Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Making a Beginning

The first step was to find the funds with which to make the payment of £275 due on June 30. W. C. White reported to A. G. Daniells: 4BIO 153.1

On Thursday, June 28, I borrowed £150 from Brother Sherwin and £105 from the Australian Tract Society, and scraped up all there was in our house, and made payment of the £275 due on the first payment.— Ibid., 488. 4BIO 153.2

Their solicitor (attorney) said the title was good. Two weeks later Mr. Lawrence, the church member who had come from Michigan, rented an old twelve-room hotel in Cooranbong, known as the Healey Hotel, and the furniture at the Bible school in Melbourne was sent for. Arrangements were made for surveying the land (6 WCW, p. 68). The last two weeks of August found quite a company of workers at Cooranbong. 4BIO 153.3

Ellen White was on the lookout for the manner in which the land in the Cooranbong area produced. There were excellent oranges and lemons, but during the depressed times these brought but small returns. Vegetables did well; they bought cauliflower for “a mere song,” as she termed it, large bags full for eight or ten cents. At that price they purchased a large quantity and used it for horse and cow feed. 4BIO 153.4

She observed: “The people need to be educated as to how to raise fruit and grains.” The letter to Edson and Emma continued: 4BIO 153.5

If we had several experienced farmers who would come to this country and work up the land and demonstrate what the land would yield, they would be doing grand missionary work for the people. At Melbourne, your Uncle Stephen Belden plowed a piece of land, and worked the soil thoroughly, and raised a most profitable crop of sweet corn for the school. Everyone told him not to undertake it, but he was determined to show them what could be done. He will come on the school land here, and carry out the same plan.—Letter 89a, 1894. 4BIO 153.6

As soon as it had been decided to purchase the Brettville estate for the school, a horse and cart were purchased in Sydney and dispatched to Cooranbong for the Lawrence family and visitors to use. Mr. Collins, a colporteur leader suffering some eye difficulty, and Jimmy Gregory collected provisions for three days and started out on the seventy-six-mile journey. At Cooranbong the rig proved very helpful. It was put to use by Ellen White and Emily and May while visiting Cooranbong in August. 4BIO 154.1

In describing her thoughts to Marian Davis, her close working companion, she exclaimed: 4BIO 154.2

The more I see the school property, the more I am amazed at the cheap price at which it was purchased.... I have planned what can be raised in different places. I have said, “Here can be a crop of alfalfa; there can be strawberries; here can be sweet corn and common corn; and this ground will raise good potatoes, while that will raise good fruit of all kinds.” So in imagination I have all the different places in a flourishing condition.—Letter 14, 1894. 4BIO 154.3

Then Ellen White introduced an intriguing reference to special light on the matter presented to her “at different times”: 4BIO 154.4

In the dream you have heard me relate, words were spoken of land which I was looking at, and after deep plowing and thorough cultivating, it brought forth a bountiful harvest. Having had this matter presented to me at different times, I am more than ever convinced that this is the right location for the school. Since I have been here for a few days and have had opportunity to investigate, I feel more sure than at my first visit that this is the right place. I think any [of the] land which I have seen would produce some kind of crop.—Ibid. 4BIO 154.5