Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 161, 1897

Caro, Sister



Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Caro:

For two years I have felt that I knew not what would come next demanding means, but I may take in the whole period since I have been in this country. They have been years of close, hard study to know how to make ends meet. I have occasionally invested means in purchasing goods at the selling-off clearance sales, whereby I can clothe the naked with the least expenditure of money. There have been solicitors who are not of our faith begging for old clothing; and those who are children of God are really in a worse condition in various ways than these parties who are so free to beg, for this seems to be their trade. They had much rather beg or steal than work. I have a mind to help all much more than it is possible for me to do. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 1

When we came to the woods one year ago last July to see the land, I thought to purchase. We traveled with our horses and carriages through the thick growth of young trees—wattle, ti tree, black oak, and Australian gum—over longs and around logs, breaking down the brush ten and fifteen feet high. After looking well, we decided to engage in the experiment of clearing, and planting trees and seeds immediately when the ground was ready. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 2

We employed the students then obtaining an education. There were Bible studies in the morning. I attended these morning meetings at six o’clock and gave morning talks to the students, and the Lord was indeed present in our assembly as we addressed the students after a season of most earnest prayer. Then all went forth to their labors in clearing the ground selected for the school buildings. They worked until about two o’clock, then took their dinner and enjoyed it. At three their studies commenced. Their testimony was that they could advance in their studies fully as fast as when they did nothing in the line of physical labor. They were fully convinced that agricultural, out-of-door employment combined with studies would be of far more benefit to them than merely studying alone. They were getting an education essential for practical life, and for physical improvement, by exercising all their God-given faculties of mind and nerve and muscle. Some of these students who could be spared commenced their work in clearing and making a road in the woods to connect with the government road, while others were clearing grounds for building and to put into fruit trees and for planting our vegetable seeds. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 3

We had scarcely a shower from December until the next December. The ground was dry and hard to work. Then came men from Parramatta and Granville to obtain employment. They were Sabbath-keeping Adventist. They were poor and could not get work. Here were intelligent men who needed clothing and food for themselves and for their families. And there were some youth. We set to work. After these men had been employed some months we saw the clothed, and some had earned means to supply their families. We then let them go, and employed others who were destitute and needed food and clothing. We had four tents pitched—my family tent, a dining tent, and tents for the workers. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 4

We saw the most noble giants of the forest, not cut or sawed down but dug out by the roots. Some were one hundred feet high, and when down, the trunks, or body of the trees, were high as my head. Many of these trees were perfectly smooth, without limbs, for a great distance. It seemed a great pity to see them stacked up in piles and an immense bonfire made to consume them. In Melbourne, in the winter months, it cost us one pound per week for fuel and coal to keep comfortable. One of these immense trees would make fuel for a large family for one year. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 5

Then we employed men with their bullock teams—six and eight span, with their large plows—to break the soil and cut and tear away the immense roots. Some were two feet through, and reached to a great distance underground. We did not wait to plow the entire ground, but made furrows and then our needy workmen could be employed to work with spade and hoe to prepare a space to set out trees—peach, apricot, plum, apple, nectarine, orange, lemon, and fig trees. They were just as earnest and anxious and industrious on the grounds where the school was to be located. A twenty-five-acre plot of swamp land was cleared, and trees were planted. We decided the best thing we could do was to give object lessons in the cultivation of the soil. We were wholly dependent upon Newcastle or Sydney for vegetables and fruits, and much loss was sustained in transporting these perishable goods. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 6

December, 1896 [1895], we moved to Sunnyside, Cooranbong. Our trees were set late, our seeds put into the ground late, and because of the lateness of the season but little was planted in the vegetable line. 12LtMs, Lt 161, 1897, par. 7