viii. April-June 1834
[Note] Rec’d Jany 3/35
Rev. W.Watson's Journal from the 1st April to the 30th June 1834 Inclusive.
[1 April 1834]
April 1st We have not more than twelve Natives remaining with us at present.
[8 April 1834]
8th Several Natives came up today and are remaining here, in addition to those above mentioned. As usual I attempted to lead their minds to think on the great end of their creation and of their redemption by the Son of God. But Felix like they defer the consideration of these subjects to a future period.
[16 April 1834]
16. Rode about 20 miles into the Bush but saw very few Natives.
[17 April 1834]
Thursday 17. A few more Natives came up today. I endeavoured to point out to them the necessity of becoming religious, but their indifference was deeply affecting. Young and old cast away all thoughts of God and things of a spiritual nature. However, several attended family worship and were taught prayers afterwards.
[22 April 1834]
Tuesday 22nd. One of our Natives in the course of conversation this evening enquired if God was altogether so good as I represented him to be why he did not make him well. I told him that he had not prayed to God in a proper manner. Besides, as his soul was affected with a more virulent disease than that of which he complained he should first pray to God to change his heart and to pardon his sins. The Natives here have got an idea that the world is shortly to be partially destroy'd by a flood. That they will live in a large hut which they intend to build, but before the inundation animals of every kind will of their own accord go into the hut. They have learnt this from some one celebrated Native who lives near to a large river. I asked them many questions on the subject, but it is enough for them that they have been told that it will be. They use no arguments and they appear to be exceedingly angry if the truth of what they relate is disputed.
[26 April 1834]
Sat 26. Nearly 40 Natives came up today, several of whom are very ill. I could fain have spoken to them on the subject of religion, but their anxieties were only expressed after pipes and tobacco. I told them that they were always ready to ask fro a pipe but they felt no desire to pray to God to make them good, and that he might take them to Heaven when they died. Most of them went away. After only the sick remained. When I was in the garden this evening the following conversation took place between Goongeen and one of my Native youths and myself.
G: The Black fellows are going to fight tomorrow, I shall go. Mr W: No you must not. Tomorrow is Sunday, it belongs to God. You must go to church and pray to God to take all evil from your heart and to make you good.
G: I will go after prayers I believe.
Mr W: No, the whole day is sacred and it is your duty to remain at home and learn respecting Jesus Christ who died for you.
G: Tomorrow Sunday! Hy! Hy! Great Sunday in Sydney, great church there. Everybody go to church in Sydney. Great music too, Boom! Boom! baa!(organ). What for not make great church here like at Sydney?
Mr W: When the Natives are desirous of coming to church and have become acquainted with religion we shall erect a church for them here, and others in other parts.
This young man had been with me to Sydney and he often speaks of the church and organ and of Mr Hill. At the same time he saw several New Zealanders, very many of whom, I told him, sat down and read Bible and many of them were very good. This also frequently forms a topic of conversation between him and his Native brethren.
[30 April 1834]
Wed 30. Goongeen driving Bullocks at plough and occasionally plowing. Taught the Natives prayers in their own language as usual tonight.
[1 May 1834]
Thursd May 1st . Employ'd as yesterday, Goongeen also. This evening several Natives came up on their way to a corrobbara at a neighbouring station. Our young men wished also to go. I used my utmost endeavour to dissuade them from going, but without effect. Goongeen said they would return early tomorrow morning.
[2 May 1834]
Frid 2 Goongeen returned this morning at 10 O'Clock exceedingly hungry, and because he did not immediately receive his breakfast he has been angry all the day and has gone back. They had not a corrobbara last evening on account of the rain. They are to have one tonight.
[4 May 1834]
Sund 4. Several Natives came up today but none of them attended church. Goongeen has returned and seems disposed to remain. However, we have some always here who improve in reading &c &c.
[7 May 1834]
Wed 7th About 14 Natives came up today among whom were 3 or 4 girls who properly belong to us, but their husbands are not willing to leave them. They are almost lost in dirt and disease.
[8 May 1834]
Thursd 8 Several more Natives came up today. No impression was made on their minds by my attempts to instruct them. Their conduct was light and trifling in the extreme.
[9 May 1834]
Frid 9 Goongeen has again gone, promising to return in the morning. He had been driving Bullocks at plough all the day.
[11 May 1834]
Sund. 11 Only four Natives at church and family worship. Goongeen has not returned.
[12 May 1834]
Mon. 12. Goongeen has returned. Read over my translation of and 2nd Chap of Genesis. The Natives say they understand it, but they do not always speak the truth.
People in WellPro Directory: Hill, Reverend Richard
[17 May 1834]
17. Have had only 7 Natives here during the week. Goongeen is now suffering from the effects of going to the late Corrobbara. He there caught the disease. This is the first time I have known him to have afflicted with it. Though he has been so much here and has received so much religious instruction he has not yet seen the impropriety of adulterous intercourse. Though it is a law among them that the young men shall not come near to the place where espoused females are, at their corrobbarras the married men almost compel the young men to commit adultery.
[18 May 1834]
Sund 18. Three Gentlemen came up to church this morning and remained to dine with us. Among them was A. Ranken Esq from the Lachlan, who informed me that he had at some time paid considerable attention to the Aboriginal language spoken in the neighbourhood of his estate, and that it is the same dialect as that spoken by our Natives. I was highly gratified by this information, as that circumstance shows the importance of becoming acquainted with this dialect, as it will afford an opportunity of preaching to Natives in the same dialect over an extent of country of many thousand square miles. This stimulates me to double diligence in studying it.
[25 May 1834]
Sund 25. Only 6 Natives at church today.
[26 May 1834]
Mond 26. Our establishment was thrown into consternation and sorrow today by the death of one of our men by drowning. He had gone down to the river to assist Mr Handt's servant man to draw water. Both of them rode in the cart and drove the Bullock without reins or leading string or any means of turning him. The consequence was instead of turning round he went forward until both himself and the cart with the men in it sunk beneath he surface of the water. Mr Handt's man could swim a little and escaped it. He immediately called two men who were plowing close by and I also went down to the river, but nothing was to be seen, nor was there the least bubble on the water. We continued grappling all the afternoon. The Bullock soon floated and the cart was got out, but the man could not be found. It is extremely rare that we go to the river for water, as I have at considerable labour and expense opened a spring at a short distance from the house.
[27 May 1834]
Tuesd 27. Have been engaged dragging the river, but the unfortunate man has not been found. The Natives are holding a feast of the Bullock. Have sent Mr Handt's man servant to Bathurst to inform the Coroner. About 16 Natives here at present.
[31 May 1834]
Sat 31. Several of our Natives have been summoned away to join their brethren under the anticipation of a fight with some wild Natives.
[1 June 1834]
Sund June 1. Only 8 Natives at church today.
[4 June 1834]
Wednes 4. Several of the Natives have returned. There has been no fighting.
[8 June 1834]
Sund 8. Many Natives at Church today. Two of our boys who had been away for sometime returned to day much ashamed, as all our Natives are when they return having been absent without leave. Something being said respecting the unfortunate man above alluded to, one of the boys immediately asked "Has he gone to Heaven?", which is a proof
People in WellPro Directory: Ranken, Arthur
that they do not forget what they have learnt. These two boys were accompanied by a white boy, a Native of the Colony about 16 years of age who remains at the Sergeants.
[9 June 1834]
Mond 9. The Searg. came up to speak with me respecting the boy who says his parents are living near Parramatta but he has not heard of them for 3 years past. I thought it prudent to keep and employ him until I should have an opportunity of forwarding him to them, as his being at large in this Colony would expose him to many ruinous temptations.
[10 June 1834]
Tues. 10. It is quite clear that the Natives have an idea of a spirit separate from the body and which survives the dissolution of the body, though they often say body and soul or in their own phrase "Black fellow die altogether". Since Dixon's death they will not go near his hut. It has been exceedingly rainy today and the Natives did not know where to find shelter, as our huts are not waterproof. I told them to go to Dixon's. They answered "O no, too much Dixon sit down". I asked them how he could sit down there when he had been deposited in th earth. They said "O soul come up".
[13 June 1834]
Frid 13. Finished sowing 13 acres of wheat. May it please the Lord according to his promise to bless us with favourable weather and in due time with a plenteous harvest that our means not being limited we may be able to induce the Natives to remain with us by supplying them with food.
[14 June 1834]
Sat 14th In the course of conversation this evening one of our youths said that the devil sits down in the grave of lately buried individuals and eats his heart, liver and kidneys. I enquired if the Natives saw the devil in the grave at the time of burial. He said no, he sits deep in the earth. I then enquired how he could breathe is he was covered with earth (as the suppose the devil to be corporeal). He could not tell that, but one of the boys laughed and said hy hy hy as much to say it cannot be. The Bell River has risen so high that we cannot pass it except in the bark canoes of the Natives.
[17 June 1834]
Tuesd 17. Several Natives have been cutting bark for us today. After Goongeen had got supper he went out and did not return before 9 O'Clock when we heard him saying his prayers with one of the boys in the hut, after which he read a long lesson with the same boy by the light of the fire.
[19 June 1834]
Thurs 19. Several of the Natives have again been cutting bark. About 6 O'Clock Goongeen came to our window saying he wanted to say prayers, as he was going to the camp. As the young men were all present prayers were said and he went to sleep at the camp.
[23 June 1834]
Mon June 23. Mrs Watson has been confined to her bed through sickness for nearly a fortnight by a cold caught in our hut during the late storm in attending to the Natives. Mrs Handt is poorly and Mr Handt is not well. The wife of one of the military stationed here is also confined to bed and the child of another is dangerously ill of the dropsy so that much of my time is taken up in studying and administering medicine. Indeed this is generally the case. Yesterday Goongeen went after Divine service to the river and there he saw a gentleman fishing. Goongeen was well convinced that this was an improper employment on the Lord's Day and he did not fail to make his remarks on the subject.
[24 June 1834]
Tues 24. Bobagul, one of our old Natives, having been a short distance in the bush this morning, brought information that he had seen a dead cow. I sent one of the men who found it and reported that it had died in calving. Bobagul and some others immediately took their departure for the purpose of cutting up and cooking it, which though I opposed I was not able to prevent. We have more Natives with us than usual, which may be accounted for, perhaps, in two ways. First because we supply them well with milk, having 16 cows milked every day. 2nd, because we now have water at a short distance from the house, so that they can procure it without going to the river.
[25 June 1834]
Wed. 25 Goongeen has been driving a Bullock at plough today. This evening I went down to the barracks to baptise the infant daughter of one of the military. I told Geanil she should accompany me as she had never witnessed the administration of that sacred ordinance/ I suppose she had told the others for after I had entered the house, on looking round I perceived 8 or 10 Natives sitting on the ground in due order, and when I knelt down to pray they responded with the most apparent solemnity. On our way to the mission house the children made many enquiries. One enquired "would the child now die?". I replied that I did not know, but what I had done would not cause it to die. Another observed, when it dies it will go to Heaven, Jesus Christ will take it. In the afternoon Mrs Watson had a long conversation with one of our girls, Nanny, on the subject of Baptism, in the course of which she told her that she would have to be baptised, but that she would then belong wholly to Jesus Christ. The girl said "I will never leave you Mrs Watson." She then enquired if the boy who came up here
on the 9th Inst had been baptised as he was a white boy though he had been guilty of a very bad action. Mrs Watson told her that what he had done was very wicked, to which she replied "But if he is very sorry and prays to God, he will be forgiven."
[28 June 1834]
Sat 28. When we were in the garden this evening one of the boys, who is expecting to accompany one of our servant men shortly to Bathurst, said "Mr Watson, you give me Tin shilling".
Mr W: For what purpose.
P: To purchase some clothes when I go to Bathurst.
Mr W: The people will cheat you.
P: O'no, I will go to Parson Keane's and say parson you give me jacket and trousers, Mr Watson give me money.
Mr W: Mr Keane does not sell clothes.
P: Does he not. That fellow parson Kohbohn (large) bell ring it there then everybody go to prayers like here.
One of the children remarked "many weeds sit down here, this is not like Paradise where Adam and Eve lived."
[29 June 1834]
Sund 29. Mrs Watson is very poorly today. A Native youth came up this evening having on his shoulders a new oppossum cloak which he said he intended to give Mr Watson. I told him it was Sunday and we could not speak about it today. He said "O yes, I know too much Sunday sit down today I believe I talk tomorrow." He looked towards the paddock and seeing the springing wheat he enquired "what name that?" I said wheat. He replied "O thank you, wirri yambul (no deception now), I believe that jump up kohbohn by and by."
[30 June 1834]
Mon 30. Many Natives have come up to the other side of the river opposite to our house. Several have come up to the house. Goongeen had been driving Bullocks at plough all the day. When he had got his supper he came down to the garden and said that he was going to the other side of the river to see one of the Natives (Narrang Jackey) who was Koolah (angry) with him and wanted to fight. I told him that he must not go as it was Satan that made them want to fight and that if he did go and fight he would not any longer belong to me, that fighting was very wicked. He said "I believe so" but immediately went in the direction of the river. Two of my boys
People in WellPro Directory: Keane, Reverend John Epsy
[30 June 1834 cont]
accompanied me afterwards to the river but it was so high that we were not able to cross it. However, it appears there has been no fighting. In closing my diary for another quarter I have to adore the goodness and mercy of our Heavenly Father for the health and many blessings graciously vouchsafed unto us during the same. I cannot but feel deeply humbled that so very little fruit appears from my labours. The Lord daily convinces us that the work is His and only His. May we be enabled to look off from man and look to God. It is the Lord's goodness that I have been enabled to translate the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the and 2nd Chapt of Genesis &c into the Aboriginal language. Glory be to God alone.
[signed] J.C.S. Handt