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


Chapter 18—(1895) The Beginning at Cooranbong

Monday morning, August 19, 1895, Ellen White had won at Cooranbong, living in a tent with her granddaughter Ella. She was exuberant as she took her pen to write to Edson. “Oh, I am so glad, so glad that my warfare is now over!” Paragraph after paragraph bubbled with good news: 4BIO 215.1

Yesterday, August 18, 1895, the first [fruit] trees were planted on the Avondale tract. Today, August 19, the first trees are to be set out on Mrs. White's farm—an important occasion for us all. This means a great deal to me. 4BIO 215.2

The reason for her exuberance was that planting had begun: 4BIO 215.3

There was so much doubt and perplexity as to the quality of the land, but the Lord had opened up the matter so clearly to me that when they discouragingly turned from the land, I said, “No? You will not take it? Then I will take it”. And with this understanding the land was purchased.

Brethren Rousseau [the man sent to serve as principal] and Daniells [president of the Australian Conference] backed as clear out of the matter as possible, but I knew the Spirit of God had wrought upon human minds. After the decision was made unanimously by several men to buy the land, then to back down and hinder its purchase was a great trial to me—not that I had the land on my hands, but because they were not moving in the light God had been pleased to give me. And I knew their unbelief and unsanctified caution were putting us back one year.—Letter 126, 1895. 4BIO 215.4

Ellen White then told of the turnaround in Professor Rousseau's thinking. He acknowledged that “he was now perfectly satisfied for himself in his own mind this was the place God designed the school should be established.” A favorable attitude on the part of the school leaders was highly important. They must put their whole hearts into it. Rousseau pointed out to Ellen White: 4BIO 216.1

There are advantages here that they could not have in any other location they had visited, and the land they had thought so bad was found, on working it, not to be the best land, but average. Good portions are adapted for fruit, especially peaches, apricots, nectarines, and other fruit, while other portions of land were favorable for vegetables. 4BIO 216.2

The twenty-five acres pronounced worthless because [it was] swampland would, they thought, prove the most valuable land.—Ibid. 4BIO 216.3

There was an acquiescence also in Elder Daniells’ attitude, expressed to Ellen White there at Cooranbong. He still entertained some misgivings as to the quality of the soil. He confided in a July 17 letter to the president of the General Conference that he would be glad if the soil proved “a hundred times more valuable than it appears to me” (DF 170, “The Avondale School, 1895-1907”). Ellen White wrote to Edson of his visit: 4BIO 216.4

Elder Daniells came on the land en route from Queensland to Melbourne. He called at Cooranbong and visited the land and expressed great pleasure at every part of the work that has been done in clearing and ditching the swamp that is usually several feet under water.—Letter 126, 1895. 4BIO 216.5

“Now, Edson,” she triumphantly declared, “you can judge what relief this gives me, after tugging and toiling in every way for one year to help them to discern the mind and will of God, and then after abundant research finding nothing on the whole as good as this, they accept it. Oh, I am so glad, so glad!”—Ibid. 4BIO 216.6