2.4 Reverend Watson's Reports
[note] Rec Aug 16/6
[note] 1832 - 1833
Report of the Mission to the Aborigines of New Holland Station Wellington Valley.
The Missionaries Revd. William. Watson and Handt with their wives arrived at Wellington Valley 3 October 1832 accompanied by eight Natives who had joined them on the road. A few Days after their arrival they were visited by more than sixty Natives many of whom were Wild, and had come from 50 to 70 miles distant. They were supplied with food, a small quantity of Tobacco and a few pipes. They were then interrogated as to their knowledge of who had made them, the sun and Trees &c of this they appeared to be entirely ignorant; nor had they least idea of a Supreme Being, of the immortality of the soul, or of a future state of existence. They were then informed that the Missionaries had been sent by the King of England to teach them the great truths of religion and to make them acquainted with Arts and Civilization. They answered to these things Budgery Budgery (good, good). They did not remain many days but have since paid several visits to the Mission. The Missionaries very speedily discovered that the Natives had been prejudiced against them by the Stockmen in the neighbourhood who told them that the men would be yoked and made to work as Bullocks and the children would be sent to Sydney and put in prison. A School
People in WellPro Directory: Handt, Mary (nee Crook)
was established at the commencement of the year and has been continued. Here from twelve to twenty children have been under instruction at one time some have occasionally left and others have their place. These have been taught to read and, spell, and have been regularly instructed in the principles of the Christian religion.
It has not been discovered that these children & youths are in any degree inferior in intellect or ability to learn to those of civilized countries they learn their lessons, hymns, Prayers & as readily as children in general in an English School.
That some moral reformation has been produced by the labours of the Missionaries among these degraded and unlettered Tribes is evident from this one circumstance viz. That swearing in the English language which is grown prevalent is never practised in the hearing of the Missionaries by any Native who has occasionally been at this station. Instances have occurred of the Mission boys correcting adult Natives for swearing even at the expence [sic] of a good beating for their friendly admonition. Sometime ago a Native youth who was so deeply diseased as to render his recovery exceedingly doubtful came to Mr Watson for medical aid. He was at the time notorious however, after being at the establishment for some time he recovered and returned to his Brethren 40 miles distant. Shortly after his return an English Stockman swore at an unruly Cow in the hearing of this Native youth who reproved him and said it was no good to swear". He was asked why? He replied "Because
you will not go to heaven if you swear." He was then asked who told him so? He answered God and Mr Watson talk that way and good many books he have too which talk that way all about": The Englishman acknowledged that it was very wrong to swear and would try to do so no more. Female prostitution is practised to an extent that finds no parallel in the history of savage Nations: The female infant is given to some adult Native his future wife; he is then at libery to take her when he chooses which is generally at the age of five or 6 years. She then accompanies him his wanderings or becomes the property of a Native for a season or is lent to some white man who perhaps has three or four of these young girls from eight to twelve years of age with whom he lives in a state of adultery. If she remains in the possession of her husband whenever they have a Native Dance she is probably prostituted to all the youths in the company. No class of human Beings on the earth can possibly be in a more wretched and pitiable condition than the Aboriginal females of New Holland compelled for look out for food for themselves and sometimes for the men: and in their journeyings forced to carry many of his weapons and it may be added sometime compelled to yield to the baser desires of white men against their will. Idleness in both sexes has led to their so common intercession between white men and Native females that now the former seem to think that they have a right to any one and if
she is not given up readily she is frequently taken by force, and the Native husband is put in jeopardy of his life. The cruelty of some of these Stockmen to the Natives of both sexes it is to be greatly feared even ultimately lead to revenge on the part of the Natives and the result may be the murder of any or of every white man they meet with common as female prostitution where the Missionaries are happy to say that one female who has been under religious instruction at the Mission house has since that been known repeatedly to refuse the solicitations of white men and has told them as a reason for conduct that God would see them and that God who sit down in heaven would be angry.
That the Children instructed at the Mission house believe the fundamental Doctrines of the Christian religion is evident from the very interesting questions which they are constantly in the practice of asking.
In the month of April 1833 Mrs Watson rescued an half cast infant from immediate Death. Its unnatural mother had so treated it as to impress her own mind that it was already dead and her female companion another yinnar was preparing its grave when Mrs Watson discovered them. By the attention paid to it it revived and lived three weeks when the effect of its [?] unnatural conduct at its birth produced a Disease which terminated its earthly existence. On three occasion the Native children at the Mission House were deeply affected and asked
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
Is Babby in heaven now has Jesus Christ taken it? Is it a little Angel?
There is abundant proof that some of the children who have left the establishment and gone into the Bush for a season have both repeated their prayers at night and said Grace before they partook of the of the opossum or wild cabbage.
Besides those who were under regular instruction there are generally several other youths and adults at the Mission House. Their number is very fluctuating and their stay very variable sometimes twenty or thirty will remain for a fortnight and then take their Departure. In a Day or two some of them perhaps all will return and remain for a short time. But the very most of them attend morning and evening worship in the family and at the Church on Sundays we have had several visits from large numbers of Natives have made several Tours into the Bush. It is a remarkable circumstance that the Natives have no Desire to emulate white men except in their vices. It is only by Kind treatment and trifling rewards that even the young are brought to attend to their Sessions ever. Were this desire to learn equal to their [*] they would soon make great proficiency. After the experience of every act of kindness for twelve months it is a lamentable fact that the Natives even in this neighbourhood are afraid that the Missionaries have some evil intentions towards them.
it is rather surprising that they will believe what the Stockman say rather than be convinced of the priority of the intenting [sic] of the Missionaries when they have received so many acts of kindness from the latter.
The expenditure of the Mission has during its first years been unavoidably heavy and indeed it must continue to be so if as has been the case during the past year all the supplies needed for the establishment in future have to be procured in Sydney or at Bathurst indeed if they will have to be purchased at all. The Missionaries aware of this have availed themselves of the facilities afforded them by the generos [sic] act of His Exellency Governor in offering a certain portion of land at Wellington Valley for the use of the Mission. Accordingly in the month of July last Twenty acres of wheat were sown which however from the unparalleled dryness of the Season has all perished, about Ten Acres of Maize corn has since been planted and is in a promising state. When there has been raised at Wellington Valley a sufficient number of Stock and Grain enough to warrant such a proceeding the Missionaries think it highly desirable to form a station
amongst the Wild Black Natives, where they have not been corrupted by intercourse with the Europeans, such a station might be conveniently supplied from Wellington Valley where Missionary efforts will still be in operation and as diligently attended to as at present, a vocabulary of the Language is in a state of preperation [sic].
Mission House Wellington Valley
14 Decr 1833
J C S Handt
Report of the Missionaries
Wellington Valley, Dec 14/33
Report of the New Holland