Manuscript Releases, vol. 2 [Nos. 97-161]


MR No. 122A—Living Arrangements At Cooranbong; Matters of Personal Concern, Including Finances

[Unreleased items for permanent exhibit in Australia, at Mrs. White's home, “Sunnyside,” in Cooranbong.]

It is some time since I have written to you and I am anxious to hear from you direct. We are just getting settled in our cottage at Sunnyside, Avondale. It has been a long, tedious process and expensive as well. 2MR 170.1

Our house has been building by one of the best carpenters in Australia as master workman. We have had two hands to help him. The foundation was laid in August, and all is not completed yet, because Willie must have a place by himself. Our family numbered sixteen. The cook, Mrs. Byron Belden, could not do so much cooking. We had to separate the family. Willie and my family have been one since we have been in these colonies. It was thought best to compose two families. 2MR 170.2

The first building erected on the premises was a washroom, laundry, and woodshed all combined, to give the carpenters a shelter to work. We counseled together that this should be converted into a dwelling house for Willie and his family. Their sleeping room is 12 by 12. This woodshed was floored, the rafters whitewashed, a pantry was partitioned off, and they had a kitchen 12 by 12. Shelves were put in this pantry, and just room left for a stove. A platform eight feet wide was made and iron roof put above it and that leaves a roomy piazza with bags ripped up [and] nailed on as siding. From this platform is a raised walk even with the entrance to my family tent, which is 15 by 29. There is a curtain made to partition off a room in one end for the children, and the remaining room is for parlor and dining room. They make out. They are fixed quite cozy. 2MR 170.3

The putting up of houses costs, I think, as much as double as in America where there is lumber to be obtained far superior to the wood in these countries. There is not timber here to make carriages, coaches, wheels, poles to carriages. All have to come from America. The Australian gum trees are of no account to use even for firewood. It absorbs the water and drinks up the moisture in the ground and is not, even when dry, fit for firewood. There is the mahogany wood which can be worked up into furniture, but the working of the wood is a laborious process. We are avoiding using the native wood as much as possible. We depend upon the oak as firewood for the stove. Anything will serve for our fireplaces. The roots of trees make the best wood to burn. We have four fireplaces in our house and we need not buy wood if time should last long, but this we cannot expect. 2MR 171.1

Every word that we have spoken in regard to this place has been vindicated by the very best results. “The land, properly worked, will give to you its treasures,” was repeated by my Guide again and again. It has done this and now another year we will see something in the fruit line. We hope the peach trees will yield some fruit. 2MR 171.2

I wish you could look upon Ella May White and Mabel White. They improved much in the climate of Granville, but since coming here there has been filling out and running up tall, so that the little clothing they had is outgrown and far too small for them. The skin is fair, so clear, and the two children are real little workers. Their mother thinks she has a treasure, and it is true. They are so sensible. They are her companions. Ella and Mabel are excellent girls. The Lord loves them and they love the Lord. They are both devoted to me, and I love them very much. But I must not write more now. 2MR 171.3

I resume my writing again. May Lacey White is a kind, affectionate mother, just what the children need. They love her very much. 2MR 172.1

Now we are taking down the trees nigh the house. Most of them run up about one hundred feet—eighty feet, most of them, without one branch. Then there is a branching out at the top and the top is quite heavy. When the wind blows they are often uprooted. We did not want to take out these trees altogether, so Brother Connell puts a rope around his body and after fastening a long ladder about the tree firmly, climbs the ladder, then climbs the straight, smooth trunk until he reaches a limb. Then he ties a rope firmly about the tree above the first limb, goes down again to the top of the ladder, and commences to chip the tree with a hatchet he has fastened in the rope about his waist. When he supposes the tree is cut enough, he goes down and the rope is securely fastened low around a strong tree. Then several lay hold of the rope, and down comes the tall top, leaving a pole—the trunk—about thirty feet high. This will soon put out new branches, low, which will give shade without any danger from the high, heavy top. Seven trees went down yesterday, several Wednesday, and several Tuesday, so we are making everything safe about the house and tents. The orange gum is a very strange-looking tree—all knotted up, gnarled about in every contorted shape. These trees are hollowed by the ants, and on a hot day down come large limbs, perhaps half the tree. Heat or wind break off the limbs and they are dangerous, so these must go, I suppose, but their foliage is very pretty. 2MR 172.2

We have one of the best men in the wide world to do the outside business. He can do almost everything. He seems to have intuition and is a caretaker of keen perception. I am much relieved, for everything in his hands will be perfectly safe. If he hears anything in the night, the first thing seen is his lantern, with him behind it, peering everywhere about our home to see if any prowling thief is around. He has attended school in Melbourne and has been a successful canvasser. He is not one of the holiday kind or eight-hour men. He is working early and late for one pound per week and his board. I feel so thankful for such a help as he is to us. He is a faithful man in all things. So few like him in this country. All who know him say he is just the one I need, and I find it to be so. 2MR 172.3

We have to watch and pray. I have had special help since coming to this place. I am writing much, not on the life of Christ, but matter to be published as soon as Eliza Burnham shall get through with some matters she is writing. I appreciate Eliza very much. We tried hard to get her ever since we came to Australia. She is an efficient worker. 2MR 173.1

I am now sixty-eight years old. I supposed I was only sixty-seven but our people have made me see my mistake. I have much writing I am anxious to do, and if the Lord preserves to me my mental faculties I mean to do, relying wholly upon His power and free grace. But my writing does not diminish with age. I see no failing in my memory. 2MR 173.2

I have no information in regard to how things are moving at the office of publication. I was more than surprised to see the cuts furnished, supposed to go in the book Sermon on the Mount. I could not have such figures presented; they falsify and belittle the true. But I am trying not to let my peace of mind be disturbed by anything that shall come. I know this is the very best way—just to trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, for He is our Ruler, our Helper, our strong Tower. I hope yourself and wife find this is true in your experience. We need now to increase in wisdom, to have an increasing knowledge of God, to draw nigh unto God that He may draw nigh unto us. 2MR 173.3

I am very anxious to do all my duty for precious souls. We have but little time to work. I see much to be done right here in the school interests. We need a chapel so much, where we can meet together to worship God, but have not means to do this. We meet now with only a roofing overhead and gunny sacks spread on the ground. This must not be. 2MR 174.1

Will you tell me in answer to this how I stand in regard to debts in Michigan? Will you find out about this so I can know if I have any means I can feel authorized to give for the building of a house of worship on as cheap a scale as will be deemed advisable? I have used up borrowed money in different enterprises—$1,600 from one man, loaned me without my asking for it; $1,000 I borrowed of Brother Walter Harper, which we have been using in our building here; $500 a brother in South Africa lent me, used in the school interests. So I am anxious to know how I stand before I pledge any more money from royalties on foreign books sold in America. 2MR 174.2

If I advance money that involves me in debt it is a great care on my mind, and when anything of this kind comes to my mind any hour of the night, there is no sleep for me. There is need for me to understand my liabilities. There are calls made upon me as if I were the only source from which to obtain means in this country. 2MR 174.3

Willie loaned one of my typewriting machines to Brother Semmens, secretary of Sydney Conference. I said I must now have my machine. They looked up—Elder Israel and Elder McCullagh—with surprise. “What will we do if we cannot have the use of that machine?” And sure enough. But I cannot feel it is my place to pay out near one hundred dollars for a machine and have it used up by the conference in N.S.W. and I get a new machine. Such things are constantly arising. They seem to expect [that] I must supply all deficiencies. I want to know if you can ascertain my true standing, that I may know how far it is safe for me to go and not get in too deep. 2MR 174.4

The work is bound here in regard to the advancement of building upon the school land. It is true the buildings now need not cost as much as our buildings, for we had no sawmill and brick kiln in operation. All but the main buildings will be built of [material] of a better quality than that obtained at Sydney, with far less cost. Oh well, the only way we must do is to go just as far and fast as we can, and then stand still and see the salvation of God. I would like an answer to this as soon as possible. 2MR 175.1

Will you please send me three of the best pens for writing, fountain pens. I like, not the very large pens, for they cannot be held by my hands since I was so long rheumatic, but ordinary size. I would not like the pens when the case unscrews in the middle, for it empties too quickly. I want one fine pen for certain purposes, durable pens, and charge to me. I have only one pen now to rely upon. I tried to get my old ones fixed, but could not here in this country. Will you please send me pens, not any of them very coarse, but pens when the ink flows readily. 2MR 175.2

This last batch of mail I cannot get copied. And my pen writes badly. Please send me these favors I ask and charge to my account. 2MR 175.3

The next box of books sent, will you please to send me at least 50 Gospel Primers and at least 50 of the last book out by Edson. There are families on Norfolk Island and Howe Island, and right around us here, I wish to supply. They need something simple. Will you please inquire in regard to request made for the publication of last book out? I want to publish it here in Melbourne. If you will do this business for me, you will do me a favor. You can consult Brother Tait. I want an answer at once. We need these books to place in families. 2MR 175.4

Please let Sister Austin see this letter. Next letter let me know if you have difficulty in reading my letters written by my own hand. Much love to all the family. 2MR 176.1

Written in Margin—This is a mixed-up letter. I have written several letters in times past within a few months and could not get them calligraphed and you did not get them. Thought I would send this at a venture, else you would get nothing.—Letter 136, 1896, pp. 1-6. (To Henry Kellogg, February 27, 1896.) 2MR 176.2

Released November 1, 1960.