Charles W Morse

Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), Friday 28 May 1869, page 3


Rev. C. W Morse

The following is a letter addressed to the Lord Bishop of Adelaide by the Rev. C. W. Morse, B.A., of Yankalilla, describing his recent visit to Kangaroo Island :—

" Yankalilla, May 22, 1869.

"My dear Lord—In accordance with your request I forward you a few notes of my visit to Kangaroo Island.

" I left Yankalilla for Cape Jervis on May 8, intending to cross over to the Island the same night, but owing to some difficulty in obtaining another hand we were unable to start until 9 o'clock on Sunday morning. We arrived at Hog Bay at 11, after a quick, but somewhat rough passage, in Christie's (the mail contractor's) whaleboat.

"Hog Bay is the settlement where the greatest number of settlers is congregated in one place—there being 12 families, with a large number of children, in the immediate neighbourhood. I was received with the greatest hospitality by Mrs. Bristow, and in the afternoon we gave the people notice of service in the evening, at which about 30 people attended. In consequence of the inclemency of the weather the mothers were unable to bring all the children that were to be baptized, so I christened two, and gave notice of service for the following Sunday.

" On the following day, having been provided with a horse by the kindness of Messrs. Bristow and Adams, I went to American River—12 miles—and was welcomed by an old friend, Mrs. Willson. In the afternoon, I crossed the river, and having borrowed a horse from Mr. Buik [sic], I went to Morrison's Point, five miles, to see the younger branches of the Willson family. At American River there are but the three families of Willson and son and Buik [sic], with a few persons, Chinese and others, engaged in fishing and catching wallaby.

"On the following day, in company with Mr. Willson, who kindly volunteered to go with me, I started for Kingscote, 35 miles. The path—track one could scarcely call it— lies for about seven miles through a dense scrub, which is not at all pleasant to ride through after rain. We came out upon Nepean Bay, on the other side of Point Morrison, and came upon a hut on the shore, where I baptized an infant. Proceeding on round the Bay for nine miles, we came to a farm, where I christened another child. This is called the Bight of the Bay, and here we .struck inland for the Cygnet, or Three-Well River. This was, I believe, the second settlement formed by the South Australian Company ; and here, some years ago, were extensive sawmills. Here there are ten families. Time did not permit me to call on more than two families, so we went on to ' Calnan's Station,' lower down the river, where the high state of cultivation and character of the improvements mark the good and careful farmer. In going from here to Kingscote we took the wrong track, which led us to the shipping-place. Not liking to go back, we struck across the scrub, and after about two miles of prickly acacia and other nearly as unpleasant bushes, we struck the road just before dark, and reached Kingscote at 7, where we were hospitably received by Mr. Michael Calnan.

"Kingscote, on the western point of Nepean Bay, is most delightfully situated. This was the first settlement of the South Australian Company, and many of the houses built by the Company still remain. I was much shocked to find that the piece of land which has been used for the last 30 years as a cemetery by the Islanders, and which is on a section belonging to the South Australian Company, had been desecrated—the person occupying the section having pulled up the fences round the graves, and being engaged at the time of my visit in ploughing them up. In compliance with the wishes of the inhabitants, I wrote to the Manager of the Company on the subject, and he, in the promptest and kindest manner, took measures to prevent any further desecration by giving the present tenant notice to quit, and promising that for the future the ground should be reserved.

" On the Wednesday, accompanied by Mr. M. Calnan, I went to the Salt Lagoon, visiting one or two people by the way. Here I christened two children. Returning, I held a baptismal service at the 'Point,' and afterwards at Kingscote, baptizing in all eight children. In the evening we had service in Mr. Thomson's house—the congregation numbering about 30. Afterward, all the people stayed, and the young people sang hymns, ancient and modern, for about an hour and a half.

" At Kingscote are settled eight families, with 32 children. Their great want is a school. The Board of Education has promised to license a teacher there, and the settlers have expressed their willingness to put up a schoolroom. This room, when built, will be used for public worship, and I hope, when it is built, to recommend a lay reader to your Lordship for a licence. At present one of the settlers has promised me to read the Church service every Sunday in one of the dwelling-houses.

"On the Thursday I went to 'Calnan's Station,' where I baptized two children; thence, further up the Cygnet River, where we assembled the people, and I baptized five children. In the evening, after a pretty sharp ride, we reached Mr. Willson's hospitable home once more.

"On the Friday we were weatherbound, and could not get the horses.

" On Saturday I started early for Hog Bay. Thence I rode to Antechamber Bay, 12 miles, where I was kindly received by Mr. Lashmar, who lent me a fresh horse, and went with me to Cape Willoughby, 16 miles, where I visited the lightkeepers, but found no children unbaptized. We returned to Mr. Lashmar's about 10, and on the following morning went back to Hog Bay. I held service in the afternoon, and baptized the remainder of the children. After service, i took the opportunity of speaking to the people seriously about their duty in the matter of providing education for their children, also also of their meeting regularly on the Sunday for public worship. Like most small communities, they seem somewhat divided amongst themselves, but I hope by my next visit they will have decided to do something in this matter.

"l am sorry that the shortness of the time I had at my disposal prevented my visiting the scattered settlers towards Cape Borda, but I hope on my next visit to go down there first of all. I have to thank the settlers, one and all, for the kindness and hospitality they offered me. The great want of the island is schools for the children ; but in many instances the way in which people have brought up their families might put to shame some professing Christians who have far better opportunities of bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

"The number of families now on the island is 64—including children, there cannot be less than 260 souls. I have a list of all the inhabitants, and a map of their different places of residence, a copy of which I shall be glad to send you if it is likely to be of service at any time.

"I am, my Lord,

" Your very faithful servant,


KANGAROO ISLAND. (1869, May 29). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 3.