Sydney CMS Correspondence

Correspondence between the Sydney Corresponding Committee and missionaries and others - (a) New Holland Mission. Class Mark CN / O 5(a)

Note: The following transcripts and notes are compiled from AJCP M215. We have only extracted items relating to the Wellington Valley mission, and we have retained the order of the AJCP copy, so the items are not strictly chronological. What follows is only a sample of the letters relating to Wellington Valley from this bundle.

Hill to Williams, 10 May 1826:
re formation of a Committee of Correspondence on 29 April, consisting of Samuel Marsden, Alexander McLeay, Saxe Bannister, William Cowper and Richard Hill

Scott to Hill, 18 December 1826.
… "His Majesty having been pleased to command that I should form one or more Establishments for the Civilisation of the native Blacks of this Colony with a view that I may submit some plan to the Governor for his Excellency's approbation, I could much wish to avail myself of your long residence in the Colony and experience of the habits and manners of these people.
Should the request not be considered too importunate you favouring me with your [?] and at the same time it would be furthering the benevolent views and interests which the King has taken on the behalf of these wandering and unhappy beings" …

Hill to Scott, 18 September 1827.
… "I was duly favoured with your letter dated Dec 18 1826 relating to the wretched Aborigines of this Colony..."
"As a Minister of our Holy Religion and a believer in the revealed word of God I cannot entertain the opinion that the Aborigines of New Holland are a people to be exterminated - the Scriptures declare..."

Hill to McLeay, 25 May 1832
re arrival of Reverend William Watson on the Sir William Wallace, 1 May; Handt arrived on the Eleanor, 25 June 1831, as arranged by Lord Goderich; desirable that they should proceed immediately; Committee solicits that His Excellency authorise the use of government station at Wellington Valley

McLeay to Hill, 30 July 1832
re Committee’s letter of 26 May; Governor has instructed Auditor General to prepare warrant for payment of £250, being half the yearly sum voted by Legislative Council for the mission

Watson to Hill, 4 November 1833
re specifications of the mission reserve; requesting a government notice of these boundaries and enforcement as for private property; private graziers encroaching on mission land; threats of violence from one stockman; action taken by Governor after the incident was brought to the attention of the Bathurst Magistrates

Watson to Hill, 30 January 1835
re John Odgen who left the establishment on 15 January, entrusted with Annual Reports for 1834, has since been seen at Bathurst intoxicated

Watson to Hill, 25 March 1835
"... We have only a few natives here this quarter. They are now taking their females and children from every station to assemble at a general Corobbera to Byamy their maker. What is the meaning of this? I hope to be there. They say white man stole Byamy's wife and he is going to kill all white man, and all the natives that are found with them ..."

Handt to Hill, 9 August 1835.
“… I would not say that there is no fault in me but I assure you that I always dread our meeting together, for there is generally something which instead of having the tendency of union rather alienates. But should there be nothing unpleasant at the time something more disagreeable shews itself afterwards when it becomes manifest that there was an appearance of Friendship to gain some end; for when the point is obtained the mask is thrown off again. I could mention several instances of that sort but I forbear. Nor am I the only person that complains, if you were living here in the Neighbourhood you would here of more. …”

Watson to Hill, 2 September 1835
re assigned servant Ramsden, close to death; have received letters from Everndon and Attorney General re steps against Welsh for his conduct with Aboriginal girls; had expected they would get 6 months on a road gang; Attorney General believes there is insufficient evidence; will appear before the Bench with the girls, but conviction unlikely owing to the character of the two girls

Watson to Hill, 15 December 1835
thank you for Tracts on Temperance sent some time ago, have distributed them all, request more; may appear strange that they are needed on the extremities of the Colony, but sly grog shops abound, supplied by drays constantly on road from Bathurst; “great numbers of persons of different grades will go any where and almost give any price for this deadly poison”;

Watson to Hill, 16 December 1835
re conduct of mission servants; Ramsden died a very painful death, denying he had venereal and unrepentant; Welsh said to have been sentenced to a road party; Aborigines slaughtering cattle 100 miles NW of Wellington Valley; intending to go up country to speak with them; have 245 ewes and rams and 210 young lambs, 600 to 700 lbs of wool, mission stock “the admiration of the neighbourhood”; settlers’ sheep dying; one of the military employed to oversee the stock; detected two men at the Aboriginal camp tonight

Watson to Hill, 16 December 1835, CMS CN/05(a)
forwarded 500 lbs of wool by James Dutton who will bring up supplies; also 16 to 17 hides which might be sold in the neighbourhood; have not ordered any soap owing to high prices; some cattle in the bush but lack of staff to bring them in; have no barn; government buildings no good; have engaged two men to erect a barn and fence a paddock; our shepherd Paddy who has been with us 18 months, anxious to have his wife sent to him, would like to keep him but the going rate for an illiterate overseer is $40; am having a light cart built to carry tent and medicine box; natives mustering to sing to Byami; “Old and young of both sexes must be present and have bones through their noses or they will die; this confirms my formerly expressed opinion that there is more knowledge in them than many imagined”; request Committee approve giving servants money instead of slops so they can save in preparation for their Tickets; a sow die recently, left two young pigs, Aboriginal girls raising them on milk

Watson to Hill, 31 December 1835, CMS CN/05(a)
re money for blacksmith’s work and medicines owing from Aspinal and Co, their superintendent Maxwell who has had nothing to do with the farm for more than 18 months past; other outstanding accounts from George Cox, Mr Moore, Captain Raine, do not expect they will be paid; am suffering from a violent pain in left thigh since returning from last expedition

Watson [to Hill?], 15 February 1836
re affliction of Mr Handt’s family; delivered of a boy; Handt took entire charge of his wife’s delivery despite there being three women present; Mrs Handt very ill and in convulsions nearly three days; blames Mr Handt’s “ignorance and obstinacy” in refusing to let her be attended

Watson to Cowper, 2 October 1838
forwarding a full account of private stock dealings since 1832 and explaining failure to provide them earlier [these have not been located]; am poorer now than when I first arrived; “not much hope of the Mission here now, nor of a mission anywhere under the Colonial Government of New South Wales, as there is no dependence on any place where a mission may be established”

Watson to Cowper, 20 October 1838
“I trust that I shall be ever ready to acknowledge my errors and failings before men, in the presence of my Heavenly father. I have abundant reason to lay my hand upon my mouth, and to prostrate myself in the dark”; re conduct of magistrates and constables, swearing amongst the natives, young men frequently drawn from their work; number of Aborigines declined by half since the formation of the Police establishment; re instructions for missionaries to occupy the buildings near the river; allegations against the Chief Constable and others; constables detain mission servant for examination re removal of materials from one of the old buildings