1.1 Reverend Handt's Letters - Annotations

  1. This letter was written to the CMS shortly after Handt's arrival in England, following his abandonment of his post in Liberia. Handt was appointed to the New South Wales mission 18 days later, on 26 October 1830. CMS Committee Minutes, 26 October 1830, vol.11: 315-6. [Return to page 1]
  2. Reverend Theophilus Blumhardt (see WellPro Directory). [Return to page 1]
  3. Handt established his own base on the remote peninsular at Cape Mount until early 1830. Blumhardt to Handt, 29 September 1830 (Handt Letter 2). [Return to page 2]
  4. Blumhardt to Handt, 29 September 1830 (Handt Letter 2). [Return to page 2]
  5. Handt was ordered to leave the colony by the Governor (and Doctor) Joseph Mechlin, the chief agent of the American Colonisation Society in Liberia from 1829-33. [Return to page 3]
  6. This appears to be Handt's translation of a letter addressed to him by Blumhardt of the Basle Institute, enclosed in Handt's letter of 8 October 1830 to the CMS, in which he defends himself against Blumhardt's reprovals. [Return to page 5]
  7. The barque Eleanor sailed from Portsmouth on 19 February 1831 under Robert Cock, taking 126 days via the Cape (Simonstown) to reach Sydney on 25 June 1831. The 133 male convicts on board had mostly been convicted of machine breaking during the `Swing Riots'. D. Kent and N. Townsend, The Convicts of the Eleanor: Protest in Rural England, New Lives in Australia. London: Merlin Press, 2002. Its passengers included Joseph Mason of Bullington, Hampshire, whose own account of the voyage (in a memoir, c1838) included a detailed description of their stay in Simonstown. See D. Kent and N. Townsend (eds), Joseph Mason: Assigned Convict, 1831-1837. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1996. [Return to page 9]
  8. John Stephenson. A copy of his Journal is held in SRNSW. [Return to page 10]
  9. That is, False Bay, Simonstown, on the eastern side of the peninsula. [Return to page 11]
  10. The Eleanor encountered harsher seas days after leaving the Cape, and again in Bass Strait. Kent and Townsend (eds), Joseph Mason, 35-6. [Return to page 11]
  11. Joseph Matthews (1808-1892), a weaver from Deddington, Oxfordshire, was trained as a catechist at the CMS College in 1830. He was originally intended for the NSW mission and arrived in NSW on the convict transport Argyle on 17 September. He spent the next few months assisting the organisation of the Infant and Sunday schools. Matthews was redirected to New Zealand amid concerns over the mounting financial costs of the New South Wales mission, departing NSW on the Porcupine in May 1832. He went on to serve as a missionary for 52 years and died at Kaitaia in 1892. His papers are in the Church Missionary Society records at CN/O61. (see WellPro Directory). [Return to page 12]
  12. Reverend Richard Hill (1782-1836), Church of England chaplain and Secretary of the Sydney CMS (see WellPro Directory). [Return to page 15]
  13. Matthews had, in fact, had a “most singular” voyage to NSW on the convict transport Argyle to Hobart, on which a convict plot to take the ship was narrowly averted. While in Rio, Matthews was horrified to learn of the surviving slave trade. He also spent five weeks in Hobart, and met Governor Arthur who "spoke in the most feeling manner about the poor Natives of V.D.Land". Matthews to Coates, 28 May 1831, and 30 September 1831, CN/O61a. [Return to page 17]
  14. Unaware of negotiations between the CMS and the Secretary of State in London, Archdeacon Broughton had been devising his own plan for a New South Wales mission, also to be jointly funded by the CMS and the NSW government. Handt's arrival in New South Wales prompted a confrontation between Broughton and the Sydney CMS, after Broughton learnt that the government funded mission was to not to be under his control. Broughton resigned from the Sydney CMS and cancelled his subscription, then protested his lack of ecclesiastical authority over the missionaries by refusing to enter either on the list of colonial chaplains. See also Watson to Coates, 4 June 1832 (Watson Letter 3) and Watson to Coates, 5 July 1832 (Watson Letter 4). [Return to page 18]
  15. The condemned would have included four men who were executed on 26 September, before a large crowd that gathered in the rain in the yard at the rear of Sydney Gaol. David Pegg and Richard Anscombe “died easily”, while another, Carberry, “appeared to suffer most excruciating agonies for some minutes”. Two other men, John Groves and Daniel Burns/Byrne, convicted for a robbery on Robert How’s house in Pitt Street in June, were respited. Sydney Gazette, 27 September 1831. [Return to page 19]
  16. The identity of the Aboriginal sailor has not been ascertained. Note that the most famous Sydney Aborigine, Bungaree, who had a long service record with the Royal Navy, sailing with Captain Flinders, James Grant, Phillip Parker King, died at Garden Island in November 1830, seven months before Handt arrived in NSW. Sydney Gazette, 27 November 1830 [to be checked] … famous portrait by Augustus Earle in the Rex Nan Kivell Collection, National Library of Australia. – printed in London 10 August 1830, shortly before his death [Return to page 21]
  17. Simeon Lord’s brig, the Trial, was seized by convicts as it sat in Port Jackson on 12 September 1816. Four months later, in January 1817, the wreck was found by the Lady Nelson in what is now Trial Bay. Information from Aborigines indicated that some survivors had built a craft and sailed away, while others had trekked to Newcastle. The story of a female survivor/s had been circulating for many years. In 1826 it was reported to The Monitor by “A Bush-Ranger” that, according to intelligence from Aborigines of the Liverpool Plains, the unnamed white woman and her 12 year old daughter were “sojourning” with a coastal tribe north of Port Macquarie. She was said to have had a second daughter to her Aboriginal husband, while her white daughter was soon to be married. The tribe was said to protect her so jealously that they killed three white men who they thought had come to rescue her. The Monitor, 18 August 1826. [Return to page 21]
  18. The Governor's annual "feast" was instituted by Governor Macquarie in 1814. See R.H.W. Reece, "Feasts and Blankets: The History of Some Early Attempts to Establish Relations with the Aborigines of New South Wales, 1814-1846", Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania 1 (1967): 190-205. The feast of January 1832, held in Market Place, Parramatta, was attended by 287 Aboriginal men, women and children, who were given the customary gifts of food, clothing, tobacco and handkerchiefs, as well as eating utensils and goblets. Governor Bourke was accosted by a “deformed old man”, a little over three foot tall, known around Parramatta as “Lord Dunn”, who informed the Governor that “as he was the only `Lord’ in the Colony, he hoped something would be done for him”. Bourke gave him £1. Sydney Gazette, 12 January 1832. This was the second last Feast, the custom abolished by Bourke in 1833. [Return to page 21]
  19. Reverend Robert Forest, Master of the King’s School, Parramatta. On Broughton’s plans to establish Parramatta School in early 1830, see HRA I, 15: 356. Forrest was appointed by Viscount Goderich on a salary of £100. Goderich to Darling, 21 June 1831, HRA I, 16: 281. [Return to page 22]
  20. From 1828, the Lunatic Aslyum at Liverpool operated in a building formerly used by the Liverpool Bench, replacing the former premises at Castle Hill. In 1835 Governor Bourke declared the Liverpool Asylum a “wretched hired Building without outlet of any kind”, demanding a new facility to accommodate the numbers succumbing to “delirium tremesis”, [tremens – violent restlessness, trembling and hallucinations, due to alcohol withdrawals] thought to be the result of the excessive consumption of “ardent spirits” among the colonial population. Bourke to Rice, 13 January 1835, HRA I 17: 631. [Return to page 22]
  21. Nattai, west of Oakdale and Picton. [Return to page 22]
  22. Major Henry Colden Antill (1779-1852) of Jervis’ Field, Campbelltown, Magistrate at Stone Quarry and Superintendent of Police at Camden. He was also a lay member of the Sydney CMS Auxiliary Committee. (see WellPro Directory). [Return to page 23]
  23. This murder occurred on Peach Tree Bend, up on the old Razorback Road. The deceased was George Miller, a stockman attached to the road party under the overseer, Mr. Stokes. A press report of the “horrid murder” noted further that of the four men taken into custody, one, who had originally inferred against the others, was believed to be the murderer. Major Antill was praised for his “indefatigable and judicious exertions” in this case. Sydney Gazette, 14 February 1832. The murderer was Charles Smithwick [could be John Smithwick, alias Fean, per Edward 1831 from Cork to Sydney]. He appeared before the Picton Bench on the following day, Wednesday 8 February. Some years later, another local man was killed near the same spot by John Lynch, the “Berrima Axe Murderer”. Lynch was eventually tried for a murder near Berrima and hanged at Berrima Jail in 1842. We are indebted to Liz Vincent of Picton, author and local historian for discussions on the Miller murder. [Return to page 23]
  24. Antill’s wife was Eliza Wills, married at St. Phillips Sydney in 1818. Their children included Margaret, Henry, John, William, Thomas, Ellen Sophia and Edward, all born in the colony. They had at least another three children in later years. [Return to page 23]
  25. Probably Alfred Kennerley of `Retreat Farm’, Bringelly. He married Jane Rouse of Rouse Hill at Windsor in 1834. Sydney Herald, 24 February 1834. [Return to page 23]
  26. Stock notes a Mr Warburton, an English CMS missionary, who spent twenty years in West Africa. Stock 1: 264. [Return to page 23]
  27. Reverend George Innes was appointed by Viscount Goderich as Master of the King’s School, Sydney, which was directed by the Church and School Corporation. Innes died shortly after the writing of this letter, on 5 September 1831. Goderich to Darling, 28 May 1831, HRA I, 16: 259-60; Bourke to Goderich, 23 November 1831, HRA I, 16: 806-7. [Return to page 23]
  28. The Australian College, on Jamieson Street, Sydney, was founded by Reverend J.D. Lang on the “liberal and economical principles” of the Scotch Schools and Colleges. The School opened in 1831, with Reverend W. Pinkerton professor of English; Reverend Henry Carmichael Professor of languages, mathematics and natural philosophy. Lang was highly critical of the Church and School Corporation and its Commissioners, particularly its failure to direct its resources towards educational institutions..Archdeacon Broughton was affronted by the British Government’s support for the Presbyterian school. Goderich to Bourke, 12 January 1831 and 13 June 1832, HRA I, 16: 22-28, 659.Bourke to Goderich, 23 November 1831, HRA I, 16: 806-7; Lang to Bourke, 26 December 1831, HRA I, 16: 491-6. [Return to page 23]
  29. By that time there were doubts about the School’s success and viability, though Archdeacon Broughton remained committed to the scheme. Forrest’s King’s School at Parramatta, on the other hand, had “taken extremely well”. Iin late 1831 there were 41 boarders and 12 day scholars. Lang’s Australian College was also succeeding. Bourke to Goderich, 23 November 1831, HRA I, 16: 806-7. [Return to page 23]
  30. Reverend William Cowper. Cowper did not return to England until 1841, when he went to received treatment of his cataracts (see WellPro Directory). His passage was paid for by his parishioners. A description of his departure was given in Hood, Australia and the East, 295-6. [Return to page 24]
  31. See Watson to Coates, 28 February 1832 (Watson Letter 1). [Return to page 25]
  32. Mary Crook was the eldest daughter of the missionary, William Pascoe Crook. She had only recently returned to NSW after 14 years in Tahiti. (see WellPro Directory). [Return to page 27]
  33. Handt was relocated to Moreton Bay in July 1836, after he had withdrawn himself from the Wellington Valley mission amid bitter disputes with the Watsons. He was installed by government as chaplain of the prison settlements at Brisbane Town and Eagle Farm, with a moderate salary of fifty pounds. His work with Aborigines was minimal, and most of his time was spent administering and preaching to convicts, the military and civil establishments and superintending two schools. Twelve months before this letter was written, the CMS had ordered him to return to Wellington Valley (after the dismissal of William Watson). Instead, he remained at Moreton Bay with an increased government salary. The CMS ceased supporting Handt in March 1841, though he continued to transmit annual reports relative to the condition of the Aborigines to the Government. [Return to page 38]