x. Oct-Dec 1834
[Note] Recd Jany 28/35
[Note in red] Recd July 13/35
Rev. W. Watson's Diary from Oct 1st 1834 to Dec 31st 1834 inclusive.
[2 October 1834]
Thursd. 2nd I have at present 20 Natives under my care, to whom instruction is imparted in one way or other. With the children order may be obtained, but with the elderly Natives we are happy to give instruction as opportunity serves.
[3 October 1834]
Frid 3 This day is the second anniversary of our arrival here and we cannot but be deeply humbled under a sense of our unprofitableness [sic].
[4 October 1834]
Sat 4 Yesterday our wheat paddock was again flooded and we apprehended that the wheat would be all under water. However, the wind has changed and the paddocks again clear.
[5 October 1834]
Sund 5. As the young men came to church this morning, the yeeners were thereby prevented from attending. Most of the Natives here are sick.
[6 October 1834]
Mon 6. Several Natives have come up today and more are expected tomorrow.
[7 October 1834]
Tuesd 7. Twelve more Natives came up today. In the course of conversation with the Natives at their camp, some of them said, indeed, they did believe in God. They were very attentive to my discourse. I spoke to them on the impropriety of their conduct in several respects, they acknowledged it was not right to do such things.
[8 October 1834]
Wednes 7 [sic]. I have now 20 Natives here.
[9 October 1834]
Thurs 8. [sic]. Old Jemmy Buckley (whose yeener Poll has been with us sometime) came up to the hut today and wished Poll to go to the camp. I cannot say whether she refused, but he took her bag and went away with it. Shortly afterwards Mrs Watson accompanied Poll to the camp. But Jemmy was in so violent a rage that the children cried out he will kill her, he will kill her, send for Mr Watson, he will give over directly if Mr Watson comes. I went and found both of them angry with each other, however, by and by, they seemed to be reconciled.
[10 October 1834]
Frid 10. A man came up from a station 30 miles distant from Wellington Valley to report the sudden death of his hutkeeper. The wretched state of the Europeans scattered abroad in the bush is truly deplorable. Without any means of instruction, and free from all moral restraint, they are generally given up to the practice of vice of every kind. Depraved in their habits and afflicted with the most loathsome disease, they differ from the aboriginal Natives in little more than the colour of their skin. I asked an old Native today who made him? He said "I don't know, you I believe". I told him that could not be. He said "good while ago me very near die, and you make me well again". I said it was the Great God that made him at the first, and that raised him up when he was ill. It is a painful circumstance that some who are spoken to daily on the subject of religion remain so ignorant.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[12 October 1834]
Sund Oct 12. Only 17 Natives at church today, although we have 40 here. The young men and the yeeners were equally afraid of each other and so neither came. In the afternoon I read to my children and others some accounts from the Missionary Register, and as is usual they were attentive and asked many questions. I had an interesting conversation with the Natives at the camp on the subject of the general Resurrection. When I was speaking with one of the Natives on the subject of religion this evening he interrupted me by saying "Mr Watson, I am going into the bush and I shall look out skins for Mrs Watson". I told him that we wished him to remain here and learn how he might go to Heaven. That he would go about in the bush until he died and then he would go to a bad place. However, I could not dissuade him.
[13 October 1834]
Mond 13. Our number is reduced to 24, the others have gone into the bush. some say to make young men, others to hunt. Goongeen has also gone. He wished me to lend him a dog which was left by a person passing through the settlement a short time ago. I told him it would not right for me to lend another person's dog. Then (he said) lend me one of yours, to which I did not agree. He then requested me to give him something. I told him that when he remained with us he was supplied with everything. He said "too many yeeners sit down, now I cannot sit down here". I replied that yeeners did a great deal of work but young men would not work. He then remarked in a very emphatic manner "what can I do? How can I do?" We have to teach the Natives prayers in 3 several companies. our children, then the young men, and afterwards the yeeners and adult males.
[14 October 1834]
Tues 14. One of our Natives who went away yesterday has returned. Have had some more conversation with my Natives respecting the erection of their hut. 7 Natives here sick.
[15 October 1834]
Wed 15. One of our youths told me this morning that the Natives were very pleased to say prayers in their own language, that many could now say the Lord's prayer in the bush. I will just remark here that we do not give credence to all they say, so that our recording their expressions is not to be received as an evidence that we always believe them to be true. Some of the young men have been planting maize corn and melons for themselves. This is a circumstance which I apprehend has no parallel in their history. I had 14 Natives in the mission garden today. After work I sat down with them in a shady place and read over my translations of part of the Scriptures. They said they understood it. They were much pleased with the picture of the star in the east, the explanation of which afforded an instructive lesson. This evening Kobohn Billy, one of his yeeners and a boy came up. When I was speaking seriously to Billy, a young man pointing to a hog which had just been slaughtered, asked "where soul belonging to pig now? Has it gone to Heaven?". I answered that the pig was not so highly favoured as to have a soul like man. He said "O yes pig got soul". I enquired if he thought himself in no way superior to that animal, to which he gave no answer. They were all very serious at prayers. Several of them are heard to sigh dearly. Surely this bespeaks a consciousness of all not being right within.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
Narrang Jackey came up and voluntarily left Warrahbin with Mrs Watson, so both his yeeners are here. He wanted a blanket and one was given to him. It is a lamentable fact that since she left us she has fallen into those vicious habits which are so universal here. It is beyond dispute that for sometime she repelled the solicitations of wicked Europeans. But nothing short of Almighty Grace can renovate the heart. One of the young men said tonight at the camp, "Xmas will soon be here now". I answered yes, that is a great day, being held in commemoration of the Great God coming down from Heaven to die for men. He replied "O yes".
[16 October 1834]
Thurs 16. Young men planting corn, melons and pumpkins for themselves. Went to the camp as usual and taught the different companies prayers in the aboriginal language. Several Natives have returned.
[18 October 1834]
Sat 18. Changes have taken place on the establishment today which prove how little we should trust appearances. A short time ago Narrang Jackey left one of [his] yeeners (Mary) with Mrs Watson saying he should leave her under her care till she was grown up. On that occasion he received a blanket. On Wednesday last he brought Warrahbin and got another blanket. This morning he has taken them both away. Several Natives came up today whom we have not seen before. Two yeeners who have each a child have gone away. One of them said yesterday "she should soon lend her little girl (now not more than 3 years old) to white man" and all we have said and apparently all we can say produces no effect. Our hearts sink, our souls are heavily oppressed and we groan out "Help Lord, vain is the help of man". In the morning we had 40 Natives, this evening not more than 20. We have had much thunder and lightening today. I asked one young man "who made the thunder &c". He said he did not know, Black fellow he believed. Another replied "God to be sure. God made everything".
[19 October 1834]
Sunday 19th. Not more than 12 Natives at church. One young man who is sick received a clean shirt and handkerchief, but he wanted also a pair of new trousers. These were not given him. On that account he picked up somewhere and put on part of an old red jacket and a pair of trousers, as much torn and patched as can be well imagined. In this state he came to church, creeping behind the door because he could not forbear laughing at his own ludicrous appearance. After dinner I saw one of the Natives busy with his fishing line. I spoke to him and he immediately put it by. I read to them some portions of Scripture in their own language, and then conversed with them. In the evening taught them as usual at their different camps.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[20 October 1834]
Mon Oct 20. Had a long conversation with our Natives this morning on the subject of the general resurrection, the judgement, and the dissolution of the world. They asked several questions respecting Jesus Christ.
[22 October 1834]
Wed 22. Some Natives have come up and some have gone away. I was pleased with the conversation of several this evening, they spoke favourably of religion and of our design in coming to live among them.
[23 October 1834]
Thurs 23. An old man who is passing with some sheep came up this evening to request liberty to fold them on the settlement. He was allowed to do so, but before he left the premises he endeavoured to persuade one of our yeeners to accompany him, however she refused.
[24 October 1834]
Frid 24. Several Natives came up for a supply of fish hooks. One of them said one of our girls (an orphan) belonged to him and he wished to have her. I told him at once that she belonged to Mrs Watson and would never more go to live in the bush. I was much pleased this evening with the distinct and solemn manner in which the Natives repeated their prayers, and particularly with two old men (one of whom has been notoriously wicked) who never before attempted to pray. I can scarcely help believing that the lord is doing something for us. Some of the young men have been preparing ground for tobacco seed.
[25 October 1834]
Sat 25th. Our patience has been again tried. One of our little girls (Eliza) who came up a short time ago (with Nelly, her mother, Sally, another yeener and old Jemmy to whom they belong) and who seemed to be settled with us decamped. All the females had received breakfast in one hut, and all the males in another. In about 15 minutes I went to the door and not seeing Eliza I enquired where she was? The other children either did not know or were unwilling to tell. I then went down with them to the garden, they were going to plant some peas in their respective plots. I said where is Eliza? Has she gone into the bush? One of them said yes. I immediately returned to the house and went after the fugitives. I overtook Sally and Nelly about a mile from the house, but no girl with them. They said they did not know where she was. I compelled them to come back. I then brought them into the house and told Jemmy that they should not go till he brought back the girl whom I knew was concealed not very far off. At length he went and brought her up. She had been crying, not knowing, I suppose, where the other females were.
[26 October 1834]
Sund 26th. Only 14 Natives at church today. In the afternoon when I was conversing with the females and children in one hut, one of the females appeared to be affected and hid her face beneath her opossum cloak. She seemed to labour to conceal it from being observed. I spent the whole afternoon in attempting to inform their minds on religious subjects.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[26 October 1834 cont]
When I was speaking of Satan's tempting Eve to sin, one of our girls asked me "why God made the Devil"? This led to a conversation on his supposed previously exalted and happy state, his disobedience and fall, and his continually seeking to lead persons to sin against God. The same girl asked afterwards if Jesus Christ could not come from Heaven by and by to destroy the world. I had a long conversation with our Native youths this evening. I found it extremely difficult to understand them. Kabahrin was the chief speaker. The following is a part of the conversation.
Mr W: Does your Devil ever die?
Kabahrin: No. Never.
Mr W: Do not your doctors sometimes kill him.
Kab: O yes!
Mr W: How is it that the devil is sometimes killed and yet never dies?
To this he made no reply, but the other Natives laughed aloud.
Kab: Baggeen (a name we have always supposed given to the devil) belongs to the soul. Every Blackfellow has got a Baggeen. Baggeen belonging to some Natives at a great distance have made young man Billy ill at Goboleon, he will soon die, very large stone sit down in him.
Mr W: How did Baggeen belonging to the Natives come so far and leave their bodies behind?
Kab: O come up when sleep. Very great stone they put in young man Billy.
Mr W: When the doctors say that they have taken a stone out of the body of a sick person, had they not the stone in their hand first.
Kab: O no.
Mr W: When you see a doctor about to take a stone from a sick person, look into his hand to ascertain whether the stone is there. (At this some of the Natives laughed aloud).
Kab: O Blackfellows are not deceitful.
Mr W: I did not say they were. I only said you ought to watch the doctor to see whether he does not pick up a stone, as you know they look all around for one.
Though I made many enquiries respecting this Baggeen, I could not understand Kabahrin on the subject. The conversation then turned on Byamy.
Kab: Byamy made all Blackfellows, and white fellows and everything.
Mr W: Where does Byamy live?
Kab: A long way off across the great waters, near to England.
Mr W: Do the Natives pray to him as we do to the great God.
Kab: O yes.
Mr W: Do you pray to him?
Kab: O yes.
(I do not believe that to be the case)
Mr W: Has anyone ever seen Byamy.
Kab: O yes, when dreaming.
Mr W: Did you ever see him?
Kab: I do not like to talk about him, he will be very angry.
Mr W: Does he hear you speak? How will he know you are speaking of him?
Kab: I do not like to talk about him.
Mr W: I am anxious to see him.
Kab: How would you get across the water?
Mr W: In the same way as the Natives who accompany me.
On going to the camp this evening I had occasion to reprove two young men for having been fishing when they had been well supplied with food from the mission house. They replied that they were very stupid to do so today, but whitefellow take wool down on Sunday (referring to a gentleman who accompanied his dray with wool on it had passed through the settlement).
[27 October 1834]
Oct Mon 27. After our children had been working in the garden we retired to our shady retreat. I spoke to them of the sufferings of Jesus Christ and of the goodness of the Great God in giving His only son to die that poor Black children might go to Heaven. I remarked how much we ought to love God and how readily should we obey Him. They replied "Indeed it was very good of the Great God to do so". I then spoke of the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and endeavoured to convey to their minds an idea of the manner in which these two memorable circumstances took place. When I had ceased speaking, one of the girls said "speak more of it Mr Watson, speak more of it". This child is very partial to hearing us read as well as to reading herself.
[1 November 1834]
Sat Nov 1 Several Natives have been planting corn &c &c for themselves lately. When I was sitting at the young man's camp this afternoon, J Buckley came up from the other camp. As he had all his weapons of war with him I thought all was not right. I enquired where he was going? He said that an old man (Jemmy) about 2 miles off was evilly disposed towards him, and he was going to "look him out". I said never mind Jemmy, his anger will soon go away. You remain here with me. It is very bad for any to fight, but especially old men. You know when you pray, you say forgive us &c. But he would go. In the evening one of his yeeners enquired of me, Did Jemmy tell you he was angry with another one Blackfellow? I answered yes,and I bade him not to mind the old man, but to sit down here and be quiet. Her heart seemed to be full and she said "That was very good of you".
[6 November 1834]
Thurs 6. How elastic is the human heart, under particular circumstances it is depressed and bears the semblance of humility, but no sooner is the pressure removed but it rebounds. Perhaps there is not a greater impediment to the success of the Gospel than human pride. God will have all the glory of His Grace. We are conscious that we can effectually do nothing in our great work without the Almighty Spirit, yea, that it is that Divine influence that must do all in the salvation of the sinner. And yet when God is pleased to convert a sinner, how ready is pride to spring up in the heart of the instrument and to lay claim to a share in the glory saying "Thou hadst a hand in the work". Truly and effectually to humble us the Divine Being may see needful to bestrew our missionary path with disappointments and discouragements. O that they may not be lost upon us.
I have been led to make these reflections from a painful circumstance which I am about to relate. I have often had occasion to mention that in order to prevent improper intercourse between our girls and the Native youths, the former have almost invariably slept in my study, on the same floor with and not more than 3 yards from our lodging room. The weather
[6 November 1834 cont]
being not extremely hot, three nights ago we thought we would let them sleep in the hut adjoining our lodging room in another direction, taking the precaution to lock the doors and bring away the keys. But after all our care and caution they were too cunning for us. This morning about one O'Clock I heard a noise in the hut and on enquring the cause of it I overheard one of the girls in a whisper tell another to say what she thought would satisfy me. I immediately dressed myself, procured a light and went into the hut, where I found two Native youths making their escape up the chimney. The girls confessed who they were. I went out to the young men's camp but on seeing me the two offenders jumped up and made the best of their way into the bush. I proceeded to the camp of the elder Natives which was at some distance in the bush. When I arrived not an individual was to be seen. I was aware that short as the time was that had elapsed between my surprising the youths and my arrival here some communications had passed between them and their elders. I stood by the dying embers which lay there for a short time, when lo! from behind the bushes the elderly Natives made their appearance. The father of one of the aggressors (Goongeen) asked "what is the matter? what name you look out?" I told him, though I believed he was acquainted with it before. He said "you are not angry?". I said yes, indeed I am. It is not a very small thing for them to come into the house &c &c. My mind was too deeply affected to admit of my going to bed, for one of the girls, with whom I have taken extraordinary pains and who has made remarkable improvement, was equally involved with the rest. The father of Goongeen came up early this morning to intercede on behalf of his son (a most remarkable circumstance indeed.) He said I must tell him that it was very bad to do so, and that he must do so no more. How to act so as to show our abhorrence of the deed, and at the same time to avoid discarding them, we scarcely knew how. We allowed Goongeen to come up to the house and into my study. He said he had done very wrong and felt very much ashamed, and that he would never do so again. Mrs Watson said you know Goongeen that it is very wrong, you have been told so very many times, and your conduct makes us very sorry, it makes us that we cannot eat or drink or sleep. His heart appeared to be full and he said hye; hye; does it? does it? He laid blame on the other young man saying that he was very stupid to listen to him. But it appears that every young Native on the premises has been in the hut during the 3 nights the girls had slept there. The other young man is a notoriously wicked one. He has given me the very grossest language that he was capable of when I have spoken to him at different times respecting his conduct. But I cannot think of him without this reflection. How do I know but this very wicked youth may be monument of God's saving grace.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
What under this circumstance more affecting is the hope we were beginning to cherish of brighter scenes. Lately there had been unusual attention paid to our instructions and to prayers.
[8 November 1834]
Sat 8th. Several Natives have gone away, the young men are ashamed (not their conduct I fear but of) being discovered.
[19 November 1834]
Wednes 19. Fourteen Natives here. As there is much sheep shearing in the neighbourhood the Natives are at present at those stations where masters are engaged with the wool, as they are under no moral restraint and receive food for doing a little work. I had the painful duty this day of interring an overseer (station'd about 10 miles distant) who met with his death yesterday by his horse running against a tree in the bush. He was killed on the spot. A fortnight ago he spent the holy sabbath shearing his sheep. May this solemn event be made a blessing to the unthinking on all sides.
[22 November 1834]
Sat 22. Several Natives (strangers) came up today. I asked them who made them? They replied that they did not know and they wished me to tell them. I spoke to them accordingly of the creation, of the gift of Jesus Christ to save them, of our errand here &c. Two of them expressed much surprise. They went away to a station about 3 miles from here. Duke ? has taken away his yeener (Sally). When she was brought up here a short time ago she was scarcely able to crawl or even to move about, but she is perfectly restored and has taken her departure, evincing and I believe feeling no gratitude either to God or to myself.
[23 November 1834]
Sund 23. Ten Natives at church today. Two of the adult females are learning to read. A message was brought to Poll Buckley today from her husband Jemmy, saying there was going to be a Native dance at a station and she must meet him there. I told her it was very wicked to do so on a Sunday and said she had better not go. However she did not take my advice. One of my girls (?) was reading a lesson which runs thus, a good boy will not lie, swear, steal &c. When she came to the word "lie" she suddenly stopt short and would not proceed. I asked why she had done so. She hesitated answering, but at length acknowledged that she did not like to read it because it condemn'd her conduct.
[24 November 1834]
Mond 24th. Poll Buckley returned with several others this morning. She says that they had not a Native dance because she told the men that I said it was wrong. (This may be true). I showed them the portrait of a female Native of Van Dieman's land. One female was much alarmed and called out "Devil Devil". They all said prayers in the Aboriginal language in a solemn manner. 20 Natives here.
[25 November 1834]
Nov Tues 25. I had 14 Natives including the children with me in the garden today. As usual after working for a short time we sat down and I read to them and conversed with them. They appeared to pay attention to what I said. But they are extremely crafty. We never have an influx of Natives without having an increase of anxiety, as there is generally on such occasions a plan devised for getting away one or more of our children. A female who has lately come here said that Geanil, our orphan girl, is her sister, and the girl readily falls into the scheme. This female comes from a distance of 100 miles from this place. We told her that we did not believe it, but be that as it might the girl would never leave Mrs Watson. There are two girls lately come up but we have little chance of keeping them with us.
[26 November 1834]
Wed 26. Many Natives came up today increasing our number to nearly 40. Mrs Watson asked a Native man to leave his girl with her. He said "O no! O No! What for you want pikininny". He was told that we wanted her to learn to read &c &c. He said "O No! O No! Mr _ (a Gentleman and a magistrate about whose estate this Native generally lives) "No good Parson get pikininny, get yeener, get young man all about. What for not all about go in bush. Governor come up by & by take up Parson, put him in jail". I asked the strange Natives who made them &c &c? They said they did not know. Byamy, they believed. It may perhaps yet appear that they believe in a first cause.
[27 November 1834]
Thurs 27th. After breakfast the Native men took their departure. The females were at the camp a short distance in the bush. The mother of one of our girls (Eliza) was waiting near the mission house, probably with the intention of getting her away, and we had too much reason to believe that Geanil (the orphan) was also disposed to go. In the afternoon a female who is generally here came up from the camp, probably to fetch Geanil, for she enquired for her several times. Geanil was in the house sewing so she was disappointed.
[28 November 1834]
Frid 28. Several Native men came up today. I apprehended their errand and had to watch our girls with as constant attention as a shepherd has to watch his sheep, lest they should become a prey to the prowling wolf. There is a larger concourse of Natives than usual in this neighbourhood...engagement one man was killed.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[29 November 1834]
Nov Sat 29. Many Natives of both sexes came up today but did not remain long.
[30 November 1834]
Sund 30. 17 Natives at church today.
[1 December 1834]
Mond. Dec 1. About 60 Natives on the establishment today, some whom we have not seen before. Warrahbin and her sister (belonging to Narrang Jackey) came and told Mrs Watson they wished to remain with her. Murramil, who went away a few days ago, is also to remain. A man who had a fine boy with him readily agreed to let him stop with me. Mr Handt took him under his care as also another who says he will stop here. I gave 25 pounds of beef to the men and 25 pounds to the woman, and many of the latter got their dinner in our hut. It has been remarked in reference to such occasions as this "Give the Natives the meat and let them cook it and divide it, who can think of cooking for 60 or 70 savages". To a stranger the observation will appear very reasonable. But what is the consequence? Both amongst males and females there was nothing but complaints and dissatisfaction. "Mr Watson I have had nothing to eat" was the cry of one and another all the afternoon. When I had weighed the beef and given them an iron pot to boil it in, one of them very deliberately took a piece of about 10 or 12 lbs weight and was walking away with it for himself. He was prevailed on to take it back and put it into the pot with the rest. When we cook and distribute it ourselves some call out "too much you cut it, too much you cut it, give it Blackfellows altogether". The yeener and daughter of the Native lately killed are literally covered with pipe clay as a sign of mourning. A Native brought his sick wife upon his shoulders for medical aid. I visited them at the camp and spoke with them.
[2 December 1834]
Tues 2. Most of the Natives have gone. Only 12 remain with us.
[4 December 1834]
Thurs 4. Many of the Natives have returned. One of them is very anxious to get away one of our girls (Eliza) whom he said was given to him long since.
[5 December 1834]
Frid 5. All the Natives came up for breakfast. Mrs Watson had given to each a piece of bread, and in serving out milk, she said Narrang Jackey take your milk, however another took it. Shortly afterwards Jackey came up and asked for milk. Mrs W said I gave it to you. He went out of the hut in a rage, threw down his pannikin with the greatest violence, summoned his two yeeners and went away, and although Mrs W went out after him to give him milk he would not have it. With a hut full of Natives pressing closely to her on all sides it is no wonder she made a mistake, especially knowing that Jackey would very readily come again and again for his share of provisions. Commenced reaping today. 8 Natives are learning to Reap.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
On going to the camp this evening I heard a female groaning heavily. On enquiry I learnt that she had a violent pain in both her ears and all over head. I had her brought into [the] hut. After having given her a little medicine and syringing her ears well with warm water, she was better.
[6 December 1834]
Sat 6th. Engaged in reaping wheat, the Natives also, they will very soon learn.
[7 December 1834]
Sund 7th. 15 Natives at church today. Two sick Europeans came up for medical aid. The Natives very attentive to instruction, especially one sick youth. They were telling me this afternoon of a place about 50 miles distant where they say the Natives are numerous and speak this dialect. This is an additional spur to me in reference to the language. I often cry out "O for the gift of tongues". One of our young men wished to go and reap today. One of the servants told him that it would be wrong. "Why?". Because perhaps the Lord would send rain and destroy all the wheat. "O but Mr Watson pray to God, and then God will not". (This implies something).
[8 December 1834]
Mond 8th. Two more of our young men are ill. One of them has cut his foot, and having occasion to go into the study, when I returned, he had emptied the pot and besmeared himself all over with it. A short time ago I took some lotion in a bottle to the camp for one of the Natives to bathe her eyes with a little of it. I laid down the bottle and went a few yards to speak with some others. When I returned an old man had emptied it, washing himself with the lotion. Our children have been reaping as well as the young men and one old man, the latter work very hard. Another sick European came up for medicine.
[13 December 1834]
Sat.13th. Several Natives came up this day with intelligence that some "wild Blacks" were coming and messengers were dispatched in all directions to summon up others to meet them. Some have been teasing me all the day to go and shoot "wild Blackfellow" or "lend Blackfellow musket". I was busily employed till late this evening with some European servants just arrived, that I could not visit the camp before 9 O'clock, it is about 2 miles off. As our Natives had gone, I had not a companion. When I arrived at the camp the first salutation was "well Parson, you come alone"? Yes, I am not afraid of going alone in the dark. "Devil Devil did not catch you". This afforded me an opportunity of introducing religion, but the moment I mentioned dying they simultaneously cried out "Do not say any more". After conversing with them for some time I accompanied by several young men returned home where we arrived between 11 and 12 O'clock. There were about 50. They promised that they would not fight.
[14 December 1834]
Dec. Sund. 14 Several Natives came up from the camp in the morning but soon returned. Only 15 Natives at church. This afternoon I went to the yeeners camp behind our house and found Sally, belonging to Duke Timms , apparently dying. The other yeeners said she was dying. I gave her some medicine and shortly afterwards a little tea and she revived a little. I afterwards went to the men's camp and found about 80 Natives. I learnt that they had been fighting and one was severely wounded. I spoke to them on the impropriety of their conduct in fighting on a Sunday at Wellington. I told them that all their fighting arose from the evil spirit. They were very silent. Our own Natives were not at all pleased to see me go up, being conscious of their having done wrong in being present.
[15 December 1834]
Mond 15. This morning I found Sally somewhat better, as also another sick female. I gave them some medicine and one of the girls took breakfast to them. But on going to the place in the course of half an hour, I found they had crawled away into the bush. This evening the Natives encamped near to our wheat paddock where there is no water. They have done this, I apprehend, in order to help themselves to wheat, as some did the other night. But as we are going to lead all the night they will be disappointed. Our old man has given over reaping. He goes to the paddock, gathers a little wheat, dresses it, brings it home, grinds it, makes it into a cake, bakes it and immediately eats it, and he is continually complaining of being "hungry".
[18 December 1834]
Thursday 18th Engaged on the wheat stack today. Another sick Native has come up for medicine. Sally remains very ill but too far off for me to render her that attention which is necessary. Kabahrin, one of our young men, was taken so ill that we thought he would die a few days ago. He complained of violent pain in his head and at his heart. I applied a large blister over the affected part and he recover'd a little so as to be able to crawl away to Goboleon. Old J. Buckley has come up very ill, pain in his head and chest, and deaf. I gave him medicine &c and he went to the camp.
[21 December 1834]
Sunday 21st This morning about 9 O'Clock we heard some person singing and first we thought it was our men. Shortly afterwards we heard a person speaking as if engaged in delivering a fervent exhortation. As we have lately received two servant men from Sydney we thought the warm address must proceed from one of them. However, on looking towards the Blacksmith shop we saw one of our boys apparently listening. Mrs Watson went over and lo!, there was Goongeen (our Native youth) standing on the hearth delivering some kind of address, apparently with all the energy possible. When he saw Mrs W he immediately ceased and ran to conceal himself. It appears that he had borrowed a Bible of one of the servants and then going into the shop, closed the door. The boy who was listening said that he first sang the morning hymn, then little prayers and great prayers. (I suppose he meant the prayers said by them daily and the Church prayers). Then the Benediction, afterwards he
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
began to preach. What were his reason for this procedure I cannot tell. He shut himself up alone so that while it was an imitation of Divine worship I can scarcely say it was a mockery.
While speaking to my Natives this afternoon respecting a future world, an old man (Bobagul) said he was afraid he should go to hell "for all Blackfellows were very wicked". I then spoke to him respecting the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ and told him if he prayed to God he would give him a new heart and take all of his fear away. He said he did not know how to pray. I told him that I had taught him and would teach him more. Went to the camp in the evening, found some of my patients better, but Sally is very ill. On my way I trod upon a snake but sustained no injury. May I be as graciously preserved from the venom of the "Old Serpent".
[22 December 1834]
Mond 22. Finished reaping wheat today. Several Natives have gone to Goboleon with wheat which they have gleaned in the paddock.
[23 December 1834]
Tues 23. Many Natives came up this morning having heard (I suppose) that we had killed a Bullock. Having been supplied with the head and some offals they went down to the river to cook it and did not return. In the evening I went to the camp and found, as I had anticipated, poor Sally left alone in the bush, unable to move and without any provisions. I took a man with the dray and brought her up to the door of our hut. She cannot recover (I think). I brought her into the kitchen, applied a blister to her chest and gave her some medicine. Afterwards she took some tea and bread.
[24 December 1834]
Wed 24. This morning I found Sally outside and her blister on the ground. I replaced it but she very soon took it off. Many females gleaning in the paddock. It appears that the Natives have been fighting at a short distance.
[25 December 1834]
Thursd 25th. Our Bullock, lately slaughtered, weighing nearly 1300 lbs, is spoiled by the lightening and heat. Thermometer 960 in shade. Several Natives came up today, some from a distance of 100 miles from here. They came to church with the others but were not so well behaved. After dinner I read over some of my translations of holy scripture and so interested did they appear that they came and sat down with me, one after another, and paid the greatest attention. They said they understood what I read. When I gave over reading some of them said "Kurrandiring Myengoo, Kurrandiring Myengoo", book for Blackfellows, book for Blackfellows. Surely there must be some degree of knowledge necessary as preparatory to their conversion to
the X'n faith. So true is the saying 'How can believe on him of whom they have not heard?, and how can they hear without a preacher?' And it may be added without a preacher able to address them through the medium of a language with which they are familiar.
[26 December 1834]
Friday 26. About 70 Natives here today, many from Gingin, 100 miles NW of Well. Val. I gave them 70lbs of beef and allowed them to gather wheat which had fallen down in the stackyard. Though they rec'd so much beef and 3 iron pots in which to cook it, 2 hours elapsed before any one could be prevailed on to fetch water from a short distance for the purpose of cooking it. And after all there were many complaints about not receiving a share of it. I proceeded as usual with my translations. This evening I and 5 of our children visited the camp 1 1/2 miles distant. As I had previously caught a violent cold and having a blister on my side I was more than usually afraid of wading through the river. My children soon took an old branch of a tree, threw it across the water, then wading through they took hold of my hands. In passing through grass almost as high as myself they were careful to go first and, by treading down the grass, make a path for me. These and other similar attentions are pleasing in heathen children. Sally very near to death today.
[27 December 1834]
Sat 27. Poor Sally died this morning about 10 O'clock. She was sensible to the last but I cannot say anything favourable of the state of her mind. She had received X'n instruction during the short time she had been with us and we must now leave her to the judge of all the Earth who will do right. But the circumstance of a heathen dying on our premises without affording any fair ground of hoping in her salvation cannot but deeply affect our minds. It does not fail to reprove us for not giving more diligence to the study of the language as the probable channel through which instruction will be imparted to advantage. O may we truly repent of lost time and be moore attentive to this very difficult but very necessary part of our work. It is a gracious providence that for 2 years not one sick Native had died here, notwithstanding many have been brought up here apparently beyond the hopes of recovery. She did once recover and went away, but on her return to us she was ill. The other yeeners bent her feet backward when she was dying and laid her hands on her breast. She was then closely folded up in her oppossum cloak, and afterwards in a sack. She was then folded in a sheet of bark and borne by 4 females to a short distance behind our house. King Bobby, assisted by
two other Native men who came up, dug the grave about 3 feet deep. Into it was then very carefully put a quantity of grass and leaves. On this the body was placed. Her bag was placed under her head. Upon the body grass and small boughs were laid, then 2 or 3 rails reaching from one side of the grave to the other. On these were placed sheets of bark and the earth heaped up to the height of 2 or 3 feet. A quantity of large boughs and stakes were placed on the top to prevent Native dogs from disturbing the body. There was no ceremony whatever. One of the women seemed very anxious to become possessor of the contents of the bag. She took it up and looked in it, then laid it down. This she repeated more than once but, as they believe the "Devil is in the bag", she dared not to take it.
[28 December 1834]
Sund 28th. 14 Natives at church, some for the first time in their lives. Visited the camp in the evening, about 90 Natives present. I saw a tree nearly covered with locusts. As they form part of the food of the Natives, it is probable John the Baptist eat [sic] something of the same kind.
[29 December 1834]
Mond 29th. Many of the Natives came up today. I proceeded as usual with my translations. 100 Natives on the settlement at present.
[30 December 1834]
Tuesd 30. Some Natives came up today, the rest had gone to Goboleon. A design was formed for getting away one of our girls, but it failed and she remains with us. I and my children visited the place of their late encampment. I am informed that when the Natives have been 2 or 3 nights in the same place, they imagine the Devil is there and they must remove.
Have gathered all our wheat, perhaps 700 or 800 bushels, which we trust will be a great advantage to the mission. During the last 9 months flour has been from 35/ to 40/ per 100lbs, which in our circumstances is of great importance.
[31 December 1834]
Wednes 31st Several Natives came up today, but they were soon summoned away by a messenger from Goboleon on account of some fighting among the Natives.
Having being busily engaged with the harvest lately I have not been able to pay that attention to the language that was desirable. I will just give a brief statement of what I have done in it, and the order in which I proceeded with it.
1. A vocabulary of words and sentences, about 4000, the former alphabetically arranged, order: English & Aboriginal.
2. The Lord's Prayer & Apostles Creed.
3. The , 2nd & 33rd Chapters of Genesis, to set forth the wisdom, power and goodness of God, man's originally happy state, lamentable fall, consequences, author of all evil, Satan.
4. Moral Law or X Commandments, to exhibit the justice and holiness of man, the Divine Being, man's duty and guilt, consequent on disobedience.
5. , 2nd, & 33rd, 4 & part of 5 Chapt of Matthew's Gospel from 17th ver. Chapter. The birth of Christ, Baptism, Temptation, the sermon on the mount to 12th Verse of 5th Chapt.
6. 8th, 26th, 27th & 28th Chapt. of St Matthew's Gospel.
7. Two or three of the miracles.
8. Conjugation of about 12 verbs through Indic. Mood. pres. imperf. Perfect and Future Tenses with a few other parts as preparatory to the formation of a Grammar.
These attempts at translation will at a future period either to myself or to others appear contemptible, but it is our duty to begin and as our knowledge of the language advances we shall revise, correct and improve our present labours or, dissatisfied with it, throw it away altogether and commence anew, "Who hath despised the day of small things".
By the help of my Heavenly Father I purpose now to direct my attention to the improvement of my vocabulary and the formation of a grammar. I had made preparation for publishing a first book in the Aboriginal language for the use of our children and wrote to the Corresp Com in Sydney on the subject. But I am of opinion it may be preferable to defer this proceeding as the expense thereby incurred might be thrown away by the inaccuracies which probably would be seen to abound in the work.
[Signed] William Watson
[Signed] J.C.S. Handt
[Note] Read in Committee Jany 8th/35