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


The Work at the School

Progress in erecting the school buildings was steady. Professor Rousseau, who had been connected with the school enterprise from the start of the Bible school in Melbourne, had returned to the United States. The chairman of the school board, W. C. White, who also served as the president of the Australasian Union Conference, had been sent to America to attend the General Conference session and to take care of Australian interests, among them, the production of health foods. Being on the grounds, Ellen White was expected to lead out. She felt quite alone in having to make decisions concerning the school enterprise. There was one ordained minister of experience in the whole colony of New South Wales, whose time was much taken up with the general interests of an advancing work. Metcalfe Hare, the business manager of the school, leaned heavily on Ellen White, and when important decisions had to be made she was looked upon as the senior officer in charge—a role she did not choose or covet. But those about her recognized that she had insights and experience others did not have. Writing on February 4 to W. C. White in the States, she bemoaned: 4BIO 288.6

I am left here to carry as heavy a load as I have ever carried in my life, to deal with men who think that they know everything when they know nothing as they ought to know it.—Letter 186, 1897. 4BIO 289.1

Of course she continued with her writing, mostly correspondence, but at times she could get in a little on the life of Christ. She neglected her diary for weeks. “I could not possibly spend time,” she wrote in mid-January, “to write in my book.”—Letter 166, 1897. She filled speaking appointments on the Sabbath, standing in the pulpit the first five Sabbaths of the new year (Letter 186, 1897). 4BIO 289.2

Willie's family, May, the two older girls, and the twins, on New Year's Day moved from the convent back to Sunnyside, into the washhouse where the twins had been born. As the weather grew colder, they were given the living room at the Sunnyside home. Letters tell of planning some kind of a cottage for the W. C. White family. 4BIO 289.3

Medical work was just getting a start in Australia. A. W. Semmens, a graduate nurse from Battle Creek, opened the Health Home in Sydney. A large residence was rented, and Ellen White notes, “As he had no money, I furnished him with £25 to make a beginning.”—Letter 70, 1897. To this was soon added £10 more. The Bible Echo, on January 18, 1897, carried an advertisement for the newly developed Battle Creek health foods. The public was informed that “some of these valuable foods are already being shipped to this country, and that a proposition is on foot for their manufacture here at an early date.” This was a significant project that was to take on large proportions in Australia. 4BIO 289.4