A Brief Biography of Elizabeth Fairburn - Elizabeth Colenso - before she joined the Melanesian Mission in 1876. I-III
Section 1. The invitation and getting to Norfolk Island 1
Section 2. Some Particulars of the Mission 3
Section 3. Mission Routine 5
Section 4. Some Tragedies 11
[Section 5. 14]
Section 6. Happenings at Otaki 17
Section 7. Life again at Norfolk Island. 1880. 23
Section 8. Consecration Day 28
Section 9. The Year 1893 at the Mission. And to Easter, 1895 37
Section 10. The Last Year at Norfolk Island. 1898. 45
Index. For the Years 1876 to 1904 50
In 1955 my eldest sister, Mrs. Frances Edith Swabey, who had just passed her eighty-fourth birthday, asked me, that if she wrote out a Biography of our grandmother, Elizabeth Colenso, chiefly from Grandmother's diaries, would I type it out? This I consented to do, (it gave us both something to occupy spare time), and for the next eighteen months or so every four, six or eight weeks I received from her ten, fifteen, or twenty sheets of manuscript to type.
This was not an easy job as a certain amount of editing had to be done, sentences re-arranged, not always successfully, some trivial items omitted completely and in other cases dates and facts inserted to clarify statements. The whole Biography, with Index, came to 108 pages of typescript, somewhat over 45,000 words.
Mrs. Swabey then had the idea of having some copies printed, so I sent a copy to Mr. A.W. Reed, Wellington, of Messrs. A.H. & A.W. Reed. His opinion coincided with mine, that the work held very little of interest for outsiders and was only of some interest to relatives, my final observation being that but few of them would trouble to read it.
However, Mrs. Swabey died somewhat suddenly on October 10th. 1958 in her eighty-eighth year, and tidying up some papers in December I came upon a copy of the Biography. Thinking that the Melanesian Mission portion might be of interest to Mission headquarters I sent a simple page to the Mission secretary in Auckland, Mr. H.W. Bullen. His reply, dated January 8, 1959, considered that the relevant portions would be suitable for record purposes, hence this screed.
WILLIAM THOMAS FAIRBURN, who was born in the county of Kent England, in 1797, had come to Sydney about twenty years later. Here he had married Sarah - , an Australian by birth, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the New South Wales Forces, and here his first son Richard was born about the end of 1818.
When Marsden made his second visit to New Zealand in 1819 the Fairburns accompanied him and were amongst those whom Marsden had enrolled to help in the work of the Church Missionary Society in christianizing the Maoris.
The Fairburns' second child, the subject of this Biography, was born at Kerikeri on August the 27th, 1821 and was named Elizabeth. The family later went to Sydney but returned to Kerikeri in 1823 with Marsden in the 'Brampton,' the Rev. Henry Williams, who had come from England to take charge of the work of the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand, being also on board.
The headquarters of the Mission were presently moved from Kerikeri to Paihia, and from here in 1834 Fairburn and his wife went in the brig 'Fortitude' to open a Mission Station at Puriri, about eight miles up the Waihou river in the Thames district. Apparently their five children, Richard, aged 15, Elizabeth 13, John 11, Edwin 7 and Esther 5, were left at Paihia where they attended the school for the children of the Society's members which was conducted by Mrs. Henry Williams.
(Note: About 1952, this typist, F.S. Simcox, deposited in the Turnbull Library, Wellington, two letters, in excellent script both headed Puriri and addressed to Miss Elizabeth Fairburn at Paihia. The first letter is dated January 30th. 1835 and signed S. Fairburn, and the second is dated Sept. 2nd. And is signed W.T. Fairburn).
Owing to flooding the Station at Puriri proved most unsuitable and was later moved to Maraetai, a position on the mainland opposite to Waiheke Island. Here it was visited in May and June, 1840, by Mrs. Felton Mathew, who records in her Journal the excellent work done by Elizabeth, then not quite 19 years of age, in teaching the Maori children and young people.
William Colenso, born in 1811 in Cornwall, had landed at Paihia as a printer for the Church Missionary Society, in 1834. In 1843, looking round for a wife, his choice fell on Elizabeth, and presently they arranged to get married in 1844.
[II] Bishop G.A. Selwyn had arrived in New Zealand to take charge of the Church Missionary Society in 1842, and later had spent five days at the Maraetai Mission Station and so was able to observe the excellent teaching methods of Elizabeth.
Colenso wished for ordination before his marriage, but the Bishop desiring the services of Elizabeth's teaching at St. John's College at Waimate, insisted that the marriage take place before Colenso entered the College for his final preparation. So a hurried marriage was arranged and took place at her father's newly erected dwelling near Otahuhu in April, 1843, the Rev. Mr. Churton being the minister, and later the Colenso's went to St. John's to live.
(Note by the typist: In August 1907, this old dwelling was pointed out to the typist by his mother as having been built of kauri timber by her grandfather, W.T. Fairburn. The pronunciation of Otahuhu is with a slight accent on the 'a,' OtAhuhu, not Ota-huhu nor Otahoo. The tahuhu is the ridgepole of a dwelling or may be a person's name. About 1850 the site for the town of Otahuhu was sold by Fairburn for £850.)
Colenso's ordination being deferred till September, 1844, it was not till the end of that year that he was appointed to a new Mission station which he was to establish at Waitangi, Hawkes Bay, near the joint estuaries of the Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Waitangi rivers, a situation about as suitable as had been that of W.T. Fairburn's at Puriri. And there the Colenso's established themselves with their infant daughter Fanny, christened Frances Mary.
In September Elizabeth went overland to the Rev. William Williams' Mission Station at Turangi (Gisborne) for the birth of her son who was named Ridley Latimer. (1845).
William and Elizabeth were not happy in their married life, and quite possible the marriage would not have taken place except for the interference of the Bishop. So John Fairburn, Elizabeth's younger brother, arrived at Waitangi in September, 1852, and left for Auckland with Fanny and Latty on the 14th. to be followed by Elizabeth on August the 30th. 1853. She and Fanny never again met William, who died in February, 1899.
In 1854 Elizabeth joined the Mission Station conducted by the Rev. B.Y. Ashwell, which was then suitated on the south bank of the Waikato river nearly opposite to Taupiri mountain, and a few months later was joined by her daughter Fanny, then 10 years of age.
In 1860 the Maori War broke out in the Waikato and the Mission Stations had to be left, so Elizabeth took her two children, Fanny, aged 17, and Latty, aged 15, to England in the sailing ship 'Boanerges' to finish their education. They were both sent to schools near where Elizabeth lived in London, Fanny to Queen's College and Latty to Bruce Castle. It was on Friday, December 4th. 1863, that Elizabeth accompanied Hare and Hariata Pomare as interpreter in their visit to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.
Latty having entered St. John's College, Cambridge, Elizabeth and Fanny left England in October, 1866, and after a passage of 112 [II/III] days they reached Auckland on February the 9th, 1867, just in time for Elizabeth to see Mrs. Ashwell before she died in her house at Devonport. Mr. Ashwell then decided to go to England for a trip with his daughter Sarah, so for the next two years Elizabeth and Fanny lived in his house helping with the parish work there. It was there that Fanny met a young man who had come out form England in 1862 and way staying with his cousin, Sir William Martin, whom she married in 1870.
When the Ashwell's returned from England in 1869, Elizabeth and Fanny were allowed by Mr. Burrows to live in the old Mission house at Paihia. There Elizabeth started a school for Maori children and kept it going at the Ti point till the end of 1875.
Note: The foregoing is condensed from approximately 43 pages of the Biography of Elizabeth Colenso. The Biography was compiled in 1955-56 by Frances Edith Swabey - F.E. Simcox - the eldest granddaughter of Elizabeth Colenso. Mrs. Swabey was born in April, 1871, and died on October the 10th 1958.
The typist, F.S. Simcox, began this Melanesian Biography in January, 1959, and finished it on February the 23rd. 1959.
The statement on page I herein that W.T. and Mrs. Fairburn went from Paihia to the Thames in the 'Fortitude' is most likely incorrect, the journey to Auckland being done in a whale boat.
Fairburn had a trip to England in 1852 and found more than forty younger relatives in Kent. He died in 1852 and is buried in an Auckland cemetery.
 From the Diaries of Elizabeth Colenso while helping at the Melanesian Mission at Norfolk Island. 1876-1898
At the end of the year 1875 the Rev. John Richardson Selwyn asked Elizabeth to go to Norfolk Island and help in the work of the Melanesian Mission, which had been established there in 1867. So she left the old Mission house at Paihia on December 31, 1875, and travelling in the small schooner 'Iona' arrived at Auckland on New Year's day. There she stayed at Bishopscourt with Mrs. Cowie for some time, and also visited many old friends in the three weeks while waiting for the schooner 'Canterbury' to be got ready.
When the boat left on January 27th. they ran into such a violent storm with water washing into the cabin, that they put into the Bay of Islands for shelter and anchored off Russell. Here Elizabeth went on shore and stayed with Dr. and Mrs. Ford and met Bishop Cowie. The Bishop was returning from a visit to the northern part of his parish, and at Paihia had unveiled a monument to the memory of Archdeacon Henry Williams, with funds raised entirely by voluntary subscriptions given by Maoris from all over the North Island.
The 'Canterbury' was able to leave the Bay on February 1st. several other vessels which had taken shelter there leaving at the same time. Amongst these was a Yankee whaler, one of whose crew, a Negro, had swum away a few nights previously and deserted. The captain had gone to other ships to look for him, but was told that he had swum ashore again. He came to the 'Canterbury' in search and was well treated with drinks, and in gratitude left behind some whales' teeth.
To continue from the diary of Elizabeth:
"We had scarcely got out of the Bay when to our astonishment the Negro came out of the hold, and there was much pleasure at having 'done the Yankee captain' and got his whales' teeth and man as well. Evidently the master and crew were aware of the trick, but said, in excuse, that the Yankee captain had vowed such brutal vengeance on the man if he caught him, that they were determined not to betray him. One must remember that slaves in America had not long been freed and ill feeling was still strong against them.
It was so close and stuffy in the cabin, that after the first night we took our mattresses and blankets on deck and put them on top of the load of timber to keep above the always wet decks.
Saturday, February 6, 1876. We really sighted land at last, [1/2] but as it was raining and blowing we had to go round to the northwest to obtain shelter, while the usual landing places are on the east and south sides. All we could see were precipitous cliffs, a very small bay with rocks on both sides. There was a heavy surf with waves dashing against the cliffs. So we had to tack backwards and forwards all night in the lee of the island, with the vessel rolling, all passengers prostrate with sickness and all our bedding wet through. Late in the afternoon the rain ceased and we saw some Melanesian boys climbing about on the cliffs, so we hoped that they had reported us to the Mission station. Next morning, as the sea was slowly subsiding, Captain Clarke put in closer to the bay, which we found was named Anson's Bay. (Note: Now the site of teh cable station).
The captain, urged by Nurse, Mrs. Philpotts, anchored about a mile from the shore and lowered a boat to try and land on the sandy beach. Taking three good swimmers with him they left the ship, but when near land the boat suddenly disappeared and nothing could be seen of men or boat. Then a passenger, Captain Jackson, using his telescope, reported three men scrambling ashore, but no sign of the fourth man or the boat. However he soon came into sight and then the four were seen to pull the boat up and salvage the oars. They then began to climb the cliffs, stopping when half way up amongst the pines to wave to the ship. People appeared on the cliff, the sailors joined them, a white flag was run up, and then everyone disappeared inland.
Presently some persons appeared, several on horses, and soon Captain Clarke and some Melanesians dragged the boat down and rowed to the ship. They reported that while they were rowing in a 'blind' roller came along and turned the boat right over. Three of them had hard work to reach the beach, the older boatman staying with the boat and being washed in. Experienced boatmen state that it is best to stay outside the range of successive breaking rollers until the series be exhausted, and then go in before the next series begins. Captain Clarke came back deeply impressed with the kind reception with which he had been met, the beauty of the island, the pretty Mission Station and the novel sight of large numbers of happy, healthy-looking dark faces jabbering away in an unknown tongue. From Mr. Selwyn he brought to nurse Philpotts and us a letter of welcome, stating that they would be off as early as possible in the morning to get us ashore.
Kendall, the Mission carpenter, had been fishing all the afternoon and he had caught over twenty fish with scarlet fins, some of which the steward fried and brought to us on deck, a welcome change from the salt beef we had been getting. Some of the fish were split and dried.
It rained in the evening so that we had to sleep below, but when we came on deck at 5 a.m. we found that the ship had been under sail since 2 a.m. as a light wind had risen. Anxiously awaiting a boat it appeared just as breakfast was ready, which we did not take, thinking that we soon would be able to have it at the Mission. However the Norfolkers had some when they came on board. There was still a heavy swell running, but we all managed [2/3] to land on a rock on one side of Anson's bay, where Mr. Selwyn was there to help us. One boy was detailed to each passenger to help up the stiff climb of the cliff and carry our small packages. When we reached the top there was a dogcart waiting for us and we were driven to the St. Barnabas Mission Station. There were Norfolk pines and white oak trees scattered about, and the Station set on a rise looked very pretty as we approached it on a road which had been made by convict labour.
Section Two SOME PARTICULARS OF THE MISSION
Each married missionary has a separate house, with a number of unmarried Melanesian girls under the care of his wife. The married Melanesians have smaller houses built on a slope under pine trees, and the unmarried boys live in the houses of the bachelor missionaries. The latter houses, with the chapel, dining hall, kitchen and outhouses are all in one large enclosure on one side of the main road through the Mission, and is called by a Mota word, 'Vanua', meaning 'The Place.' The printing office and store where fish hooks etc. may be got, are also there.
Beyond it, the hill slopes to a deep valley, and here the boys have their own private gardens and play houses, made of various scraps of tin and wood, and here is the Mission cemetery. Further away rise the hills, thick with pines, white oaks, wild lemons, nikau palms and tree ferns, till the bare top of Mr. Pitt shows, an old craver over 1,000 feet in height. The look-out and flag station was there in the days when it was a convict settlement. The whole island is a succession of deep gullies, very fertile, with plantations of bananas and oranges, and plateaux with sheep and cattle grazing. There are quite good roads, with the houses of the inhabitants scattered about, most of them with lovely gardens, the roads having been made by the convicts.
The Mission party at this time consisted of the Rev. J.R. Selwyn, the head, - his wife and three children had left on a visit to England the previous year - the Rev. Mr. Palmer, who was then on his way out from England where he had married Mary Ashwell, who was well known to Elizabeth, the Rev. A. Penny, the Rev. C. and Mrs. Bice, Dr. Codrington, D.D. and Kendall, the carpenter. There were also Mrs. Philpotts, called Nurse by everyone, and a visitor, Miss Amy Purchas. The boys, as the male Melanesians of all ages were so called, were apportioned into groups; some to cook, some to work in the gardens, others to milk, and were changed every week. The white men helped in everything. It was a rule of the Island that every male must do at least three days' work in the year on the roads, even the Mission head, Mr. Selwyn, being not exempt.
 Dr. Watling lived in the town, which had been built by convict labour on the south side of the island on the only part that was nearly at sea level. It had been named Kingstown after Lt. King, who was the first governor, and with its sandstone and brick buildings blended perfectly with its background of pine-clad hills. In front was the usually very blue sea with two small islands off shore; Nepean, long and grey, and Phillip island, a red, hilly one topped with trees.
Elizabeth and the others were gladly welcomed at the Mission station, where there was always more work to be done or to see to, than the staff were able to manage. Nurse lived in Mr. Selwyn's house, while Elizabeth and Amy Purchas went to Mr. Palmer's unoccupied residence. Saturday being the usual holiday, on the 26th. Mr. and Mrs. Bice and their Melanesian girls, with Elizabeth and Amy, joined after dinner by Dr. and Mrs. Watling, had a picnic at Emily Bay.
The Norfolk Islanders had a Mr. Nobbs as their chaplain. He had married a Tahitian woman and had gone to live at Pitcairn Island, and had many descendants. These Norfolk Islanders were descendants of the mutineers of the H.M.S. 'Bounty,' who in 1788 had set adrift Captain Bligh and some others. The mutineers went to Tahiti, got some women to join them, and then found Pitcairn island, and here they had established themselves. They were very religious and kept good order in the island, and after being found there by a passing vessel, Mr. Nobbs had joined them and become their pastor.
When Pitcairn island became to small for their increasing numbers, the British Government offered Norfolk island to them, so in 1856 the remaining convicts were removed to Tasmania, and 194 Pitcairn islanders took their place, the Rev. Mr. Nobbs coming with them. (Note: The 194 comprised all the Pitcairn islanders. After two years some returned to Pitcairn, and more followed later). Intoxicating liquor, except under doctor's orders, was debarred from the island, and several men who wished to cure themselves of alcoholism had come there to live. One had established a store in the town, and at Longridge, half way between the Mission and the town was a store kept by Charles Nobbs, a grandson of the Rev. Mr. Nobbs. From the Mission to beyond Longridge was a magnificent avenue of Norfolk Island pines, which had been planted by the convicts and had grown to a stately and imposing height. (Note: Unfortunately these had to be felled during the Second World War as they constituted a danger for planes approaching the aerodrome).
At this time Elizabeth was in her fifty-seventh year, and in order to help and teach in the Mission she found it essential to learn the language which was in use there. To go back somewhat, the Melanesian Mission work had first been started by Bishop G.A. Selwyn, the first Primate of New Zealand, whose diocese included the islands of Melanesia. By making friends with these people, he persuaded them to let their sons be brought to Kohimarama, Mission Bay, Auckland, where he had established a mission station. When Selwyn left New Zealand he was succeeded by John Coleridge Patteson. The climate of Kohimarama was found to be too cold for the [4/5] sun-loving Melanesians, so by arrangement with the Australian Government the Mission was moved to Norfolk Island and a grant of 1,000 acres made over to them. The mean temperature of the Island is 84 degrees F. and it lies 400 miles northwards from the North Cape and about 600 miles from Auckland.
The Mission vessel 'Southern Cross' went twice yearly to the islands, returning with boys and girls form the Banks, Solomon, Torres and New Hebrides islands groups. As they all spoke different languages it was agreed that one of the easiest, that of the island of Mota in the Banks Islands group, should be chosen as the 'lingua franca' of the Mission. It was easy enough for the Melanesian to accustom themselves to it, but not so easy enough for the white people, especially as each white missionary would have a different distinct to supervise in the islands and would have to lean that language also! In one of the islands of the New Hebrides with a long mountain range running down the middle, the natives on neither side of the range spoke an entirely different language. So in her fifth-seventh year Elizabeth began to learn to speak and write Mota, at which she became very proficient.
At the end of February Mr. Nobbs gave Elizabeth his box of homeopathic medicines, which had been in his possession for twenty-five years. On March 7th. the schooner 'Canterbury', the vessel which had brought Elizabeth to the island a month before, called in on her way back from New Caledonia. She had come through a hurricane and had nearly been swamped.
Elizabeth and Amy Purchas went for a walk up Mr. Pitt and visited the saw pit of a Mr. Allen and tried their hands at pit sawing from under the log. They returned to Mrs. Allen's and found that she had a sumptuous repast ready for them; hot roast sucking pig and baked potatoes, rice pudding, new brown bread, new butter, scones made with cream, etc.
The Daily Routine at the Mission was this: 6 a.m. getting up bell; 6.25, prayers in chapel followed by breakfast; 8.50, school bell for reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. 10.30, white men and boys to the gardens where coffee, kumara, melon and all varieties of vegetables were grown. Meanwhile the girls did sewing, mending and making clothes, making mats out of corn husks, etc. Dinner at 1 p.m. and more school from 2 to 3.30, then free till tea at 6 p.m. in Hall. Prayers in chapel at 7 followed by evening classes, singing, scripture etc. to 8.30. At 10 p.m. the final bell rang for 'lights out'. On Thursday afternoons some of the Norfolk island girls attended to sew to help the Mission, or far a sale of work for the Endowment Fund, and while so employed Elizabeth was usually the reader, the book at that time being Charlotte M. Yonge's "Cameos of English History."
 Saturday was always a holiday, and the boys either went fishing from the rocks at Anson's Bay, or worked in their private gardens. They and the girls cooked their own meals that day in their ovens which were made in Maori fashion in the ground, with the food wrapped in banana leaves to keep it clean. They had yams or bananas grated with coconut, which, when cooked, looked rather an indigestible green mass, but was quite nice to eat. The yams they either cooked in their ovens or grated and fried in fat, like pancakes.
The only safe place to bathe was at Emily Bay, as the tides are very strong round the island. This small bay has a reef across it which extends parallel to the shore, to where the convicts had built a sandstone pier. This is in front of the town near the old prison buildings.
The town school was taught by a Mr. Rossiter, who had over 100 pupils at this time. He lived a Longridge, or rather near by, with his family of four daughters and two sons. Here, in a gully, with very little work being done amongst them, was a well-stocked orchard of oranges, bananas, peaches, black and white grapes, purple passion fruit, shaddocks, etc. On the flat nearer to the house was the vegetable garden with potatoes, yams, kumaras etc and backing it an enormous Moreton Bay fig tree.
Dr. Codrington was a very able linguist, and at this time was engaged in translating the Old Testament from English into Mota, and was at work on the book of Ezekiel. Here Elizabeth's knowledge of Maori was of assistance to him in the formation of sentences.
On March the 29th. Elizabeth writes:
"The walk down the hill in the early morning through the cool air is the height of enjoyment. I like the place, the work and the people. The 'Kaiwhakahaere' (note, Director or Superintendent) of the establishment is a man of sound judgment and common sense, which qualities commend themselves to one's esteem and respect. All the men are pleasant and devoted and I could settle down with great content to spend the rest of my life helping in the good work. The absence of the world and its wearisome conventionalities is a happy feature. What is in the future for me I know not, but if only Thou will guide my steps all will be well, and prepare me for all that Thou hast in store for me. Be the way smooth or be it rough, so that Thou wilt be near to guide and uphold me, all will be well."
The Mission work went on from day to day, varied by rides to different parts of the island and visits to friends amongst the Norfolkers. (Note: the size of the Island is 8,607 acres). The Mission girls were taught to make hats from 'toetoe' leaves, and the boys gathered the fruit of the yellow guavas, which grow wild there. One evening Elizabeth stayed up to 3 a.m. making guava jelly, a very tasty commodity. Cornish Quintall and some others added a spice of variety to the life of the Island. They led their relations somewhat of a dance, stating that they had been [6/7] dreaming and seeing visions, and had a commission to convert all their fellow islanders. With what success we are not told.
The 'Southern Cross' arrived from Auckland and anchored opposite the town on April the 10th, causing the usual excitement, so much so that only three people sat to dinner in the Mission hall. The passengers who arrived were Mr. Still, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. Watling, the doctor's wife - she was accommodated at Mr. Selwyn's as the doctor's house was in some confusion, being re-shingled - and three Melanesians, Wadrokal and his wife Carrie and Jo Wate. There was hurry and bustle by the whites and boys, with carts, etc. to unload before the weather changed. Also there was a lot of packing to finish for the missionaries, Messrs. Selwyn, Bice and Still, and 69 boys and 5 girls, who were to spend some months in the islands, so that they would miss the colder climate of the Island.
The master of the 'Southern Cross' at that time was a Sussex man, Captain Bongard, a fine sailor and a first-class navigator. It was said of him that should he but catch sight of any part of an island he would know it again. Bishop J.R. Selwyn wrote of him: "Captain Bongard is a first-rate fellow and as good a seaman as ever trod a deck." He had been mate of the vessel in Bishop Patteson's time and succeeded Captain Tilly, who then became the agent for the Mission in Auckland.
The next excitement, on April 19th, was the wedding of two Norfolkers, Lily, the daughter of Fletcher Nobbs, to John Young, who was a descendant of Midshipman Young, whom the 'Bounty' mutineers had taken to Pitcairn Island. Nurse had taken two iced wedding cakes and 50 lbs. of flour, and also blankets, window blinds and curtains, which she and Elizabeth put up after the ceremony, and other guests gave necessary furnishings, as the cottage, though on a lovely site above the town and overlooking Phillip island, was devoid of any interior furniture.
All the Mission party were asked to the breakfast, which was held in rooms with opening-back doors. There were ten groomsmen and ten bridesmaids, the latter in white with blue ribbons and with fresh flowers in their hair. Elizabeth gave a counterpane and made hassocks and cupboards out of candle and biscuit boxes and covered them with chintz.
To celebrate the completion of a fence erected round 150 acres of their property, a dinner was given by the Buffet family on May the 12th, at which the Mission party were represented by Mr. & Mrs. Palmer and Amy Purchas. At the feast, which included many Nofolkers, some of the provisions supplied were 33 fowls, 9 turkeys, a large pig and a young bullock.
One of the riding party of five ladies which took the shorter road to the Cascades, Elizabeth admired the scenery, where the small stream, bordered by numerous lofty tree ferns, wound about the ends of the descending spurs. She wished that she had the [7/8] ability of an artist to transmit it to paper. Later she writes:
"This island is beautiful. We went for a ride as far as we could go towards Anson's bay and Bullock's hut. It was so cool under the pines and white oaks, and the fire cliff-edged headlands covered with pines, oaks and variously coloured earth and rocks, while below the white surf breaking on the black rocks and small sandy beaches, the light-coloured blue of the nearer sea and the whole backed by the deep blue of the further, made a glorious and entrancing picture."
And again she writes of a different matter:
"This evening a boy showed to me a piece of bone from an arrow that more than a year ago had been shot at a fish from a place on the cliffs. To-day the fish was caught, and a sick boy, for whom the fish was intended, found the bone arrow head in its neck."
On the 24th. of June, which the vessel 'Marion' from Auckland was having her cargo of timber unloaded at the Cascades, the 'Southern Cross' arrived back from the islands. On board was Takua, a great chief of Florida, who had come to take his daughter Sogonlea back with him. No classes were held for the next few days, all the staff being busy answering letters from former pupils in the islands, and packing comforts for the white men who were to leave for their turn there. Captain Bongard came ashore and the weather becoming rough he was kept there for three days. When he left, with him went many boys and girls, some merely going for a visit to their relatives, and Messrs. Palmer and Penny from the Staff, leaving only Mr. Bice and Dr. Codrington in charge of the Mission. The doctor was a keen gardener, and with the help of the Melanesians looked after the gardens and paths of the absent missionaries, and planted trees and cuttings for them. He had many beautiful drawings and etchings which he had done while in England, Europe, Gippsland and other places where he had travelled, which Elizabeth greatly admired. She often went to his house between tea at Hall and evening chapel, and had her Mota translations corrected by him. He and the late Bishop Patteson were wonderful linguists and had easily learnt many of the dialects of Melanesia and had recorded them in writing. (Note: In the 'Southern Cross Log' for this month, September, 1955, phonographic records are being made by Melanesian speaking or singing to the machine). The Melanesian word written as 'ngang', when used as a suffix indicated the plural of many things. To saved space these two linguists originated the method of omitting the two letters g and writing the word as nan, but with two commas over each n to indicate the ng sound. The word for Psalms would be O Asnan. [double dots over the two n's]
On the morning of September the 15th. a third son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Bice, and Elizabeth was kept very busy and become exceedingly tired, washing and dressing the baby as well as doing her very day jobs. A few days later a Norfolker, Dorcas Buffet, was engaged for a month.
 In September the whaling season was in full swing, and Elizabeth saw a whale being cut up in the sheds while one was being towed in and several were playing about in the sea close to the shore. At the Mission itself the preparation of arrowroot was in full progress. The root of the plant is ground up by a machine, and the pulp is then put into sieves and laid on bars across tubs of water. Water is then poured over it and the pulp squeezed till all the floury part sinks to the bottom of the tub. It is then left to settle, after which it is scooped out and placed on calico frames which are spread in the sun to dry. The Mission staff and the boys and girls thoroughly enjoyed this work being a change from the usual routine. Arrowroot was much used in times of sickness, and being the pure unadulterated article, any surplus was soon sold in New Zealand.
The 'Southern Cross' returned from the islands on September 28th. and brought back Messrs. Palmer, Still, Penny and Selwyn, the last named suffering much from fever, ague and pain the back of his head. He looked very ill when he left for Auckland the next day, his fellow passengers being Dr. Codrington, Amy Purchas, sixteen Melanesian boys for confirmation, Mr Rossiter, and two sons, and Mr. Still, who looks so happy as he is on his way to be married to Miss Nihill.
Amy Purchas having left, Elizabeth, walking home from evening chapel, felt lonely, friendless and sad, thinking of the happy meetings, and partings, of others; and yet, "Ingratitude is indeed a black crime.
Though dark my path and sad my lot,
Let me be still and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught -
'Thy will be done.'
And she continues:
"I knew Mr. Nihill in 1843-44 at St. John's College at Waimate, and many more, now thirty-three years ago. Chapman, Spencer, Fisher, Hamlin, Davies, sen., Christopher Davies, and Butt, students and candidates for ordination. Cotton, the Bollands, Charles Dudley and his wife, the Archdeacon, now Bishop, William Williams. Mrs. C. Davies and I had the Maori girls' school. Our first children, George Davies and Fanny Colenso were born there within a week of each other. (Note: F.C. was the typist's mother). John Richardson Selwyn was born there five months later. Ah me, what changes since then. Could we but look into the future at times, how our spirits would shudder and shrink. Well indeed for us that our Heavenly Father has not given us this power; then life would be unbearable indeed. But He leads us day by day, showering blessings on us unworthy, sinful creatures. How I wish that he would impart a double portion on me so as to guide me and those near and dear to me. And remember all those who have shown kindness to me, and touched thereby the deep springs which were well nigh frozen by the unkindness and ingratitude of those who have ever had care and kindness shown them Little do those about us know what a deep fountain of sorrow is hidden beneath the [9/10] face; a wounded, bruised and battered spirit, touched to the core when kindness and courtesy are shown by strangers - withheld by those whose bounded duty it was to show every kindness and attention."
The 'Southern Cross' returned from Auckland on November the 16th, having taken 11 days to get there and 10 to return. The Melanesian boys had been thrilled with their visit, and especially enjoyed an invitation to the large vessel 'Waikato,' in which, incidentally, Elizabeth's daughter Fanny and her family had returned from England in 1874. (Note: The N.Z. Shipping Company's sailing ship 'Waikato' was a real clipper of 1021 tons, and made many fast passages out and home, only three of twelve exceeding 100 days. Vide 'White wings,' by Henry Brett.) Dr. Codrington informed Elizabeth that he had seen her daughter Fanny, her husband (W.H. Simcox) and family in Auckland, they having come from Paihia for treatment for the children who had contracted enteric fever.
Dr. Codrington had many accomplishments, among them was to make wedding rings out of shillings and sixpences for the Melanesian bridegrooms and brides. He kept a stock of collars and ties for boys being married or baptized, and saw that they were always decently dressed in white shirts with blue ties and light-coloured trousers. The dresses of the brides were invariably pale blue print skirts, white bodices hanging just below the waist trimmed with strips of the blue print, blue bead necklaces, and usually white vinca flowers, like stars, stuck in their hair.
At Christmas time the boys felled a young pine tree which they erected in Hall. It being too tall the top was lopped off and so placed on the roof that it appeared to be growing through it. Inside the tree held presents for everyone, including many Norfolk Islands friends who had been invited for the evening. Later supper was held at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Bice.
The Rev. John Selwyn had gone to Sydney to meet his wife on her return from England, the vessel arriving at Sydney on December 19th. When they returned to New Zealand they went to Queenstown for a restful two months and to prepare himself for the great work which lay before him. For by the General Synod in New Zealand and by the Committee in England, he had unanimously been elected to be Bishop of Melanesia. He had been born on May 24, 1844 and so was not yet thirty-three, and though he loved the work amongst the Melanesians, he shrank somewhat from the responsibility which devolved upon the head of the Mission. But finding that it was the universal wish, he consented. So after two months at Queenstown, doing duty there and visiting patients at the hospital, work which appealed to him, he was consecrated the second bishop of Melanesia, the ceremony taking place on February 18, 1877, at Nelson. With his wife and eighteen-months' old son Stephen he arrived back at Norfolk Island towards the end of April and received a very warm welcome from everyone. After a few days at the Mission he left for a round of [10/11] the islands in the 'Southern Cross', returning on the 3rd. of November. Meanwhile Mrs. Selwyn collaborated in every way in all work at the Mission, in which work Mrs. Nihill, the mother of Mrs. Still, also helped.
Section Four. Some Tragedies.
The whaling industry at the island was not without its risks. It was carried on by five or six boats, owned by different families, five of these being Adams, Buffett, Christian, Quintal and Young. After being captured the whales were usually towed to the Cascades landing place, where they were hauled up, flensed and boiled down. When necessary the boats helped each other. A strong accident happened. A whale was being flensed, and the head was being drawn up with block and tackle to the bank above, when the rope tore through the flesh. The head rolled back and struck against the flensing spade held by Jacob Christian, which twirled round and struck his leg just above the heel, cutting through sinews and flesh to the bone. The doctor later had to amputate his leg, but gangrene set in and he died. He left a wife and four young children.
A few days later there was another tragedy. A boat harpooned a whales calf, then when the mother surfaced the calf was cut loose and the mother harpooned. The calf came up and struck the boat with its tail and capsized it and the mother made out to sea with the boat with the crew hanging on to it. They managed to cut the whale loose and the men hung on to the boat all night, gradually drifting further from the Island. Though other boats were heard searching for them they were unable to make themselves heard. The boat turned over seven or eight times in the night, and when keel up they could manage to climb up and sit astride of it. At 6 a.m. Isaac Christian, a brother of Mrs. Nobbs, senior, who had despaired of being found, died of cramps and exposure, and his body was tied to the boat. It was Stephen Christian's boat which found them at 10 a.m. and brought the five men safely ashore. The next day at Isaac's funeral, Dr. Codrington read fervent prayers of thanksgiving for the lives which had been saved.
Thrills through the Mission, and the usual yells by the Melanesians, were the result of a message from Mr. Still that the 'Southern Cross' was in sight. As the vessel had been absent for nearly six months there was some cause for jubilation. Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Selwyn were in a carriage, about to visit the relatives of Isaac Christian, and the yells of the boys made the horse plunge about, so that, and excitement, Mrs. Selwyn became almost [11/12] hysterical. However, they drove off to town, and there was a white vessel with much the same rig as the 'Cross,' but to their bitter disappointment it was a barque on her way to Noumea from Tasmania. The next day, November the 3rd, the 'Cross' did arrive, and Mr. Bice then drove Mrs. Selwyn to town to meet the ship.
Elizabeth writes: "I went to Mrs. Palmer's and helped her to but clean covers on her furniture. Then Mr. Still came and drove her to meet her husband, while I went with some girls to clean and tidy Mr. Comins' room, and then we scrubbed and dusted, made Mr. Comins bed and got everything finished by 12.30, making a wonderful transformation in the appearance of the room. Then the Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn came and went to see Dr. Codrington who was ill and hoarse with a severe cold. After the midday meal the Bishop went to see Mr. Nobbs who was ill with a carbuncle on his neck. When we were coming down from Mrs. Palmer's we stopped on the green below the cart shed and pines so as to watch the unloading and claiming of the contents of the carts, luggage and freight from the 'Cross.' Then Messrs. Comins and Penny arrived, more carts came with a heterogeneous mass of contents; bundles, kits, mats, boxes, bags, breadfruits, coconut and baskets of nuts, and many old scholars back again. Then the tea bell rang and Hall was full again with a joyous buzz of conversation."
Three days later Emily Rossiter was married to Captain Bongard, and as many as were able went to the town ceremony and back to the Rossiter's for the wedding breakfast. The 'Cross' left next day, November 7th. for Auckland, taking Mr. and Mrs. Still for a change as the latter's health had not been good.
Elizabeth had recently acquired a camp oven, an iron contraption which stands on three or four legs, with a lid with a curled up brim. Coals are put under and on top, and when heated, delicious bread can be produced. Stews and broiled food can also be cooked in it. Mr. Penny was greatly interested in this oven and attended for a lesson in the making of soda bread, as he thought that he might get one for use in the islands. So Elizabeth showed him the method, the result of which he very much approved. Having had a fish given to her she cooked it, boiled some potatoes and made fish cakes. At 5.30 next morning these were taken to the Hall cooks and were fried for breakfast to the diners' enjoyment. She also taught the cooks, Reuben and Ambrose, to make leaven and bake bread, and supervised them while they did it, as they often allowed it to rise too long, which made it sour.
On December the 18th. Mrs. Selwyn's baby girl was born, the Bishop having to go for Mrs. Young in the middle of the night. So a working holiday was proclaimed for the school, and many went off to Nepean island and returned with 18 sacks of guano which they intended to try as a fertiliser in their gardens. Meanwhile a small vessel from Auckland was unloading timber a the town pier and this was carried up the steep hill by Mr. Penny and a party [12/13] of boys. The hard work in the heat upset Mr. Penny, who became very ill and was laid up for several weeks, so Mrs. Nihill looked after him at Mrs. Still's house. Then Mrs. Selwyn, whose condition seemed to be quite satisfactory for the first few days, began to show symptoms to cause anxiety, necessitating frequent visits by Dr. Watling to her and to Mr. Penny.
Just before Christmas all houses got a thorough cleaning, walls, ceilings and furniture, while the tables, forms, etc. were whitened by being scrubbed with sand. Then everything had to be replaced, while the Mission staff prepared ornaments and presents to place on the Christmas tree. On Christmas eve the condition of Mrs. Selwyn seemed to be desperate, and when Mr. Comins went for the doctor, he was, as usual, apparently incapacitated by drink, while his patient, semi-conscious, kept calling for him.
A party of twenty boys from Mr. Penny's house went round in the evening singing carols and hymns, but had to be turned back from the Bishop's house. They had dressed themselves in white shirts and trousers and carried candles and hymn books. They were very sad when they heard that Mrs. Selwyn was too ill to hear them, but went down to Mrs. Still's house and sang to Mrs. Nihill and Mr. Penny. On Christmas day the boys and girls went off for a picnic, with their usual pig to cook island fashion, and the white people had their dinner in Hall, but the illness of Mrs. Selwyn cast a sad gloom over everyone. In the evening the Melanesians had forty-two plum puddings amongst them, these having been cooked by the clergy.
Elizabeth was up all that night with Mrs. Selwyn, and the Bishop never left her day or night, but she gradually sank and died on the 30th. of December. Everyone was desperately sorry for the poor Bishop, who was devotedly attached to her and had missed her sorely in their long separations. The funeral was the same evening at 7 o'clock, Mrs. Bice and Elizabeth having lined the coffin with white samite, and making a large white pall in the centre of which was a red cross. These two also took charge of the baby, the small boy, Stevie, being at Mr. Palmer's.
Mr. Penny still being ill with gastric fever and Mrs. Nihill having become exhausted looking after him, Elizabeth took charge of him in the day time, as he had to be given light nourishment every two hours, while the Bishop and Mr. Comins attended to him at night. He finally recovered and returned to his house. The baby was then looked after by Mrs. Nihill and later was baptized Clara Violet by the Bishop. Unfortunately she only lived for seven months and died while her father was absent in the New Hebrides islands. In the same month (August, 1878) in a somewhat roundabout way, the Bishop heard of the death in England of his father, George Augustus Selwyn. So when he arrived back at Norfolk island he decided to go to England and take Stephen with him and leave him also with his loved mother. It was six years since he had seen her and nearly six since he had said good-bye to his two small daughters.
 Section Five.
Besides attending to the sick, Melanesians as well as white people, Elizabeth did most of the cutting out of the trousers and shirts for the boys, and with the help of the girls made them up, she doing the machining. This cutting out of the thick blue material, mostly denim, which was used, in later years caused her to suffer great pain in the large thumb joint. Another reason was the innumerable letters which had to be written to various people and societies to thank them for their gifts of clothing and sundry parcels for the Mission. Also patterns of the different garments used had to be sent to many helpers and guilds. When the brick oven at the Hall had to be renewed, Elizabeth took on the job of making and baking bread for the whole community, and though suffering much from sciatica and excessive weariness she kept herself working by sheer strength of will.
On June the 11th. 1879 the Norfolkers celebrated the exodus from Pitcairn island to Norfolk island by a cricket match which was played on a grassy lawn in front of the old administrative buildings in the town. The descendants of the 'Bounty' played the rest, and the 'Bounty' eleven was so well dressed up to represent commodore, captain, etc. that one could imagine that a man-of-way was in. All the Mission personnel were invited, a bountiful dinner being provided.
A few days later an expedition, starting from the town pier to sail round the island, was organised by the Norfolkers. The position of doctor to the island community had been taken over temporarily from Dr. Watling by a Dr. Duke, and he and some of the Mission party went as guests of the different boat's crews. Having left the landing place the boats passed through a high natural archway which jutted out form the mainland with a roof formed of blocks of stone which was wide enough for three boats abreast, somewhat similar to the Giant's Causeway in North Ireland, and later the party stopped at a small, rocky island for lunch. On continuing their trip a high, curious rock was passed, called 'Crown' by the Norfolkers, which rose to a height of 60 or 70 feet in layers of various coloured strata and was capped with flax and small shrubs. Another tall rock stand alone and fluted on one side, simulated a lady with an organ pleated train. Near the Cascades a blowhole was passed where the surf rushes up and shoots out some distance up the cliff.
"As we approached the other side of the island, at a place called Mullins bay, we could see the waves dashing furiously through a narrow opening, and as soon as we rounded the far point we met quite a troubled sea with the waves dashing into the cliffs which here ascend perpendicularly. At Kerepei point the wind failed so the masts were lowered and the oars used. It was almost sunset when we came within sight of the town we found the shore lined with anxious people. Josiah Adams was waiting to give the signal for the boat to pull in, but as sunset was at five [14/15] o'clock and it was now nearly six and spray was flying, this was hard to see. At last our boat went in, shipping a sea with a spent wave boiling like milk all round the boat. Then a cry rose from those on the pier, and looking back we saw, to our horror, that the other boat had upset and was rolling over and over with the heads of its passengers bobbing about in the surf. Several men on the pier tore off their coats and swam to the rescue, while as soon as possible the passengers in our boat - Dr. Duke, Mr. Comins, Nat the painter and I - scrambled out and two men taking charge and the others in the surf, went to the help of those in trouble. It became too dark to see, but they were landed by degrees at the foot of the flagstaff hill above the pier and were drawn up, one by one, in tubs, and carried to Stephen's house. Fortunately no lives were lost, but Johnson Nobbs and his wife were very ill, he being delirious all night. It was fortunate that all in that boat were good swimmers, had it been our boat the result might have been different, so fearfully was the surf dashing against the rocks. As it was they were all much bruised and the doctor stayed up all night with them, helped by many willing hands rubbing to get warmth into their limbs, for which natural rubbing powers the Norfolkers are justly famed."
"Johnson Nobbs' boy Eddy, who was in our boat with a broken arm in splints and had to be lifted out, was in much distress as his parents were in the capsized boat. As we had been approaching the pier one of the oarsmen said that he could see the smoke from a steamer, but subsequent events drove it from our minds. However, it was the Fiji and Sydney steamer, and on board was Dr. Melcalfe, the new doctor, who was landed the next day, June the 16th, 1879. Dr. Duke was presented with a testimonial, signed by all the Norfolkers and the Mission staff, and a cheque for £16 with which to buy something for himself as a reminder of Norfolk island, the presentation itself being made by the magistrate, Mr. Francis Nobbs. The mail steamer's departure whistle sounded off the Cascades at 1 a.m., so Dr. Duke had to leave then. Though it was a wet, moonlight morning a few people accompanied him to the pier to say good-bye."
On August 8th. a second son was born to Mrs. Palmer, and on the 19th. Mrs. Bice had twins, a boy and a girl, so Elizabeth took charge of Charlie and Ernest Bice. While the two mothers were convalescing all the other teachers had to take extra classes.
Bishop J.R. Selwyn returned from England on September the 8th. appearing very fit, and bringing with him three new men to join the Mission. They were Messrs. Baker, Chattell and Ruddock, and they immediately joined in the work of the Mission, going out every morning with the gardening gangs to plant kumaras, yams etc. and learning to know the boys and their language. While on horseback with others who were getting in a steer for killing, Mr. Chattell rode too near to a tree and banged his face against the trunk. This resulted in severe bruising, and for two days he had to be spoon fed with gruel which Elizabeth made, and for some time after he suffered from bad headaches.
 Mr. and Mrs. Nobbs celebrated their golden wedding day on the 1st. of October (1879) and Dr. Codrington took a photograph of them with seventy-five descendents, though several were absent. Among those present was Mr. Buffet, 83 years old, who had officiated at the marriage ceremony at Pitcairn island fifty years before.
A wild young steer which had just been bought from Mr. Rossiter charged little George Palmer, knocked him down and rolled him over with its nose, but did not hurt him. Mrs. Palmer rushed to the rescue and scared the animal off by opening her umbrella in its face, when it charged a Melanesian but was frightened away by a lot of boys running at it.
The 'Southern Cross' arrived from the islands on the 10th of December with many new boys and girls and some former scholars. Also on board were Messrs. Palmer and Ruddock, both looking very fit, and the Bishop, looking quite the reverse. He had a bad bout of ague, from which, Mr. Penny said, he had been suffering worse than ever, so he was put to bed a Stephen Christian's for a while and then driven to the Mission. The 'Cross' sailed for Auckland on the 13th. having on board Dr. Codrington, Mr. Comins, Charlie Bice, Mr. and Mrs Hindley, and Elizabeth. Being light in ballast and the wind right aft the vessel rolled terribly, to the great discomfort of most of those on board; and the cockroaches! Anchor was dropped in Mission bay on the 19th, and on getting newspapers Elizabeth saw that her old friend and teacher, Mrs. Henry Williams, whom she had been hoping to see, had just died at Pakaraka at the age of eighty-six.
During her stay in Auckland Elizabeth visited the training school at Kohimarama, and also the old Melanesian Mission station, which she found in excellent order. She met Mr. and Miss Atkins, the latter being the sister of Joe Atkins who was killed by poisoned arrows at the same time as Bishop Patteson's death at Santa Cruz. She called on Mrs. Kinder, whose husband, Dr. Kinder, was head of St. John's College. On December the 31st. Holy Communion was celebrated at midnight at St. Mary's Cathedral by Bishop Cowie. Amongst those present was Pastor Chiniquy, a French Canadian, whom she met later at Bishopscourt. For many years this man had been a Roman Catholic priest, but even from the time of his ordination he found it hard to reconcile the teachings and practices of his church with what he read in the Old and New Testaments. So he finally told his bishop that he could not preach their faith. From that time, for fifteen years, he was subjected to all sorts of persecution. False witnesses, with promise of absolution for their lies, were induced to say that they had seen him burn down a church. A gang of men were bribed to murder him, and this only failed when he called on God to protect him, and though the dagger was at his breast the man who held it suddenly turned away without hurting him. At this time he had just finished a lecturing tour of Australia, warning people against being deceived by the lies of Rome, and was visiting New Zealand.
 Early in the morning of January the 2nd, 1880, Dr. Codrington escorted Elizabeth to the wharf to join the 'Rotomahana' for Napier. Amongst the passengers were the Rev. Samuel Williams and his brother Thomas. Upon arrival they all went to stay with Mrs. William Williams at the Bishop's house. Bishop Stewart was then bishop of Waiapu, and the Rev, later Dean, Hovell was also in the parish. On the 5th. Elizabeth went with the Rev. Sam. Williams for a short visit to Te Aute College, where he was in charge, and then on to her destination at Otaki.
Section Six. Happenings at Otaki.
At that time the railway terminus was a Kopua, some 32 miles from Pukehou railway station, and thence by coach to Woodville, "Where," states the diary, "we got a good hot dinner and horses were changed, as we were soon to enter the Manawatu gorge. This is a fearful looking road, cut out of the face of the cliffs, and seemingly only just wide enough for the coach, the outer wheels often appearing to be only a few inches from the edge of a sheer precipice down to the Manawatu river. We were relieved to get off that bit and reach Palmerston North at 7 p.m. Here we had tea at a hotel and then went to the station to await the train from Foxton, which was due at 8.30. After an hour's wait we were informed that the train had run off the line somewhere, so we lay down on the waiting room seats where we were tormented by most voracious mosquitoes. However the train arrived at 11 p.m. and we reached Foxton at 1 a.m. and went to bed at White's hotel. We had breakfast at 5.40 and the coach left for Otaki at 6 a.m. The tide was low and the beach hard, and with one change of horses at half way Otaki was reached at 9.30. Will (her son-in-law, W.H. Simcox), was making hay and they were surprised to see me, not expecting me to arrive till to-morrow. (Note: the family were then living in a two storied house eastwards and nearly opposite to the Maori church, Rangiatea. This house, built of totara and shingle-roofed, was pulled down in 1958 and the timbers were in a good state of preservation). Fanny (her only daughter, Mrs. Simcox) looked a bit thin, she having five children to look after and only just recently having been able to get a maid. Mr. Frank Rutherfurd, Will's partner, a very nice young man, was helping with the hay. The Native Land Court is sitting here and Major Heaphy, looking somewhat ill and tired, called and stayed to tea.
On Sunday I went to service in the far famed Otaki Maori church, Rangiatea. It is very lovely inside, with excellent Maori carving round the chancel. Mr. McWilliam conducted the service and preached.
(January 14). Will drove us in the waggonette to the beach, about two miles, to see the wrecks of the 'City of Auckland' and the 'Felixstowe,' which came ashore within three weeks of one another. We also rode out to the lakes and to look for a site for their house. [17/18] They are very beautiful, but oh! the mosquitoes. We also walked round to see the Maori meeting house (Raukawa), a fine building, 72 feet by twenty-four. Will and I rode to the top of Pukehou (717 feet high and two and three quarter miles by air line from Rangiatea), upon which is a trig. station from which is obtained a fine view of the surrounding country.
We saw the great big log being adzed by the Maoris which is to be set up just southwards of this house as an obelisk in commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the gospel being preached in these parts. The pole is forty feet high and the schoolmaster of the Maori College, Mr. Christy, marked the years on it in pencil and the Maoris chiselled them out, beginning from the first year of the preaching of the gospel, 1840, at the base of the pillar, and then 1841, a foot higher on the next side, and so on, all the way till the year 1880 is reached at the top. (Note: The Jubilee Pole, or Hupiri Pou in Maori, was the one which had been left by the Hauhau Maoris about 1864. From 'Otaki, the Town and District').
January the 22nd, being the anniversary of the founding of Wellington, was kept by a regatta in Wellington and Foxton, and by horse racing here. Fan, Will and the children were all going, so I had no alternative but to go with them, but without feeling the least interest in them. However everything was very quietly and orderly managed, and nothing objectionable was heard or seen, except ONE oath! We left before 6 p.m. and Will returned to get his borrowed tarpaulin, and in that time two deaths occurred. A Miss Jenkinson and a European man were riding round the course in opposite directions and came into violent collision, and the man fell off and broke his neck. Then an only child, a six year old girl named Monro a half caste, was jerked out of their buggy as they were driving home and was run over and killed on the spot. It is sad to hear the 'tangi' now going on.
I attended the Maori service on Sunday at Rangiatea, which was read by Deacon Rawiri. I was pleased to see that they had taken my hint about spitting on the floor, as on one did it to-day.
(January 20, 1880). There was a fresh southerly wind though the sun was hot. To-day the 'Hupiri Pou' was hauled erect by the natives and it slipped into the hole which had been dug for it and looks very well. They also began to prepare for the erection of a monument, a marble pedestal and bust of Te Rauparaha, on a brick foundation. His late son, Tamihana te Rauparaha had paid £300 for it and transport etc. had cost another £200. (Note: Tamihana died on October 22nd. 1876 at his farm house about a mile and a half to the south-eastwards of Te Horo, i.e., about 6 miles southwards of Otaki. His body was carried via the beach to his house in Otaki and he was buried in the Ragiatea cemetery). The epitaph engraved on the marble pedestal at the instructions of Tamihana, states that Te Rauparaha migrated from Kawhia to Otaki in 1819, and after killing all the inhabitants of Kapiti, in which term is included all Otaki, etc. he crossed over to the other island and destroyed all [18/19] the people there, and returning, settled here and died in the year 1849.
(February 1st, Monday). Will drove us all over to the Otaki river to the house of a settler named Small, where he had a picnic tea. (Note: Small lived near where the Wellington City Mission camp is now placed, eastwards of the south end of the railway bridge over the Otaki river).
The Jubilee Pole
(Friday, February 6, 1880). People gathering for the ceremony which is to be held on Monday, and subscriptions are being asked for the feast to follow. Bishop and Mrs. Hadfield arrived from Wellington and Fan and I went to see them at the Parsonage, (the Rev. James McWilliam's). The Rev. Sam. Williams and Mr. Burrows arrived at 8 p.m. by coach, and Fan, Will and I went to the native school room and met them and the promoters of the Pole to settle the programme for the proceedings on Monday. On Sunday at the Maori service the Rev. Sam. Williams read the service and Bishop Hadfield preached a splendid sermon on "The Word of God Abideth for Ever," with Maori communion service to follow. I saw old Renata Kawepo after church. The monument of Te Rauparaha was clothed with three good 'kaitaka.' (Note: Williams' Dictionary, 1892, states, kaitaka, n. mat made of the finest flax, with ornamental border. Also, whipping-top).
The Rangiatea bell was ringing on Monday at 10 a.m. and the church was full of Maoris and some English. Mr. McWilliam read prayers, the Maoris sang the hymns with a kind of Maori chant and Mr. Sam. Williams preached a splendid and telling sermon in Maori. Then everyone adjourned to the small enclosure round the Pole and monument. I have omitted to state that there were forty Maori men and forty women, dressed in white, and when the Bishop and clergy came through the gate from the Parsonage garden, these men and women formed a double row form the garden to the church door. Each surpliced Maori man carried a large stone and laid it round the Pole, and each stone had printed on it in black the dates from 1840 to 1880. After singing some hymns Deacon Rawiri (te Wanui) read some prayers which were followed by some cheers. Then there was some speechifying with some running to and fro and a collection was taken up for the Maori Clergy Endowment Fund. This reached a total of £604 and the Rev. Sam. Williams had said that he would give £500. Renata Kawepo gave £100, Kawena Hunia £100 and £24 from natives at Napier. A prayer of thanksgiving terminated the proceedings round the pole. (For full particulars see 'Otaki, the Town and District).'
Then we all went to prepare for the feast, which was held in the long room at the Maori College. After a very long wait at last we had dinner, but it was nearly 6 p.m. before it was all over. We then adjourned to the long visitors' house, Raukawa, where we [19/20] listened to some speeches. It was all over for the day about 9 p.m. Bishop Hadfield making a speech towards the end.
The next day was very hot and I was too tired to go to Raukawa, but Mr. Sam. Williams was there all day, doing his part, and much good may result from it. It has been such a good opportunity for one or two disaffected ones to air their grievances, and Mr. Williams has been able to explain to them matters which they had not understood. Fanny had invited the folks to tea under the willows in the evening, and the Bishop and Mrs. Hadfield, Messrs. Williams and Burrows came along. After tea Mr. Williams returned to Raukawa and was there till midnight.
(Wednesday, February 11, 1880). The Bishop, Messrs. Williams and Burrows left for Foxton between 5 and 6 this morning, being driven by Simon Ransfield (Haimona Ranapiri), a half caste, as they wished to have a talk before proceeding to Whanganui. I had to say good-bye to Fan, Will and the children, and the coach from Wellington left at 1 p.m. We reached Foxton at 4.30 where the train was awaiting the arrival of the coach, and the Bishop and Messrs. Williams and Burrows kindly came and helped me with my luggage, and in five minutes we had left. Renata and party were also on the train, and we got to Palmerston North about 6.30. After breakfast next morning the coach left at 5.30 for Woodville, Mr. Williams and I being on the box seat, which was pleasant and fresh in the early morning air, while Renata and friends were inside. We had another breakfast at Woodville at 9.30, Renata paying for the six of us at our table, and here the horses were changed. We stopped at the Danish settlement (Dannevirke) and got a good dinner. Mr. Williams stayed here to visit the natives in the district and we drove on to Kopua to catch the train there, and I got off at Te Aute. Mrs. Sam. Williams, who had brought some visitors to catch the train, took me home with her, and the next day she drove me and Mrs. Von Tempsky to the 4 p.m. train and I got to Hukarere in Napier at 6.30. Here I found the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend, from Lyttelton, she being a cousin of Mrs. Williams.
On Saturday, the 14th, I left Napier for Auckland on the 'Tararua' and arrived there on Monday."
In Auckland Elizabeth stayed with Dr. Purchas in Karangahape Road, and also with her brother John Fairburn at Otahuhu. She visited her nephew Theodore Hickson, her only sister Esther's son, and his wife Edith, who was a daughter of the artist, Martyn. Then she took passage to Russell and was rowed across to Paihia by Tom Joyce, jr. Her sister Esther and her husband Edward Hickson were then living in the old Mission house there, and Esther was carrying on with the teaching of the Maori school at the Ti, where Elizabeth had taught from 1869 to 1875, and her son-in-law, Will Simcox, for some months in 1877. Then on a fine day, Tom Joyce rowed her to the Ti where they picked up Esther and they went on to Waitangi (now the Treaty House) to call on Mrs. James Busby, now eighty years of age, widow of the first Resident Commissioner of New Zealand. [20/21] Here they found Mr. and Mrs. William Busby and family, who were also living there. They had tea there and spent a pleasant evening, getting back to Paihia at 9.30. The next day Elizabeth hired a horse and she and Esther rode to Waimate, had dinner with Mr. Edward Williams, continued on an saw their brother Richard Fairburn, and then on to Archdeacon Clarke's and there met Mrs. Watling, who had lived at Norfolk Island when her husband was doctor there. The Archdeacon's mother was bedridden, and one of her daughters, Martha, was helping Mrs. Watling with her Maori school at Ohaeawai. They also called on Mrs. Marsden Clarke, a daughter of Bishop Stewart.
After dinner at the Burrows' parsonage, accompanied by their nephew Tom Fairburn, they went on to Okarihau (?), where they stayed two nights at Captain Burleigh's. They had services in the house, as the little church, which with great exertions the captain had managed to get built, was not quite finished.
Monday, March the 8th, 1880. "We said goodbye to our kind friends and Esther and I rode alone till we got to William Cotter's place by Puke Nui, where we met Dr. Watling. Esther went on to Richard's to stay the night, as she had to leave early to get back to her school. I stayed at the Watlings' at Ohaeawai, and being very tired went early to bed. In the morning Mrs. Watling took me to see her Maori school and talk to the children about Melanesia. I left about 11 a.m. and Dr. Watling rode with me as far as Pakaraka, which was reached in time for one o'clock dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Williams received me with their usual kindness. His aunt (?), Mrs. Morgan, his mother's sister, his mother having died recently, a sister, Mrs. Christopher Davies, and Annie Hutton were living in the old homestead, as his mother did not want the house to be shut up for at least three months after her death. We called in to see Mrs. John Williams and she walked back with us to tea.
The next day I returned to Paihia, calling in at the Ti school where Esther was teaching. I returned there the next day, and though many of the children are very young the report of the Government Inspector was very favourable, and I found them wonderfully forward. I had talks with many of the Maori parents and old friends, though some have died in the four years since I left. Tom Joyce took me over to Russell, where I went to see Mrs. Ford, and at 4 p.m. I boarded the s.s. 'Penguin' for Auckland and landed there next morning at 6 a.m. and was driven to the Purchas' house in Pitt St. in Mr. Burrows' chaise by his Maori boy. St. Patrick's day was celebrated by a procession of R.C. children, who marched down Queen St. many carrying gaily coloured banners.
Next evening Dr. and Mrs. Purchas and I went in their buggy to hear Bishop Cowie give a talk in the Museum on the Afghan war. One day Miss Maning and I went by invitation to Mr. Ashwell's to call. A day or two later Emily Fairburn and I, with her baby and children Frida and Britton, went to Hamilton by the first train and put up at Gwynne's hotel, a nice place with a pleasant landlord and landlady. Our quarters were in 'The Cottage,' which had two bedrooms, [21/22] a drawing and dining room and a beautiful garden sloping to the river. Hamilton was the old Kirikiriroa (gravel, long), quite a desolate place in the old times, but now quite an extended little township with a good bridge over the Waikato river. The next day, Sunday, March 21st, Emily, Mrs. Gwynne and I went to church and heard a good sermon preached by Mr. Calder. After dinner Frida and Britton went to Sunday school, and with them I sent a letter to Mrs. Calder from Mrs. Purchas, and the former called later in the afternoon. On Monday morning Mrs. Gwynne drove us about Hamilton and over the bridge, and we left for Otahuhu in the afternoon where we were met in the dark by John. Fanny Martin was there, and she left the next day to go to her sister Edith Hickson and I returned to Auckland.
On Good Friday, March 26, Dr. Purchas and I drove to St. Matthews where he read the service and Bishop Cowie preached. After dinner Mr. (?) Purchas drove me to the small 'Rotomahana' on which I had taken passage to go to the Thames to visit the Lush family, who had sent a pressing invitation to me to visit them. The steamer was crowded with passengers, and upon arrival Blanche Lush met me with a fly on the wharf and I got a hearty welcome. The next day we went to see old Mrs. Puckey, then to Mrs. Hogg's to see the Waikato Volunteer Cavalry pass by. While waiting we went to see Taipare's 'whare runanga' (house, assembly or council), a very handsomely carved building. All Shortland (was this then the name of Thames?) was there to see the Cavalry, the Maoris cheering as lustily as anyone, and they gave a good Maori welcome 'haka'. I was extremely tired and at 9 p.m. said goodbye to the Lush family, and Blanche and her brother walked with me to the 'Enterprise' at the end of a very long wharf. We left at 10.15 and got to Queen St. wharf at 4 a.m. on Easter Sunday. I carried my parcels a good way up Queen St. and then for 2/- got a man who was going the same way to carry them for me. He had missed the North Shore ferry last night at 9 p.m. and had fallen asleep on the wharf and our boat arriving had awakened him. I got into Dr. Purchas' house with my pass key and got to bed at five o'clock.
I then went to stay at a quiet boarding house at Parnell and to have meals at the Cowie's. Later Dr. Codrington came there, as Bishop Selwyn was expected to arrive for the General Synod. We all had prayers as usual in Bishop's chapel and breakfast at Bishopscourt. Mrs. Wood invited all to dine at 6 p.m. I met Mrs. Kinder and Miss Roscruge in town, and at Mrs. Reader Wood's I met Captain and Mrs. Lloyd of the 'Cormorant' and the captain's wife of the 'Alacrity,' both gunboats of the British Navy. I went to say goodbye to the Purchas family, but only Mrs. Pearde was there, and she was packing to go to Norfolk Island with us to-morrow to help Mrs. Bice.
On Saturday, April 3rd. 1880 at 10 a.m., the Bishop had a farewell Communion service for us all in his chapel, and attending with many others were Dr. Maunsell, Messrs. Burrows and Dudley and Mrs. Kissling and Mrs. Kempthorne. At midday Mrs. Cowie and I walked out [22/23] to catch the bus for town, but to our dismay found that it had left, which was very awkward as Bishop Selwyn had arranged for all of us to dine on the 'Southern Cross' at 12.30. However the Bishop himself and Dr. Codrington next appeared and we were all preparing to walk when a Mrs. Williamson of the 'Pa,' Onehunga, came along with a capacious empty carriage. To her Mrs. Cowie explained the trouble, and she at once offered seats to all four of us and she dropped her passengers at various places and took me to the wharf.
We waited a long time for Mrs. Pearde and Robert Bice, till at last Bishop Selwyn said that we had better go off, as dinner was waiting for us, but just then they arrived and we all went on board. We had dinner, the Bishop made up our beds and we left at 4 p.m. Also on board were John Quintal, Esther, and Abraham's son and his recently married wife. Though it was rather rough we had a good trip and landed at the Island at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday, where Mr. Penny met us with a hearty welcome.
Section Seven. Life Again at Norfolk Island. (1880)
I have only two girls in my house now. Mr. Bice has gone to Fiji summoned by the Government to the trial of the Opa native who cut off a boat's crew last year.
On April the 11th. we had service on the new memorial church erected to the memory of Bishop Patteson. (Note: the Encyclopaedia Brittanica states: 'In 1882 a memorial church to Bishop Patteson was erected at a cost of £5,000. The stained glass window was designed by Burne Jones and executed by W. Moreton.' The E.B. appears to be two years out.) The west end porch has been finished by Kendall, and the beautiful rose window at the west end too. The marble paving down the aisle is finished by Taylor, and the handsome marble font suits very well, but the reredos is THE most lovely thing of its kind that I ever saw. Such beautiful carving is a feast for the eyes." (Note by the typist: perhaps Mrs. Colenso was biassed, but remember she had travelled about England and been to Paris, and her chief relaxation seems to have been attending at churches.)
(This is Edith Simcox' ninth birthday, God bless her. Note, Edith Swabey, the same, is the biographer.)
On the 12th, the 'Southern Cross' left for the islands, taking Messrs. Penny and Comins and many Melanesians. On Tuesday Mrs. Bice and I went to the wedding of Nelly McCoy and Gustave Quintal.
On May the 3rd. just as we had finished breakfast, Mr. Bicer walked into Hall and said that he had five gentlemen and would like breakfast for them. So we cleared the table and put tea and food [23/24] out for them. Two, of them are the Ryder's Planters from Fiji and could only stay a short time as the steamer was leaving immediately.
I have been teaching for the last three weeks. I have girls on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for reading and boys for figures, for which the girls go to Mr. Palmer. Every afternoon all the girls come to me for writing on slates or on paper, and then to Mr. Bice for singing practice. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have the boys the whole morning for reading and English, and for reading again in the evening. Every morning I have Robert and Charlie Bice for reading, writing, spelling, Watts Catechism in Rotation (?), church, etc. and from 10 a. m, to noon I have Ernest Bice, George Palmer and Anne Qarata for Infant School, hymns, etc. the infants playing part of the time.
On Saturday the 29th. Dr. Codrington and I drove in Mrs. Bice's carriage to James Quintal's, he having asked us to dinner and to see his grounds and garden. It was a good dinner with some fine oranges and some very nice cherrymoyas, smooth skinned, preferable to the other kind. He has a flourishing garden, especially the oranges. I saw Alice Hebblewhite recently - Alice Nobbs - and her three-days-old twin boy and girl. Her husband had left the Mission to marry her.
On June the 7th. Kendall at last finished the west end chapel window, and Nat has been oiling it this morning, after which Dr. Codrington photographed it with Kendall and Nat holding it. Then Kendall got it into place and glazed. It is exceedingly beautiful and an object of wondering curiosity to the Norfolkers. And now, at last, the chapel is finished, having been nearly five years in building. No seats yet, only old forms at present.
Bounty Day, always kept on the 8th. of June, was celebrated in town by the usual cricket match, which ended in a draw. By invitation from Francis Nobbs the Mission party had dinner at his table in the schoolroom above the church room. In the evening Mr. Baker called and showed me the 31st. Annual Report of the Cambridge University Prayer Union, 1880, which is solely for the Union members. Thank God for such a blessed company of praying people.
The 'Southern Cross' arrived on the 10th. with Mr. Comins on board, but he is returning. Bishop Selwyn was expected but he is holding a confirmation service in Fiji.
On the 22nd. of June I gave a party for the new Melanesians and had ordered meat, yams, kumaras and had got oranges and tins of biscuits. Mr. Comins and Mr. Ruddock brought the guests over, fifteen of them, with two of our old boys, whose fathers were of the party. With the pork and vegetables we had salt, of which they eat a lot. Then there was cake, bread and jam, sweet biscuits, loquats, chocolate and oranges. After feasting they adjourned from the girls' room, where we had fed, to the sitting room to look at photographs, etc. Old Takua and another potentate hurried back to Mr. Penny's room to smoke and get warm, as the day was cold and squally. Aquila wandered into my bedroom and stood amazed before the mirror. [24/25] His exclamations drew the others in to have a look, and great was the amusement as each saw and gave a grunt at the sight of his own face. Old Samson, a baptised man, being quite bald, wears a wig, a curious affair made of hair of some sort which looks like a piece of sheepskin with the wool on. His astonishment at seeing his reflection was ludicrous. The party broke up about 5 o'clock. In the evening I had an entertainment for the married folk, and there was sufficient left over from dinner to feed the twenty-one husbands and wives, and my two house girls as well. They all left at 10.15 and I was very weary.
In time for breakfast on the 27th. the Bishop arrived on the mail steamer to Sydney. It was too wet and the roads bad for carriages to go to town, so Jemima Christian, Alice Hebblewhite's sister, acted as proxy for me as godmother to the little boy. The next day the 'Cross' left for the islands, having as a passenger a Mr. Coutts, who wished to see the islands, he having come from Sydney with the Bishop. He is a wealthy young man who is travelling for health reasons. We unpacked a box of fine well made clothes from Lichfield, (Bishop G. A. Selwyn's home town), blue serge coats, shirts, dresses, jackets, etc. such a help to have them. I was told that some boys were complaining that others had more shirts and trousers than they had, so I went to Mr. Penny's house to investigate. There I found that some of the boys who had returned to the islands had left their clothes behind, so I confiscated some of the garments of those who had so behaved. The milk boy, Jasper, got annoyed about this and did not bring me any milk till Dr. Codrington reasoned with him when he came and expressed sorrow.
On September the 14th. there were sudden shouts and yells in the usual quiet time between 2 and 3 p.m. and a wild rush of all out of school, as the cry "aka nina," - our ship - was raised. Boys rushed off to catch horses to harness them to carts and carriages and everyone set off to meet the boat. Amongst the arrivals were Messrs. Bice, Ruddock and Penny. They had some good news to the effect that the Bishop had at last got a footing on Santa Cruz and had been received with kindness. This was the island where Bishop Patteson had been killed in 1871. The Rev. Wadrokal had been placed there with his wife Carrie, and three boys from the Reef Island had come back in the 'Cross.' The Scots Missionaries claim the island of Mae, which is to be left to them.
Sarah, a married Melanesian, became very ill, and the doctor diagnosed pleurisy and said that she was to have constant linseed poultices on her side, so I spent the day going up and down to her house; and showed her little sister Rosa and her husband, Maru, how to poultice her, and left her at 1 a. m. The following day I was busy showing the girls how to patch and mend the boys' trousers. The next day the doctor said that Sarah was a little better, so later I went to see her and gave her medicine to her. She was set on having a hot bath so I told Maru to heat a lot of water while I was at School. After 8 p. m. I returned and gave her a bath, [25/26] carefully guarding against a chill, which she enjoyed and seemed better for it. At 10 p.m. I gave her medicine and some chicken broth and then left her to the care of her husband. The next morning, (October the 2nd.) before 6 o'clock I was startled and shocked when Minnie Rotig came and told me that Sarah was dead. I slipped on some clothes and rushed over, hoping that it was only a fainting fit, but alas, it was too true: she had died before 5 o'clock. Poor Rosa and Maru are greatly upset and we all feel it dreadfully and it has thrown a gloom over all of us. She had been so good and useful since she had returned from the islands. She was buried at 5 p. m.
Mr. Baker has kindly undertaken to teach Charley and Robert Bice for a while so as to give me time to prepare for the expected visitors from Auckland when they come for the consecration of the chapel. So I was busy cleaning rooms and spent several hours cutting out trousers and their accessories for the boys, which I sent to Mrs. Palmer to be made up. I then cut out white jackets for the girls and Arima came and cut out the skirts. So tired.
Wild cats have taken 16 of my chickens, so some poisoned meat was laid, which Mrs. Bice's cat took - and died!
The 'Southern Cross' with the Bishop and Mr. Palmer on board arrived on November the 10th. and is to leave to-morrow for Auckland to bring visitors for the consecration. I wrote to Mr. Tilly to get some horsehair mattresses and pillows for the coming guests. I also wrote to Emily Purchas enclosing some money to get some baby clothes for Fanny, whose third son was born on June the 17th. (Memo: this typist).
On the 13th. the Bishop called a meeting of all the staff so as to arrange for the accommodation of the coming guests. Mrs. Bice, Mrs. Palmer and I and all the Mission men, Messrs. Bice, Palmer, Codrington, Ruddock, Comins, Penny and Baker attended; a long meeting. I have to take nine of them, Bishop Stewart, daughter and niece, Mrs. Lush and Annette, Amy Purchas, Mrs. Hetley, Miss Larkins and Mrs. Pearde, and the preparations for these left me very tired.
Monday the 15th. was a hot, muggy day with the top of Mt. Pitt obscured by mist. We were all kept busy sewing, washing out rooms, making bolsters and mattresses and the usual routine going on as well. My three girls are very good, helping well and entering into the spirit of the work; the day wettish and drizzling.
To-day we were all shocked to hear that an eight year old daughter of Lucy and Driver Christian had fallen into a well and was drowned. Most of us went to the funeral and it rained heavily afterwards and the Bishop got wet through walking home. The next day I made more mattresses which I sent to the Rossiter's to be filled with straw, and the boys to borrow buckets and tubs for the visitors' baths. No school these days as so many have coughs and colds and there is almost constant rain and all preparing for the expected guests. Got two large baths from Francis Nobbs and mattresses, pillows and stretchers from Esther and Diana Quintal and Mrs. Hebblethwaite. The Norfolkers have been most kind lending things. [26/27] Jackson, a negro worker for Mr. Rossiter, has come up to be installed as cook for the occasion. The Bishop and Mr. Palmer all day riding about inspecting the farms of the candidates for the prize for the best kept grounds. I was busy with suet and butter, preparing them for the kitchen. So as to keep the dining hall fresh and clean the boys and girls are having meals on Mr. Comins' verandah, and we in Mr. Penny's room.
Tuesday, November 30th. This was the day appointed for the consecration, but there is no sign of the 'Southern Gross.'
December 2nd. The wind, which has been in the hot north-east and north-west quarter, suddenly veered to the south-east, and at 6 a. m. the yells proclaimed that the 'Cross' had arrived.
The Bishop had been sleeping in town for the last five nights, awaiting the steamer from Sydney bringing Lady Inniss, the late Mrs. Selwyn's sister-in-law, but so far the 'Gunga' has not come. I set to and made a lot of scones and two loaves of bread. Mrs. Pearde and Charlotte Gleeson, Mrs. Palmer's servant, borrowed a cart from Mrs. Young and were the first to come up and help. Mrs. Pearde had a hot bath and helped me to get breakfast and others came in by twos and threes. Each had a warm bath and tea. Mr. Browne, a music master in Auckland, and his daughter Mrs. Rice and Amy Dudley. Bishop Stewart, daughter and niece next; Miss Halstead; Mr. Lush and Annette; Miss Jackson, Mabel Fairburn and Carrie Haultain, making twelve for me to put up. They had scarcely all finished their bath when the luncheon bell rang and everyone met in Hall. Fifty visitors came in the 'Cross,' including two from Adelaide, who had telegraphed to detain the 'Cross' in Auckland as the 'Gunga' was not going to call in here. Dr. Codrington gave his room to Mr. Hawker and Kendall his sitting room to Mr. Elcum. The Bishop gave up his room to Lady Innis and he slept on an oppossum rug on boxes in a room 'alalané' pines. Amy Purchas was to have come to me, but the Bishop begged so hard to have her that I had to give in. He said that she was his own and his late wife's 'daughter.' Miss Roscruge was also there. At the Bice's there were Mrs. Mitchell, Dr. and Janie Maunsell, (the father and sister of Mrs. Bice), Miss Corbett, Carrie Kempthorne and Mrs. Slater, who came to be a servant for Mrs. Bice but did not. She expected to be lady housekeeper! She returned to Auckland.
At Mrs. Palmer's there were Mr. and Mrs. Ashwell in the house, and Mary Atkin, Miss Maning and Miss Smith in the upper cottage 'alalané' pines, sleeping there. Messrs. Browne, Yonge, Gould from Otahuhu, Dr. Kinder, Messrs. Ralph, John C. Davis, Somerville, Jack Tilly, young Clayton, two Maori clergymen, Renata Tangata and Kerehona Bishop Stewart's chaplain), were all in the old chapel and little house. Mr. Dudley with Mr. Penny; Mr. and Mrs. Upton sleeping at Francis Nobbs' but at the Mission during the day. After luncheon all went to see the chapel and Mr. Browne played the organ. Breakfast was at 8 every day, luncheon 1 p. m. and dinner and tea at 6.30.
 The next day everyone riding or driving about everywhere, some walking up Mt. Pitt. Directly after evening chapel all adjourned to the Hall, Melanesians also, for singing. Many of the ladies sang songs and Mr. Elcum sang comic and other songs, to the great delight of the Melanesians, who applauded vigorously. Then home, supper and bed, everyone glad to rest.
On Saturday, December the 4th. there were sports on the cricket ground near Mr. Rossiter's, but some went sight seeing first and finished up there. Dr. Codrington and his friends went to the cliffs beyond Anson's bay and walked up Mt. Pitt from that side and down by Captain Bates' and to the sports ground and had tea at the Rossiter's. After tea the Melanesians did their native dances round a fire, and then old Kerehona amused the Melanesians by dressing up in Maori costume, dancing about and making a humorous speech in Maori. We finished up the evening with fireworks.
On Sunday there was English Communion at 7 and service at 10, and Mota service at 11. Dr. Maunsell preached in town in the morning and Dr. Kinder in the afternoon. All the visitors went to town. The Bishop of Waiapu preached in the evening which Dr. Codrington translated into Mota. Late at night the 'Gunga' brought hiss Mary Palmer, Mr. Palmer's niece. On Monday the steamer 'Wentworth' called in and a lot of the passengers came ashore and visited the Mission and town. There was an organ recital in the evening.
Section Eight. Consecration Day. Tuesday, December 7, 1880.
Early Communion in Mota, then breakfast, then the Consecration Service at 10 a. m. The Melanesians were placed first, then the visitors and Norfolkers, and the Mission staff filled in wherever there was room for us. The Rev. Mr. Dudley preached the sermon and Communion was given at the end of the service. Dinner was at 1 p.m. after which people scattered to tennis etc. English service was at 5 p. m. to which a large number of Norfolkers came and remained by invitation to tea in Hall at 7 p. m. Then visitors and Norfolkers had a bit of a concert. The Misses Stewart and I went home before the singing was finished to get tea and cocoa ready and cut ham and victoria sandwiches with orange marmalade. Meanwhile fireworks were set off near 'alalané' pines, after which our twelve visitors came in for supper, young Davis with them; then by invitation, Dr. Codrington and his two visitors, Messrs. Hawkes and Elcum.
 The next day the Horticultural Show was held in lovely weather. After chapel and breakfast everyone was photographed outside the chapel, and all the visitors went to finish their packing for which the carts carne at 9 o'clock. Then to the Show at Longridge where it was held under the trees. The flowers and ferns were most beautiful. The prizes were awarded, a speech was made by Mr. Mills, an English M.P. the band played and everything went very well. The Mission party and all the fifty visitors were the guests of the Norfolkers at different picnic tables and all very merry. Then we found our way to town and saw the boat loads of visitors off to the 'Southern Cross,' Bishop Selwyn, Mr. Comins and Mr. Penny accompanying them on board to see them settled. Then we all returned for tea in Hall, very tired.
The next day everyone was very busy, cleaning up, getting things straight and returning borrowed furniture to the Norfolkers. These matters took all day. All sheets and towels were washed by my three girls and one or two women from under the pines, but as it came on to rain everything had to be dried round the fire."
On December the 14th. Tiwa had a son born and the next day Georgina a baby, so Elizabeth was kept busy washing and dressing one baby before breakfast and the other after, for about a fortnight.
"On the 16th. while I was helping with the mending, a girl came to me and said, 'Tiwa's baby is nearly dead,' so I got some milk and warm water and sugar and started off and met the Bishop on the verandah. He was just coming for me as they had told him. We found that the baby was quite all right but the mother is so short witted she does the queerest things. Her husband found her with the window and door wide open and a chilly wind blowing on to the naked baby.
Mr. E'lcum came over in school time and asked if he might put a few questions to the girls. This he did and seemed much pleased with their answers. I baked a gingerbread cake each for Mr. Elcum and Mr. Hawkes, and also one for Kendall, who has managed to find a lot of eggs for us lately. The two visitors are busy packing to travel by the 'Gunga' to Sydney, and Mr. Penny is visiting England.
The Bishop gave two boxes of gifts for the Christmas tree and came and helped unpack them and sort them out. Several of the Mission staff set to work to wrap and name them and hang them on the tree in the Hall. There was a Sunday School picnic in town for the Norfolkers' children, and for the races held there were prizes of money given by Mr. Elcum.
After waiting many days the 'Gunga' arrived on December the 29th., the first anniversary of the death of Mrs. Selwyn.
(Elizabeth had been 5 years with the Mission at Norfolk Island, so the years 1881 and 1882 will be condensed to two and a half pages.)
 Monday, January 3, 1881.
Mr. Kaye came to me and said that he and Mrs. Kaye would like to move into Mr. Still's house, in which I have been living, if I could manage to move out by Wednesday! As usual, I had classes all day, but packed at every spare moment and was up to 4 a. m. so as to get out, if possible, to-morrow, on account of Mrs. Kaye and the baby, as a gale is threatening. (Tuesday). School as usual but no sewing, as all in the misery of moving into the Bishop's house, and the Kaye's moved in. I am so weary of moving about; shall I never have a settled home anywhere? At six months off sixty one would be so thankful to have a place one could call for the time being, one's own home. "This is not your rest:" and indeed I feel that it is not; like a shag on a rock with out spread wings, ready to take flight at the least alarm."
(However this became Elizabeth's last move and she lived in the Bishop's house until the end of her twenty-two years with the Norfolk Island Mission.).
On February the 20th. the 'Gunga' from Sydney arrived and brought Lady Innes, the Bishop's sister-in-law, and her young daughter. They had been expected for the consecration of the chapel, but were delayed. She was given a room in the Bishop's house, as at the time he was living in the bachelors' quarters in Mr. Penny's house, but she and her daughter usually had their meals with him.
The 24th. anniversary of Bishop Patteson's consecration, being also St. Mathias' day, was kept as a holiday, and the following day was the anniversary of Bishop Selwyn's consecration.
On Ash Wednesday, March 2nd. Elizabeth fainted twice, falling and cutting her head on a box, but was at work again on the 8th. washing and dressing a newly born Melanesian girl in the early hours of the morning. The baby of Eleanor, a Melanesian, was baptized the next day and named Emily Innes, as Lady Innes was one of the godparents. Eleanor's godmother had been Lady Stephens, of Sydney.
At 6 a. m. on April 2nd. the Bishop came over and told Lady Innes that the 'Gunga' was in and would leave at noon. We had communion at 9 a. m. and then many went down to see the passengers leave. Mrs. Palmer had to see a dentist, so she left with her baby Harry. Eight year old May Innes rode down on the pony which she had been using, Topsy, and the Bishop drove Lady Innes down. She will be sadly missed by everyone, especially by the Bishop, for she is such an exceedingly pleasant person. Miss Mary Palmer is staying to keep house for her uncle while her aunt is away.
The 'Southern Cross' arrived from Auckland on the 10th, and when I was in the chapel porch I met and introduced myself to Mr. Brittain, the new missionary, from St. Augustine's College., Canterbury, England. Some boys returned on the 'Cross' with Mr. Comins, who has had ague in Auckland and does not look at all well. I got letters from Mrs. Cowie, Mrs. Purchas and Amy, who is engaged to be [30/31] married to Mr. Harry Roche, and a parcel of skirts and jackets for Melanesians from Emma Fairburn.
On Easter Sunday, April 17, at the 7 a. m. service, all our boys and girls were present and some fifty or sixty Norfolkers, who came to join the service of the ordination of Mr. Brittain to deacon's orders. Then the Bishop gave a short address, all non-communicants went out leaving eighty or ninety for communion, read in English and Mota and administered by eight clergy, the Bishop, and Messrs. Codrington, Palmer, Bice, Comins, Ruddock, Brittain and Wogale, and was got through very quickly. The Bishop baptized eight in the evening Mota service. I made up 14 parcels for old pupils of St. Barnabas who are now in the islands.
April 18th. opened with torrents of rain. For those leaving by the 'Southern Cross', i. e. the Bishop, Messrs. Comins, Ruddock, Kaye and Captain Bongard, and Clement and Duru, Mrs. Pearde packed the numerous parcels of cakes and biscuits. Clement supplied the eggs, currants and butter for these and I, the remainder of the ingredients. Everybody was busily engaged in packing, the boys and girls had gone on, and we were to have left at 11 a. m. but a terrific deluge of rain came and delayed us for two hours. When we did leave the roads were running with water, the paddocks a lake, and yet when we got to town there had been no rain, the roads were dry and dusty and the Melanesians had arrived quite dry. After seeing the passengers off we arrived home about 4 p. m. and had a belated dinner.
The 21st. was spent in house cleaning, all walls and floors being washed with anti-ant mixture.
On Saturday Dr. Codrington brought to dinner in Hall an Arab named Anziz Sheik Ben Hassad, a political exile from Algiers, who had been 'amnestied' but banished to French Noumea. He hopes to get to Suez and be rejoined there by his family. After dinner everyone, i. e. Mrs. Bice, Miss Lodge, Mr. and Miss Palmer, Messrs. Codrington and Brittain, Dr. Metcalfe and the Arab, came over to the Bishop's house, where Mrs. Pearde and I are living, and had pudding and tea and cakes.
The usual routine of the 'Southern Cross' was to be at Norfolk island at Easter, arrive back from the islands about every three months, and spend three months of the year, the hurricane season, in Auckland, where whatever refitting was necessary was then done.
In 1882 Archdeacon Clarke, of Waimate, made an extended stay at the Mission, helping with the work wherever needed.
The arrowroot grinding season was during the months of August and September, and there being only one machine which belonged to the Mission for this work, it was kept in constant use, sometimes beginning before daylight. In September a number of the staff and some boys, went to the cooperage of Mr. Chapman and witnessed with great interest the assembling of a cask.
 Bishop Selwyn was an exceedingly busy man, one of his self-imposed tasks being to give a weekly lecture in town on famous people or some interesting subject. In the town a girl named Alice Robinson was very ill with typhoid fever, and for over a week till death claimed her, the Bishop sat up every night with her. It was no wonder that he was greatly loved by everyone, he so thoroughly entered into all the joys and sorrows of the whole population of Norfolk Island.
On November 16, 1882, H. M. S. 'Diamond' returned from Fiji, and Captain Dale and officers came and lunched at the Mission, and had a game of cricket before they left. The Bishop went with them for a visit to Sydney.
The transit of Venus was to take place at sunrise, December 7th, but as it was a cloudy morning we did not get up for it.
Elizabeth's diaries for the next nine years, 1882 to 1890, are missing, but a few facts have been filled in by the biographer, and from other sources. It is known that she continued with all varieties of the Mission work: teaching, overseeing the making and distributing of clothes, nursing the sick, both Melanesian and staff, and helping to entertain visitors. At the end of 1883 she left for a holiday, most of which was spent with her daughter Fanny Simcox where she lived on the south side of the river at Otaki. When she returned to Norfolk island in April Fanny's two eldest children, Edith (the biographer) and Martin, accompanied her. There they stayed till the end of the year, 1884, (their ages would then be 13 and 12), when they left for home, via Auckland in the 'Southern Cross.' Just before the end of this year Mrs. Lister Kaye's two little girls, aged four and two, were taken ill with a sore throat infection and died within two days of each other. Mr. Kaye was away in the islands and upon his return in the 'Cross' three weeks later, Mr. Brittain had to tell him of his loss.
Another loss to the Mission was that of the Rev. John Holford Plant, who had joined the Mission in 1884, and after doing very good work in the islands went to England for his furlough. Here, probably owing to the change of climate, he died in 1891 from pneumonia.
In 1890 Bishop John Selwyn was brought back to Norfolk Island grievously ill with malaria and crippled with rheumatism. After much suffering he was taken in a man-of-war to Sydney and then went to England. He was very much esteemed by everyone and his loss to the Mission was much regretted. He died in 1898.
In August 1891 Elizabeth's only sister, Esther Hickson and the youngest of the Fairburn family - she was 62 years of age - stayed with her at the Mission. Miss Edith Kissling, another guest from Auckland, was staying with the Bice's. This family then left the island and went to live in Sydney so as to get their children educated.
 Much hospitality had been extended to Mr. and Mrs. Reed, leaders of the Seventh Day Adventists, who had arrived in their mission vessel, the 'Pitcairn,' and who had been on Norfolk Island for some months: They had visited frequently at the Mission and had been to Mission services. They left for Auckland on November 26, 1891.
At this time of the year invitations to tea to the mission staff were more frequent than usual owing to the large crops of strawberries of which most gardens were plentifully supplied. These grow large and juicy in the Island and guests often left with parcels of berries and cream.
In mid-December the 'Cross' left for Auckland, arriving there just after midnight on Sunday, December the 20th. A cab was procured and Esther Hickson was left at her brother Edwin Fairburn's at Parnell, while Elizabeth arrived at Dr. Purchas' at 7 a. m. Christmas Day was spent at her brother John's place at Otahuhu, and for the first time for forty-seven years the family of five - Richard, (Rev.) John, Edwin, Esther and Elizabeth - were together. Their ages were; Richard, 72, Elizabeth, 70, John, 68, Edwin, 64 and Esther 62. After dinner the photographer came and took the five in a group, (1) [(1) A copy of this photograph is in the typewritten pamphlet '125 Years in New Zealand,' of which copies are deposited in the Museum & Institute Library, Auckland, and in the Turnbull Library, Wellington.], also Richard's wife and some of his children and John's wife and four of his children.
Elizabeth writes: "On Boxing Day we drove to Richard's place at Papatoetoe and had tea there. The next day I returned to the Purchas', Esther going to Edwin's.
January 5, 1892. By invitation, Esther and I went to stay at Bishopscourt. One day Bishop Cowie drove to Miss Maning's, taking me with him, and invited her to the Maori Synod. She looked very frail. On the 12th. I booked passage to Wellington on the s. s. 'Wairarapa' and left on Thursday the 14th. When we arrived at Gisborne the Rev. Herbert Williams, Archdeacon Leonard's son, who was on board with his wife, telegraphed to Hukarere, Napier, asking them to meet me. So there his brother Frank, who was staying with his aunt and grandmother, met me and took me to Hukarere in time for 9 a. m. breakfast, and back to the boat at 2 p. m. when we left for Wellington.
We arrived there in pouring rain on Sunday, January 17th, and a fellow passenger kindly got a cab for me and I went to a near-by boarding house. It was still raining heavily the next morning when I got my luggage from the wharf and went to the Wellington-Manawatu railway station. I waited for three or four hours and just before the train left a message came through for "Mrs. Colenso to get off at Te Horo, three miles south of Otaki, as the river was too flooded to cross." Here I was met by Will. Simcox with a cart and horse, and his eldest son Martin with a horse and side saddle for me. My riding days having been terminated several years previously owing to sciatica. I rode in the cart. I stayed with Will and my daughter Fanny from January 19 to February the 18th.
 During this time a Mr. and Mrs. Mayers and daughter visited Otaki with a party of Dr. Barnardo's boys. Two lectures were given and the sum of £28. collected in donations.
On February 18th. I said good-bye to Fanny, Will and the grandchildren and went to Wellington by train. The next day, by invitation I went to Mrs. Thomas Williams' for lunch and met her mother, Mrs. Beetham, and the Rev. Samuel Williams. That evening I took a grandchild, Christine Simcox, who was at school in Wellington and boarding with Captain and Mrs. Douglas, to hear a lecture by Bishop Julius, of Christchurch, on behalf of Hospital Library funds for invalids, at which. £50. was collected. The next day I left for Napier in the 'Mararoa', and on board was Archdeacon Leonard Williams who was returning from General Synod, where Archdeacon Clarke and the Rev. Mr. Palmer had also been. At Napier I stayed with old Mrs. Williams and family, the girls' school, Hukarere, being in a most flourishing condition and a great blessing. On February 27th. I continued on towards Auckland, and at Gisborne the Rev. Herbert Williams came on board and took us, Miss Marianne Williams and her niece-in-law, Mrs. Fred. Williams, fellow passengers, to the house for a delicious breakfast; such pears!
In Auckland I stayed with the Purchas family as usual: stayed a night at Ellerslie with the Albyn Martin's: called on the Atkins at Remuera and the Smallfields at St. John's College, where he is in charge and where at times a large sewing party gathers for Melanesia.
The new 'Southern Cross' arrived on March 12th. after a passage from England of 110 days. Mrs. Bongard, the captain's wife, had a baby on the voyage. On the 29th. I went to see Esther and her daughter-in-law, before her marriage Edith Martin, and grandchildren off to Sydney, en route to Lake Victoria, Melbourne.
On March 30th. at St. Mary's church, Parnell, Dr. Welchman was ordained a deacon. After dinner we left in a launch to board the new 'Southern Cross,' the launch being crowded with visitors and passengers to Norfolk Island, the latter being Messrs. Palmer, Cullwick, Dr. Welchman, Mrs. Ashwell, Alice Palmer, Helen Rossiter, Miss Farr from Adelaide and myself. The Island was reached on Sunday, April 3rd. but a flag flying indicated that it was too rough to land. So we waited about and presently a boat came off and after a lot of trouble managed to land Mr. Palmer in the first load and the other passengers in the second. The 'Cross' then anchored on the lee side till Wednesday when our baggage was landed. She sailed for the Islands on Saturday the 9th. taking Messrs. Comins, Cullwick, Dr. Welchman and Melanesian Boys and girls, leaving Messrs. Palmer and Brittain at the Mission.
St. Barnabas' Day was kept on Tuesday, June 14, instead of Saturday, and more than 100 Norfolkers came to early Communion and to breakfast in Hall, where Messrs. Palmer and Brittain gave an account of the work being done in the islands. The 'Cross' returned from the islands on the 19th. and left for Auckland on the 21st. taking Mrs. Palmer and Alice, Miss Lodge, Blanche Rossiter and Maida Bates. On July 21st. Mr. Palmer snapped a muscle in his right leg and had to be taken home in a bath chair. The doctor states that he must keep it still for a fortnight.
 The 'Southern Cross' arrived on August 13, bringing Bishop Montgomery of Tasmania, Mr. and Mrs. Browning and two children, Mrs. Palmer and Miss Lodge. The next day, Sunday, the Bishop confirmed a number of Norfolkers in town, and in the evening held a confirmation service of Melanesian boys and girls in our chapel, Mr. Palmer interpreting. On Wednesday there was Communion for all, and after breakfast about 100 Norfolkers came to meet the Bishop. The day was occupied with a cricket match, the Bishop and Mr. Browning being amongst the players. In the evening there was a conversazione, the Bishop shaking hands with everyone at the door, quite an ordeal. At a meeting of the Horticultural Society in town the next evening the Bishop spoke about the Tasmanian bush, describing it as dense and impenetrable, with many snakes. There were roars of laughter when he showed his nightdress, which he had used as a surplice in remote country districts!
It was decided that Mr. Palmer should go round the islands with the Bishop, to introduce and translate for him, and that Mr. Forrest should go to Santa Cruz as he is the only one who can speak their language, which consists chiefly of squeaks, grunts, raising of eyebrows, jerks of the head and gestures of the hands and shoulders. The 'Southern Cross' left in pouring rain on August 19, with the Bishop, Messrs. Palmer and Forrest and many Melanesians. On the 27th. there was a heavy hailstorm, which greatly excited the Melanesians who had not previously seen hail.
August 31. The very heavy rain which we have had lately has caused a landslide at the Cascades and has done much damage, completely destroying two boats belonging to No. 2 Company and making some of the roads impassable. While some Norfolkers were engaged in clearing a section of road, they temporarily left one place, with the remark that they would return there later. Just as they got to the other position an enormous boulder came thundering down upon the spot they had just left.
September 7. Dr. Metcalfe came in looking very ill from a bad attack of rheumatic gout, as he wanted something to bind up the leg of Phoebus Christian. The horse on which she was riding home from church kicked up at the horse behind her and tumbled her off, breaking her thigh. As she is stout and elderly and fell on the downward side of a slope she was considerably bruised.
Mrs. Palmer is very ill with her old trouble and Mrs. Comins and Miss Ashwell are nursing her.
On Monday Charlie Rossiter brought my horse Tere, which he has been breaking in, and we went for a drive to see if I could manage him. He is a lovely fast trotter.
Last week, while out whaling, Alfred Adams got bitten by a shark on the left forearm. It got a hold on his arm and would not let go, though one man held Alfred by the waist and another tried to pull his arm from the shark's grip. It finally left with a piece of flesh from his arm.
 Monday, October 3. Dr. Metcalfe is most anxious about Mrs. Palmer, as there are symptoms of blood poisoning, and on the 11th. Mr. Brittain said that the end may come suddenly or it may be a long illness. Mrs. Metcalfe and Mrs. Comins are the chief nurses. Saturday. There seems to be no hope for Mrs. Palmer. We are all so deeply sorry for Mr. Palmer, hundreds of miles away in the islands with Bishop Montgomery.
Sunday, October 16. A lovely day but such a sad one. Mr. Brittain came about 5.30 a.m. and said that Mrs. Palmer had died about 5 a. m. The funeral was held at 5 p. m. and was attended by a very large number of Norfolkers. The eldest son, George, is at school in Wanganui, John is in Sydney and Alice with Mrs. Ashwell in Auckland. The other five children - Harry, Daisy, Charlie, Arthur and Willie - are here, some of them too young to realise their loss.
The other day Arthur Buffet went to the town to bring up stores, rice, flour, biscuits, etc. and found that the place had been broken into and two large sacks of biscuits and two bags of rice were missing. So Mr. Brittain drove to the magistrate and offered a reward for information. Over five weeks later the police found two large sacks of biscuits and three bags of rice in the reading room in town, which is in the third storey above the Court House. John Pantutun was sent down to bring them up. There were only about ten 1bs. of biscuits missing. Robberies of yams in large quantities from the boys' gardens are becoming more frequent. It is to be hoped that the thieves will be found.
Saturday, October 29. As we were going to dinner a boy came to say that the 'Southern Cross' was coming into the town. Mr. Brittain left at once in the Bishop's yellow dogcart to break the news to Mr. Palmer of his wife's death. Later Dr. Metcalfe drove him to his house and children. Bishop Montgomery has remained at Vila to await the Sydney Steamer. Eighty-four Melanesians , male and female, arrived this trip. Mr. Brittain will go with the 'Cross' and stay over Christmas. Should his attacks of ague increase in the New Hebrides, from there he will be able to get to Sydney by the mail steamer.
All Saints Day. Early English parting Communion and ante Communion for the Melanesians. Mr. Forrest had decorated the lectern and Communion table very beautifully with white lilies, but the strong scent was rather sickly. When the 'Cross' left later in the day Mr. Browning went with her just for the trip. Having been on my feet all day I was very tired and in the evening got a very painful attack of cramp. Such a tribe of new girls have come; luckily we have some old girls to help get them into Mission ways.
Friday, November 25. The 'Cross' returned to-day, Mr. Browning on board. Mr. Brittain is very glad that he went to his stations in the New Hebrides, where he found everything to be satisfactory. Here they found Maroslea at his brother Thomas Ulgau's place. He had come from Lakoma in a labour vessel, and when Ulgau's place was approached he kicked up a great row and simulated madness, and so [36/37] got himself put on shore where Ulgau was teaching.
At service on Advent Sunday there was a collection for a church that had been burnt down in Newfoundland. When the 'Cross' left (for Auckland?) on the 28th. she had as passengers, Miss Farr, Mr. Ozanne, who had resigned from the Mission, Miss Ashwell, Harry Palmer, Dr. Metcalfe, his sister-in-law Martha Nobbs, and her niece Hilda Buffett.
There are now 295 boys and girls in the Mission here from the Islands.
Section Nine. The Year 1893 at the Mission. And to Easter, 1895.
In January a serious epidemic of dysentery attacked the Islanders and the Mission staff, entailing a lot of extra work making arrowroot, rice water, cornflour and chicken and beef broth. Most of these items were prepared where Elizabeth lived at the Bishop's house. It was mid-summer, and the heavy, muggy atmosphere, when the wind blew for weeks from the north-west, was exceedingly trying. Often the staff had to change garments several times a day, having a cold sponge down if time allowed. (Norfolk Island is in the same latitude as Brisbane). Dr. Metcalfc was away on holiday, so Dr. Welchman was kept very busy, every day having to ride about and visit Island patients. During the epidemic one of the spare Mission houses was turned into a hospital with Mr. Forrest in charge, with Dr. Codrington and Mr. Palmer helping in the nursing. In spite of all care a New Hebrides boy died, also a girl from Torres Islands, to the great grief of her intended husband, who had probably paid a high price for her. In mid-March Mr. Rossiter died from the same illness. Three years previously he had had a stroke, and for all the time since had been as helpless as a baby, so that his death was a release and the end of the great strain upon his family and relations who had been looking after him. He had been the Island schoolmaster for many years.
The landing rock at Cascades, a natural pier, had been badly damaged by storms, the last one having gone over the road and smashed a boat, so Mr. Palmer went with some boys and made repairs by rivetting rocks together with iron bars.
The 'Southern Cross' arrived from Auckland on April 8th. and on board were Miss Ashwell, Mr. Palmer's sister-in-law, his niece Miss Mary Palmer from Australia, and Miss Rice, daughter of the organist at St. Sepulchre's, Auckland.
It was reported that a hurricane had destroyed plantations in the New Hebrides, Ambryn, and other islands, and that the people there were starving, so after holding a meeting the Norfolkers sent kumaras, etc. to help them.
 When the 'Southern Cross' left for the islands, as Dr. Welchman was attending to the sick people at the Mission, Mr. Comins went to stay at Florida, Mr. Forrest went to Santa Cruz and Mr. Cullwick to the Banks Islands.
Arthur Buffet, who worked on the Mission farm, was engaged to be married, and his wedding to Sarah Nobbs took place on May 23rd. A house had been built for him on the Mission property just inside the big gate off the road on the hill opposite to Mr. Comins' house. On the 24th. Mrs. Browning, Frankie, Mrs. Comins and I drove to town to see the launching of Captain Champion's new boat, which had been built by his son Bill. The boat glided smoothly into the water and floated beautifully, and Mr. Browning, Frankie, Dr. Welchman and Mrs. Metcalfe went for a sail. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson came along and asked us to come in for a cup of tea, and after the boat, named 'The Queen' had returned, we were all ushered into the dining room to partake of a princely repast of roast turkey, roast pig, a great variety of deliciously cooked vegetables, and then stewed guavas, mulberries, pies, tarts, custards, lemon tartlets, fried bananas, etc. The guests were Dr. Codrington, Dr. and Mrs. Metcalfe, Mr. and Mrs. Browning, Mrs. Comins, Miss Lodge, Dr. Welchman and myself. We then went to Emily Bay where Miss Ashwell and the Palmer children were having a picnic.
Helen Rossiter came to stay and get initiated into her duties as she is to help here instead of Miss Lodge, who is leaving.
Dr. Codrington had given me a precious lily, 'Graciosa Superba,' a native of India, and he thought that it might not flower, but we found that it was bearing five buds and were thrilled when it came into full flower.
June 5, 1893. The weather has been very bad with plenty of rain and so dark at 7 a.m. in chapel that the lamps have to be lit. The 'Southern Cross' came in to-day after an absence of only ten weeks and brought Mr. Brittain, who has been in the New Hebrides since November, and ten boys. Dr. Codrington and Miss Lodge left by her on the 7th. both going to England, where she is to be married to Mr. Ozanne. The 'Cross' had to put back for the mail which had been left behind. With so many well-known people who have left for good the place seems quite deserted. Next day was the usual Bounty Day cricket match, and as the weather was showery dinner for all was laid in town in the large old stables there.
June 11th, St. Barnabas Day, is always kept as a holiday, so tables are laid in Hall the previous evening as many Norfolkers come to 8 a.m. Communion. There were about 130 visitors, so breakfast was from 9.30 to 10.30, after which Mr. Palmer, Mr. Brittain and Mr. Browning spoke interestingly of progress in the Islands, and Dr. Metcalfe of some of the work of the Mission.
On the 22nd. a vessel, the 'George Thompson,' came in to land the shipwrecked crew of a large collier, the 'Girvan,' 1230 tons, [38/39] which had been taking coal from Newcastle to San Francisco. The crew were taken in by different families of the Norfolkers. They told us that a heavy sea had struck the vessel, pushing her on to her side. Before she could right herself another sea knocked her on to her beam ends and the coal shifted and prevented her righting herself. The masts were lying in the water, and while the carpenter was carrying tools to cut them away a huge sea washed him overboard. They had been 36 hours without food as they were unable to go to the galley. When the 'George Thompson' appeared they were too low in the water to be seen till they sent up rockets, when the 'G. T.' signalled that they would stand by till morning, the sea being too rough for a boat. However a rope was fastened to a boat and the men had to jump into the sea and hauled on board. The captain had dislocated his left arm, but they managed to get him and his 16 year old son safely on board.
While we were listening to this account from four sailors at Mr. Browning's house, George Young came from the Cascades and said that the 'Mary Ogilvie' had dragged her anchor and had been driven on the rocks there and had sunk in deep water. They had landed everything possible before she finally sank, but two shipwrecked crews in two days took some looking after. Later Francis Nobbs sold by auction, on behalf of the Assurance Company, all that was saved from the 'Mary Ogilvie.'
We drove, picking up Mrs. Rossiter, to see Mrs. Allen, who had just had news of the death of her eldest son, a diver, at the Torres Straits pearl fishing industry. His two younger brothers had recently left to join him.
All of us at the Mission had subscribed money to buy clothes for the sailors of the 'Girvan,' and Mr. Brittain and I drove to town to give them to the mate. A number of the crew came to the Mission, some walking, some riding, and were invited to stay to dinner in Hall. Afterwards Mr. Brittain and John Pantutun played on the organ for them.
Lydia, who has been ill for some time at Mr. Palmer's house, died to-day. She was a singularly transparent character, of a most happy disposition, unselfish and kind. Talking last night to Reubena Buffett, she said that she would soon see Reubena's mother Victoria, and Mrs. Palmer. Kendall, our carpenter, being in Auckland procuring shingles for the chapel, Mr. Brittain rode to -town to get Captain Champion to come and make the coffin. The funeral was at noon, for which we made some lovely wreaths. The descent down the hill to the cemetery is long and steep, and the return so tired me, my sciatic leg being unusually stiff, that Mr. Brittain sent some boys for the bath chair in which I was pulled home from the hill top.
On July 20th. Mrs. Browning, Helen Rossiter and I drove to tea at Mrs. Nobbs'. Her grandson, Eddie Christian, came in with news of an accident that happened to a whale boat off the Cascades. [39/40] Three boats had made fast to a huge whale and another boat was coming to help. The whale was under water and they thought that it was dead. Each boat had a line to it with harpoon attached and they closed in to tow it to shore. All at once it dashed into a 'flurry' and lashed about under the boats, throwing Bill Champion's new boat; which it stove in, right across Byron Adams boat, severely crushing Eustace Christian who was in the under boat. The whale had to be cut loose and they lost their lines, harpoons and dinners, but they got to shore safely though it was a bitterly cold night. After tea with Mrs. Nobbs we three drove to town to see the comic magic lantern exhibition which was supported by readings by Mr. Browning. He has been helping Mr. Brittain in nursing a Melanesian, Molgutha, who died to-day after some weeks' illness.
On July 27th. I got news of the death of my dear brother John, from heart trouble. (The Rev. John Fairburn). He was 69 years of age and is the first of our family to go.
On August 2nd, having been previously invited by Dr. Metcalfe to call in there, as if casually, for tea, we drove there to keep his wife's birthday. Her parents, Susan and Fletcher Nobbs, and Helen Rossiter were also there. We had a most delicious tea, waited on by Hilda and Martha Nobbs who live there and do the house work. But when we left for home we found that a thick mist had come on and it was so dark that the road, which was very slushy with the late heavy rains, was almost invisible. However Charles and Branker Nobbs kindly rode along accompanying us, opening gates and even unharnessed the horse and put away the carriage just before a very heavy shower of rain.
I was up at 4 a. m. writing letters to go by the 'Janet' to Auckland, one letter being to Mr. Buckland about subscribing to a picture of the Treaty of Waitangi, at which I was present as a schoolgirl.
On Tuesday all but one of the shipwrecked crew of the 'Girvan' were at dinner in Hall, and later Mr. Brittain took a photograph of them. I invited four of them - William Sugden, who mended my sewing machine, Frank Innes, steward Moore and second mate Barclay, all very pleasant fellows - in for a cup of tea.
On the 9th. (August, 1893), we had all the lately married Melanesian couples, eighteen of them, in to tea, and Helen, Mr. Brittain and myself. After we had begun three uninvited boys appeared. Some of the other boys had hoaxed them, so we invited them and they shared the eatables.
August 23rd. The 'Thetis' arrived from Sydney, having been sent by the New South Wales Government to take off the crew of the 'Girvan.' Mr. Robin came in her from his visit to England. He brought with him the second engineer, a Mr. Fitzgerald. At social meal on the 24th. we had Judge Macfarlane, Mr. Jeffries, editor of The Town and Country Journal, Sydney, and Mr. Snow, first engineer of the 'Thetis' an amateur photographer, the other two being passengers.
 There were also Mr. and Mrs. Browning, Miss Ashwell, Helen and self, and Messrs. Binley, Brittain, Robin, Fred Young and Mrs. Comins. Later we got ready the spare room for my granddaughter Edith Simcox, who is coming to stay. Some friends we had made among the officers and crew of the 'Girvan' called to say good-bye, all at different times and full of grateful thanks. They are to sail to-morrow, 11 a.m.
August 27th.and my 72nd. birthday. The 'Southern Cross' reported a long way out. Roads very bad, so Mr. Brittain sent Arthur Buffett to the Cascades with a light cart and rugs, as it was cold. Dr. Welchman and Edith arrived here about 9.30. p. m. and later Mr. and Mrs. Browning came in to welcome her.
On Friday, September 1, the 'Cross' left for the islands, taking Dr. Welchman, Mr. Robins and a lot of the newly married couples. On Monday I left the sewing in charge of Isabella, deacon Hugo's wife, while Mrs. Comins, Helen, Edith and I went to unwrap and make an inventory of all the contents of the parcels which had come to the Mission from all the various working parties in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. By the doctor's orders, as measles was prevalent in all these places, all the clothing was hung on line in the house where Bishop Selwyn had last lived so as to be ready for fumigation. (Note: Edith got the news from Otaki at the end of November that a younger brother had died from pneumonia on September 3rd. following an attack of measles).
During this month H.M.S. 'Ringdove' came in and Mr. Palmer went down and brought the captain to dinner, as Mr. Brittain and Mr. Comins had both met him and had cruised round with him amongst the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands.
On October 23rd. H.M.S. 'Katoomba' called and reported that measles were raging in Samoa, but there were no cases on board and the captain asked for permission for his men to have a run on shore. The magistrate, Alfred Nobbs, would not give his sanction, so they threw a bundle of newspapers into the boat, which Alfred, apprehensive of infection, threw into the sea.
Some of the Norfolkers had been shingling the chapel in December, for which work they would not take any payment so Mr. Palmer supplied each one with a quantity of beef.
At the Mission at this time were several native clergy, among them the Rev. George Sarawia, a dear old man who had been greatly beloved by Bishop Patteson; also the Rev. William Qasvar, and John Pantutun, whose father, the Rev. Robert Pantutun, was in charge at Mota in the Banks Islands.
The Melanesians had their Christmas plum puddings on the 28th. Forty puddings had been made for the occasion by the white clergy and boys.
 In the winter of 1894 the 'Southern Cross' returned from Auckland and brought the newly-appointed young bishop, Cecil Wilson, who had just been consecrated at St. Mary's, Parnell, Auckland. With him, for a visit, came Archdeacon MacMurray and Canon Calder, of Auckland, and much to her surprise and pleasure Elizabeth's son-in-law, Will. Simcox. The Bishop was duly inducted into the chapel of St. Barnabas, and then followed several days of riding and visiting all round. Edith took her father for a ride up the very steep western side of Mt. Pitt and along the crest of the two peaks. Then the 'Cross' left for Auckland and life settled down to its usual daily round. While they stayed at the Mission Archdeacon MacMurray and Canon Calder were a constant source of amusement to the boys, who followed them round listening to their jokes and roars of laughter. The Canon was small and thin and the Archdeacon big and fairly stout, and the former, sleeping in Bishop Patteson's old room and on his bedstead, said that he supposed it was a great honour to sleep on a saint's bed, but he did wish it could be a bit softer.
Miss Farr, whose father was Archdeacon of Adelaide, stirred up the people there so that they raised enough money to build a large sewing room with kitchen attached. Here the mending for the boys could be done and food cooked for the sick, thus relieving some of the congestion in Elizabeth's house, which was just opposite.
Much to our relief the 'Southern Cross' arrived from Auckland on September 3rd. as we all feared that something had happened to her. The delay had been caused by her waiting for Mr. Brittain, who had cabled from Queensland, where he had been very ill with the terrible epidemic of influenza which was prevalent everywhere. Head winds had also driven the boat far to the north-east. With Mr. Brittain were Mr. and Mrs. Comins, and Miss Palmer's half-sister Bessie, and John Pantutun. On the 9th. Bishop Wilson took his first baptism in the chapel, Mr. Brittain reading the service. The next day the 'Cross' sailed for the islands taking the Bishop and Mr. Comins to travel all round with him, Mr. Forest taking Fanny Itamia (whose two-year-old son had died on August 22nd.) back to Sta. Cruz with him, and Mr. Brittain also leaving. Messrs. Cullwick and Robins are already in the islands.
January 8, 1895. The 'Southern Cross' in before chapel this morning. She had returned to take the Bishop, Mr. Brittain and a party of Melanesian boys for a tour round New Zealand. After breakfast I was in the garden when a girl came and said that there was a lady wished to see me, so I went in and stood face to face with my daughter Fanny (Mrs. W.H. Simcox), such a surprise! The very last person I should have suspected, as she has a large family and a busy life. She thought it a good chance to visit as the 'Cross' is going straight to Napier so that the Bishop may attend the consecration of Archdeacon Leonard Williams as bishop of Waiapu, Bishop Stewart having resigned and gone as a missionary to Persia. It was such a joyful meeting. After we had given her and Mrs. Cheeseman, the new carpenter's wife, some breakfast, I had the [42/43] carriage and drove her out. The 'Southern Cross' left after noon on January 10th. (1895) for Napier, whence Fanny will have to go on to Wellington and thence home to Otaki.
Anthony Hordern's Sydney firm have sent their agent, a man named Creighton, to open a store at old Arthur Quintall's at Longridge, and are doing quite a good trade. The other stores charge such exorbitant prices. I had to sign a document before Byron Adams, the magistrate, in the presence of Mr. Cullwick, who was a lawyer before he took holy orders.
On Saturday, February 4th. I drove to Stephen Christian's and paid Ellen, his wife, 7/- for eight baskets for Miss Marianne Williams, of Napier, who sells them for the Mission, and ordered another lot. The next day we went to Mr. Thorman's Christmas tree and prize giving held in the new boat house, which in convict times used to be the old treadmill and punishment room and had been the scene of frightful cruelties. To-night it was like fairy land, with the walls lined with ferns and flowers.
On the 10th. I was called early by Arthur Buffett to say that his mother-in-law, Emma Johnstone Nobbs, had died at his house. She leaves twelve children and a lot of grandchildren and will be greatly missed. One more of the salt of the earth taken home. On the hill near his house a new house has been built, and a house-warming dinner was given to all who had helped in splitting shingles and putting them on. Fifty-two sat down to a great spread, and after the men sat about outside smoking, then we all saw views from the magic lantern of scenes after the eruption (in June, 1886) at Tarawera, near Rotorua, etc.
Helen Rossiter has been ill for some time and has to live on Neave's food and milk gruel and gets tired very easily.
On March 11th. the steamer 'Birksgate' came in and we had letters from the Bishop, etc. The boys and Mr. Brittain who went to New Zealand had been to Otaki. They left Wellington at 9 o'clock and got to Otaki at noon. Here they played a cricket match, slept at different houses and returned to Wellington the next day.
A new member, the Rev. Mr. Wilson, has arrived for the Mission; and nine letters for me.
A horrible disease has attacked the turkeys and fowls. It attacks the head and eyes, which sometimes drop out, and the head is covered with round flat pustules. All which get the disease are at once killed and buried. The cause of it is not known.
March 23. Helen went to see her sister Mary Rossiter off on the schooner 'Alice May' which is at the Cascades. Owing to contrary winds she took 15 days coming from Sydney and leaves for Auckland to-day. Miss Palmer also left in her. The 'Alice' had on board 800 bunches of bananas from Fiji and she took 1500 from here. There are so many sick in the Mission that there has been [43/44] no school and no house cleaning done. I was most of the week to the end of the month in bed, eating arrowroot, etc, and by the doctor's orders some brandy every four hours.
The 'Southern Cross' returned from New Zealand on April 10th. arriving at 6 a.m. Early English Communion and Mr. Brittain back with the 22 boys who visited various places there. Edith Simcox and the following new members for the Mission also on board: Dr. John Williams, son of Mr. John Williams of Pakaraka, Miss Lewis and Miss Firmstone who is Mrs. Browning's sister. (1) [(1) Also the Rev. Walter Ivens and Mr. Browning.] The 'Cross' had left Auckland on the 5th. but had encountered rough weather, causing her to spring a leak which entailed constant pumping, so she returned to Auckland for repairs.
At Easter, April 14th, eleven boys and three girls were baptized. (1895)
Here the diaries of Elizabeth Colenso end, or have been lost, the latter circumstance being the more probable. The biographer records that in 1896 Helen Rossiter was married to Dr. Henry Welchman in the Mission chapel, and later in the year they left in the 'Southern Cross' to live at Siota, in the Solomon Islands. She was not well when she left and sea sickness on the voyage reduced her so much that she never recovered her strength and died there on January 12th. 1897, to the great grief of all in the Mission and at Norfolk Island. Dr. Welchman never returned to the Island, staying at Siota till he too died there.
Captain James Bongard, who for many years had been the exceedingly popular captain of the Mission vessels, died during this period. He had succeeded Captain Tilly, ex R.N, at that post. His death was greatly regretted, his widow being the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Rossiter, of Norfolk Island.
All the remaining portions of the biography are taken from the biographer's own diary.
 Section Ten. The Last Year at Norfolk Island.
During 1897 several new members had joined the Mission, and a younger sister of mine, Christine Simcox, came to the Island and for some months took my place in the care of Elizabeth, hereafter referred to as Grandmother, while I returned to Otaki.
During the first three months of 1898 Grandmother decided that she would resign from the Mission at the end of the year. Her age, she was 76, and increasing pain from her crippling rheumatism being the reason. She was apprehensive of becoming a burden on the Mission staff, as she had to be wheeled everywhere in her bath chair. She had not lost any of her power as a teacher, and even after she left was often busy in various translation work.
On Easter Monday, 1898, the 'Southern Cross', with Miss Ethel Williams and myself on board as passengers, arrived at Norfolk Island from Auckland. Though the weather was very rough a boat from town managed to reach the ship at the Cascades and took a message back to the shore that we were both on board. Another boat came off to the ship, but the weather deteriorating the crew clambered on deck and the 'Cross' steamed to Anson's Bay on the other side of the island, followed across country by the carriages, etc. Even there no landing could be made, so the captain put out to sea and all night long we had to endure the pitching, rolling and banging on the ship, which even upset the Norfolkers who had been obliged to stay on board. However they managed to land us next day with only hand luggage, and we were met at the Cascades by Miss Williams and Christine, who had spent the night at Mrs.Young's.
Returning to Otaki in June, Christine must have had a most unpleasant trip, as the weather was very rough and there were fourteen passengers on board: eight women, three men and three children. The accommodation was not of the best, as the men slept in bunks round the saloon while the women had to sleep below the stairs to the saloon, where they got very little fresh air. Also there were large cockroaches always wandering about near one's head, not to mention an occasional rat!
In July Grandmother had a bad attack of bronchitis and had to stay in bed for some time. Then Mr. Cullwick became ill with a bad bout of ague so I went to help his wife, who had been Bessie Palmer, a niece of the Archdeacon, whose second son was only three weeks old. [45/46] As the baby was not improving it was decided that she should take him to Sydney. After three weeks' illness Mr. Cullwick was able to get about a little, so a watch was kept for the arrival of the Burns, Philp Company's steamer, which always called in on her way to Sydney from her islands trip. She arrived at the same time as the 'Southern Cross' but the latter had to wait as Mr. Cullwick wished to see his wife safely on board before he left for the islands. Neither of them were really fit enough to travel.
The weather was very rough and the captain of the B.P. steamer sent word by the Norfolk Island crew, that he would not wait. However Fairfax Quintall was quite equal to the occasion. He jumped on to a big rock at the landing place and yelled to the boat's crew, "Go back and tell him that you can't land, then he will take you on board and he will have to wait," which they did. Mrs. Cullwick and her children spent the night at Mrs. Young's at the Cascades, and early the next morning the boat put into Ball's bay, a deep, narrow cleft nearby, and Mrs. Cullwick was carried down the cliff. She was very weak and was insensible by the time the ship was reached and in that condition was laid on her berth. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief knowing that she would be well looked after. The next day Mr. Cullwick left in the 'Cross' for the Islands, and being a good sailor he soon recovered his health while on the three weeks' voyage to his station in the Banks Islands.
August 27th, was Grandmother's 77th. Birthday. So we cooked and decorated, had some guests to tea, then chapel and afterwards the following guests to 'high tea:' May, Hardie and Mrs. Rossiter, Aunt Jemima (the daughter of old Mrs. Nobbs, who is bed-ridden), Aunt Ellen and Stephen Christian, Minnie Allen, Nellie, Francis and Jane Nobbs, Susie Cornish, Maida Bates, Minnie Buffett, Arthur and Sarah Buffett, Dr. and Mrs. Metcalfe, Kendall, Mr. and Mrs. Young and Robert Pantutun. Some games were played, some singing done and the guests left at half past ten. All the Mission staff had sent some small gift to Grandmother.
Five days later we were asked to the 65th. birthday of Fletcher Nobbs at Longridge. There were about sixty guests and we sat down in two relays, but there was plenty to eat. Roast turkey, roast pork, meat balls, sausage meat, taro, kumaras boiled and then made into 'pilhai', i.e. grated and baked in banana leaves, coconut and lemon tarts, cakes, stewed loquats, peaches and cream, etc. In the evening there was a dance. I went with Sarah and Arthur Buffett.
On September 13th. we had a holiday to celebrate the birthday of Bishop Wilson, so a lot of us went to Ball's Bay with our dinner. While paddling amongst the rocks I noticed a yards-long eel-like thing which the Melanesian girls called a 'unun.' Apparently it was one of those worms which in the tropics swarm at night and on only one night in the year. This one had a brown streak down the middle and seemed to be able to thicken itself in any place it wished.
Mr. Browning has been accused by the Norfolkers of having brought [46/47] measles to the Island, which is very prevalent, and he says that if such be correct it is the longest period of incubation, three months, which he has ever known.
I took some girls for a walk to the dam and on the way back, from the top of the cliffs we could see a shoal of fish, at which they became very excited because they were not there to catch them. One girl stood crying out, "A - woo - Ragai . . . " and I could hardly get her home, so full of grief was she at the escape of so many fish.
Saturday, October the 8th. was a day of hurry and worry. Packing and labelling biscuits and lemon syrup for men going to the islands; cooking for social meal here; writing letters for the 'Southern Cross' also for the ketch 'Envy' going to New Zealand; running up and down to the Palmer's with letters which Grandmother kept finding which she wished sent; doing flowers and numberless odd jobs.
Everyone, Melanesians and all, are very much taken with a photograph of Miss Ethel Julius, a daughter of Bishop Julius of Christchurch, to whom Bishop Wilson is engaged.
On November 1st. there were congratulations to two members of the Mission who announced their engagement, Miss Firmstone and Mr. O'Ferrall.
The next day Mr. Francis Nobbs gave a grand farewell dinner for Grandmother, to which nearly all the Mission staff were able to attend. Mr. Williams began on a water colour sketch of her house as a parting present for her, but two or three days later he developed measles. So now he has a liking only for arrowroot, and drinks a little brandy and water, and tea made here, so we killed a fowl and the chicken broth he found very acceptable.
Mr. Wayne and Mr. O'Ferrall come in every morning for morning tea with cake and scones.
We had two picnics this month; the first to Nepean island, where Ethel Williams and I wandered amongst the screeching seabirds and their nests, (where a Norfolker was blowing an egg for Ethel to take home; it wouldn't blow, so he sucked it, it was rotten), and the second to Phillip island. The soil there near the top is rainbow-coloured, some a very bright red. The climb is quite steep, and precipitous on the southern side, with holes made by mutton birds. There were some trees in a valley with nests on some of the branches made with sea-weed, and one egg, which appeared as if it might fall off at any time. From a high cliff we looked straight down into the sea. The story is told of two convicts who had swum across to the island, and. when they saw warders approaching they flung themselves into the sea, preferring death to the tortures to which they would be liable. On the way down we came across the lovely boatswain bird, snow-white with two long feathers in their tails.
The rest of November seemed to be spent in packing in preparation for our departure next month, in farewell functions and in going to strawberry teas given by our most kind Norfolker friends. [47/48] Once a week I rode to the Longridge school to teach the first class higher arithmetic, proportion and fractions being beyond the scope of their instructor. A variety concert was given at which quite a large orchestra was staged. A small Melanesian boy slipped on a steep place while going to fish, broke his thigh and tore his arm deeply from near his shoulder to his wrist. Fortunately a boat out fishing saw his plight and took him to town, whence he was carried to the Mission. Dr. Metcalfe gave him an anaesthetic, and with the help of Miss Farr set his leg and sewed up his arm, which took an hour and a half.
On December the 7th. the Sydney steamer arrived with Mrs. Cullwick and her two children, all in the best of health. Also a Mr. Blyth and a Mr. Arnold Williams to join the Mission. Neither of them stayed long, the former was elderly and was accustomed to dinner at night and found that his digestion did not agree with Mission fare. However he became engaged to Miss Williams and after they were married they retired to live in Christchurch where they lived long and useful lives, always giving generously to the mission.
A picnic to Red Rock was arranged for me by Mrs. Allen, a Norfolker, and there Mr. Laing took a photograph of us all. On returning to the landing at the Cascades all the fish that were caught were apportioned into different heaps. Then one man stood with his back to the heaps while another moved to the heaps in turn and called out "Whose is this?" when the other man named some person who then claimed that heap. Three were given to me, all ready for cooking. These Norfolkers are wonderfully kind and generous and I love them all.
We have heard that the 'Southern Cross' is at Teluga in the Solomon islands and is in quarantine with Charles Buffett on board with measles, so she will be very late this year. Meanwhile we have packed as much as we can, but packing clothes for Grandmother is quite a long business. She takes some time to make up her mind as to where she wants to put any particular garment, but something does get done most days.
Mr. Blyth asked me to take him to the top of Mt. Pitt, and Mr. Arnold Williams came too. They greatly admired all they saw and remarked that it was an earthly paradise. Mr. Blyth thought of the picture in 'Paradise Lost' of Lucifer surveying the heaven which he had lost. He will be returning to New Zealand with us in the 'Southern Cross'.
At last on the 19th. just as chapel was out, the bell was rung with the usual cry of "Aka! she is at Cascades," and now all the plants we are taking will have to be packed. On the 20th. there was early English Communion, our last in this beautiful chapel amongst the people with whom we have worked and learnt to love. I felt it very much, and after twenty-three years living here, Grandmother must have done so much more. Then after breakfast the scramble began. My boxes only had to be roped, which was done by [48/49] Mr. Williams (the Rev. Percy Williams), and what we would have done without his kind help all through, I do not know. Grandmother still sorting out her papers as if she had weeks to do it in, so Mr.Williams picked them up and shoved them into her case in heaps. Then we got her clothes packed and everything sent off. Mrs. Browning brought along eggs, biscuits etc. for our use on board, but it was after 3 p. m, before Grandmother and I left in the carriage. We called in at old Arthur Quintall's, at Mrs. Nobbs', who is 96, and when she finally understood that Grandmother was definitely leaving, remarked, "Well, well, I hope we meet again, but it won't be here, it will be in a better country." We finally got to the Cascades landing where a large crowd was waiting to see us off, and this took some time, but at last we got on board the heaving 'Southern Cross' accompanied by a large boatful of Norfolkers, who came to help us settle in. We all went straight to bed and spent the next day there too. By the 23rd. we were feeling a little better and were 260 miles from the North Cape. On Christmas Eve Ethel Williams and I got the names of the crew from the mate , and named and packed Christmas cards etc. for all on board.
Christmas Day (1898) on board, quite a new experience for most of us. The engines broke down again last night and Mr. Holmes, engineer, spent all day patching them up. There was a dead calm till later, then a slight breeze enabled us to sail at four or five knots an hour. Contents of post bag handed round by the captain. Dinner was at night; roast turkey, potatoes, cabbage, plum pudding, fruit, beer.
On Boxing Day, the Capt. said we would reach Auckland to-morrow, which we did, dropping anchor at noon. Miss Olive Tilly sent a note to me, 'the s. s. 'Westralia' leaving for Wellington at 2 p.m.' As there were others to look after Grandmother and her sister Esther (Mrs.Hickson) was waiting on shore for her, I decided to travel with the others on that ship. So all of us - Mr. and. Mrs. Comins, Messrs. Ivens & Laing, Ethel Williams and I, got our luggage hauled up from the hold and boarded the 'Westralia' in record time.
Grandmother stayed with relations and friends for some time, and then came to make her home at 'Forest Lakes', Otaki, with her only daughter, Mrs. W.H. Simcox. She was greatly pleased when Bishop Wilson stayed a night at Forest Lakes in 1899, and later when he and his bride, formerly Miss Ethel Julius, also stopped a night there.
Miss Farr and the Rev. G. Ivens also stayed there to see her. In 1900 her son Latimer and his wife stayed some time. She was present at her granddaughter Edith's wedding in May, 1900, and lived to see two great granddaughters. She lived to the age of 83, not expecting to live so long after leaving Norfolk Island, and died at Forest Lakes at 9 p. m. on September the 2nd.