2.3 Reverend Watson's Diaries
i. July-September 1835
Rev. W. Watson's Diary from July 1st to Sept 30th 1835 inclusive.
[1 July 1835]
Wednesday 1st This morning we had about 40 natives with us, this evening only 16.
[3 July 1835]
Friday 3rd Several natives came up to day but after having been fed went away to a Station 2 miles distant where cattle are being slaughtered, and where those who have females are certain that their wants will be supplied. Warrabin remains with us though her husband (Narrang Jackey) and his two other wives are at the station above alluded to. I have spoken seriously to her respecting her conduct: she says that she is miserable but that husbands among them always make their wives be wicked with other men. This is true but it is a lamentable fact that the females are as wretched as their husbands.
[4 July 1835]
Sat 4th I had reason to believe that one of the Mission Servants was at the camp of the natives late last night and I ascertained with what female he had been. But while he positively denied it, the female professed to be extremely sorry for her sin.
One of my girls says her heart is often very heavy when she thinks of her sins, and that she often prays as she is going about, saying "Lord Jesus have mercy on me, a poor wicked child, change my wicked heart, Have mercy on all Black fellows." And that when she lies down to Sleep she always prays, "Lord keep me this night from sin and save me." She frequently sheds tears when spoken to on the subject of religion. Another female also occasionally manifests some sensibility of her guilt and danger, but her husband, a very wicked man, will not allow her to remain with us at all times. About 40 (Forty) Natives here to day. I taught them prayers the evening as usual. A fine boy, an orphan, was at the Camp but his brother would not allow him to live with me.
[5 July 1835]
Sunday July 5th 41 Natives here this morning. 22 of them came to breakfast. I had last night prepared some boiled Wheat and Beef, so when they came up I was ready to distribute the same to them. I embraced the opportunity (thus afforded) of addressing them; the Lord grant it may be for good. Most of them immediately left the Establishment. I this afternoon, Baptized our Native child, by the name of Betsy Christian. I had translated such part of the Service as was necessary for the occasion. The Natives present appeared to feel the solemnity of the Ordinance, my own heart was deeply impressed with a sense of the Divine presence, and I trust something of the influence of the Holy Ghost was felt by others. One of my girls was much affected and seemed to envy the child's condition, it being, in her estimation, much Superior to her own, as she is unbaptized. I do hope that the Lord is preparing her by his grace for being admitted into his church.
[9 July 1835]
Thursd. 9th I was much pleased with the conversation of our old man Bobbagul this evening. He said he was pleased to hear about religion and that he wanted to hear more about it. He remarked that all the Natives knew that wicked people would go to everlasting fire.
[12 July 1835]
Sund 12 Many Natives here now. I endeavoured to instruct them at their respective camps. It is not easy at all times to assemble them.
[16 July 1835]
Thursd. 16th Mrs Watson has been confined to her bed through sickness for two or three days - the child is likewise very ill, always in the cradle unable to sit up and as I have no assistance but my little girls who are by no means attached to the infant, I have had it to wash and dress and otherwise attend to, as well as to Mrs Watson and to cook for a large number of Natives, my hands and heart and head have been fully engaged.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[17 July 1835]
Frid 17 July Several Natives came up to day, but after staying a short time, went over to Nannima, a Station 2 miles distant. It is said that they are mustering their forces for the purpose of fighting some wild natives who lately murdered an European. Mrs Watson through mercy so far recovered as to be able to sit up. The Infant remains the same.
[18 July 1835]
Sat 18 All our Natives except 8, went over to Nannima this evening, some of them expressed an anxious desire that I should go as two of the natives were going to fight. When I arrived the matter had been made up they said "because Mr Watson said it was not good to fight." Some wild Natives were present from Gingin, 100 miles N.W. of Wellington Valley. They behaved very well during prayers though they did not repeat. They all promised to come up in the morning when I was to "Teach them to Kobohn" (Much or large) and then give them breakfast." On my return I set on three large Iron pots full of Wheat and Beef, to be ready for them.
[19 July 1835]
Sund 19th As Mr Handt rode over to Nannima, early this morning, the Natives did not come up. At noon some females came for the purpose of being fed, which however afforded us and her opportunity of addressing them. About 25 remain with us. I sat up with our infant last night, it still lives, but we have given up all hopes of its recovery.
[20 July 1835]
Mond 20th The child died this morning at 10 o'clock. I doubt not its Spirit now rests with its Redeemer. It was carried to the grave by our 3 girls and Dickey Marshal. The Natives, who saw it in the coffin expressed their admiration, saying it was pretty. Some remarked that its Spirit had gone to heaven, where they feared they should not go. I spoke to them respecting the general resurrection and they listened with deep attention.
The supposed difference between the present condition of the lately deceased infant and that of its unfortunate mother was the subject of much conversation among the Natives at the Camp this evening.
[22 July 1835]
Wednes 22 An European who came up to the Establishment today endeavoured to persuade some Native females to go with him to his station. We have continually to bear trials of this nature.
[23 July 1835]
Thursd 23rd Two females with an old man and a boy the husband and son of one of them to day left us, to go to the Station of the European who came up yesterday. The mercy of the Lord does indeed seem long to be withheld from these degraded Aborigines. Satan riots in their ruin and the enemies of the Cross triumph, While the enemies of the Gospel rejoice and say in spirit like the Ancient Adversaries of the church "What do these feeble Jews" It is our lot to mourn over the impediments which lie in the way of the erection of the Lords example in this land of darkness.
Began to teach the Natives to read in their own language today .
[26 July 1835]
Sund 26 Addressed 17 Natives in our house to day. One of them seems to have received a glimmering of Spiritual light. O may we not be disappointed.
[Wednesday 29 July 1835]
Wed 29th Many Natives have come up during the last 3 days about 10 of them very ill. Murramil who has been with us a fortnight this time, and frequently before was to day taken away by her husband; and it is to be feared that she will return to her wretched course of life.
[30 July 1835]
Thursd July 30th I enquired of a Native (Kobohn Billy) this evening where one of his wives was. He said he did not know. I told him that he was knew very well that he had left her with a Shepherd, and that he also knew it was very wicked. He was angry and gave me very abusive language, although he has at different times been brought here apparently dying and has been waited on - bathed - rubbed with linament [sic] &c for weeks when no other native would do any thing for him. Ingratitude is a very prominent feature in the character of these Natives. Their general indifference to spiritual instruction makes me many times, when leaving them, pour out my soul in groans for them.
[31 July 1835]
Frid 31st One of the Native females took the lead in asking a blessing before dinner (in their own language): I was glad that she was able to do so. Who can tell what good may ultimately result from their being able thus to address the Almighty in prayer!
[1 August 1835]
Sat Aug 1st Many of our Natives have gone toward the McQuarrie: only about a dozen most of whom are sick, remain with us. Old Nelly, the mother of one of our girls (Eliza), is very dangerously ill, and has been for several days. Nothing can be conceived more painful than to behold these natives on the verge of eternity, and their minds still beclouded with ignorance. It is a very remarkable circumstance, that when they are very ill they frequently repeat their prayers with more than usual solemnity and emphasis. My boy Dickey Marshall has been poorly for a day or two; he is no better to day; and medicine seems to produce no effect on his disorder. He says that he shall not recover
[2 August 1835]
Sund Aug 2 Dickey too ill to attend church to day: upon the whole he appears to be worse. He has great difficulty in swallowing and is considerably weaker. He spoke this evening about dying he said he believed he should die, and he hoped that he should go to heaven. I enquired "who go to heaven?" He replied, "Those that love God." "Do you love God?" "Yes sometimes I feel I do." "Why do you love him?" "Because he is good to me (intimating that God was good in keeping him and giving his Son Jesus Christ to die for him). Do you love me? Yes sometimes. "Why?" "Because you teach me.’ “But you have not yet a new heart." "No." "And can you go to heaven without a new heart?" "No. I am a wicked boy. Billy Black used to tell me I was a wicked boy. - He speaks very little: Indeed talking seems to be either irksome or painful to him. Seven sick natives here.
[3 August 1835]
Mond. 3 Dickey seems to be near his end. He is very weak, and at times appears to be a little delirious. This afternoon he said that he would go for the cows (a part of his daily work when well) but poor child, he is not likely ever more to fetch them up. This evening he expressed thankfulness that he had been baptized; and said that he did not wish to live: he desired to die and go to heaven.
[4 August 1835]
Tuesd 4th My poor Dickey is no more. He died this morning about 9 o'clock. I was up with him most of the night he was very restless; but during the whole of his sickness he never complained; and he always took readily the medicine that was presented to him. I had this morning been attempting to give him some medicine, but his power of swallowing was gone. He said he wished to sit up. I raised him; and he immediately rolled his eyes and died in a moment, in the most easy manner conceivable.
The stroke is to me a very heavy one. Dickey was very useful in many respects: But I trust that he has found redemption through this blood of the covenant. It is not, indeed, from what he said during his short illness that I am led to hope of his salvation; but, in some measure, from those tears of penitence which sometimes, under religious instruction flowed very copiously. While we are daily mourning over the unfruitfulness of our labours, may we not say in reference to this child, "Is not this a brand plucked out of the burning?" One of our girls Geanil (Nanny) is very poorly and we fear that she has caught the disease which terminated the earthly existence of the infant and of Dickey.
[5 August 1835]
Wednesday 5th Some of our sick Natives recovering. One whose death I have been daily expecting is now much better. Geanil is very poorly we watch her looks with anxious solicitude fearing that she also will soon be taken from us.
[8 August 1835]
Saturday 8th This has been a week of anxiety to us. Nanny is no better, I have read and studied and prayed for her recovery. As it regards the state of her soul she says little or nothing, nor does she seem to have any pleasure in being spoken to on religious subjects. This is so different from her usual conduct that I am at a loss to account for it. May the Lord enable us to submit with patience and resignation to His wise dispensations, however painful to our minds.
[9 August 1835]
Sunday 9th Have thought much to day respecting Nanny's Baptism. It is an important step especially at her age and surrounded by wickedness as we are. In times past she has frequently expressed a desire for that Sacrament and I have reason to believe that she is sometimes troubled in heart respecting her sins. I have determined (if we are spared) to devote the ensuing week to giving her special instruction on that subject, and if Mr Handt on
examination thinks her a proper candidate, and she desires it then I will publicly admit her into the church by the Sacrament of Baptism.
[10 August 1835]
Sunday 10th What a development has to day been made. Our souls are filled with grief and horror. We have ascertained that Nanny is suffering from _____. We immediately supposed that she had been with some Native youth; but this we have reason to believe was not the case. Our own assigned servants - married men - who are also fathers have been the guilty seducers not only of Nanny but also of the other girl. When I and Mrs Watson were in the Bush in 1834 it was but little that I slept, and that little was taken advantage of by the European Servant (who accompanied us) for decoying the girls into wickedness. And now the same has been practiced within a few yards of our house when the children have gone to fetch a little wood for the fire. I had too much reason to believe that the men were in the habit of going to the Native's Camp at night (though notwithstanding I frequently was on the alert I never discovered them). But never did I apprehend any danger of their taking the girls. They always sleep under the same roof with Mrs Watson and myself with locked doors. So that we took every precaution: nor would we ever allow the young men to be in the kitchen with them unless we were present. We may now well conceive why she has been silent when spoken to on religious subjects. This wickedness seems however to be within the last month.
[15 August 1835]
Sat 15. This has been a week of trouble as the last was of anxiety. We have learnt so much of the wickedness of our men that it is thought proper to return them to government service. We do not excuse Nanny she ought to have told us; for while we know that the influence of wicked Europeans over the natives is very great through fear, we know also that the heart is deceitful above all things.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[16 August 1835]
Sunday Aug 16th Geanil has been kept from church to day and she seemed to feel the privation much. Few native here now only some who are sick.
[17 August 1835]
Mond 17th Word was brought to us to day that one of our men (sent away for his improper conduct) was taken dangerously ill about six miles from here and he wished to be brought in as he did not expect to live through the night. I therefore sent the only man we had with the horse and cart, and about 11 o'clock this night they arrived. Richard is indeed very ill but on Saturday he did not say any to me on that subject.
[18 August 1835]
Tuesd 18th Was up with Richard most of the night. His throat is violently ulcerated; he appears to have been taking some sharp medicine: which however he denies. It was evident that he was labouring under much mental excitement. I enquired the cause. Whether he was afraid to die? He burst into tears and said, "you have done all that you could for me, had I taken your advice I should not have been in this state.” I directed him to the Saviour and prayed with him.
[19 August 1835]
Wed 19th Richard no better. As he is unable to gargle I have to shryinge [sic] his throat several times during the day; he is generally insensible. Having now but one man on the Mission my time is principally taken up with waiting on Richard and attending to several sick natives, some of whom are not likely to recover and having gone to some distance administering medicine and giving to them necessary comforts cannot be so regularly attended to as if they were with us.
[28 August 1835]
Frid 28th Several of our sick natives have recovered. One (Old man Neddy) is in all probability near to eternity; but he makes no remarks or reply when I speak to him respecting the state of his soul. Richard remains the same. Totally insensible to the calls of nature and scarcely understanding what is said to him on any subject.
[1 September 1835]
Tuesd Sept 1st Neddy seemed to be a little better this morning. Richard still lives though we have many times thought he was dying.
[3 September 1835]
Thursd 3. I took some gruel to old Neddy this morning but it was too late, he was just dying, and dying I am afraid without any prospects of a better world. How far our instructions may have benefitted [sic] those who have been favoured with them and yet dye [sic] without affording any evidence of serious concern it is difficult to say. That the minds of some are informed on religious subjects while their moral habits remain unchanged we have daily proof. He was interred on the opposite side of the river probably because the ground there was not very hard. On this occasion young men were not prohibited being present though there were several females. The body and the ground round it were smoked with burning branches for the purpose they (the natives) said of driving away the evil Spirit. The grave was dug deep and the body laid in it contrary to what we have been informed was the custom with males. Two Trees were carved, one on each side of the grave.
[6 September 1835]
Sund 6th Richard died this evening. To the very last he denied what I had occular [sic] demonstration was true. The last 6 weeks have been a season of much perplexity, sorrow and harrassment [sic] to us. No wonder that we should feel ourselves poorly in body and dejected in Spirits. Our trials are known only to Him who has caused it to be written "All things work together for good to them that love God, and are called according to His purpose." It need scarcely be added that we are entirely at a loss how to act so as to avoid a recurrence of the painful circumstances above recorded. Such is the habitual idleness of the natives that if we would keep them with us for the sake of religious instruction they must be well supplied with food (and it is no moderate supply that will satisfy them). Hence arises the necessity of having servants to attend to stock and agriculture. And such servants as we have in general had, and such as are all around us seem to shew the danger of having native females on the premises. And what can we expect if we do not encourage them to abide with us. It will be clearly seen how we are straitened on every side.
Were the funds of the Mission adequate, the most eligible plan appears to have a few pious married labourers who would feel interested in the prosperity of the Mission in every department. And thus to form an establishment further in the interior while Wellington Valley would be a kind of depot. So long however as our means are so limited we must the Lord being our helper struggle with our difficulties.
[16 September 1835]
Wed 16th Having heard that the wild natives about 60 miles from this place are destroying cattle, it has been agreed on in Committee that I should go and endeavour to persuade them to desist, and embrace such opportunities as might be afforded for preaching the gospel to them. Accordingly I took my chaise (gig) and a number of Blankets, cast of regimentals &c and with Gungin my native youth, commenced the journey this morning. As my carriage was weak I walked most of the way to day (24 miles). Called at a station where I thought to have the chaise repaired but was disappointed. Here I found several natives, some of whom were sick to whom I gave medicine and instruction. Some females who are living with European Servants here (under the eye of their masters who reside on the premises), made their appearance but were ashamed to come up.
We arrived at Murrumbirdthirri about sunset. While Gungin and Bartharai (another native who is to accompany us) erected the Tent I accepted the pressing invitation of Dr B - who resides here to Tea. He urged me to sleep in his cottage but I find easier access to the natives in my Tent as all in the neighbourhood come up when they know I am there, on that account I declined.
K --- and two other European Servants came to the camp. I have had frequent conversations with K - respected his wicked course of life. About 2 months ago he came in the night and took away from us a native female (a widow) and is now living with her. I asked him when he would think it time to begin to prepare for death and eternity? He said indeed it was time long since, and talked in such a manner as would have induced a stranger to his duplicity to imagine that he was a sincere penitent. I had prayers in English, and afterwards in the Aboriginal language. Have been about 20 natives to day. All beggars. The first and continual Salute being give - give - give. Fearful representations are given of the determined atrocity
of the Natives amongst whom I am going; some who had a hand in murdering Mr Cunningham, the Colonial Botanist are said to have united themselves with those who are slaughtering cattle. The benefits I have in view are both of a Political and Missionary kind. If the Lord succeed my feeble attempts, well -. If I fall a sacrifice in attempting to do what I feel my duty I trust my soul will be accepted, through my great Redeemer and whom I have left behind will be preserved and blessed by Him who said "Let thy widows trust in me".
[17 September 1835]
Thursday 17th K's master informs me that he is in high spirits saying "I have got the blessing Mr Watson did not scold me for taking away the woman I will now be married to her". Having had prayers we directed our course towards Buggabil where we had been informed two sick and dying natives were remaining. On our arrival I found young man Neddy complaining much of pain in his head and chest and Harry's right cheek very much swollen, so that his eyelashes could not be seen. I let out the horse to feed a little while I waited to see the effects of the medicine on Neddy and was fomenting Harry's cheek. Harry said that he had been crying all the night, so violent was his pain, and so certain he was that he should die. I endeavoured to persuade him that it was the Lord that had directed me to come to him for his relief. (This place was much out of our road). Having attended to these patients for about 3 hours, and both expressing themselves much better, we began to prepare for proceeding; but our horse had broken his harness. However, as Mrs Watson had put some thread and a couple of needles in my box Gungin repaired one part, as I did another; and thus it was made serviceable. I found that either an European who came up or one of the Natives had stolen my bag of Tea, containing about 2 pounds; but who was the thief I could not tell; so I left the matter. We arrived at Warri about 5 o'clock and as I wished to strengthen the shafts of my carriage a native youth (another Harry) had two pieces of rail soon prepared. However as the depredators have (it is said) come into this neighbourhood, we pitched our Tent here. I had family prayers with the men in the Hut; and I trust there was a sense of the Divine presence felt. At least that was my experience. What a field for Christian philanthropy - for Missionary employment is open among the scattered Europeans in this vast wilderness, and were proper persons engaged in this work, who can say how great a political blessing would result, and how many wandering sheep might be reclaimed. I always feel a pleasure in
having family worship with them on my journies [sic] in the Bush.
[18 September 1835]
Frid Sept 18th The Natives sat up most of the night conversing about the "Wild ones." I listened with attention. It is quite evident that some are much alarmed. An old man, who, with his wife resides here, both R.C. came this morning to apologise for not attending family prayers last evening, as he did not know of them; and being unwell he had retired to rest early. On my begging to be excused taking breakfast with them, they sent me a few eggs and a little butter to the Tent. Bartharai and Kobohn Mark went, in the morning, to look for the Wild Natives and to bring them up here. Gungin wished to fish; I gave my consent; but before he went he inquired again and again if I were afraid of remaining by myself. On my answering in the negative, he departed with the other youths. I am ever careful to avoid giving them reason to think I am afraid of any thing. Two females are here; one blind and decrepid [sic] with disease, the other also sick: she has frequently been with us. I told her that I though she would die; she replied, "I think I shall soon." I enquired to what place her soul would go at death? Her answer was "I don't know; but you know; tell me." I did endeavour to give her instructions suitable to her state; and administered medicine to her and her female companion. They accompanied me to the Tent where I gave them some provisions and read a Sermon, which they seemed to understand. An old man, Manni Manni, said he was afraid of dying. I read to him, and he paid much attention. Joe (another old man belonging to Munou) came here to-day: at first he said that he did not know me; but he soon recollected who I was, and said I had given him food at Wellington Valley. Of course he was now very hungry both for food and Tobacco. I enquired where his wife was? he replied "With white man". Where is your child? "With white man too". He complained much of pain in his bones I gave him a little medicine &c and he went away. Batharai and Kobohn Mack returned this evening not having seen the natives; but reporting that they found the place where they had killed and roasted a Bullock.
[19 September 1835]
Saturd 19th Had an opportunity last night of witnessing the wickedness of an elderly Native in seducing my native youth into sin. They thought I was asleep but I was listening to their conversation being able to understand them. Left Warri this morning, and proceeded on our way. At Dubbu [sic] found 5 or 6 Natives all of whom
accompanied us, generally for medicine. When we arrived at Birribang, where we encamped (a Station being on the opposite side of the river) he called out to an European, inquiring where his wife and daughter were, vociferating most loudly, "Parton, (Parson) Wellington - Parton, Wellington!"
Here I was surrounded by more than 20 natives, some of them the vilest in the neighbourhood, and who had been with the cattle slayers: The brother of the ringleader was in our company. All were expecting to be fed, and all were fed. I gave medicine to the Sick and had prayers. The conversation among the Natives was of the same cast as noticed above. While speaking of the danger to which we were exposed, I observed them continually watching my countenance. I wished Bobby Dickey (brother to the ringleader) to go and bring them up: But no promises could prevail on him. He said they would kill him. Gungin in a violent rage “said never mind them let the Policemen shoot them." I told him that if they were killed in their present state that they would go to hell. "O (he replied) let them go". I observed that if he knew what place that was he would not say so. He said, very hastily "What for they kill bullocks?" An European belonging to the station came to the camp and wished to take Kabbarrin's Pipe. Kabarrin said "that is my Pipe, why does not master belonging to you buy Pipes and send them to you?" European. I have no Tobacco but we expect a Dray up by and by and then we shall have plenty.
Kabarrin. By and by! Oh! that is next week I believe. I believe you are very miserable, aren't you? Your best plan will be to send to Sydney and buy two pounds for yourself that is your best plan I believe.
[20 September 1835]
Sunday 20th Our horses strayed away in the night but Gungin and another youth went in Search, and brought them back. I went to speak with the females who sat at some distance. They knew me; and voluntarily said that I at Wellington, talked to them about the great God. When I was conversing with them, one said she was afraid of dying, and that her soul would go there (pointing upwards). When I expressed my doubts on that subject, she said, no, she believed that devil devil would take her, and not let her go up, I read a Sermon to them. While I was with them, a person passing on the road, turning aside came up to them; but, (I suppose) having some idea who I was, after remaining sometime he proceeded on. I read a Sermon to the natives at the Camp, which they said they understood. When I was in my Tent reading
to day, and only 3 natives present, an Old native said "do not be miserable, do not be miserable: don't you want to be in the house at Wellington?" I embraced this opportunity of saying that God was my father, and that I had therefore no cause to be miserable that when I died I should go to Him in heaven, where I should be always happy, and I wanted the natives also to go there. He replied "You will never die; Parthon very strong, Parton will never die." I endeavoured to convince him of his error in that respect; but I have frequently heard them make the same remarks.
I enquired of a female to day where her father was? She said he is dead. I asked his name, and she replied "I shall cry if I mention the name of my father when he is dead. - Gungin wished me to play the Bugle this evening. I said "not on Sunday. He replied "Sunday gone now, this is monday." They reckon the day from sun set to sun set; and instead of saying 3 or 4 days, they say so many nights. We are frequently reminded here of Scripture truths of such a nature. Bobby Dickey was observing, that in two moons, there would be plenty of rain, Gungin Doctor said so, and that he made rain. I replied, that he could not make rain: that the great Spirit made every thing. Kabarrin said "O he goes up in dream and brings it down. An old man remarked "Tullubang(Soul) goes up". I seemed to dispute that the Spirit of the Native saw God under those circumstances. Kabarrin said in a very solemn tone "O yes I know good while ago I see that - that very excellent place there" referring to a remarkable dream which sometime ago he told me he had, and which was noticed in my Diary at the time though I did not know whether to believe him. One of our Natives had been wandering in the Bush all the day, he returned this evening accompanied by a sick European who wished to have some medicine. I gave him some, and some Tracts for which he appeared to be thankful.
[21 September 1835]
Mon 21st I got the horses up and ready to start by daylight this morning but could not get my native to move before the sun had been up two hours. I was under the necessity of leaving the sick natives on account of scarcity of provisions. Bartharai and I proceeded; Kabarrin and Gungin went round another way; and the rest of the natives tarried behind; saying, "I believe not much to eat: sit down." We arrived at Mannur about 8 o'clock, and exceedingly wearied I was with walking. We erected the Tent near the river, as usual.
I had scarcely erected my Tent when the Stockman belonging to this Station returned from the Bush, saying that he had found several cattle speared; and that although he had not seen the natives, he had found where they had lately been, by the fires, and by the grass being newly burnt; and also that he believed they were encamping near to a Creek a few miles distant. I therefore took my Bugle, as I expected there were some in company with the wild natives who were well acquainted with its sound and walked to a considerable distance but did not see either the natives or their fires. A sick Native, whom I saw to day, 18 months ago seemed to be quite a young man; now he is so emaciated by disease as to have the appearance of 40 years. Sometime ago, he took a girl (who had been under instruction at our house) from her husband Harry (the sick native at Buggabil). I asked him where she was? He replied, "with white man: I do not want wife now." The Europeans at this station shewed [sic] me no little kindness; apparently studying to make my situation as comfortable as possible. Had family prayers in the Hut. When I would have prayers at the camp Gungin laid down and began to sing one of their wicked songs.
[22 September 1835]
Tuesd 22nd I was much grieved with the conduct of some of my natives this morning. As we have no animal food with us, the men at the hut agreed to supply us, and so the natives went there last evening and took supper and this morning for breakfast. In both instances they afterwards came to the camp and would have Tea and bread though they knew that our stock of both was very small. As none of the natives seemed disposed to accompany me into the Bush, I saddled my horse and was ready to start, when a native youth (who never previously intended to go) got the other horse, and went with me. I soon found that my guide was not only an entire stranger to this part of the country; but that he was also much afraid, always keeping considerably in the rear. We found the place of which the stockman had told me the day before; but although the grass was still burning we could find no camping place. I proposed to blow my bugle but my guide said the sound would frighten the natives. I then wished him to Cooi (call), but he said that would make them run away. After riding some miles further, I enquired if we made a fire would not that induce the natives, if they saw it, to come up, he said yes (unthinkingly I suppose). In a short time we alighted, for the purpose of making a fire; but he collected only a sufficient quantity of small dead boughs to enable him to light his pipe so long as we should remain there. However, I made a very large fire, and rode to some distance, on all sides, but could not see or hear anything of the natives. Having crawled down on my hands and knees to the brink of the river, in order to quench my thirst, I discovered
a Canoe which however on examination proved to be a very old one. As the sun was fast declining we bent our course towards Mannur [sic]. On my arrival I felt very tired having travelled I suppose 30 miles. Gungin in a sulky mood said "What do you want with the wild natives? They will kill you". I told him that I had long been endeavouring to instruct the natives about Wellington and they remained as wicked as ever, now I wanted to try what I could do with the Wild ones.
[23 September 1835]
Wednes Sept 23rd The natives were singing their lewd songs till very late last night; and then one of the older was teaching the young men another Dialect. They would occasionally break off, and speak of my danger from the wild Blacks. I enquired why they thought that I should be killed and others (whom I named) had not. Kabarrin said "Because they are in trouble now, and they think you go to them about killing cattle". "Besides Mrs Watson will cry when you do not go back, and the Governor will put us all into jail." As none of the Natives would accompany me I started by myself this morning, though it rained heavily; but while that circumstance made it unpleasant travelling, I thought it would rather facilitate the end I had in view, if I could meet with the natives; as the Blankets would then be a more acceptable Boon. I kept close to the river for sometime and then having crossed it proceeded through the Bush; but my labour was in vain. Having travelled about 20 miles I returned. I afterwards learnt that Gungin followed me, but could not find me. This he was induced to do from the rebukes of Kabarrin who (himself being ill) spoke very sharply on the subject of letting me go alone. This evening Gungin would read so he took up a Tract and read (spelling every word) half a page. He would then teach another youth whose awkward pronunciation made him laugh so much that they could not proceed.
[24 September 1835]
Thursd 24th We had a most terrific storm during the whole of the night - Rain - thunder and lightening were severe and awful. All my natives left me in the Tent with no other companion than my faithful dog; which alarmed at the storm, crept into the Tent for shelter. It is agreed that Bartharai and Harry, shall go in one direction to-day, and Kabarrin and I in another. I asked a boy at this station this morning, who made him? He did not know. - Where would his soul go at death? Pointing towards the sky, he said "up there".
" - Who told him that? Natives. How would his soul get up there? He did not know. - I was much encouraged this morning by read the Tract on St Peter's casting the net on the right side of the ship.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[25 September 1835]
Frid 25th I was so exceedingly wearied last night with my journey that I could not write. Kabarrin (who was born in this neighbourhood) and I travelled all the day over high mountains and through thick bush till I could scarcely sit on horseback; But the natives we found not, though we found a place where they had lately been making weapons. I cannot say that these unsuccessful journies into the bush are useless, for they make me better acquainted with the country. Kabarrin said in the morning that we should find them, for he was dreaming in that subject. They think much of dreams. Here, however, he was mistaken. I retired to rest in my Tent immediately on my return, being afflicted with a violent head ache (with me unusual) and pains in my limbs, probably having taken cold. I slept soundly and this morning, through Divine Goodness am considerably better. I have learnt to day that the Wild Natives call white men by the name of Wandong which our Natives always say is the same as devil. This circumstance comforts me in some measure for not meeting them for by the discourse I had prepared for them very erroneous ideas respecting Wandong might have been conveyed. O the importance of the language! Spent this morning in attempting to make repairs of accidents sustained in travelling.
[26 September 1835]
Sat 26th Had very little sleep last night gave the hungry natives the last piece of bread I had and having sucked a couple of Raw eggs we commenced our journey homewards, desiring to reach Murrambirdthirri (26 miles) to night. When we had travelled about 15 miles we met some young natives, whose conversation engrossed so much of the attention of my companions, to whom time is of no importance, that at length I moved slowly on; however, I neither saw nor heard any more of them before evening; and as they had both the bugles I had no means of informing them where I was. I kept, as I thought, the right road until I arrived at a station, which I took at first to be Murrambirdthirri; but which I learnt to be Barbidgal 16 miles from that place. Here I found an European and his wife, who had a young child. A native boy that belongs to us was here, but he would not accompany me. I endeavoured to find the right road, but in vain, as it had not been much traversed lately, and was probably overgrown with old long grass. How important is it to have a faithful guide in an unknown wilderness! As the sun is fast declining, I thought it prudent to direct my course towards the river, as I knew in what direction it was; but, owing to its bending course, I had no idea how far I might be from it.
My carriage being weak at all points, and having to pass through thick bush, leading the horse, I could move but slowly. In this way I travelled on for many miles finding neither the track of man or beast. And how acceptable would have a draught of water at that time! Providentially, however, just as the sun was setting, up came Kabarrin and Gungin. No sulky questions were asked why I did not wait for them? They knew that they were faulty: and as they had tracked me, they knew what a long journey I had had. It was full 3 hours after this before we reached the river at Murrambirdthirri; where I drank a little boiled water, which, with the exception of the two eggs, was all the refreshment I had for about 40 hours.
[27 September 1835]
Sund 27 Having no, provisions, and the natives (at least one of them, dissatisfied) I thought it prudent to move forward to-day, particularly as some christian friends I am informed are at Wellington Valley who will probably leave that place tomorrow morning. Nevertheless I will not attempt to justify my travelling on the Lord's day even under existing circumstances. Kabarrin said, this morning, "Mr Watson - you go ask Mr - to give you breakfast: plenty times he come to your house" I refused to comply. He then said "I do not like you go all day long not eat. You not eat yesterday, you not eat today: you soon die." We arrived at home about 3 o'clock, and have abundant reason to adore our gracious God for the blessings vouchsafed to us in the Bush, while travelling about 200 miles, and to those who were left at home. Found the conversation of our christian friends, James Backhouse and George Walker, cheering to my heart after a fatiguing journey.
[28 September 1835]
Mond 28 On reviewing the events of my journey, I certainly see some discouraging and some encouraging circumstances. It is pleasing to find that some natives, wicked as their lives are, have not forgotten the religious instructions given to them at Wellington. At Boggabil I was struck with the expressions of an old man, when he was dreaming. Several times during the night he cried out, "Burrambin (God) Win (fire) Wandong (devil) which would shew [sic], I think, that the Sermon had given him some disturbance.
[29 September 1835]
Our christian visitors who are making a Tour on an errand of mercy have left us to day. Their conversation has animated us a little amidst the general gloom with which we are surrounded. As in water face answereth to face so does the heart of man to man. At all events Grace in the heart of one christian responds to grace in the heart of another. I cannot conceive how the Society of Friends of which our visitors are members can enjoy the influence of the Divine Spirit and hold such views on some important points of our holy religion as they do. And yet I cannot but believe that these and others whom I have known of that community are truly pious.
[signed] J. C. Handt
[note] Read in Committee
Oct 28th 1835
[note] Com of Cor Dec 10/35
[note] Rev. W. Watson's Journal,
July to Sept. 1835
People in WellPro Directory: Walker, George Washington