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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 53

Original Document 53

Copy of letter from Col. Sec to Rev Mr. Ortes on the aboriginal mission at Port Phillip.

[294] Copy [1]

No. 207                                                                                     Colonial Secretarys Office

                                                                                    Sydney 10th December 1836

Reverend Sir/

                        I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th August last, enclosing a communication to the Governor and bringing before Him, the desire of the Committee of the Wesleyan Missionary Society to re-establish a mission to the Aboriginal Natives of New South Wales, and pointing out Port Philip as an eligible situation for carrying into effect the Committee's design, and soliciting assistance from the Local Government in aid of this service.

                        In reply I am directed to inform you, that His Excellency has delayed replying to this letter until He should receive the commands of His Majesty's Government as to the occupation of Port Philip; and that it being now decided[2] [295] that the District is to be located, the duty of adopting immediate measures for protecting and civilizing the Aboriginal Inhabitants has not been forgotten. Instructions have been given to the Civil Magistrates on their behalf and a Gentlemen well qualified for the undertaking, had been appointed to proceed to Port Philip in the character of missionary Mr Langhome who is nominated to this Office, is to leave Sydney next week, under such arrangements and provided with such means as have been considered needful to enable him to commence his labors with some chance of success.

                        His Excellency instructs me to add that this mission should not however prevent the Wesleyan Society from engaging in a similar undertaking at a convenient distance from [296]Mr Langhome. The County is large and the Aboriginal Inhabitants more numerous than on the Eastern Coast . No difficulty will be found in obtaining from this Government land for the purpose of a mission in a suitable situation, to be held as long as the proposed object requires its occupation; and application will be made to the Legislature, to appropriate an annual sum in aid of the Wesleyan Funds, equal at least in amount, to that expended by the Society upon the mission. The continuance of such an aid, would no doubt depend upon the favorable opinion entertained of the System and operations of the Society.

                        When your plans are more matured the Government will [297] be happy to hear from you again on the subject.

                                                                        I have the honor to be

                                                                        Reverend Sir

                                                                        Your most obedient servant

                                                                        (signed) Alexr McLeay


Copy of letter from

the Colonial Government

New South Wales

  regarding the Wesleyan

Mission - Port Philip

Decr 10th 1836

No. 53


[1] We thank volunteer Ron Hulme for his transcription of this document.

[2] Marginal note at bottom of first page: The Reverend Joseph Orton Hobart Town 

Published by the Centre for Comparative Law History and Governance of Macquarie University, and State Records NSW