[note] Rec. Nov 22/36
Com of Cor May 18/36
[note] Mr Watson's remarks, towards furnishing matter for the annual Report April 30th 1836
In presenting this their third annual report, the Missionaries are happy to state that upon the whole, they have reason to believe that many of the Aboriginal natives are improving in Scriptural Knowledge: and that some have in a great measure become reformed. A Native boy who died at the Mission house in September 1835 gave grounds of hope that he had not in vain been instructed in the principles of Christianity. During his illness he was not heard to utter one murmuring or repining word; but rather seemed anxious to die. His words on this subject were “I Know I shall die: and I do not wish to live; I wish to die and go to heaven." He expressed great thankfulness that he had been instructed, and that he had been baptised. He had been taught that he was a sinner, and that it was only through the meritorious sufferings and death of Jesus Christ that he could obtain the remission of his sins. And this sacred truth seemed to have been sealed in his heart by the Divine Spirit. Under religious instructions he frequently shed tears, and with apparent contrition acknowledged the sinfulness of his heart as well as of his life. In August 1835 George Mercatto Esqr. gave information to the Missionaries that an infant girl had been found, on his estate, lying by the side of her deceased mother, and that it was then in his house. It was accordingly brought to the Mission house, and on the Lord's day but one following, was baptized publicly in the presence of several Aboriginal natives (the Service being in their own language) some of whom were affected and shed tears on the occasion. The infant however died in the course of a month and received Christian burial. This makes up the number of four Aboriginal Natives that have been baptized since the commencement of the Mission.
they will work, and in general they attend as regularly to the instruction as may be expected.
When the Children are spoken to on religious subjects, their minds appear sometimes seriously improper, and they yield a ready assent to all the truths of Christianity; but no real spiritual mindedness has yet been manifested. So far they have improved, that if one falls into the sin of cursing or swearing; another generally informs the Missionaries of the circumstance, knowing that it is wrong. Great difficulty is some times experienced in obtaining the Children from their Parents and Friends, so that entreaties, persuasion and promises seem to be of no avail.
With regard to the Adults, we have in general from Eight to Twelve staying with us, but sometimes less - at other times from Twenty to Thirty and upwards. They are instructed as opportunity presents itself, at home, or in the bush, or in the Camp, by talking, or reading a portion of Scripture, or delivering a short discourse to them in their own language. Their attention is not always to be gained, and even when they are listening to what is said, their minds are easily diverted. That they do not always forget what they have heard respecting religion, at the Mission House, is evident from many circumstances, which have come under the observations of the Missionaries
One circumstance may be sufficient to establish the fact. While one of the Missionaries was addressing a company of females, forty miles from Wellington, one of them, whom he did not remember having seen before that time, said, "You talk that way Wellington." And when asked to what place she expected to go at death, she replied, "to heaven, I believe." When it was suggested that that was very questionable, she answered, "No I believe when want to go, devil, devil, pull down again, not let go."
At public worship their general behaviour is good; but some of their customs and habits render it almost impossible to form a congregation of Males and Females. The young men are prohibited from going near a Native Female for several years, and even those men who have wives, have an objection to come to Church, if there are many females present. This circumstance is attended with many inconveniences, not only in reference to Divine Worship, but also in domesticating them, as when the Females reside in the house, the young men will not come near, and vice versa. It would, however be easy to erect a building in such a place, as to domesticate both sexes without their coming in contact, or, even in sight of each other, as well as to keep those, who are domesticated apart from all communication with occasional visitors. The latter point is
Note: page 4 of the 1835 Report appears to be missing from the AJCP microfilm copy
[*] by conciliatory measures to induce them to desist. In prosecution of this object he travelled sometimes in company with Natives, and sometimes alone, more than two hundred miles, but without success, never being able to meet with them, although places, where they had slept the night previous, were several times discovered. It is stated that when some of the more civilized Natives, who were in company with the depredators found that they were determined to slaughter Cattle, they at once separated themselves from them, and left that part of the Country.
It has been found extremely difficult to form an accurate idea of the opinion of the Natives in reference to the Creator of the World, the Creator, the immortality of the soul and a future state of existence, as the accounts given by different Natives, are frequently at variance with each other. It appears, however, that there is among them a general idea of a Creator, who is himself uncreated. They believe in the immortality of the soul, but what is their idea of its state and employment after death, has not been learnt. They attribute all their afflictions and troubles to an evil being (Wandong,) who is said to be visible only to their doctors. They have an idea of an order of beings (Guinyar) inferior to the Creator, but superior to man. The only kind of Worship known among them is the (Wagganna) or native Dance, accompanied by singing to Baiami who, annually, about February or March, reveals to some one Native, at a very great distance from Wellington, the song, in which all are bound to join under penalty of death. This song is esteemed sacred by the Natives, who apprehend that if they should not be present
at the singing of it they would die.
Their laws principally, if not entirely, refer to obtaining from certain kinds of food, until they arrive at a certain age, and to the young men evading publicly if not privately the company and conversation of females. They have no law against murder, and consequently no punishment for it. A man may murder his Wife, or Child, or any other relative with impunity; but if a person murder another, who is no way connected with him, the nearest of kin to the murdered person will sometimes avenge his death, though this seldom happens, except the delinquent and the sufferer are of different Tribes. It is only in proportion as they become acquainted with the customs of Europeans, and are instructed in morality that human life is regarded. In the Native Wilds they sport with the sufferings of man and beast. It is worthy of remark that in the year 1835, when it was reported at Wellington that a man of Mr Lawson's had been murdered by some of the Bogin Tribes, all the Wellington Natives armed themselves and went to avenge his death; but not finding the perpetrators, of the murder they beat an old man nearly to death and then returned.
It is a lamentable fact that their increase is inferior to their decrease, especially as they often kill their half-cast offspring. Four deaths took place at Wellington in the last year: viz. two Adults and two Children. An Adult, a woman, also died three miles from Wellington and an old man, who was under medical treatment at
Wellington, went away and died after he had left. On the other hand, we can only remember three births, which took place in the neighbourhood of Wellington and one of these Children was killed. The mother of this Child, after having been under instruction at Wellington, was taken away by her husband and prostituted among the white people, which connection occasioned the existence of the said Child. She was seen a few days afterwards, and seriously reprehended for her atrocious barbarity, but she endeavoured to turn off the reproof by a laugh: another woman from whom more humanity was expected; was called upon to testify that it was wrong: but she cooly [sic] replied that it was not a pretty Child. Such cases should excite Christian sympathy and call forth the utmost exertion, to rescue these poor creatures from destruction: such acts are chiefly owing to the wicked intercourse with many of their white neighbours.
To the study of the Aboriginal language the Missionaries continue to devote much of their time, as it is expected that through this medium the Natives will more easily receive, and readily comprehend the instructions given to them. Of the Dialect spoken at Wellington, a Dictionary and Grammar have been composed. The Gospel of Saint Luke and some other parts of Scripture have been translated, as also several parts of the Liturgy, and Dr. Watson's small Catechism. It is not to be expected that these translations can be correct, for the beginning must be imperfect, and perfection must be attained gradually. The Dialect
spoken in this district (extending from Bathurst to beyond Mount Harris, and from Mudjee over the Bogin Country Warwick, the Lachlan &c) has been compared with as much as is contained in Mr Threlkeld's Grammar, and such is the affinity of one language to another as to leave no doubt in the minds of the Missionaries that the language is radically the same. This however will be more clearly ascertained, when the knowledge of other Dialects is attained, and to this object the Missionaries feel it is their duty to pay much attentions, as their time and opportunity permit. The Dialect spoken by the Wellington Blacks is called Wiraduri; that spoken by the Bathurst Blacks. Kandangurra; and that of the Mudjee Black, Yarrayarru; and that of the Blacks North West of Mudjee, Kamillarai: The last mentioned Dialect extends to the Hunter, and differs materially from Wirraduri. The others differ more or less. It appears very desirable that a small work in the Aboriginal Language should be pointed, as a First book for the purpose of teaching the Natives the aboriginal pronunciation, and it would also be a means of correcting the spelling of Aboriginal words.
In conclusion the Missionaries are bound to say, that though in the prosecution of their labours daily discouragements arise, they have no doubt of the gradual and ultimately abundant success of the Mission. The
People in WellPro Directory: Threlkeld, Reverend
great distance of the Establishment from the source of supplies, with the heavy expense consequent thereon, the uncertainty of the seasons for raising grain, and the limited means in the hands of the managers of the Mission, constitute among other circumstances difficulties in the way of giving the Mission the prospect of much success at the present. As it regards the evangelising of the Natives, the Missionaries look to higher than human power to effect this object of their desire, even remembering that while it is theirs to labour, it is the Lord's to bless.
Report of the Aboriginal Mission
W*. Valley April 30/36
Rev. W. Watson's Report
on the Mission: 1835.