was soon out of sight, so that I found I should have to follow him the whole way. Unexpectedly however, I came to a Sheepstation, the hutkeeper of which, as soon as I informed him that I had lost my horse; immediately offered to go after him. After he had gone, his companion, who was minding the sheep, came with them near the hut, in order to let them rest in the heat of the day under a shady tree. He was a Roman Catholic, an old man, and was of a more teachable disposition than he whom I met yesterday. As he could not read, I thought my time well employed in reading to him. Several sentences of the tract, "Sin is no trifle," seemed to come sensibly home to his heart; and when he afterwards spoke of his own sins, it was evidently not without feelings of remorse, which I hope will not be transient. The man who had gone for my horse returned with it, after he had been away 5 or 6 hours. He had been obliged to run through the bush after the horse as far as Wellington, which is at least 12 miles from here. Such a service, and the readiness with which it was performed, is surely worthy of praise, and I rewarded it as well as I was able. As it was rather late, I proceeded no farther, but employed my time in reading and conversing with the man who had been for the horse, as he also could
not read. As he could tell the letters however, I encouraged him to pursue the study of spelling by himself, till he could read, and for that purpose left him several Tracts. In the evening I had prayer with them in the hut; and then went out to sleep at my fire. Though the accident with regard to my horse was vexatious to me, I consider it providential, as otherwise I should not have fallen in with these white men.
[30 October 1835]
Friday, 30. Proceeded on my journey, and after having travelled for several hours, I tethered the horse, kindled a fire, and made some tea. Met with no Blacks all day, except one Girl, to whom I endeavoured to make known the way of truth. It is not an easy thing to find the Blacks, as they are generally wandering from place to place. The district through which I travelled was barren and rocky. Learnt this evening that the Yarrayarra Blacks, who inhabit the district of Mudje, had gone down to the junction of the Mudje and Macquarie River, in order to fight with the Wellington Blacks; and I intend therefore to follow them thither tomorrow. Found the compass very useful to-day; for without it, I should have gone almost the opposite direction I intended.
[31 October 1835]
Saturday, 31. Have now been travelling 3 days, and I have seen no more than one black girl; but the soul of this one individual is of infinite more importance, than the troubles of many a journey; and who can tell whether I may not have better success in the future? I am now about to start.
Fell in with two black young men this morning, quite unexpectedly, to whom I talked, and who informed me that the
Mudje Tribe were returning to their respective district, no fight having taken place; hence I thought it useless to proceed any farther in that direction, but went towards Mudje.
[1 November 1835]
Sunday, Nov, 1. Did not travel to-day, but employed my time in going to the Prisoners about here, talking to, and distributing Tracts among them. The Prison Population in the Interior of the Colony, are as sheep without a shepherd, cut off from every opportunity of moral instruction, and spiritual advice.
[2 November 1835]
Monday, 2. To my great joy, I fell in with a large party of Blacks to-day. They took their abode not far from a cattle station, as they generally do; and I halted with them, and made a fire, where I put down my saddle, blanket etc. Here I stayed with them the remainder of the day, and encamped at night. They were partly Yar´ruyarru Blacks, the dialect of whom differs but little from that of the Wellington Blacks; and partly Kammillarai blacks, who, though their dialect differs, materially from that of Yar´rayarru, understand it, and thus I was enabled to render myself intelligible to both parties through the medium of the dialect spoken about Wellington. What effect my interview with them had upon their minds, I am unable to tell, but I hope it will not be altogether in vain. I took down some Kammillarai words, which I received from an intelligent young man of that Tribe. They informed me that another party of Blacks will come to morrow. The young men were attentive to me in fetching some water etc., in return for which kindness, I gave them some tea.
[3 November 1835]
Tuesday, 3. The expected Blacks arrived here to-day
but there were not so many, as I had thought. They made several inquiries, when I talked to them on spiritual subjects, which was rather of an encouraging nature. One asked me, whether the souls of horses kangaroos etc. would go to heaven or hell, after they had died. I replied that their souls died with their bodies. I asked them the reason that the intended fight, mentioned Oct. the 30th had not taken place. They replied that the two persons of the Wellington Tribe, who were to fight, had not made their appearance, at the place appointed for the combat.
In the morning and at noon, the Stockmen of the adjacent Stations visited me, to whom I gave some Tracts, and spoke concerning their souls. They complained greatly that they had no opportunity of hearing the word of God. There were several Irish men among them, who also were of a ready mind to listen, when I spoke to them, and to accept some Tracts.
Prepared for the night, fetching some wood, and breaking small branches from the bushes, in order to make my couch on the ground a little soft. But the Blacks disappointed me; for, about 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, they dispersed, and not one remained, taking their things, weapons, bags, etc. with them. I saddled therefore my horse, and rode to another place, where I, at night, met with about 40 other Blacks. They were sitting round their fires, where I talked to them. Several Oppossum skins were extended upon pieces of bark by wooden pegs.
[4 November 1835]
Wednesday, 4. The Blacks talk of leaving these parts to-day. Though there are about 15 women among them, yet I observed that they had two children only and no infant; nor did I see an infant among those Blacks. with whom I was two days previously. They were totally attentive, when I spoke with them. I started afterwards, but did not meet with any other Blacks. Having been informed that a Boy, called Yurrumbaddi, who stayed with us before at Wellington, was at one of the Stockstations, I proceeded towards the direction pointed out to me, and succeeded in finding the Station about sunset, after I had given up all hope of finding it to-day. However the Boy was not there: he had gone to another Station.
Was very unwell all day.
[5 November 1835]
Thursday, 5. Went to the other Station, where the Boy was said to be; a creek having been pointed out to me as in some measure to be my guide, I closely followed it, and reached the Station about noon; but did not find him here either. I was told that he had gone away again to another neighbouring Station, and therefore I went to that also; but though I had to pass very steep creeks and rocky plains in search of him, all was in vain: I could not find him. Towards evening I reached home in safety.
[8 November 1835]
Sunday, 8. Two young men paid us a visit to-day, but soon left again.
[9 November 1835]
Monday, 9. A man with his wife went away to-day, to Nannima, a place a few miles from here.
[19 November 1835]
Thursday, 19. An old woman, who has been unwell for some time, has become worse, her breath is very short, her eyesight fails; the sense of hearing also is affected. She
does not seem to like to hear of spiritual things, as I observed she had formerly done. Only a few Blacks here.
[20 November 1835]
Friday, 20. Two young men arrived here to-day, and it is to be hoped that they will remain for a few days.
[23 November 1835]
Monday, 23. The Mother of the Boy Nyalgan, after I inquired after her Son, said that he was afraid to return. I replied that he had no reason to be so, for nothing was desired of him, but his return.
[24 November 1835]
Tuesday, 24. Entered in a conversation with several women, who paid us a visit to-day. They said that many other Blacks would come tomorrow.
[26 November 1835]
Thursday, 26. A party of Blacks having encamped at the Bell River, I went to converse with them. A woman who left here of late in apparent health, was so reduced by sickness, that I did not recognise her at first. The Boys Kar´rundi, Yurrumbaddi, and Nyalgan, who stayed with us before, and whom I expected to find in the camp, had run away, as I afterwards learnt, as soon as they saw me coming. Most of the Adults denied indeed that the Boys had been there, some however told the truth. Thus they shun us and our house, as though they had been ill treated, when quite the contrary has always been the case. They have had their regular meals, and as much as they could eat at each, without any trouble and labour of their own, as we are often afraid to ask them to do anything, lest they should be offended and go away. They have all been provided with blankets while here to keep them warm; and those they prefer to any other kind of clothing, but still they are dissatisfied.
In the afternoon I went again to the camp, and talked to the Blacks. The Boys I saw not, and was informed that they had not been there since the morning, when they went away that I might not see them. While I was in the camp, one of the Adults said that he saw them coming, soon afterwards he informed me however, that they had gone back, as soon as they discovered that I was at the place where they were going.
[17 November 1835]
Friday, 17. Went very early this morning to the camp in order to meet with the Boys; that I might have an opportunity of persuading them to stay with us. I first saw Nyalgan, sitting with his father and mother, and the other woman belonging to his father at a fire. When I asked his father to let his son go home with us, he replied in the negative; and when I inquired the reason for his denial, he complained that he did not get enough to eat at Wellington. I told him he should come up to our house, and I would give him to eat, upon which however he made no reply. It was evident that neither he nor the mother would permit the Boy to stay with us; for they laughed at all my entreaties; and the other woman very shrewdly said, that I must first give them my son William to take into the bush, and then they would let Nyalgan stay with me. I went then to another fire, where was a man, called King Boby, with four other Boys, Yur´rumbaddi; Murundi, and two others, who chiefly stayed at Cobolyen. When I asked the latter whether they would stay now at Wellington, they at once refused. The two former were yet asleep, or at least they feigned themselves to be so. As King Boby claims some right to Yur´rumbaddi, because this Boy is the brother of the wife, who belongs to King Boby's brother, who was then absent, I asked him to let the Boy go with me, but he said no, saying,
he wanted the Boy himself. When further expostulated with, he asked what I would give him, if he allowed the Boy to stay with us. I promised him a shirt; but as he was not satisfied, I asked him what he would have more, upon which he said that he wanted everything, plenty of clothes and plenty to eat. I told him to come with me, I would give him victuals; but he refused, and said, he had not received plenty of food formerly, and became quite enraged. When he had left off speaking, and became cool, I tried again to persuade him, but it was to no purpose. The Boy's sister also was there, to whom I said Mrs Handt would give a cap, if her Brother would stay with us; but all was of no use. In the mean times the Boy raised himself, and Karrundi also arose; but even they themselves refused to come with me, saying the devil was in the house at Wellington, and would bite them, if they stayed there, and whatever I said to the contrary, they affirmed that it was true. This fear arises probably from the several deaths, which have recently taken place here. May the Lord have mercy on these poor people! They are indeed all their lifetime subject to bondage, because of fear.
[1 December 1835]
Tuesdays, Dec.1. Several of the mounted Police arrived to-day. They had been down the Macquarie River, after those Blacks who had been stealing and killing cattle, and murdered two Europeans. They had a black young man with them whom they had taken prisoner. He confessed that he had assisted in burying one of the Europeans, but denied having killed any. Others had done it, he said. He was not of a particularly savage countenance, many of the Wellington Blacks look more fierce than he did. He seemed to be well disposed to hear of the love of God through his Son. His
name was Baggama; and he seemed to be in pretty good spirits, though his legs were in irons. A gloomy thought, with regard to his future state, however evidently pervaded his mind. Two others had been taken prisoners, but had made their escape.
[13 December 1835]
Sunday, 13. Very few Blacks here at present. Have been favoured by providence with some fruitful showers of late, which has produced a verdant appearance on the ground, and an ample provision for the animals.
[15 December 1835]
Tuesday, 15. The Blacks left here to-day, an old man excepted, and went with some others, who passed here, towards Cobolyen; about which place, it is said, they will meet with some of the Mudje Blacks.
[16 December 1835]
Wednesday, 16. Several women arrived here to-day, one man only was among them. The other men belonging to them are lower down the Macquarie River. The mother of the Boy Ngalgan, mentioned under the date the 27th of last month, was one of them, she told me that Ngalgan was at Mumbal, and requested me to go and fetch him, that he might stay with me. I asked, why she would not let him stay a fortnight ago, when she was here with him; but she merely laughed at my question. She now however repeated her request that I would go and fetch him. Her desiring me to do so, is not so much to oblige me, as to please herself. For she wants him, as she is staying here at present; but when she goes away, it is very probable; that she will persuade him to go with her. However I intend to go; and to fetch him, though he may soon leave again.
[17 December 1835]
Thursday, 17. Talked to the Blacks, but must confess that I did not meet with encouragement. They are very greedy after victuals, and do not seem to care for anything else;
and the more they receive, the more they want.
[18 December 1835]
Friday, 18. Several other Blacks arrived here to-day, and also the Boy Mabinya. He was with us before, and consented to stay again for a while. I endeavoured to speak with the Adults about their souls, but their minds do not seem to be settled for listening to the subject.
[19 December 1835]
Saturday, 19. Went to-day to the place, where Ngalgan was said to be, but did not meet with him.
[20 December 1835]
Sunday, 20. There are more Blacks here at present, than there have been for some time past, which is an encouragement.
[22 December 1835]
Tuesday, 22. Some more Blacks were this morning added to the number of them, who are already here. Found more encouragement when talking to them, than I have for a considerable time; as some of them listened with tolerable attention, and one of the women desired me to say something more. The Boy Karrundi came also today, willing to stay with us for the present.
[23 December 1835]
Wednesday, 23. The black men were amusing themselves by jumping over a rope, which was slung by two of them who kept it in a continual spherical motion.
[25 December 1835]
Friday, Christmas Day. Many Blacks here at present. Spoke to them about the birth of the Son of God, that he had come down from heaven, and become man out of love towards the Blacks and Whites etc. Found great difficulty in gaining their attention. Another Boy has consented to stay here; and I have hopes that tomorrow we shall have another.
[26 December 1835]
Saturday, 26. One of the women, who was sick, I directed to the great Physician of soul and body.
[27 December 1835]
Sunday, 27. One of our Boys went away this morning, but another came, so that with regard to their numbers, we sustain no loss.
[28 December 1835]
Monday, 27[sic]. The Boy Nyalgan has returned from a Sheepstation, and is now with us.
[29 December 1835]
Tuesday, 29. Read part of the 15th Ch. of Saint Luke in their language to the Blacks, but did not with the attention, I had wished for. Some of the women had afterwards a shamfight with their sticks, and then danced.
[30 December 1835]
Wednesday, 30. Most of the Blacks left again to-day: two of the Boys also went with them. I learnt afterwards that they had gone away, in order to make young men, as they term it. Probably they will make these two Boys young men also, as they are of about the right age, when they perform the ceremony on them. If this should be the case, they will not stay with us afterwards to be regularly instructed.
[signed] W. Watson