iv. April-July 1833
Rev W. Watson's Journal from 1st April 1833 to 1st July 1833 inclusive.
[4 April 1833]
Thursday April 4th. Some of our Natives appeared to be much surprised when I told them that tomorrow would be like a Sunday. They said in their own language that Sunday much make haste now. They were very attentive while I was endeavouring to instruct them in the reason &c of the day.
[5 April 1833]
Friday 5th. A good congregation at church this morning. Mrs W spent a long time in the morning in explaining to the children the subject of our Lord's crucifixion &c, and on their being asked tonight whether they remembered anything that had been told them in the morning, they related several circumstances. They frequently mention what they have heard in family worship. I asked one of our little boys (Dickey Marshal) this evening, as we were walking in the bush, where wicked children would go when they died? He said "to that very bad place". I then asked him who were wicked children? He replied, "those that are disobedient, say naughty words, play or bathe on a Sunday". He spoke this in so simple and artless a manner as made it very pleasing. Tears often run down his cheeks when we speak to him on religious subjects.
[14 April 1833]
Sunday 14th. Spent this day in the bush visiting several sheep stations and conversing with the shepherds on the subjects connected with their salvation.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[19 April 1833]
Friday 19th April. Wirrimbildwally, a Native about 26 years of age, has been here all the week on account of sickness. He is generally at a neighbouring station, and almost invariably attends our church on Sundays although nearly blind. He has no yeener, and we have reason to believe that he is far more virtuous than the most of his brethren. I very often speak with him on religious subjects, to which he is far more attentive than the generality of Natives. He says that he lately had a dream respecting Heaven. He was in a large building full of windows and saw God, but he did not speak to him. Rec'd a letter from J Maxwell Esq, J.P., desiring that I would go over and see one of his overseers (about 12 miles distant) who has been severely injured by one of his neighbours in a drunken revel.
[20 April 1833]
Saturday 20th. Goongeen and I rode over to see the above named overseer. Found that he had been severely bruised on the head and neck (with a spade I am informed). I observed to him "the way of transgression is hard". As is generally the case under such circumstances he said that he was not in fault. I left him some oils and some medicine. I saw Kobohn Bobby, King of Burrondong. I have long desired, and made many attempts, to see him, but he was always in the bush when I have gone that way. He lost his sight two years ago by the small pox. He is now on his way to Wellington, accompanied by two yeeners, two
People in WellPro Directory: Maxwell, John
boys, 10 or 12 years of age, and a young child 1 1/2 years of age. Gave a Testament to a shepherd at one of the stations. It was received with apparent thankfulness. May it be the means of leading him to an acquaintance with its Divine author. Several Natives have been here for some days, most of them very ill of the venereal.
[21 April 1833]
Sunday 21st. Am happy to find that my last sabbath's visit into the bush has been the means of inducing several persons to attend church today who have not been before. Some have come 8 and others 12 miles. Our children respond very well at church. I am sometimes almost ready to imagine myself at St Mary's, Islington, when I hear them. They are very partial to singing, indeed all the Natives are very much attracted by music. They are almost ready to dance at the sound of the flute. Kobohn Bobby and his family came up this evening. He is a very stout old man and has a remarkable appearance.
[22 April 1833]
Monday 22nd. Tidings have reached us that Wesley the Native is dead. We learnt a week ago that he and another had been wounded. I scarcely know how it is, but when I hear of the death of any of these Natives, it seems to affect me as deeply as if I had lost a relative. We must leave them to the righteous judge of all, who cannot do but what is just. But taking the holy
Scriptures for our rule, we cannot perceive how they can enter Heaven. Such circumstances are calculated to rouse our minds, and to stir us up to use every means in our power to impart unto them religious instruction. And we see additional reason for being constant and fervent in our applications at the throne of Divine grace for the influences of the Holy Ghost to accompany all our attempts at the moral and religious improvement of these poor creatures. Woowah (Blind Bobby) is as ignorant of God as any of his brethren, though more intelligent than many of them.
[25 April 1833]
Thursday 25th April. Several Natives came up today, but as it was raining they refused to cut us any bark. I spoke to them respecting Wesley, and asked them where he was now? But this was a subject on which they would not enter. One of them said why don't you give Black fellow all about plenty to eat, then all about sit down with you. I spoke to them on the subject of religion &c but I fear it appeared to them only as an idle tale.
[26 April 1833]
Friday 26th. Conversed with Woowah a considerable time this morning. Among other things we spoke on the practice of the Natives lending their yeeners all about to other Natives and to white men. I told him what the great God said in his book respecting one man having one wife only, and that one always to
belong to him and not to any other. The reply he made was a very appropriate one. He said "white fellow all about make a light God, Black fellow all about very stupid. What for white fellow always say you lend me yeener belonging to you, this night, so many nights this moon &c, then I give you bread, I give you milk, shirt &c &c, when Blackfellow make a light God then he never never lend yeener to white fellows at all". He also said "Duke, my brother, come up by and by then you talk to him about God and he make a light directly".
All the Natives in the neighbourhood have been summoned to go and avenge the death of Wesley. When a Native is killed his nearest relative or friend will not rest till he has taken the life of the murderer. Here is traditional evidence of the birth of Holy Scripture and here we see that practice that was the reason of the appointment of the cities of refuge.
[27 April 1833]
Saturday 27th. This night after prayers, going round as usual (to see how all the Natives were situated), I missed the two yeeners and the young child belonging to Woowah (Blind Bobby). I asked him where they were. He said "Charlotte (the child) too much cry, so yeeners gone in bush to sleep". I did not believe that this was the case as they had been sitting and sleeping near to the door of my study for nearly a week, and no complaint had been made. I was afraid that an assignation had been made between them and some white man or men.
[27 April 1833 cont]
I[t] was a long time before I could ascertain in what direction they had gone, but at length I perceived the glimmering of a fire at some distance. I immediately took two of our girls (Warrahbin and Murrahmil) and went to the place. There we found the two yeeners and the child, apparently (but not in reality) asleep. I asked them why they had come there? The elder one said "Charlotte too much cry". I told her I did not believe that that was the reason. When I came home I informed Mrs Watson respecting the circumstance. Mrs W had retired to rest, it being past 10 O'Clock. She arose and taking the two girls we four went to the place. I now learnt from Mrs W that the elder yeener had denied to her (two days before) that she was pregnant. So our suspicions now were of a different nature from what I had at first entertained. When we had come near to the place we perceived by the light of the fire a white infant laid very near to it, and apparently struggling in the agonies of death but not crying. The elder yeener was sitting with her back to it, and the younger yeener was digging a hole in the ground with a long stick (which they use for the purpose of digging up roots &c). Mrs W asked her why she had killed the child? She said no good that one, this one very good, taking the Black child Charlotte and putting it to her breast. Mrs W asked her if she killed the child
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[27 April 1833 cont]
with the staff? She said no, with her foot. Mrs W took the babe and wrapped it in a blanket which she took from one of the girls, and folded it in her cloak for it is a very severely frosty night. The babe felt the warmth and feebly cried, on which the cruel mother seemed surprised, and looking round said, "you give it me now, you have it in morning". Having bought it home Mrs W prepared some cordial and took it to the wretched parent who is about 1/2 a mile from our house. When she returned and began to wash the babe, it was found to be literally covered with dirt and its back much burnt. When the yeener was asked why she had denied being pregnant she replied that she was afraid.
[28 April 1833]
Sunday 28th. Mrs W had prepared some cordial to take to the yeener this morning, but she was up at this place early. She asked Mrs W if the child cried very much, the ans'r was no. She then said "don't you let Black fellows make light, my Black fellow is blind, he cannot see that it is white". A short time afterwards she came into the house when Mrs W was dressing the babe. She said well, you may have it, I don't want it. The poor little creature has caught a very severe cold. We have now in our family Native young men 4, children 8, yeeners 2 and old men 2, making a total of 16 for whom we have daily to provide and who are religious instruction.
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[1 May 1833]
Wednesday May 1st. Booley, the young man who came up so very ill and is quite well now, went away this morning. When he was so bad that neither himself nor anyone else thought he would recover, he said when he got well he would never go away from us. So say most of them that come up sick.
- Erected a temporary bark hut for Woowah and his family, as the young men dare not come up to the house when the yeeners are sitting near to it.
- The anniversary of our safe arrival in the Colony. May the remembrance of past mercies make us grateful, and our spared lives be devoted to God.
[3 May 1833]
Friday 3rd. Bobregul, a old Native who has been much with us here, came up today from a neighbours station in a sad rage. It appears that his dog had been running some sheep and a Native boy who was tending them threw a woomera at it and the stockman who had the charge of them afterwards killed it. Wallahmin, a Native (who had been sometime here on account of sickness but having recovered and gone over to the station), took the side of the boy and this caused a quarrel between him and Bobregul. The old man wept like a child at the loss of his dog. Indeed it was the principal means of providing him his support in the bush. To pacify him I gave him one of my own with which he was much pleased. He embraced
and kissed it, and let it lick his face all over.
[4 May 1833]
Saturday 4th. Bobregul went away early this morning and returned at noon having being speared through the thigh by Wallahmin with whom he had been fighting. He said that Wallahmin also was wounded. I sent Goongeen with a horse to bring him up, but he either had not been wounded or would not acknowledge it, and he told Goongeen that he was afraid of seeing me.
[5 May 1833]
Sunday 5th. Large congregation at church today. 23 persons to dine (Native and European).
[7 May 1833]
Tuesday 7th. Was much amused and pleased this evening. They were all sitting in the room where we have family worship, unconscious of being observed. Each of them took a Hymn Book and then one of them asked Dickey Marshal (Native boy 8 yrs old) were the hymn was? Dickey answered "it is here, it begins with a P". He then began to give out Praise God &c and said "but before we begin I must say the first chapter in Psalms". He then repeated the versus before and the rest joined him in singing it. Their practice on such occasions is to make Dickey their clerk, they generally say to him before they begin "now Dickey say it".
[10 May 1833]
Friday 10th. I am happy to hear that all religious instruction given to the Natives while here is not forgotten when they are at a distance. Booley, the young man that was ill here a long time, went away on the
1st Inst. to Berjere, a station 40 miles distant. There a stockman swore at his cow because she was rather unruly. Booley said "no good you swear that way". The man asked him why? He answered "because you wont go to Heaven if you swear". The stockman enquired how he knew that? To which he replied "very much Mr Watson talk that way, and good many books he has talk that way all about". It is worthy of remark that when Booley came up here he was much in the habit of swearing, but after a short time I have heard him frequently reprove other Natives for that wicked practice. This is some encouragement to us, although they will not remain long with us. Perhaps it will please the Almighty to overrule their vagrant habits to his own glory. Woowah (blind Bobby) and his yeeners went away this morning. He said, "to fetch up his brother, the Duke, to sit down here because that fellow go too much about in the bush". He begged that I would not let his hut be pulled down. He has left his two sons Jemmy and Jacob with us.
[12 May 1833]
Sunday 12th. Old Bobregul expressed a strong desire this morning to have a shirt and a handkerchief that he might be like the children at church. He put the shirt on with the bottom upmost and the sleeves hanging down.
Wirrimbildwally has been hunting Buggeen (the devil) this evening. Whether the others youths and boys apprehended any danger I cannot say, but they were cooing and calling to him both loud and long. I went out to ascertain the occasion of so much shouting, and I was informed that the above named youth was pursuing the devil towards the water.
[12 May 1833 cont]
I immediately went off in the direction that I was told he had taken. Goongeen followed me, on which the others seem'd much alarmed and desired him not to go, but he said Mr Watson was going, so he was not afraid. When we met the youth returning he was quite exhausted with running. He said that he had seen the devil, but he ran about so much that he was not able to come up with him, and that at length he planted himself so that he could not find him. I had a long conversation with him respecting this imaginary devil and the real one. In general he was so mystical that I could not understand the subject. But this much I learnt, that as he is a Doctor he can see and also is able to kill the devil, and that none but those of that profession is able to do either. He says that the devil is often killed, but some Black fellow who is Koolah (at variance) with a tribe, or an individual, makes him jump up again. They attribute all their afflictions and troubles to the devil. He says when a child is lost in the bush, or its parents die, the devil always takes it. He has promised to catch him and bring him to me. Our little babe is very ill and has been so since the time that he came into our care, his eyes have been exceedingly bad and his lungs are also much affected. Great pains have been taken to insinuate that the mother had no intention of killing it.
[13 May 1833]
Monday 13th May. Sister Handt was safely delivered of a fine boy this morning. The Lord was very gracious to her.
[14 May 1833]
Tuesday 14th. It hath pleased the Almighty to take to himself the dear little babe which we have had in charge. It is impossible for strangers to conceive the affection we had for the dear creature. The remarkable circumstances under which he came into our hands, and the constant attention he required on account of sickness may in some measure account for it. He seems to have been snatched from an untimely grave to be introduced into a X'n family and into the church of Christ, and then to be translated to a better world. We considered him as our own, given to us as it were accompanied with a voice from Heaven saying unto us "Take this child and nurse it for me". This we should have been happy to have used our utmost endeavours to do, had we been permitted. I had baptised him by the name of Wilson Pearson, after two eminent (Islington) clergymen very dear to my remembrance and of incomparable service to the Church Missionary Society. Warrahbin, one of our girls, was much affected at its death.
[15 May 1833]
Wednesday 15th. This evening at family worship I attempted to improve the visitation which death had paid our family, addressed especially to the Natives. They were serious and attentive. Warrahbin has assisted Mrs Watson in performing some of the last offices for the infant. She put her face to its face and said "poor baby,
I shall not nurse it any more now." And then turning to Mrs Watson she enquired "Is it in heaven now? Has Jesus Christ taken it?" Mrs Watson said yes. It is now singing Alleluiah, a chorus which our girls often sing. It is said that the Natives are much afraid of being near a dead corpse, but all ours came in and saw the infant and appeared to be affected. I have engraved the initials of the child's name, age &c upon the lid of his coffin.
[16 May 1833]
Thursday 16th. Ascension day. We have this morning interned the infant. It was followed to the grave by Br Handt, myself, all the military and children (who attended uninvited) and all our Native family, consisting of 10 young men, children &c. After I had read the burial service the Native children sang Praise God from whom all blessings flow &c. Shortly after our arrival here, I interned a man who had been drowned. On that occasion I could not prevail with a single Native to accompany me. Now there was not the least hesitation manifested on the part of anyone.
[18 May 1833]
Saturday 18th. An overseer belonging to J Maxwell Esq came up today. He informs me that Woowah (the blind man) is at his station and that he told him that "now he believed there was a God". The man asked him where he had learnt that? He said "greatly Mr Watson talk about that."
[19 May 1833]
Sunday 19th. Church filled with Natives and Europeans. I trust that the means of Grace here will be made a blessing to some of those Europeans who are scattered around in the neighbourhood and who have long had too much reason
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
to say no man careth for my soul.
[20 May 1833]
Monday 20th. Wirrimbildwally has been dreaming again. He says that the other night he dreamed that he saw God, that he was in a very large house and had a long white coat on and a cap or hat. That there was another one with him, his son. That he had two very large books placed on a table before him. That God pulled him in at a window with curryjong (that is a cord so called because they make use of the bark of a tree of that name for the general purposes of twine or rope). That God did not speak to him. That there were outside the house many thousands all reading books which he heard but could not remember.
[21 May 1833]
Tuesday 21st. Woowah and his two yeeners returned today.
[23 May 1833]
Thursday 23rd. Am happy you learn that although Woowah comes into family worship, some of our children teach him to say prayers like themselves. A Native boy of this neighbourhood has returned from Bathurst, 100 miles from here. He was much amused at seeing a poor girl with a wooden leg. He rolled himself on the ground and laughed, crying out where 'tother foot? Where 'tother foot? The Natives have begun to come in from the bush. They have been 100 miles distant and have wounded a man of the tribe which he belonged who slew Wesley. They say this fellow is so strong that they cannot kill him.
[29 May 1833]
Wednesday 29th. Several Natives came up the other day, some of them very ill. They all say prayers with the children.
[31 May 1833]
Friday 31st May. Two bushrangers were brought here tonight about 10 O'Clock, having been taken about 3 miles distant.
[2 June 1833]
Sunday June 2nd. Trinity Sunday. Had a large congregation at church today, Natives and Europeans. Have thought much today respecting my Brethren at Islington. Probably some of them will this day be set apart to the work of the ministry in Heathen lands. May the unction of the Holy Ghost rest upon them St Paul, a of the Holy Ghost rest upon them. May they in the Spirit of St Paul, a Brainerd, a Martyn, go forth determined to know nothing but Xt and him crucified. Counting all things, but dung and dross for his name's sake and for his church's sake.
[16 June 1833]
Sunday 16th. Several Natives at Church today.
[20 June 1833]
Thursday 20th. The Natives who came up a few days ago have again gone into the bush, while here we got them to work occasionally and to attend family worship. Geordie, at the suggestion of a stockkeeper (at a station very near to us) has taken away Murrahmil, one of our girls that belonged to him. He said she should return the following morning, but she has not. And now she is living in the commission of a vice of which she was constantly told the evil consequences while here. It is extremely painful when a girl has been cured of the disease and rendered in some measure tractable, and has been brought under religious instructions. I say it is extremely painful to see her taken from us and living in fornication with a professor of religion in our very sight. Wirrimbildwally came up this evening, I suppose to remain with us a few days. Goongeen is very useful at times. He will yoke the horse and fetch us up wood, water &c without any assistance. But I have often much difficulty in prevailing on him to read a lesson.
[23 June 1833]
Sunday 23rd June. A very serious accident happened at our house today. The Native children (as their custom is) had gone into the church an hour before the commencement of Divine worship. They had been singing very sweetly when we heard them shout, but thought it arose from some dogs coming into the church, which is often the case. However, Mrs Watson went in and found one of the girls (Geanil) outside the door enveloped in flames, in attempting to extinguish which she burnt her own hands very much. I succeeded in breaking the string of her frock neck which was the only part left, but not before she was most dreadfully burnt, the whole length of her back, her left side, one of her arms and her left cheek. I have spent nearly the whole of the day in dressing her. Poor girl bad as she is, when the other children said grace before dinner she made an attempt to rise and move at the name of Christ.
[26 June 1833]
Wednesday 26th. Geanil is exceedingly weak and ill in consequence of being so severely burnt.
[30 June 1833]
Sunday June 30th. Not so many Natives at church today, most of them are in the bush. In concluding the report of another Quarter's labours we cannot but admire and adore the great goodness of our Heavenly Father in affording us health and grace to persevere in our work. Our difficulties indeed have been great and out discouragements numerous. It is impossible for our
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
[30 June 1833 cont]
friends who are surrounded with all the comforts and polite appendages of civilised society can form anything like an adequate idea of the drudgery and attendant on this mission. I often think that to have our residence in a charnel house would scarcely be more disgusting than our employment here. We have generally some sick and occasionally from half a dozen to a dozen at the same time apparently destined to an early dissolution, filthy and corrupt in their bodies through the ravages of the venereal, covered with sores &c and unwilling to move from their place on any account, or to do anything for themselves. I must wash and dress their wounds, their victuals must be prepared for and taken to them. Under such circumstances it will be readily conceived that we must be attacked by a host of vermin as well as be affected with the most unpleasant stench. All this is not more than I anticipated nor more than God in mercy enables cheerfully to go through for his name and for his people's sake. I always calculated on the labours of this mission being of the roughest and coarsest cast, but that my dear wife should be enabled to enter into the work with all her heart and powers, and to bear with cheerfulness and pleasure the fatigues and (so many times) unpleasant labours of the mission is a subject that demands my constant gratitude to God. It would afford us peculiar satisfaction to be enabled to record even one instance of conversion to X'ty among this benighted race. But alas, so far as our observation has extended they do not appear in our opinion to exercise either
[30 June 1833 cont]
gratitude or reflection. However, with all their moral degradation and apparent small degree of superiority to the brute creation, we believe that they are men, and as such are interested in the economy of salvation. Under such views we feel it our duty to labour to instruct them in the great things of God although as yet we have not had reason to believe that real spiritual good has been derived by them from our instruction. May the prayers of our X'n friends in England be constantly sent up to Heaven in the behalf of ourselves and our wretched charge. Could they see from 50 to 100 of these poor creatures half or entirely naked lying on the ground, pulling to pieces an oppossum with their hands and teeth, and covered with filth and dirt, they would indeed with a heavy heart enquire "can these dry bones live?" Thank God we know they can. O that the wind from Heaven might now come and breathe upon these slain that they might rise up an exceedingly great army to praise and glorify God.
[signed] William Watson
[Note] Rev. Wm Watson’s Journal
Jan 1st to June 30, 1833