xi. Jan-March 1835
[note] Rec Feb 10/36
[Note] Recd[?] Apl. 18/35
Rev. W. Watson's Journal from 1st Jany to 31st March 1835
[3 January 1835]
Sat 3rd About twenty Natives came up to day. Some enquired if they might have sope [sic] to wash; to be ready for the Sabbath. All who have been for any time at the Mission House know that the Sabbath is a day of rest, and during the week frequently enquire "What name to day?" They are indeed ignorant of the sanctity with which it ought to be observed; but it is no uncommon circumstance for them to make observations on the impropriety of persons driving cattle in Drays through the Settlement on the Sabbath.
[4 January 1835]
Sund.4th Twelve Natives at Church, several whom we expected to see there, went away after breakfast. In the afternoon I addressed my children and a few other Natives, in our Kitchen, in the Aboriginal language, it was a paraphrase on the principal matters contained in the three first chapters of Genesis. When speaking of several parts of Creation I was frequently interrupted by one, and another mentioning animals, trees &c which I suppose they thought I had forgotten. Our old man Bobagul who understands very little of the English language paid particular attention, and when some seemed disposed to laugh, he said Karria Kindatha, Karria Kindatha[?] do no laugh, do no laugh. Afterwards I went down to the Camp where there were about twelve Natives, I presented a prayer in the Aboriginal language and then sitting down read my
discourse which they said they understood.
[6 January 1835]
Tuesd. 6 A large fire appearing in the Bush behind our Paddocks I sent our men to burn the Grass near to the fences to preserve them; but after all our care more than 100 yards were destroyed. After evening prayers I and my children went down to ascertain if the fire was out. On our way homewards one of the girls looking upwards said "Moon and stars. Ah there were no moon and stars the first day, God made light the first day, that was the first thing God made. I endeavoured to shew her that the first thing God does in the conversion of a Sinner is causing light to shine into his mind by which he is led to see how very wicked he is. I then remarked but you have not received that light yet, you never felt sorry for your sins, you never wept because you had grieved the great and gracious God by doing wrong. She enquired did you do so when a boy? did your Father and Mother teach you that way? In could answer both these questions in the affirmative.
[7 January 1835]
Wed. 7 Several Young men came to day a boy the brother of one of them says he will remain with us. Gungin was with them he is going with dispatches. I told him that he was now a Messenger of Satan as he was collecting natives to fight but he did not believe me.
[9 January 1835]
Frid 9 I had an interesting conversation with several of our Natives to day but of so desultory a nature, as our conversations with them generally are, that I cannot record it. It commenced by
my shewing them a portrait of Edward Parry a New Zealand Christian and proceeding to speak of the Success of our Brethren there. How far many of them will come to hear the Gospel, that many are engaged in preaching Jesus Christ to their countrymen, of their having a large Axe suspended from a tree which they beat in order to summons their neighbours to family worship. I told them that I should very much like them to see the New Zealand Christians, but that I was well persuaded if they went on board a ship with me they would think I was going to take them to prison, they acknowledged that they should think so. I then endeavoured to explain to them the necessity of a change of heart &c. But whilst we are labouring to instruct we must look to the Author of every good gift for the influence of the Holy Spirit.
[10 January 1835]
I was surprised to day to hear one of our Natives say that this land is surrounded by water, that "old man say so." I had some more conversation with them respecting Byamy* who they say made everything, and who is very good to them. I cannot understand them on this subject, but I shall endeavour to keep my eye on him, for I think there is something important connected with him. Fifteen natives here.
[11 January 1835]
Twelve Natives at Church to day. In the afternoon I taught the children and others who were present. Mrs Watson then read several short narratives from the Children's Friend (which either the committee or some Christian friend in England kindly sent to us). Towards evening I went to the Camp, where I found 23 natives some were preparing their spears. I enquired if they did not
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know it was the Sabbath, They replied in the negative. I then took my station beneath a shady tree, the spears &c were immediately laid aside. Having presented a prayer in the native language which I had composed for the purpose, I delivered an address to them to which they paid particular attention. When I had finished I entered into conversation with them, one said it was "Yambul" that is false. I reminded him of what I had been reading that Satan told Eve it was false and by that means led her to do wrong. I remarked that they would not believe these great truths, but threw them away, but when death came they could not throw him away. It appears surprising that they neither mock nor laugh at the imperfections with which I cannot but believe my compositions in the language abounds. Many sick natives here at present.
[12 January 1835]
Most of the natives came up from the Camp to day, one of them spoke to Mrs Watson about what I had said last evening in my discourse. Mrs W. put it off as though she did not believe he had understood me, at which he put his hand on his breast and lifting up his eyes said "wirrai yambul, wirrai bibai ngila", (No deceit no little thing that).
[15 January 1835]
Many natives came up to day; but they proceeded to another station where they had been told they could get plenty of wheat, our old man Bobagul has also gone, though they have as much here as they can eat.
[16 January 1835]
While saying prayers in the hut this evening, Kabarrin said the devil was standing near the door, and he immediately rose up and went away. I was not present at the time. When I came in, he had gone to the Camp.
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[17 January 1835]
Jan Sat 17th
Bobagul has returned not having found a supply of wheat at the station to which he went. Twelve natives here.
[18 January 1835]
This morning about two o'clock Rev. T. Hassal a Colonial Chaplain, and his overseer who is also a pious man arrived at the Mission House. they had travelled 70 miles in one day in order to be able to spend a Christian Sabbath with us. Mr Hassall preached an excellent Sermon in the morning on the Burning Bush , and in the evening addressed us on the 5th Chapter I Kings. Visits from such Christian friends are cheering to our minds in this moral wilderness.
[19 January 1835]
Our christian friends are gone, having left a sweet savour behind. May his visit have been for the glory of God, and for the benefit of all who attended Divine Service. Fourteen natives here.
[22 January 1835]
As it is very seldom that we can persuade the young men to learn to read, I to day gave them some Tin[?] Letters as a means of amusement as well as of instruction, promising as a reward to those who could name most correctly, some peaches. They were amused and at the same time became familiar with the Alphabet.
[23 January 1835]
One of our Natives, Kabarrin, is wondrously pleased with a closet in our kitchen, he has contrived, a Table and a seat and has driven pegs into the wall on which to hang his clothes, and in this place he takes his victuals. I have been conversing with him respecting Byamy who he says makes rain. Guinjar who we have always understood was a name for the devil Kabbarin says is not much of an enemy to
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the natives. But he sometimes throws down an invisible rope and catches Natives by the neck and draw them to a great height in the air. Kabarrin says when he was a boy, he saw a man drawn up in this way, that the Natives threw their womeras and broke the rope, when the man fell down and remained in a state of invisibility for three days. I cannot understand their views respecting these real or imaginary beings. But at present I think it imprudent to introduce any of their devils by name into our translations as we should be liable to convey very erroneous ideas to their minds. When we ask them what is wandong? What is Guinjar, they are ready enough to say, devil, devil, but it is probable that they understand as little of Satan as we do of their names for him. Kabarrin is blind of an eye. One of our girls said this evening, why does Kabarrin not pray to Jesus Christ as Bartisneous[?] did? then he would see with both eyes.
[25 January 1835]
When one of our youths was asked this morning if he was going to Church another who knew better persuaded him to go away and they took their departure. The Natives say they will kill the two boys who are at Mr Handts for not going into the Bush. They imagine they have power by some enchantment to kill persons who are at a distance from them. Mrs Watson and myself have often been the subject of their threats for keeping the girls.
[28 January 1835]
Have finished the English part of my Dictionary. When I began to collect words, and as I proceeded I placed them in Alphabetical order, but this only referred to the Initials. To make it more correct and to afford greater facility for reference, I have now copied from Johnson's Pocket Dictionary the whole of the words
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(except such as I considered had synonimies[?]) amounting to nearly Ten thousand. I intend to fill up this with the Aboriginal words which I have collected, and as I succeed in obtaining more. So that it will be an English and Aboriginal Dictionary.
Yesterday a Dray came up from Sydney accompanied by the Master (or owner) who is a Settler about 18 miles from here, many native females were on it and many males accompanied it. This morning the Dray proceeded and with it the Natives, of both sexes. Tidings were brought to our Natives that a large company of soldiers were coming from Sydney to take up all the Natives and put them into jail. It is inconceivable how readily several who had been treated with the greatest kindness here, believed the Report and prepared to take their departure. My arguing with them had no effect. Several have gone. Kabarrin is to go tomorrow.
[31 January 1835]
Gungin who went away on Sunday and persuaded the other youth also to go has returned. I spoke to him on the impropriety of his conduct, he heaved a deep sigh and said "I believe so." An old woman (Nelly) mother to one of our girls (Eliza) is very ill and nearly blind, she is taking medicine but all I say to her respecting her soul produces no impression.
[5 February 1835]
Thurs Feb 5th
Have had only Twelve Natives for several days.
[9 February 1835]
Thirty Natives have to day encamped at a short distance, one of them to whom I gave a plate (to wear on his breast) sometime ago, brought it back saying "master all about say plate no good parson you take it back." They are all anxious to have Brass plates with their names engraved on them which they hang round their necks with twine or small chains.
when I was in Sydney in Oct/33 I purchased six plates such as my native youth selected from among others. Every means has been tried by Europeans in the neighbourhood to put the natives out of love with them. This circumstance is recorded to shew how determinately persons around us are opposed to our Mission. However in all our perplexities and troubles it is our comfort to know that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. And that He will make the wrath of man to pray* Him.
[10 February 1835]
The Natives were all supplied with fresh Beef this morning, they immediately resorted to the River to cook it, and have not returned.
[12 February 1835]
We have got another Native girl. Kobohn Jackey of whom mention has been frequently been made came up a few days ago very ill, he is now much better. He got this girl when he was in the Bush a short time ago, she is very ill, and is to remain with us, her name is Mary.
[15 February 1835]
Twelve Natives at Church to day.
[22 February 1835]
I have always though by Baggin[?] the Native meant the evil Spirit, but Kabarrin told me to day that every man has a Baggin and a Tullubang (soul). I enquired Do you see Baggin and Tullubang? Yes. Do they both reside in man while he lives? Yes. If they are inside the body how do the Natives see them they cannot see the heart which is in the body? O doctors can see them them, doctors do not tell lies. He would say nomore on the subject. Only Ten Natives at Church, several went away after breakfast.
[23 February 1835]
All the Natives have gone except our Children, there is a strong mustering of them about 20 miles off but I am suffering so severely from a scalded foot that I can scarcely stand or sit.
[28 February 1835]
Feb Sat. 28.
We have not been visited by a single Native this week we have only our four children. Mary the girl who lately came remains ill.
[6 March 1835]
Frid Mch 6.
Kabarrin came up to day, he said to see me but I do not believe that. I imagine he has come with a message from Kobohn Jackey for the girl. Jackey received a Shirt, some Tobacco Tea and Sugar and was to leave Mary for several moons, and as he dared not to come so soon I believed he had sent Kabarrin. He says he will go away when the moon rises.
[7 March 1835]
Mary slept in my Study last night with the other girls but her conduct was so improper that Mrs Watson had occasion to rise in the night to chide her. Kabarrin did not go last night but has gone to day. I found that Mary had been making preparation for her departure by stealing several articles and depositing them in her bag.
[8 March 1835]
Mary slept in the hut the last night but took her departure before we arose this morning.
When I was speaking with my children on the nature of repentance and asking if they felt any fear that they could not go to Heaven, they appeared affected, and one of them said with tears rolling down his cheeks that he did often feel afraid.
[9 March 1835]
Old Bobagul came to night, we were ready to image he had come a Message for our other girls. He says the Natives are all fishing
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[14 March 1835]
Five Natives came up to day all of whom we consider belonging to us. Wallamin who has not been here for sometime before is extremely ill. They all look meagre and wretched, indeed this is generally the case when they have been any time absent from the Establishment.
[15 March 1835]
Eight Natives at Church to day. In the afternoon they were instructed as usual. I read over such of the Church Service as I had translated, some who had attended Divine Service more than the rest immediately understood it. Kabarrin was exceedingly angry because Mrs Watson charged him with bringing a message the other day to Mary, for her to go into the Bush. He said that I should soon die and seemed much surprised that I was not afraid. He said moreover that the Natives would soon come and burn the Mission House.
[16 March 1835]
I said to Kabarrin this evening, well is your anger all gone? He said yes all gone now. I told him it was both silly and wicked of him to be angry that way.
[20 March 1835]
The Natives have all gone, even Gungin could not be persuaded to remain.
[22 March 1835]
Only Six Natives at Church to day.
[28 March 1835]
This has been a trying week to us. Nelly the mother of our girl Eliza wanted to take her away and we would not allow her. The Mother wept aloud and scolded on the outside of the kitchen, and the girl wept in the kitchen.
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Being anxious to go I gave the old woman as much Wheat and Beef as she could carry, as also Tobacco and Pipes but all would not do. My feelings almost overcame my Judgment in this affecting scene, and indeed nothing but the licentiousness to which I knew the girl would be exposed prevented me from letting her go. However Old Bobagul having come up she is quite satisfied to leave her, having received a Cake, a Blanket, and a Neck handkerchief she has gone with the old man part of the way, and in the morning they are to prosecute their journey. From the impression on the woman's mind, her anxiety to take away her girl is not to be wondered at. The Natives have received information that Byamy will kill all the girls and women who live with white men, so that there is not a female native to be found at any station for many miles around. Moreover the Natives have a large Meeting at a place called Bahbyjal[?], to hold a feast or have a Corrobbora to Byamy, and all the natives who are not present will be killed. Several months ago we had a report prevalent among the natives, that Byamy had been insulted in some way by some white men, and that he was going to kill all white persons every where. Our Natives here planned among themselves how they would act when the event took place. They would dress us in new Clothes put us in boxes and bury us. Gungin would put the window blinds down, and pack up all the articles to take into the Bush. Mrs Handt's boys were to do the same with Mr and Mrs Handt and their clothes &c. I supposed that report had died away as I have not now for sometime heard any thing of it
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in the present proceedings. The Song to be chaunted [sic] at the Corrobarra is made by Byamy, has been sent by a Lizard from which it was communicated to some Natives. There are certainly circumstances here that involve some interest. And it is probable these Natives will be found a far more interesting race than they have been generally esteemed. In reference to the Aboriginal language this Quarter. I have attended to Translating. In the Prayer Book several of the Prefatory Sentences, the address, Confession the Lord's Prayers &c Venite Exceltemus[?] - Te Deum - Jubilate Deo - Apostles Creed &c.
In the Grammar I have made several alterations and corrections and enlarged it, having collated nearly 400 verbs having the same termination.
I have also nearly finished a Manuscript which I intend to forward to the Corresponding Committee for their consideration as to the Propriety of Publishing. Though not ostensibly a Grammar, it will contain illustrations of the use of Particles - Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs & Sentences, Phrases and 6 or seven Dialogues illustrating the views &c of the Natives, a description of several animals with which they are acquainted as the kangaroo - oppossum & snake &c &c in the Aboriginal language - A Vocabulary of about nine hundred words - short prayers &c &c.
The first four Chapters of St. Luke's Gospel - in the Scriptures. Watson's First Catechism & Scripture Questions &c