Experiences in Australia


Experiences in Australia, November 12, 1891 - December 29, 1892

On the Way to Australia

On Nov. 12, about two P.M., we went on board the steamship “Alameda” at San Francisco, Cal., for our long voyage across the Pacific Ocean. About twenty-five of our friends came to meet us at the boat, and say Goodbye. Soon the last parting words were spoken, and at four o’clock our good ship left the dock, and steamed out of Golden Gate against a strong head wind. The restless sea rocked and tossed us about, quite to the distress of the passengers, most of whom soon retired to their state rooms. For a time we felt inclined to lie quietly in our berths. After the first day, however, we had very pleasant, smooth sailing. The captain said he could hardly remember having so pleasant a voyage. EA 3.1

Our vessel, though comparatively small, and not so elegant as many of the Atlantic boats, was thoroughly comfortable, convenient, and safe. The officers were kind and gentlemanly. (2) We had about eighty cabin passengers, and forty in the steerage. Among the former were about eight ministers, several of whom were returning from the great Methodist Conference in Washington. Religious services were held in the social hall, twice each Sunday, and occasionally on deck for the steerage passengers. EA 3.2

One week from the time we left California, we reached the Sandwich Islands. The scene presented to us from the steamer as we approached Honolulu, was very beautiful; the mountains rising at a little distance from the water’s edge, and clothed with the rich green of the tropics, and the city in its setting of palms and other tropical trees, appeared especially attractive to us after gazing for seven days on the boundless expanse of waters. EA 3.3

We were met at the wharf by friends living in the city. Men, women and children greeted us so heartily that we could not but feel at home among them. We were glad to welcome these dear friends, and especially glad to meet again Elder Starr and his wife, who had been laboring among the people, and speaking in the churches by invitation, with good effect. EA 3.4

(3) After a short visit in the family of one of our brethren, we were taken to ride about the city and a few miles beyond the suburbs. The business part of the town is very indifferent but the residences are fine, with broad verandahs, and surrounded by green lawns, which are beautified by all kinds of tropical trees and flowers. On our way we saw beautiful avenues of royal palms, vines, and trees, shrubs and hedges brilliant with flowers; cocoa-nut palms, laden with the brown, heavy looking fruit; bread fruit and mango trees; fields of pineapples, and patches of taro, the staple food of the natives, with many other strange plants and trees which I cannot even name. EA 3.5

For six miles back of the town the road gradually ascends a mountain valley to the “pali, ” or precipice, an interesting point, both for its historical association, and from the fine landscape view which is obtained from it. Standing on the rocky edge of the precipice, we look down 1200 feet, while on either side the bare, rocky summits tower to a height of 3000 feet. Below us lies a rich, green plain, dotted with rice and sugar plantations, and hills around which the brown road winds in and out. Beyond all is the broad blue sea, the white surf breaking (4) along the shore. EA 3.6

It was near the head of this valley, in about the eighteenth century that the last native chief of the island made a stand with his forces against Kamehameha I., who was trying to bring all the islands under one government. The chief’s forces were defeated, and fleeing up the valley many of them were driven over the precipice, and dashed to pieces on the rocks at its base. It is said that the bones of these unfortunate warriors are still to be found scattered on the plain. EA 4.1

We took our lunch on a pleasant, grassy spot overlooking the valley, and returned to the city, feeling that the day’s excursion would ever be remembered with pleasure. EA 4.2

Then a few hours were spent at the home of a merchant in the city, whose wife has attended our meetings with much interest, and whose little daughter spent some months at our college at Healdsburg, Cal. The wife was among the friends who had met us at the boat, and I had called on her for a few moments in the morning on our way to the “pali.” I then bowed in prayer with them, at her request, placing my hands on the heads of the little ones, and invoking God’s blessing on the mother and the (5) children. EA 4.3

Our steamer was not to leave Honolulu till past midnight, and at the earnest desire of our friends, I consented to speak in the evening. The hall of the Young Men’s Christian Association was secured for the purpose. Only a few hours’ notice of the meeting could be given, yet a goodly number were assembled, among them many who were actively engaged in temperance and Christian work. I spoke from 1 John 3:1 — 3, dwelling upon the great love of God to man, expressed in the gift of Jesus that we might become children of God. The Spirit of the Lord was present with us. At the close of the meeting we were gratified to make the acquaintance of some of the leading men of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Many spoke gratefully of the help that Elder Starr had rendered them. They expressed their regret that we could not remain longer, and gave us an earnest invitation to stay and labor a few months with them on our return to America. We too regretted that we must leave so soon. EA 4.4

We were grateful for the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the brethren and sisters in Honolulu. EA 4.5