Collins chose this as the site, naming it Hoban Town . The landing, which began on 20 February 1804, was not celebrated by the drinking and the festivities which had marked the arrival at Sydney Cove. Nor did the first public ceremony assume a memorable character. At on the Sunday morning, the military, convicts, settlers, officers, and the Lieutenant-Governor all assembled to hear the Reverend Knopwood read divine service, preach on the prosperity of the new settlement, and pray to God for a blessing upon the increase of it.
In 1796, Rowland Hassall sailed, with his wife Elizabeth and their two-year-old son Thomas, as a carpenter on the ship Duff, which, with a number of high-minded men sailed for the Pacific islands to bring the blessings of Christianity to those heathen lands where "thick darkness' brooded. Under the threat of having their heads removed by the natives, Hassall and his party sailed for Sydney Cove, which they reached in 1798. There he quickly won a reputation for religion and piety by preaching the gospel in all the districts of the colony; he began, too, to acquire property, both of which activities won him the esteem of the Reverend Samuel Marsden. When Marsden was dejected by the fate of the soul of a negro convicted of rape in November 1804, Hassall comforted him. When Marsden left for England in 1807, Hassall acted as his agent. By 1808, Hassall had acquired one thousand three hundred acres of land, including a grant of four hundred acres on the Nepean at Camden .
One of the expedients to prevent such a calamity was education. In England, the three types of education corresponded with the three main classes in society - education by tutor for the children of the aristocracy; education at the grammar school for the children of the middle and professional classes; education at the charity school for the children of the lower classes. The English system could not be used as a model; there were no children of the aristocracy, most of the children of the lower classes belonged to convict families, and the children of Irish Catholic parents were forbidden by the teachings of their church to receive religious instruction from heretics.
Until 1800 at the earliest there were not sufficient children of middle class or professional parents to create a demand for a grammar school. There were twenty-six children in 1788, forty-two in October 1789, nine hundred and fifty-eight in 1800, and two thousand three hundred and four in 1810 out of a total population of eight thousand two hundred and ninety-three.
Up to a point the creation of schools kept pace with the increase in the number of children. Phillip had been instructed to reserve two hundred acres in or near every town for a school and schoolmaster. By March 1792,Johnson reported that schools had been opened in Sydney , Parramatta , and Norfolk Island where children were instructed in religion, morality and reading, writing and arithmetic. For they aimed high, though the men entrusted with the discharge of such a high calling stumbled into drunkenness on their ten pounds a year. By September 1800 King had decided that the peculiar composition of society in
In the meantime some attempts had begun to provide a grammar school education. In September 1804, D. Parnell, who had been a schoolmaster at Norfolk Island , announced in the Sydney Gazette the opening of an academy for the instruction of youth in the principles of the English language, writing and arithmetic. In January 1805 John Mitchell, assisted by James MacConnell, opened an academy in which grammar, writing, bookkeeping after the Italian mode, French and mathematics were taught. In August 1807, a Mrs Dorothy Marchant opened a school for young ladies, and on 2 April 1809 Mrs Mary Hodges announced the opening of a school for ladies in which she would carefully attend to the improvement of the pupils in the various kinds of needlework, a principal but too much neglected branch of female accomplishment, while with the inculcation of moral principles she would studiously attend to the necessary routine of reading, writing and arithmetic. Such high-mindedness, however, was the preserve of the few; for while the clergy and the schoolmasters conceived of education as a means to salvation as well as to rescue the young from the examples of their parents, or from contracting habits of idleness, the people spent their leisure quite oblivious of their divine destiny. In June 1810, the Whitsuntide holidays were kept up with great spirit at Parramatta . A cockpit was prepared at the upper end of the town, and a number of good battles were fought. Those who fancied bull baiting were elegantly amused with a very refined diversion in the course of which, according to the Sydney Gazette, a number of useless dogs were killed or crippled and in the end the provoked animals, breaking from their tether, rushed in amongst a group of spectators, and nearly gave a tragic termination to the sports of the day. The night ended in drunkenness and debauchery. But by then the first steps had been taken to raise the evangelical from the voice crying in the wilderness to a position of ascendancy in
Macquarie and his party sailed on the storeship Dromedary on
The Judge Advocate also reminded the guilty in his court of the connection between the law and morality. In sentencing Terence Flynn to death for murder, Ellis Bent admonished him to turn his thoughts seriously aside from the objects of this life, and to endeavour by an earnest repentance to evince a solicitude for his welfare in a world which was eternal, (page 257)
To instruct the rising generation in those principles which, he believed, could alone render them dutiful and obedient to their parents and superiors, honest, faithful and useful members of society, and good Christians, he established several schools in Sydney and the subordinate settlements. Within a few months he wanted chaplains of respectable, good and pious character to minister to the people who were dispersed over the country without, as he put it, any awe of religious restraint over them. To improve the religious tendency and morals of all classes in the community Macquarie issued an order on 19 May that convicts of all religious persuasions must attend divine worship on Sundays, conducted according to the rites of the Church of England, with instructions to the constables to arrest all vagrants on the sabbath and to commit to gaol all people drinking or rioting in disorderly houses during the hours of divine service. On the first Sunday of compulsory church for the convicts, Macquarie attended their service in person, when he was pleased to bestow the highest commendation upon the whole convict body for their clean and neat appearance.
To civilize the aborigines Macquarie proposed to establish a native institution at Parramatta under Mr William Shelley in which the native youth of both sexes would be educated in habits of industry and decency, beginning with six boys and six girls. He also proposed to allot a piece of land bordering on the sea shore of Port Jackson where adult natives could settle and cultivate the land, till they had learned to prefer the productive effects of their own labour and industry to the wild and precarious pursuits of the woods. The native institution was opened on
At the same time Macquarie continued with unflagging zeal to promote the moral well-being of the inhabitants of
Happy the child whose tender years
Receive instruction well:
Who hates the sinner's path, and fears
The road that leads to hell.
Before the clash sharpened the authoritarianism in Macquarie , or the servility in Marsden, the latter sailed away on a mission to the Maoris in New Zealand , for in obedience to what he believed were the commands of God the behaviour of the man changed. From 1794 to 1814, the more he examined the national character of the Maoris, the more he felt interested in their temporal and spiritual welfare. Their minds appeared like a rich soil that had never been cultivated, and only wanted the proper means of improvement to render them fit to rank with civilized nations. He knew that they were cannibals, that they were a savage race, full of superstition, and wholly under the power and influence of the prince of darkness. There was, as he saw it, only one remedy which could effectually free them from their cruel spiritual bondage and misery, and that was the gospel of a crucified saviour. But, as St Paul observed, how could those who had not heard believe on Him, and how could the missionaries preach except they be sent? He decided to go to England to persuade missionaries to go to New Zealand, noting, with honesty, that he could at one and the same time fulfil his desire to have the gospel preached as well as secure his own quiet, for a great political storm was brewing in the colony of New South Wales. He sailed for England in February 1807 and returned in 1810 to hear that the captain and crew of the Boyd had been murdered and eaten by the natives of Whangaroa in New Zealand . Yet, fearing cannibalism less than the wrath or reproach of men in high places in his own society, he continued his preparations to evangelize the Maori.
Towards the end of 1814 he was ready, and Macquarie granted him leave of absence. On 28 November 1814 the brig Active, with thirty-five on board, including the missionaries Kendall, Hall and King, their wives and children, eight Maoris, two Otaheitans, various mechanics and one runaway convict, together with horses, cows, one bull, sheep and poultry, weighed anchor in Sydney Cove and sailed out on to the Tasman Sea where Marsden, as ever, suffered much from sickness. On 16 December they sighted the Three Kings off the north-west coast of the north island of
On Christmas Day, from the decks of the Active, Marsden saw the English flag flying which, as he said, was a pleasing sight signalling the dawn of civilization, liberty and religion in that dark and benighted land. Never had he viewed the British colours with more gratification, and he flattered himself they would never be removed till the natives there enjoyed all the happiness of British subjects. They formed the men, women and children into a circle. As Marsden rose and began the service by singing the Old Hundredth psalm a very solemn silence prevailed. He felt his soul melt within him as he viewed the congregation and considered the state they were in. After reading the'service, during which the natives stood up and sat down at the signal given by the motion of Korokoro's switch, Marsden preached to them, taking as his text the tenth verse of the second chapter of St Luke's gospel: "Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy." When the natives told the interpreter, the Maori Duaterra, they could not understand what he meant, Marsden replied that they were not to mind that now, for they would understand by and by. When the service ended the natives, to the number of three or four hundred, surrounded Marsden and the other Europeans, and began a war dance, yelling and shouting in their usual style. One eye-witness took this performance to mean that a furious demonstration of joy was the most grateful return they could make for the solemn spectacle they had witnessed. While this was going on Marsden was praying that the glory of the gospel would never depart from the inhabitants till time was no more.
For at that time his mind was sustained by the vision that trade and European civilization would stimulate the industry of the Maori and lay a solid foundation not only for their civilization and what he called their mental improvement in the civil arts, but also for the introduction of Christianity, and thus mitigate the miseries of those poor heathen who lived without hope because they knew not God. He wanted to rouse the British nation, which already enjoyed these infinite blessings of the gospel, which rendered her the envy and glory of all nations, to feel a lively interest in the temporal and eternal welfare of so great a nation as New Zealand . On
Every night he went down on his knees to ask the father of mercies to crown his feeble efforts in New Zealand for the evangelization of the Maoris, adding with fervour his hope that all Christian societies might unite in love and in one body against the prince of darkness. (Vol 2, page 17)
He sat down to write to Kendall, the lay missionary in the Bay of
For the Protestant religion was their means of grace as well as their hope of glory. In Government House circles it was supported for its social utility. At the inaugural meeting to institute an Auxiliary Bible Society, held in the court room on Friday 7 March 1817, Macquarie gave the opening address, in which he expressed his wish that the institution should receive that support it was entitled to from its object, as it should ever receive that reverential attention and encouragement which as a man and a Christian, he was bound to give it. Marsden followed with an equally fulsome and vague speech, Then Judge Advocate Wylde declared that the value of the Bible society was that it would correct the growth of vice, and, at the same time, extend the knowledge of that sacred volume whose inestimable contents were alone capable of regulating and restraining the passions, and of bringing man to a nearer acquaintance with his Creator. The effect of Bible reading on behaviour was the great assumption of the period. As the Bible, wrote one letter-writer to the Sydney Gazette, urged natural affection, so all Bible readers had strong family feelings, in contrast with the non-Bible readers, who were the deepest sunk into sensuality and vice, and furthest removed from family affection. On 8 May a branch of the
From such a faith, two practical conclusions were drawn. The first was to educate the young in these principles. At the inaugural meeting of the New South Wales branch, the resolution passed stated that the education of the young was of the first importance to the best interests of this colony, as it afforded a sure hope of the advantages which the general circulation of the holy scriptures tended to bestow. The second was to establish public schools in different parts of the territory for the instruction of those children whose parents could not afford to send them to school. The other duty was to attend to the relief of the poor and other benevolent purposes, as religion was the source and origin of their benevolence. It was at a meeting of the New South Wales Auxiliary Bible Society that the chairman, Judge Advocate Wylde, drew the attention of members to the want of any adequate means of relief, and their duty to create a society worthy of their general character and philanthropy. So the Benevolent Society of
Two Catholic priests arrived on the Janus on
For one priest this was not a new idea. Walking one day in the streets of Cork a waggon passed him, which contained a number of Irishmen who were handcuffed and under a military escort. On inquiry he found they were convicts bound for
They left Cork in the convict ship Janus on
The Catholics, Knopwood had told Bigge earlier in the same year, were not reluctant to attend a Protestant service, and Catholic parents were bringing their children to be baptized by him as readily as Protestants. Catholics were buried in the same burying ground. Therry remained on the mainland, and dedicated himself to the work of ministering to the religious needs of the faithful, saying mass every Sunday at Parramatta and Liverpool and twice at Sydney, giving public instruction in the mysteries of his faith, visiting the sick, and attending all persons professing the Catholic religion who might be in danger of dying within a circuit of two hundred miles. Once word was brought to Father Therry that a convict sentenced to death wanted to see him for confession. After a long ride Therry came to a river in flood, and shouted to a man on the opposite bank to give help in the name of God and a departing soul. The man threw over a rope which Therry tied round his waist and plunged into the river to be hauled across to the other side, where without pausing for a rest or a change of clothing he mounted another horse and arrived in time to bring the consolation of religion to the convict before he was launched into eternity. By such acts of heroism and devotion and a boundless charity Therry demonstrated that the image of Christ lived in the sons of the Church.
When Macquarie died it seemed that chance and circumstance had colluded to award the palm of success amongst all the peoples who had dreamed of planting their civilization in the south seas to those who believed in the Protestant religion and British institutions. The Hindus had dreamed of the islands of gold, and had likened the fate of a man to a voyage across the terrible ocean of life, but had succumbed to the Muslim conqueror. The Chinese had searched for spices, for gold, and for precious woods, but at the time when their quest brought them to the frontiers between barbarism and civilization, events at home ended their expansion into the south seas. The Muslim had advanced as far as the west of New Guinea when his quest for gold and spices and souls for his God was ended by the coming of another conqueror. The Catholics had dreamed of a day when the people walking in darkness would see a pure light, and had been tormented by the fear that the English and the Dutch might infect countless numbers of Gentiles with the depravity of their apostasy. By the time Macquarie died the men who believed their church had been entrusted by Christ with the keys of the kingdom of heaven depended on a Protestant governor for permission to perform their religious rites in the colony of New South Wales and its dependent territories.
The Protestants, too, had dreamed that a 'wealth of terrestrial laurel and a crown of celestial glory' would be their reward for following the 'lovely paths of virtue'. By the time Macquarie died it seemed that at least some of this dream had come true. By then some of them believed that they had begun a journey which was leading them forward not only to moral and religious but also to material prosperity. Some in the colony were even looking forward to a day when the convict blot would be forgotten, and Australasia would become a new Britannia in another world. Yet within three generations the Protestant ascendancy was crumbling to its ruins, and the dream of the brotherhood of man was taking possession of men's minds. For just as the history of a man turns some to a tragic vision of life, the history of men's dreams prompts others to work for the day when that wealth of love which used to be lavished on Him is turned upon the whole of nature, on the world, on men, and on every blade of grass.
Thomas Brisbane, who was born in that year 1773 when Cook dropped anchor in Adventure Bay in Van Diemen's Land, and was educated by tutors and at the University of Edinburgh, where he developed a lasting interest in mathematics and astronomy, entered the army as a profession where in 1812 in the Peninsula Wars he formed a firm and lasting friendship with Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington. In November of 1819, he was united by marriage to a lady in every respect worthy of him, one Anna Maria Makdougall, who became a source of exquisite gladness to him, for she had that elegance of manners and appearance to delight a vain man, as well as being possessed of a refinement of taste and a vigour of intellect which were ennobled by a benevolent disposition grounded on the rock of Christian principle. From the earliest days, Brisbane had lifted up his eyes away from the world towards the heavens in more senses than one. Those who judged by appearances, and what a man gave out about himself, took him as a Christian, a scholar and a gentleman.
For his mind was set on the heavenly prize, for that peace which the world could neither give nor take away. His great interest in life was that when the actions of all men were weighed in the balance of eternal doom, his would not be found altogether wanting. Every Sunday he received the memorial of his Saviour's dying love. In order that he might be a worthy partaker of the sacrament, each week he renewed his covenant to be the Lord's to all eternity before approached the holy table. For him an immortal soul was the unspeakable object of value in human life.
For that lived in him too, that hope that if he freely forgave, then he, through the merits of Jesus Christ, would be as freely forgiven for all the sins of his life. And when the clergy, civil officers, magistrates and landholders presented him with an address in which they expressed their hopes that he would heal all divisions and reconcile all panics, he replied a week later that though he might cede the literary crown to a Voltaire, for he was a man who went in for those self-deprecating jokes which were designed to inspire the flattery he craved, yet, he went on, he would yield to no man in purity of intuition. His maxim being, Nil desperandum, auspice deo, he hoped to give satisfaction to all classes and see them reconciled.
Hopes were running high. When divine service was celebrated for the first time in St James's Church on 6 January of the following year, the Reverend Samuel Marsden, sensitive as ever to the whims and vanities of the rulers of this world, chose an appropriate text for his sermon: 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee': the Sydney Gazette was delighted. Such occasional intelligence as this, they wrote, would render Australia increasingly beloved and respected by her ever kindly considerate parent Great Britain .
While Father Therry laboured to win souls for heaven, and beat his breast each day and recited the words Lord I am not worthy that Thou shoulds't enter under my roof, the Wesleyan missionary, the Reverend W. Walker, was labouring to tell the aborigines the glad tidings that there was a home for little children above the bright blue sky. He had promised his God to convert the aborigines to Christianity. After he had arrived in Sydney in 1821 he had found much that had caused him pain. Duty had compelled him to attend the corroborees, but he had been a most uneasy spectator at scenes which were too shocking, too unseemly and too disgraceful to describe. 'To a sensible and susceptible mind', he had told his missionary brothers in London in November of 1821, 'it is sufficient to say, they were naked. For the sustenance of the indelicate I have no descriptive food.'
Eliza Darling was the daughter of Ann Dumaresq, the widow of an army officer who had died during the Napoleonic Wars in March of 1804, leaving her, her three sons. Henry, William and Edward, and two daughters, Eliza and Marianne, to lament his connubial virtues, his paternal tenderness and affection. Her mother was a woman of great strength, and strong opinions. She never wearied of telling the children to keep God's injunctions, to use the talents God had given them, and never become a mountain of misery, and then they would all become 'ripe for glory' as she put it. Eliza inherited the strength, industry, and religious zeal of the mother. As a young girl in 1815 she had written a long story called Lascelles in which a moral of an improving kind was drawn for the reader. She had also written verse in which she wagged a censorious disapproving finger at pleasure-seekers:
What! shoot little birds, with a great, long, big gun,
Poor dear little things! And they say, it's all 'fun'.
When later a lady asked her to account for the scarlet fever being brought into her family, Eliza Darling recommended her to repeat each day the words: 'Lord we are vile — humbled in dust we fall. Thou hast not dealt with us, as we must own we have deserved'. Her great hope, which she shared with her mother and her brothers, was that after death she and all those whom she had loved would join the spirits of just men made perfect, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Like her mother she had married an army officer, Ralph Darling, but in that close family he seemed to always remain the eternal outsider: mother and daughter wrote of him always as the general, and never with that deep affection with which they addressed each other and their God.
The General was composed of quite different clay. It was characteristic of the man that on the day he took the oaths of office he spoke not the language of any political party, nor the language of either the moral improver or the aspirant for a seat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but rather the language of the man whose own passion in life was administration. He announced the members of the Legislative Council would be the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor, W. Stewart, the Chief Justice, F. Forbes, the Archdeacon, T.H. Scott, the Colonial Secretary, A. McLeay, J. Macarthur, R. Campbell and C. Throsby. He also announced the creation of an executive council. The Sydney Gazette was delighted. Here at last was a cabinet for Australia which illustrated the English genius of giving the Governor the benefit of collective wisdom without weakening his power which must, they insisted, remain strong in a predominantly convict society. When Darling proceeded to apply a new broom to the unwieldy administration in New South Wales the Sydney Gazette once again wrote with enthusiasm on the spirited and energetic way in which the new government was comporting itself, (page 63)
At the same time Darling accepted the recommendations of Scott on how to raise the children of the convicts from barbarism to civilization. Most of them instead of attending school were being instructed by their parents in the vices of thieving and drunkenness. From lack of schoolmasters and clergymen they went through the cycle of birth, mating and death ignorant alike of the divine commands, and of their duties to God and man. With more parsons and teachers the lower orders would live soberly and quietly, and the men of talent would be trained to serve their Maker either in church or state, (page 68)
On 29 October they (Hume and Hovell) crossed the Tumut River , after which Hume, once again claiming for himself the sagacity of the native-born to find his way in the Australian bush, insisted they should strike south-west towards the rolling plain country, and so avoid the passage of mountains. Following this course on 16 November, they came upon a noble stream to which Hume gave his own surname in memory of his father, but in this fate cheated the native-born of his attempt to bequeath the name of his family to posterity. Five years later Charles Sturt, an Englishman, a man of vision and faith and a stranger to the passions swirling in Hume's heart, reached the same river lower down and called it the Murray after His Majesty's principal Secretary of State in the Colonial Office. (page 53)
As this tumult and shouting rose to its crescendo and then died away, a party of men was struggling heroically to return to Sydney town after a journey in which they had uncovered part of the mystery of that harsh land over which men were wrangling in the centres of civilization. The leader of this expedition was Captain Charles Sturt. He had been born in India in 1795, the son of a judge in the East India Company, educated privately and at Harrow , and had entered the army. Like so many of his fellow officers in the Australian colonies, he had served for a time in Spain, in the army of occupation in France and then in that other army of occupation, the English army in Ireland where he had developed an unspeakable distaste for all those who put intercessors, statues or idols between themselves and their God. In May of 1827 he arrived in Sydney with a detachment of his regiment. He was a man on whom the gods seemed to have smiled as he was both monstrous handsome and lovable. Indeed there was about him all his life the bearing of an upright man, who happened to keep into his days of manhood that most precious gift of innocence of heart. He was a transparently simple and straightforward man, guileless in his own motives, and quite unsuspicious of others. A simple faith sustained him through all the changing scenes of life: he had found that neither in rigorous observance nor within convent walls was happiness to be found. By one way only was peace to be found, and that was by prayer. For no treasure on earth would ever persuade him to give up the inestimable comfort of pouring forth his feelings before God in the silence of his chamber. Prayer was his comforter. In many a scene of danger, of difficulty and of sorrow he had risen from his knees calm and confident. A man relieved did not need any human mediator between himself and the Almighty. How could any man, himself sinful, presume to forgive others their sins? It was a faith for a man to whom much had been given.
During that severe drought of 1826 and the succeeding two years the surface of the earth became so parched that minor vegetation ceased upon it, and it almost appeared as if the sky of eastern Australia was never again to be traversed by clouds. General Darling, sensing that now was the time to send an expedition of discovery into that interior from which Oxiey had been obliged to retire in 1819 because of its wet and swampy state, asked his military secretary, Captain Charles Sturt, to lead an expedition into the interior to ascertain the course of the Macquarie, and the nature of the country to the westward. With him he was to take Hamilton Hume, the currency lad who had overlanded with Hovell in 1824 from Sydney town to the shores of Corio Bay , and a party of eleven other men. They set out from Sydney on 10 November 1828 on a journey which Sturt believed would be of dubious issue, travelled to Wellington and examined the course of the Macquarie, the Bogan, and the Castle-reagh Rivers, traversing a large and sun-blasted plain on which the sun's rays fell with intense heat, and on which there was but little vegetation. He then pushed west until the party came on a river flowing south-west on which he conferred the name of the Darling. Then he turned for home, and at journey's end reported that it was a matter of mystery whether the Darling made its way to the south coast, or ultimately exhausted itself in feeding a succession of swamps, or fell into a large reservoir in the centre of the island. He came back, too, to tell them what they already feared, namely that no beneficial consequences would immediately follow from what he had seen, which had only confirmed that cry of anguish of Oxley on first seeing the dreary, inhospitable character of the country to the westward of Bathurst.
There was one gleam of sunshine over that extensive melancholy landscape. There was still the veil of mystery over the channel of the Darling. Did those waters flow into a country where the flint stone he had seen on its banks had been turned into a springing well, and an Englishman's green and pleasant parkland delighted the eyes, as well as the nostalgic hearts of her exiles rather than those dreary plains, where even the vegetation disappeared off the face of a wind-cracked and sun-scarred earth, and men suffered from intense heat? To answer this question in November of 1829 General Darling sent Sturt on another expedition to the Murrumbidgee to see whether that river flowed into the Darling, or emptied itself into the sea on the southern coast of the colony. This time he took with him George Macleay, and not Hume who was suffering from asthma as a result of the privations on the previous journey, and so lost the chance to keep his name for the noble river along which Sturt was destined to travel. All told fourteen travelled in his party.
They came to the Murrumbidgee near Jugiong in that countryside of surpassing beauty where in time Flash Jack from Gundagai will be all among the wool shearing for old Tom Patterson on the one tree plain, where Sturt lifted up his eyes onto the hills and praised his God that He had done such wondrous things. And they moved down river from those lovely hills into a broad plain where by day not a cloud covered the dome of that very vast sky, and at dusk, as darkness came down over the plain, a golden collar lingered on the horizon, and with the nip in the air, and wonder in his heart, Sturt again thanked his Maker that He had done such wondrous things. And the men, wanning to a man with such astonishment of heart, such lack of guile, such innocence, such enthusiasm, looked at each other, with some of that still laughter which lived so abundantly in the heart of their leader. Then they came to a country where it was impossible to describe the dreariness of the view. The plains were still open to the horizon, but here and there a stunted gum tree, or a gloomy casuarina, seemed placed by nature as mourners over the surrounding desolation. Neither beast nor bird inhabited these lonely and inhospitable regions, over which the silence of the grave seemed to reign. Sturt's native boy deserted him: the natives who visited their camp came to pilfer. They were an ill-featured race. But Stun did not despair. Concluding that the horses and the drays could make but slow progress through the swamps, he decided on the bold and desperate measure of building a whale-boat, and sending home the drays. Then in January of 1830, as the morning mists blew over their heads, and the sun funnelled through, Sturt and his party of seven men embarked on the bosom of the Murrimbidgee, and made rapid progress between its gloomy banks till the afternoon of 13 January when one of the party, Hopkinson, called out that they were approaching a junction, and in less than a minute afterwards they were hurried into a broad and noble river. They were on that high road Sturt believed he would find, either to the south coast, or some important outlet.
They proceeded down this river till 22 January when they came upon a river entering their own from the north, which Sturt rightly determined to be the Darling. The natives who had evinced hostile intentions changed miraculously from anger to curiosity, for as soon as the white men landed, their wrangling ceased, and they swam towards Sturt's party like a party of seals. For Sturt this was yet another example of the merciful superintendence of that benevolent providence to which they had humbly committed themselves. In pride at his achievement, Sturt directed the Union Jack be hoisted, and they all stood up in the boat and gave three cheers. It was, Sturt thought, an English feeling, an ebullition, an overflow which their circumstances and situation alone could excuse — but very pleasing. The eye of every native had been fixed upon that noble flag, to Sturt at all times a beautiful object, and to them all there in the heart of a desert.
After inspecting the course of the Darling they re-entered the capacious channel of the new river, which Sturt named the Murray in compliment to the distinguished officer, Sir George Murray, who then presided over the Colonial Office, not only in compliance with the known wishes of General Darling, but also in accordance with his own wishes as a soldier. For in the channel of a river encumbered with an alien timber, and banks of sand of unusual size, and dreary inhospitable plains on which beasts of the field could obtain neither food nor water, a love of English things so overwhelmed Sturt that the name of the currency lad, that Australian son who had first crossed the noble stream further up river in 1824, disappeared off the map.
In the succeeding days of January and February they continued their journey down stream searching for the outlet where this great river emptied itself into the southern ocean, and came into a more promising country at a bend in the river where it began to run away to the south. The traces of kangaroos were numerous. They began to see signs that the sea was not far away from them: seagulls flew over their heads, and one of the party raised his gun to fire at them, but Captain Sturt prevented him. The gulls, he said, should be hailed as messengers of glad tidings, and not be greeted with that grim messenger — death. And they began to pull the boat against the heavy swell that rolled up the river from the south seas, stroking the oars with the elation of men for whom the tang of the sea in their nostrils, the gulls wheeling overhead, the sandhills and the stiff breeze blowing, all conveyed the promise of their impending victory.
When it came, it was not quite that for which their captain was prepared. On 9 February their whale-boat shot into the waters of a beautiful lake, a fitting reservoir for the noble stream that had led them to it, and now ruffled by the sea breeze that swept over it. And the captain wondered whether the lake had any practicable communication with the sea — whether this noble stream emptied the waters of all those inland rivers, the Lachlan , the Murrumbidgee , the Darling, not into a harbour which man could use, but into a lake surrounded by a sandy and sterile country. The hopes of the captain began to be damped on being confronted at journey's end with the ruffled water and the dreary sterile land which so mocked his conception of the fitness of things. The following day the sound of the sea came gratefully to their ears, and they promised themselves a view of the ocean on the morrow. On that day the captain stood on the shores of Encounter Bay , as the thunder of the heavy surf shook the ground beneath him, and broke with increasing roar upon his ears. The voices of the aborigines echoed through the bush, as the men enjoyed the cockles they had boiled.
As the captain began to examine the quantities of food they had left, he found to his dismay that their circumstances were really critical. His men were weak from the poverty of the diet, and their great bodily fatigue, as well as their bitter disappointment at not being picked up by a boat passing on that huge green sea which thumped and roared and hissed its indifference to their destiny. Sturt knew it was their fate to contend against the united waters of that river with diminished strength and, in some measure, with disappointed feelings. It was as though God's creation mocked man's idea of the fitness of things. Sturt drew back from the abyss of his own despair by his faith in the bounty of divine providence, knowing in his heart that its merciful superintendence would protect them from evil, and would silently protect them where human foresight and prudence had failed. As though to answer the faith in his heart, the river showed to advantage as they re-entered it on 13 February, and the scenery was really beautiful in his eyes and the land on the west bank was of the very richest kind, with hundreds of thousands of acres available which might be used.
As the boat ceased to be aided by the breeze from the sea, and the men were called on to pull harder at the oars, and the heat of the interior of that continent of iron became more and more oppressive every day they moved away from the sea, the spirits of the men dropped. Sturt humoured them as best he could. By the time they had reached the junction of the Murrumbidgee and the Murray their provisions were running very short, the men tired, and the natives threatening. But Sturt had the strength to endure. In the midst of all their adversities Macleay preserved his good humour, and lightened Sturt's task, and cheered the men as much as possible. On 11 April, with their provisions nearly consumed, Sturt sent two men forward on foot to the depot at Pondebadgery. On the very day when their provisions were exhausted, these two men came back with more. McNamee, who had been sullen and silent for days, received uncommon satisfaction from the sight of those drays, and Clayton gorged himself. But Sturt, Macleay and Fraser could not at first relish the meal placed before them. Life is immense. By 12 May they were at Yass Plains, and reached Sydney by easy stages on 25 May.
He had much to tell. He told them of the horrid occurrence which was still fresh in his mind. He had heard, he said, out on the Yass Plains that a blackfellow had killed his infant child by knocking its head against a stone, after which he threw the child on the fire, and then devoured it. He told them the aborigines of the interior were almost in a state of starvation, having been deprived of most of the means of subsistence by European settlers, and so had been driven in too many instances to that inhuman and shocking practice of cannibalism. He told them the great point with the aborigine was not to alarm their natural timidity, to exercise patience in intercourse with them, and to treat them kindly, but eye them with suspicion. He told them of aboriginal women of such loathsome condition and hideous countenances that they were a complete antidote to the sexual passion. He spoke with pride of the behaviour of his men, of how, despite their privations, and their arduous labours, they had not murmured, though one of their number had, it must be said, been sullen and silent. He told them, monstrous handsome as he was, and lovable, and, like King Duncan, a gentleman who built an absolute trust in other gentlemen, how a wish to contribute to the public good had led him to undertake those two journeys which had cost him so much, how his path among a large and savage population had been a bloodless one, and how although the effects of the exposure had impaired his sight, he had owed his deliverance, not to human foresight or human prudence, but to the guidance and protection they had received from that good and all wise Being to whom they had committed themselves. So Sturt at journey's end went down on his knees, and with tears of joy offered his thanks to Almighty God. Darling, impressed by such zeal and such important services recommended that the captain receive promotion as a mark of royal favour to a man who had won that most precious prize of eternal honour and glory.
The word soon passed round Sydney that the captain had laid open a boundless extent of excellent well-watered country to the south of the colony: that he had found districts to which the tide of migration could flow, and a noble river whose banks would one day be Studded with settlements.
When he delivered his charge to the clergy of the archdeaconry of
Believing that revealed religion should form the basis of education, Broughton immediately drew up a scheme for training up the rising generation and all succeeding generations in the colony for ever in the faith of Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the world, and in a firm assurance of the sufficiency of His atonement for the salvation of mankind. To encourage and maintain piety and virtue, and a holy, sober and religious character among all classes of the community, he suggested the creation of a King's School for fee-paying day scholars in the town of Sydney and one in Parramatta for fee-paying scholars and boarders, in which pupils would be instructed in every department of useful and polite learning and science. Broughton hoped that by attending such schools the inheritors of the large properties, who were hereafter to take the lead in society and to occupy a station of importance in the country, would no longer be destitute of the acquirements which should qualify them for such a situation. He hoped also that in these schools the pupils would not be so elevated in their opinion of their own powers, and their memory so cultivated at the expense of their judgment, that they would be prone to contravene all established opinions, to despise the authority of all former times, and to decide without any hesitation upon points which had exercised the minds of the most reflective men down the ages. To rescue the lower orders of society from such vices of transportation as adultery, drunkenness and theft, Broughton urged Darling to build more churches in which the adults could be instructed in the precepts of that religion which alone could restrain their vicious propensities, and to erect more schools in which the children could imbibe those same religious principles which alone could amend their lives. He shared with the Reverend J. Dunmore Lang and other divines a conviction that an institution of higher learning in Sydney would also reduce that reckless depravity s6 alarmingly characteristic of the lower orders of Sydney .
For (Chief Justice) Forbes knew that in arguing for checks and balances against Darling's plea for concentration of power because of the peculiar features of a convict dominated society, he would have strong supporters in the Colonial Office. One of these was James Stephen who believed that power could never be rendered safe in the hands of men, except by being divided. One of the difficulties in the Australian colonies was that there would not be enough men among whom to divide it. Born in 1789 into a family which believed that the religion of Jesus Christ afforded the only plausible solution to the great mystery of human life and the only foundation for any lofty or consolatory thoughts, he had taken up his official business as a salaried legal counsellor in the Colonial Office in 1825 from a sense of duty rather than necessity. He thought of Benthamism then as a subtle enemy of Christianity. He looked down with disdain on men who were corrupted by careless amusements. He had once smoked a cigar, but decided not to repeat the experiment because it had afforded him so much pleasure. With Forbes he had in common an interest in the West Indies , a contempt for aristocratic frivolity, and opposition to all systems of slavery. His own problem was how to overcome the prejudice of men of the world against the aspiration of his own Clapham sect to saintship. He believed the government of men should conform to the fatherhood of God, rather than to any notions of abstract human rights. He had the tendency of the man of superior intellect to infer that God had entrusted the government of men to the few rather than the many. The promise of 1789 of better things for mankind touched him not at all: what concerned him was the abolition of all those evils which prevented men perceiving the divine plan for their eternal salvation.
Early in 1824 James Stephen told the Lieutenant-Governor elect of Van Diemen's Land, ' Lieutenant-Colonel George Arthur, that he had an opportunity to make that dependency of New South Wales one branch of a great and powerful nation, which must exercise a mighty influence for good or evil over a vast region of the earth. He told him of the importance of his mission to establish a Christian, virtuous and enlightened state in the centre of the eastern hemisphere and within reach of the Chinese, Hindu and Mohammedan nations which surrounded him. The problem was how to render it Christian, virtuous and enlightened.
Arthur seemed to be the man to undertake such a mission. He shared with Stephen the sense of being called to live with the humble, affectionate and active followers of Jesus Christ, and to receive all those gifts and graces which adorned the Christian character. His own change had been most progressive. Born in Plymouth in June of 1784, he had joined the army as an ensign in 1804, and had seen active service in 1806 and 1809. After promotion to the rank of major in 1812 he had accepted the position of superintendent in Honduras in 1814, where he remained for the ensuing eight years, being promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in June of 1815. In 1814 he married Eliza Orde Usher, the daughter of a Lieutenant-General in the British Army. Then while reading the scriptures he had begun to be weighed down with guilt for a detestable sin against his most Holy Maker, and to know that the heart of every man was desperately wicked, and altogether in enmity with God. Happily for him in the midst of this conviction and abasement, it had pleased God to convey to his soul the most cheering reflections. In Honduras he had read of the all sufficient atonement by Christ, and had become perfectly tranquil, perfectly cheerful and perfectly happy. Through the free grace of God he had come to believe he would one day enter into eternal life.
When a group of aborigines wandered into Ho-bart Town in November of that year Arthur, instead of abandoning them to their corrupters and tormentors, advanced down the street to welcome them, holding out his hand in love and fellowship to them, furnished them with food and clothing, ordered fires to comfort them, and placed four constables near them at night so that their sleep might be free from interruption.
Again, the philanthropists accepted this as a sweet assurance that Christians could conciliate the feelings and promote the welfare of the aborigines. Men in high places, and as well as those in the lower ranks of the government service, were quick to respond to Arthur's concern that the white man should cease to hurt or destroy any of God's creatures throughout the length and breadth of Van Diemen's Land.
By April of 1838 the eyes of the Reverend Samuel Marsden were very dim with age. For just on forty-five years he had gone through many toils and hardships, and had often had to contend with unreasonable and wicked men in power. He had gone through many dangers by land and water both amongst the heathen and amongst his own countrymen. But the Lord in His mercy had delivered him at all times from the snares of his enemies. God willing, he hoped that year to have again the great gratification to see the poor heathen in New Zealand , and give them again the hope of immortal glory. But such was not to be. In ue parsonage of St Matthew's at Windsor, in that district where twenty years earlier he had taken his stand against Andrew Thompson's lapse from rectitude, his hour of need Struck on 12 May. Repeating the word 'precious' over and over again in a vain attempt to say that a good hope in Christ was precious in a man's hour of need, death closed his earthly career as he struggled to tell his fellow-men of the Saviour whom he had served through his life.
Three days later a very large and most respectable group gathered at St John's Church in Parramatta to pay their last tribute to a man who was endeared to them by many of the noblest virtues that adorned mankind. After the majestic words of the service for the burial of the dead, with its reminder that man was full of misery, that he came up, and was cut down like a flower, they committed his body to the dust. Five days later, on 20 May, the Reverend Henry Stiles, the rector of St Matthew's, Windsor , preached a panegyric at St John's , Parramatta . He told the congregation that just as Luther had been sent by the Head of the church to Germany, John Knox to Scotland and Cranmer to England to unfold His glorious gospel, when those countries were almost hidden in Romish darkness, so no less truly was Samuel Marsden raised up to diffuse the light of the same gospel upon the darkness of heathen sin in New Zealand, and upon the darkness of human depravity in early Australia. Marsden had represented man as in a condemned and helpless state, lying in all the pollution and filthiness of his sin and totally unable to justify himself wholly or in part by any works of righteousness. God alone could redeem man from the bondage to sin and death. In Marsden's eyes God was the only author of the little that was good in man.