iii. 1 September 1837

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Letter 3: Günther to Coates, 1 September 1837, p.1.
Class Mark: C N/O 47/3
MS page no: 3-013


[note] Rec Feb 8/38

Wellington Valley, September 1st, 1837

Dear Sir,
I wrote in April to inform you of our safe arrival in this Colony, and did not expect an interval of more than four months would elapse ere I should address you from the place appointed for our future labours. As we were fatigued from our long and perilous voyage, a short stay at Sydney was desirable, and it afforded us no small enjoyment to meet some Christian Friends after a half a Year's seclusion from Christian society. In the month of May the Corresponding Committee were about to make arrangements for our proceedings, when however the Reverend R. Taylor, whose indisposition made a change of air requisite, wished me to officiate a few weeks for him at Liverpool, to which request I acceded with the consent of the Corresponding Committee. Mrs Günther was staying with me at The Parsonage at Liverpool where we were detained between 5 and 6 weeks. My time was fully occupied in the parochial duties as it is with some of the Ministers in the Colony and I trust the opportunity proved an hospitable introduction to me into the ministry. Still my wish was to proceed as soon as possible to the more immediate sphere of my labours. On the 13th of July we left Sydney for Wellington Valley by what is styled "The Royal Mail". It certainly carries the letters etc and is the most expeditious conveyance in the Colony, but by no means the most comfortable. It is exactly what one would style in England "a painted cart". Over the Blew Mountains, is here at this season of the year the roads are very bad (not worse, however, than I expected, for considerable improvement has been made). Our journey was very fatiguing, the shaking being so very violent. Mrs G. felt it for several days after. We also had rather cold when crossing these high mountains, there being ice and snow upon them. The scenery is not very interesting yet it might be called grand on account of those lofty rocks of granit & frightfully steep, precipices; in fact the idea of cutting a road through such a rough and mountainous part and the success already attending it are grand in themselves. About 18 miles before you reach Bathurst a very extensive plain cleared by nature opens before you and the beautiful prospect affords quite a relief to the eye after you have travelled upwards of hundred miles with scarcely any interruption through the bush. At Bathurst which we reached after two days & part of the night’s journey we remained at the Reverend Mr Keane’s for almost three weeks till we had sent for & received a conveyance from W. Valley. During my stay I preached several times for Mr Keane & enjoyed much his society. On the 4th of August we left our .... Friend . . . & proceeded, in a cart to Wellington. Mrs G, occassionally . . . back for a change, since she could hardly bear the shaking of the Cart

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson

Letter 3: Günther to Coates, 1 September 1837, p.2.
Class Mark: C N/O 47/3
MS page no: 3-014


The road was very bad the first day, rough and hilly. We travelled about 32 miles and reached late in the night a little Inn at Frederic's [sic] Valley where we had very inferior accommodation and much less prayer. The following day we had a little better road and reached in good time Moselong [sic], 26 miles distance, a Station belonging to the Revd. S. Marsden and some of his children, where Mr MacDonnal, the Overseer did all he could be accommodate us well. Here we spent Sunday, the 6th, and performed Divine Service to a congregation consisting of about 15 persons. I forgot to mention that Mr Watson sent a black boy together with the man who brought the Cart, a youth, of about 17 or 18, to appearance and the best looking of the Aboriginal Natives I ever saw before. He appears to be under the influence of religion. He betrayed a great attachment to the Watsons during the journey being impatient to arrive soon at Wellington Valley to see them I was hardly able this morning to dissuade him from leaving and proceeding by himself. Besides other reasons, I especially pointed out to him that it was sinful to travel on Sunday and I am inclined to think that this consideration partly induced him to stay. I was surprised we saw scarcely a single black all the way up from Sydney. Today, however, we had the pleasure of seeing a number of them. If I say so 'had the pleasure', I confess I do not mean in any other respect but because they are to be the object of our missionary labours, please God. For the sight of them, their appearance and condition can by no means afford pleasure, it rather raises the mingled feeling of compassion and disgust, for we never before saw human beings in such a degraded condition, more like beasts than rational beings. They were almost entirely naked. Some of them knew Mr Watson, which I was happy to learn. Monday the 7th. We proceeded this morning early, though not as early nor as quickly as I wished. I expected we should be able to come for our journey's end today, but soon perceived that it was impracticable. We had a beautiful day for travelling, the road also pretty good. The country is getting flatter and flatter, the scenery and vegetation partly pleasing still there is much sameness all over the Colony as far as I have seen. We were again favoured with the sight of several Natives, who presented quite as unpleasant and piteous a picture as those of yesterday, if not more. These miserable creatures can not fail to excite commiseration in every human breast but to entertain the hope of their recovery and to make efforts to recover them requires faith, much faith, a full dependence on the promises and Scriptures. We travelled about 25 miles today, and as the night had overtaken us we were obliged to take up our abode in a little bark hut at a place called Narrogo [sic], a station belonging to a Mr Masfield where the Overseer accommodated us as well as he possibly could. It was certainly not a place adapted for a lady and Mrs Günther was the first that spent a night there. I am sure she could not have believed before hand that it was possible for her to spend a night at a place like this but necessity teaches us many things which may seem impossible and the Lord can and will enable his servants to endure hardships! We slept indeed very soundly. August the 8th. We left rather late this morning, had about 13 miles more to travel and as we were advancing our anxiety was increasing. When about 6 miles distant from our journey's end it began to rain when Mrs Günther in order to avoid getting very wet had the courage to proceed by herself on horseback continuing fast away. Had she been aware that soon after she left us she had to pass a place where not a fortnight ago some bushrangers were seen one of whom was taken, she would not have ventured. At a distance of about 3 miles from the Mission a beautiful valley opened itself before our eyes & I soon discovered a herd of cattle . . .

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson | Marsden, Reverend Samuel

Letter 3: Günther to Coates, 1 September 1837, p.3.
Class Mark: C N/O 47/3
MS page no: 3-015


to the Mission. Having persevered another mile I was favoured with the longed for sight of the Mission establishment lying on a hill. Oh that if may prove "a city on a hill!" I was quite enamoured with the scenery round about. Partly, no doubt because it was to be the place of my future pilgrimage and labours, partly because it was rather a superior scenery excelling at least all we had seen up from Bathurst, even in that would I observed a little more variation in there being for instance the fine tree in the mountain to the left hand side. Hitherto we saw scarcely any trees but the gum species. I also discovered soon the land to be very good. When about half a mile off two Native boys came to meet me on horseback, one of whom desiring me to ride home on horseback. I had up from Bathurst frequently to walk. I reached the Mission between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon where my good Lady had safely arrived an hour before, and where Mr and Mrs Watson kindly and gladly welcomed us. May it please God who through the dangers and fatigues of sea and land has safely brought us here to continue his mission here, to bless us and make us a blessing and may we be enabled to proved indeed a help to those who paved the way for us countering many difficulties and hardships. I was uncommonly pleased to see so many Natives camping near the Establishment. They had been expecting us for several days and wanted to meet us in state, ie. oppossum cloaks, blankets, old shirts, older jackets etc. Also the children, 5 in number, the elderly girls and the few boys in the Establishment intended to meet us at some distance and to salute us with singing the Hymn ""O'er the gloomy hills of *ness". We however surprised them at our unexpected hour. It was pleasant for us to see many of the Natives here, even of those who encamp in the bush, not so horrible in their appearance as those we met on the road. The short time of my stay here will hardly enable me to say much or to pass any judgement on the actual state of the Mission in a mission like this where everything is still in its infancy and where the field of labour is in just such a state imaginable, or, I have rather said, beyond what people in Europe can imagine it is very difficult to trace the success. I declare I have not been disappointed. I certainly came here with no sanguine expectations. If I had left England with such they would at once have been depressed in this Colony where nearly every body, even men whom you feel inclined to call missionary friends, speak in a despairing and discouraging way with regard to missionary efforts among the Aborigines of this country, and where indeed several efforts, whether sufficient ones I will not decide, have been actively frustrated or attended with scarcely anything like success. I confess I feel rather more encouraged than I was from what I observed during our stay. Some of the children and youths on the Establishment have made a surprising progress in short time, both in reading and knowledge of the Bible. Some of them could put many children of professed Christians in Europe to shame. We have at least abundant proof that the Aboriginal Natives of New Holland however degraded they may be are as capable of having their intellects cultivated as any other nation. From the little I have seen and heard of the language I have been agreeably surprised at its being by far richer than one would naturally expect from their simple and low way of being. All the time we have been here we had for the most part a considerable number of Natives about, sometimes from 50 to 80 and we frequently visit them. But I cannot help making one observation here. I am sorry that one missionary's time must be entirely taken up or almost with business of a secular nature and the latter must frequently interfere with his principal errand if not other arrangements can be made, not to say anything in reference to the management of the farming affairs how slack that business is and must be neglected. Another observation I feel obliged to make and I do it with much reluctance. It is with reference to our salary. I never made any inquiries in England about the salary. I always thought it a shame for a missionary to feel anxious about it. I can say with boldness that the salary I should get was the last consideration with me on entering the missionary work. Were I a single man I should perhaps never care but try to do . . . and I think accustom to a considerable

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson

Letter 3: Günther to Coates, 1 September 1837, p.4.
Class Mark: C N/O 47/3
MS page no: 3-016


degree of inconveniences and privations, but now it becomes my duty to have thought for my wife who has left a comfortable and respectable home and who whatever support might be given still will have to submit to many difficulties and privations which every missionary must expect. We have at present to submit to some great inconveniences which are naturally tended to affect our health. Except a little thing for a study, we have only one room both for sleeping and sitting and this is not the worst. It is in such a dilapidated state that we are in a constant draught and have all manner of insects crawling about. To add to this inconvenience we have by some neglect or other not yet received our luggage from Sydney not likely to receive them soon. The Watsons are certainly kind to us and do all they can to accommodate us but are in consequence often obliged to put themselves to inconveniences.[2] I am aware that with regard to the salary allowance of £60 my predecessors might be adverted to as having alone sought the same. Without any reflections on them however I may be allowed to observe that in this Colony where an eagerness to accumulate wealth proves so infectious to many Christians it is very desirable to guard the missionaries against engaging in secular business by a sufficient salary. The Lord knows it is our sincere desire not to engross our minds with these things. We wish to spend and be spent entirely in the drudgery of the Lord, but then we must wish to be neither involved in cases for our support. I hope the Committee will believe me that no feelings of dissatisfaction induced me to make these remarks for I have every reason to believe that you feel concerned for our temporal comforts. When speaking about the state of the Mission and those youths and children under instruction, I forgot to add that with some of them we have some reason to hope that they are occasionally impressed with a sense of religion and to a change of conduct. We have noticed that is shaming to record, they are especially with few exceptions addicted to stealing. [One] of the girls though most advanced in that knowledge of Christianity is a desperate thief. I am thankful to say that I have the happiness to enjoy good health but I am sorry to say my dear wife has often been poorly. Mr and Mrs Watson do not appear to enjoy good health. Mrs Günther was obliged to send for some things to England. I must beg the Committee to remit the amount of them to Mr Paris of Wilmington Square or some other relation of Mrs G. who might call for it and please to put it to our account with our Agene Mr Cambell of Sydney. Remember us forevently[?] at the Throne of Mercy. That we may be . . ported under every circumstance and faithful servants in the Lord . . .

From Dear Sir faithfully yours

[Signature and last line damaged]

To D. Coates Esq

[Note] Received and forwarded the same hour by W.C. 23 Sept/37

[Addressed to] D. Coates Esqr
Secretary of the CMS
Salisbury Square

[Note] Wellington Sept. 1/37
Rev J. Günther

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson