iv. July-Sept 1836
[note] Recd June 29/37
Rev W. Watson's Diary from July 1st to September 30th 1836
[4 July 1836]
Mond July 4th I was engaged with sowing wheat to day when Mr Handt arrived here from Sydney. He brought the astounding information that leave had been obtained from His Excellency the Governor for Mr Handt to transfer his services from Wellington Valley to Moreton Bay. No mention was made of the reasons of this alteration, nor whether I was to remain alone or expect to be joined by another fellow-labourer. On this subject, as Missionaries, we cannot but feel. The Native Dialect spoken by at least Three thousand Aboriginal natives has been studied by Mr Handt for 4 years; but by this transfer his labours in the language will be in a great measure lost. This District is very extensive, and many of the wild natives are in some measure prepared to receive a missionary. I have had repeated messages brought to me to go and live amongst them; it is true that they may not be hungering for the word of eternal life; but certain I am that those who have brought the messages, would tell them, that I should teach them "the great Book."
[7 July 1836]
Thursd. 7th Mr Handt and his little girl left us to day for Sydney.
When speaking with Gungin to day respecting some of the wheat, in the Paddock where he is working, being his own, he said "what shall I do with it?" directly Black fellow know I got wheat they come up and eat it all up at once, “and then I shall have to go into the Bush like another Black fellow." There was much truth in his remarks, and in them may be perceived one of the impediments that lie in the way of their becoming possessed of property. We turn our eye continually to the Gospel of the grace of God as that which alone can impart moral courage, and induce them to brave all dangers in residing with their christian Teacher; as well as give them a relish for the comforts of a civilized life.
[9 July 1836]
Sat 9 Kabbarrin is very ill, and has been for several days; he says he shall not be able to attend church tomorrow, he thinks that he shall die this time. One of our girls Eliza, is also very ill with the Influenza: she acknowledges that her heart is very wicked, and that she is not ready for death.
[12 July 1836]
Tues. 12th Benjamin Pearson an assigned servant to W. Raymond Esquire died here this morning: he had been ill only two or three days; having had several falls from scaffoldings & he was in a very emaciated state. He told me, yesterday, that his sins had been
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a subject of serious consideration with him for a long time, and that he was not afraid to die. However when I left him last night about eleven o'clock I had no anticipation of his dissolution being so near. His complaint was Ischuria, but he had experienced relief. I knew nothing against him as a christian, and I hope he is now at rest with the Saviour. He was a great assistance to us in singing during the short time he was at Wellington.
[13 July 1836]
Wed. 13th I this morning received a note from Messers J. Maughan and W. Raymond Esquires enclosing a check for five pounds, as they remarked, as a contribution on their part towards defraying the expences [sic] of medicines administered to sick persons in the neighbourhood. This handsome donation reflects the great credit on those Gentlemen from the circumstance, that very few of their servants had required my medical advice. I forwarded the check to the Society of the Corresponding Committee to be handed over to the Treasurer.
[21 July 1836]
Thurs 21st Gungin has attended plow regularly for a long time, but is now tired. Kabbarrin is recovered as also Eliza.
[23 July 1836]
Sat 23rd Rode over to a station Ten miles off to visit a man who I was told was dying. I found him in a very deplorable state; but with death and eternity before him, he denied the nature of his complaint. I gave him some medicine and prayed with him for which he appeared to feel thankful. I saw several natives
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among whom were two girls that properly belong to us, but having been decoyed away they are now living in a very improper manner. I was shocked at their behaviour while conversing with them on the subject of religion.
[25 July 1836]
Mond 25 Kabbarrin has been dreaming again. He says that last night he saw the Lord, who put his hand on Kabbarrin's head, he saw many cords let down from heaven far whiter and more beautiful than any he ever saw before. He says that he also saw that very dark place.
[1 August 1836]
Mond Augt 1st Mrs Watson has been confined for some days through sickness, she is somewhat better to day. A sick female came up to day she said Wandong had bitten her; but she could not, or would not be persuaded that sin was the occasion of her illness. Several natives who have been sick are recovered; but though they acknowledge that God has restored them to health, they evince no gratitude to him for his mercies.
[4 August 1836]
Thurs 4th Seventeen Natives at present under religious instruction.
Gungin is very anxious for me to lend him a musket, that he may go and take Warrabin one of Ngarrang Jackey's wives from an European with whom she is living. I refused, to day, telling him that it would be of no use, as in a very short time she would be with some other.
[6 August 1836]
Sat 6th George and Gungin went this morning for Warrabin, but the man with whom she was living, said that she had gone away.
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[6 August 1836]
Sat Aug 6th This morning when conversing with an aged native, Bobbugal, who is generally a resident with us, but has lately been in the Bush, I said you do not pray to God every day now, as you used to do, he hung down his head and answered, no. Another old man, who was sitting by, observed that he believed, when he died, that the great Governor would roast (burn) him because he was wicked. I told him that if he died in his sins the evil spirit would cast him into the place of misery; but that the Great God was kind and merciful and desired all to be good and happy.
[7 August 1836]
Sund 7th Preached to the natives and catechised the children as usual. Kabbarrin said he did not know where he should become a christian, whether here or at Liverpool. He has been to Liverpool several times, and frequently speaks of the Reverend R. Cartwright Colonial Chaplain at that place.
[8 August 1836]
Mond 8th Gungin has been wandering about since he left off ploughing: he has however fallen into order again, and has, to day, fetched, the military, two Dray loads of wood for fuel.
[9 August 1836]
Tuesd 9th Several of our natives returned from the Bush to day.
[11 August 1836]
Thursd 11th Three of our Native Youths have been assisting the men, for the three last days, in cleaning out the Stock yard: this evening the Cart shaft was broken, Gungin was no little pleased at the accident, he immediately came and asked me for the fowling piece, which having obtained, he went and shot two wild Ducks, and gave
them to the natives. Many natives came up to day, among whom was Ngarrang Bartharai the father of our little Fanny. She was standing at the door and did not see him on his arrival; he touched her chin, when on looking up and recognising him, tears started into her eyes. He sat down and took her on his knee, when there appeared to be the workings of mutual affection. Our own feelings are not altogether uninterested in witnessing scenes of this nature, nor are we without our apprehensions on such occasions, that the child many manifest a desire to accompany its parent.
[14 August 1836]
Sund 14th Twelve natives at Church to day, the others have gone away.
[16 August 1836]
Tuesd. 16 August 1836 Kobon Bartharai has got a wife; but this has not settled his mind, for he came up to day apparently determined to take away our Jane (the Native girl that is pregnant.)
[18 August 1836]
Thursd 18th More natives have come up, so that we have more than twenty now.
[26 August 1836]
Frid 26th After a season of severe suffering the native female Jane was this night delivered of an infant boy more dead than alive, it was sometime before the little creature was brought about.
[29 August 1836]
Monday 29th Natives have been collecting for sometime past, in order to witness the punishment of Kobon Bartharai, for having been guilty of an offence with a native female, in the absense [sic] of her husband, and against her will. He underwent the punishment, to day, which has a number of womaras (more properly Bargans, for that is the native name) thrown at him, by different persons, at the same time. This will be considered as a remarkable
circumstance among these debased heathens. It has often occurred to my mind that the existence in their Dialect of a word for shame, and the frequent use of it among them, is an evidence that, though guilty of every vice that can disgrace human nature, they yet profess a higher sense of moral propriety than people imagine, or than we could easily believe considering their general licentious behaviour. Indeed some of their regulations, or customs, are truly admirable as it regards modesty.
[2 September 1836]
Frid Sept 2nd The Blankets having arrived from Sydney, all our elderly natives have to day been supplied: they have gone some miles up the river to fish: the youths also are gone. A native female about fourteen years of age came up to the mission house; she is a widow, her husband having died a few months ago. She said the her father and mother told her to come and live with us. I was not at home when she arrived, and when it was known that she had come to the mission-house Kabon Billy who has two wives already hastened up, and in a very violent rage demanded her. However Mrs Watson took care to secure the door, after which she went round and soon talked Billy into a good humour, and he went quietly away.
[6 September 1836]
Tuesd 6th Gungin has returned by himself having left all his companions in the Bush.
[12 September 1836]
Mond 12th Gungin gone into the Bush to look for strayed cattle.
[15 September 1836]
Thursd 15th All our children have been planting Pumpkins, and Melons for themselves. The youths have been sowing Tobacco seed.
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[22 September 1836]
Thursd. 22 Two of our native youths took the horse and cart, to day, and went 24 miles to fetch some Articles which had been brought from Sydney, by a Carrier. Among the Parcels was a Box from England containing many valuable Articles for our native children; gratuitously provided and kindly forwarded by our highly valued christian friends Mr Marshall and family of Barnsbury Street Islington. Our children were very much pleased with their presents. In the Box was also a Cuckoo Clock which we immediately fixed up; and which, to the no small amusement of our natives, soon began to "talk." In a very short time all the natives arrived from the Camp enquiring "Taga Dhibbalaindhu ngaggu Kngidya yallianna?" (Where is the bird that is talking in the box?) They evidenced the greatest astonishment at what they saw and heard.
[24 September 1836]
Sat 24th Having exchanged some Rams with a neighbouring gentleman: two of our youths set off this morning to take them twenty four miles through the Bush. This is a proof that volatile as they are, they may be safely trusted with property that is not their own.
[Sunday 25 September 1836]
Sund 25th Taught and catechised the natives to day as usual, several strange ones attended.
[26 September 1836]
Mond 26 Septr King Bungarri one of our native boys was sitting in the garden resting himself to day. Seeing him busily employed I went up to him and found that having moistened some clay, he had made a very striking image of a child, or woman in miniature, calling it a "Lolly" (Doll). It was well proportioned, and its large Bonnet with knotts [sic] of ribbons on it looked very well. He afterwards made a gig and Horse with all the things necessary for drawing and placed his "Lolly" in the Gig. When it shall please the Lord to convert these native by His Holy Spirit they will develope [sic] intellectual powers, far beyond what many at present, are willing to acknowledge them possessed of. The two native youths who went with the Rams on Saturday have returned, having delivered up their charge according to instructions.
[28 September 1836]
Wed 28th Gungin has gone again into the Bush to look for strayed cattle.
[30 September 1836]
Frid 30th Gungin returned this afternoon bringing in a wild Cow which has broken out of our Stock yard several times: it is therefore necessary for us to slaughter her this evening. We had promised to send a man with a Team to assist a neighbouring overseer, who is leaving his situation 12 miles from this place, to remove his furniture but having now to slaughter the Cow we had not the means of fulfilling our promise; but Gungin wearied and sore as he was agreed to go: so having had some refreshment he set off with his Dray and Bullocks to go 12 miles this evening, and to bring up the Overseer's furniture tomorrow morning. If he would
constantly remain with us he would be as serviceable as any European servant; but he is not allowed to do so. He is either enticed away by other young men, or commanded by the old men to accompany them. It is natural for the elderly natives in their present state to be jealous of the young men always residing with Europeans, and thus forget the use of their weapons, as their young men constitute their strength in the time of war. Gungin is much attached to us though when he has been absent without leave or imagines that I look slightly on him, he is very insolent; but he is, for a heathen, acquainted well with the gospel plan of salvation, and his heart is tender; he frequently sheds tears when spoken to respecting his soul. There are no natives respecting whose salvation I have greater reason to hope than of Gungin (Jemmy Marshall) and his mother Mary Buckley. Their minds seem most susceptible of religious impressions, and we do trust that they will be gathered in to the fold of Jesus Christ. A short time ago I was from home on the Lord's day: Mrs Watson afraid that the natives would wander about all the day told them in the morning that they should have a church to themselves in the house. Accordingly the young men washed and dressed themselves and, at the hour of worship came into the house. Mrs Watson read through the morning service, the natives regularly responding. This was all Mrs Watson had intended to do; but to her great surprise when the prayers were finished, all the natives sat down
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apparently expecting a Sermon. She felt at a loss how to proceed. However her mind was directed to some anecdotes of pious youths and children; and some accounts of happy deaths of several who had served the Lord in their early years. Having read several of these, and made occasional remarks, as how happy we should be in seeing this native, and that native in heaven &c she thought they would be tired, and enquired shall I give over now? Are you tired of hearing these? Kabbarrin said go on, go on. Gungin with his face literally bathed in tears, with difficulty articulated, no, read more, we are not tired.
This Quarter I have done a little in the vocabulary native and English. Have translated afresh, part of the service of the Church of England; several sermons which have been regularly addressed to the natives and made a new Translation of the first four chapters of the Book of Genesis which I have also frequently read to the natives.