Elizabeth Lawry: Little Babe

By Elizabeth de Réland

Supported by a Create NSW Arts and Cultural Grant – Old Parramattans


Grave of Rowland and Elizabeth Hassall, as well as their grandchildren Elizabeth Lawry and Rowland James Hassall, and infant son of Jonathan and Mary Hassall
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. ‘Little babe’ Elizabeth Lawry’s grave located in Section 1, Row I, No. 16, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, is the second grave from the left. Also interred in the same vault are her grandfather, the missionary Rowland Hassall, her grandmother Elizabeth Hassall (née Hancox), her cousin Rowland James Hassall, and an unidentified infant male Hassall, the son of Jonathan and Mary Hassall. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron (November 2019).

The morning air was burdened with grief and spitting rain. Bursts of sun spoke to early spring, but provided little comfort for the gathering mourners. Baby Elizabeth Lawry had not survived her illness and was being prepared for burial, or what her father called a ‘better inheritance.’[1] Her tiny coffin waited patiently for its interment. Her parents wept. Fresh soil from her grandfather’s funeral clung to the feet of those present and witnessed their prayers. The Wesleyan hymnary offered hope that one day, ‘the Lord and Judge will come / And take His servants up to their eternal home.’[2] As the funeral service commenced, the congregation raised its voice to Heaven, singing:

Who weeping build our infant’s tomb,

With joy we hasten to our own:

That happiest day will quickly come,

When we shall lay our burthen down,

When loos’d from earth our souls shall soar,

And find, whom we shall lose no more.[3]

Elizabeth Lawry was the first child of Parramatta’s incumbent Wesleyan Reverend, the Cornishman Walter Lawry (1793–1859), and his wife, Parramatta-born Mary Cover Lawry (née Hassall) (1799–1825).[4] She was also the first grandchild of Joseph and Anna Lawry of ‘Tregarton’ farm, Cornwall, England, and Rowland and Elizabeth Hassall, Congregationalist silk weavers of Coventry, England, who had resided in Parramatta in Burramattagal Country, since c.1804. Baby Elizabeth was named after her maternal grandmother and Bible heroine Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, whose Hebraic name means ‘God’s Oath.’[5]

Born on Saturday, 19 August 1820, at her parents’ home on Macquarie Street, Cadi (Sydney) in Cadigal Country, Elizabeth’s was a premature arrival, occurring less than nine months after her parents’ marriage. Although welcomed with great anticipation by her parents and extended family, Elizabeth’s early birth placed her at considerable risk. Treatment provided to postpartum mothers and premature or fragile babies in the period was haphazard at best, and often involved ‘cures’ which precipitated, rather than halted, the demise of the most vulnerable. These cures included bloodletting and the application of herbs and mustard poultices, in addition to the use of whiskey, laudanum, mercury, ‘lunar caustic’ (silver nitrate) and other powerful substances.[6] While Laennec’s stethoscope and Blundell’s first blood transfusion had been utilised by 1820, European and American physicians did not experiment with closed infant incubators until the 1880s and neonatal nursing remained largely reliant on common sense practices such as the maintenance of a warm environment, adequate hydration and the prevention of exposure to dangerous ‘miasmas’ and contagion.[7] In Australia, as elsewhere, poor nutrition and infectious disease remained the most significant threats to mothers and babies until the coming of chloroform, antibiotics and blood coagulation therapy, in addition to instructional midwifery and a more sophisticated understanding of sepsis.[8] In the early colony, concepts such as pronatalism and the transition of obstetrics and gynaecology from home-based practices into the standard curricula of medical schools and the province of hospital environments were relatively foreign concepts, and still many decades away from advocacy and implementation.[9] For Mary Lawry and other women, the rawness of early nineteenth-century birth and its risks were an inescapable reality.

Elizabeth’s birth had been complex and risky for another reason too: influenza had reached the colony for the first time in July, not long before her arrival. Based on the immunological naivety of the incumbent population, the potential for contagious disease to result in multiple casualties was, at this time, significant.[10] As it was, the 1820 ‘flu’ (most likely a severe, pneumonic form of the disease), was recalled in the oral history of the town from colonial times into the early twentieth century as being particularly merciless. ‘The complaint was general, and many inhabitants were consigned to the grave in a few days,’ acting with speed against the very young, the elderly and the chronically ill.[11] In addition to its severity and rapid consequences, the illness was characterised by a high level of respiratory or ‘catarrhal’ distress, for which there was no known cure and very little hope of survival. Highlighted by English doctor Charles Badham in 1814, ‘catarrhal’ or mucosal disease of the lungs was a contributing factor in many deaths, including those related to influenza and other contagious respiratory diseases, such as tuberculosis—‘the white plague.’[12] In his pioneering study on the subject, Dr. Badham had noted how bronchitis or catarrhus suffocativus ‘…chiefly destroys the aged, the infirm and infants’ due to a ‘paralytic affection of the nerves which belong to the organs of respiration.’[13] Given that the 1820 epidemic would impact both elderly and infant members of the Hassall-Lawry family, and many others identified by Badham to be at greatest risk, its repercussions for public health and colonial family life were both lethal and immediately obvious.

Triple Tragedy

As a heavily pregnant woman, Mary Lawry had been among the most vulnerable in her community to face the outbreak. Her husband, Walter, noted in his diary, ‘[h]er labour was brought on by a prevailing cough’ and ‘consequently tedious and severe. She was in travail for 36 hours. My head sadly aches.’[14] After a lengthy struggle, he recorded that ‘[a]t half past eleven a.m. Mary, dear Mary was safely delivered of our first little girl…It is impossible for me to express my gratitude to the Almighty for my very dear Mary’s safe deliverance.’[15]

The couple’s relief was, however, short-lived. On 28 August 1820, just over a week after giving birth to her daughter, Mary’s fifty-two-year-old father, Rowland Hassall, ‘a gentleman universally beloved, as a pious, benevolent, and valuable member of society, died of this novel and severe distemper.’[16] Suffering with severe chest infections, including the bronchial constrictions and ‘paralytic affection’ identified by Badham and his contemporaries, the Hassall and Lawry families were helpless to stop the spread of the illness or its fatal consequences across three households. Resembling a ‘hospital’ for a week prior to Rowland Hassall’s death, the Hassall family home in George Street, Parramatta had drawn to a veritable standstill in the late August and early September of 1820. Its normal functions had ceased, as family members and their staff sheltered inside, attempting desperate cures for an illness robbing their loved ones of life and hope, and threatening to infect them too.

Aldine House, George St, Parramatta, The Hassall Residence
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. The Hassall family home, on George Street, Parramatta was built around 1804 for missionary Rowland Hassall, who died during the influenza epidemic in 1820. After Hassall’s wife Elizabeth died in 1834 it was leased and in 1842 John Mills opened his Classical and Commercial Academy here. By 1852 this establishment was called the Aldine House Academy. The house was demolished in 1882. It stood roughly opposite Harrisford, which is still extant. Aldine House, George Street, Parramatta, around 1879, photographer unknown (c. 1879). Courtesy of Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums.

Despite being nursed with great care, baby Elizabeth lived for just thirteen days. She fought vigorously for life and briefly rallied, before succumbing to the same ‘catarrhal fever’ that had claimed the life of her grandfather Rowland only three days before.[17] Describing his daughter Elizabeth’s death on 1 September 1820, Walter Lawry wrote:

Died our little babe after a fortnight’s continuance in this miserable world. It was one of the most beautiful children the spectators ever saw. Tender lamb! Thy Lord hath a better inheritance for thee.[18]

In the same entry, Lawry also reflected on the life of his ‘dear father-in-law,’ Rowland: ‘His life was upright and his end, peace—a man more than ordinarily beloved by all around him; but most so by his own family, who are proverbially fond of him.’[19] Nine days after his daughter’s passing and cognisant of broader losses, Lawry reaffirmed his gratitude for his wife’s recovery, writing: ‘I have this day had the pleasure of seeing my dear Mary at the Chapel, where I returned public thanks to Almighty God for her safe delivery in childbirth.’[20] Sadly, however, the illness had not finished with the family.

Baby Elizabeth’s cousin and fellow newborn, Rowland James, the first child of Mary’s brother Samuel Otoo Hassall and his wife, Lucy, was the next to succumb to the fever, just two days after Elizabeth and five days after his paternal namesake. Little Rowland was twelve days old and his parents’ and grandparents’ firstborn son and grandson. Rowland James’s mother, Lucy, and Elizabeth’s mother, Mary, had shared their wedding ceremonies at St. John’s only nine months before, in addition to the experience of being first-time, expectant mothers. The joy, then tragedy of their babies’ arrival and untimely deaths within only days of each other was an unthinkable situation made worse by the loss of their trusted father and father-in-law, Rowland Snr.

All three Hassall-Lawry family members were buried at the Parramatta Burial Ground (St. John’s Cemetery) in quick succession, and with a gravesite inscription ultimately noting the triple tragedy for posterity. Quoting ‘Night-Thoughts,’ a popular work by Christian poet and theologian, Edward Young (d. 1765), it questioned:

Insatiate archer: could not one suffice?

Thy shaft flew thrice and thrice our peace was slain

And thrice, ere once yon moon had fill’d her horn.[21]

As evidenced by their high mortality rates, the onset of influenza outbreaks became a threat to successive generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and decimated numerous families.[22] Some epidemics also stemmed from larger, international pandemics, with predictably catastrophic results. The Hassalls and Lawrys were no exception to the scourge of 1820, with the tragic loss of a grandfather and two babies producing shock, grief and a period of deep mourning that took its toll on all involved.

Survivors of the epidemic included family matriarch, Elizabeth (Hancox) Hassall, who would live for another fourteen years, and baby Elizabeth’s mother, Mary, who, regardless of a persistent cough and exposure to the very worst of the ailment, recovered well. In fact, having been spared the symptoms that curtailed the lives of her father, daughter and nephew, she continued ‘lying-in’ at home after the birth and death of baby Elizabeth, before travelling to Parramatta first to bury her daughter and then to provide assistance and moral support to her mother, brother and sister-in-law. While influenza marred the latter stages of her confinement and premature labour, Mary remained strong enough to provide love and to nurture her little daughter in her final days, and to uphold and encourage other family members throughout their suffering. Possessing a reputation for physical resilience and moral fortitude, Mary would live to play a significant role in the second wave of Wesleyan missionary effort in Parramatta and the Pacific before her own untimely death in England in 1825.

Family

Although baby Elizabeth herself did not survive, her brief life enables us to explore the rich histories of two of Parramatta’s leading families: the Hassalls and the Lawrys. The story of the Lawrys commenced with Walter Lawry’s arrival in Cadi (Sydney) aboard the convict vessel, Lady Castlereagh in 1818, as England’s second Wesleyan missionary to the South Seas. His introduction to young Miss Mary Hassall of Parramatta and the couple’s subsequent devotion to each other and to the cause of Wesleyanism in Sydney’s West was swift and complete. By the time of Elizabeth’s arrival in 1820, they had courted and married, overseen the commencement of a chapel-building program in Cadi (Sydney), and established themselves in the townscape and community life of Parramatta.

Following in the footsteps of Wesleyan pioneer, Reverend Samuel Leigh, Lawry had commenced his Australian ministry as Leigh’s ‘second-in-charge,’ entrusted with continuing the task of building fresh Wesleyan congregations and the Chapels to house them. Describing the situation for Wesleyans in early Parramatta as ‘no society, several hearers, very attentive,’ Lawry acquainted himself with his new environs and provided immediate support in the field.[23] Finding the environment of Sydney’s West ‘agreeable’ with ‘improvements gradually increasing, and prosperity in a temporal and spiritual point of view reasonably expected,’ he had commenced his mission with high hopes and an assurance from an old friend in England that he would one day be the ‘Bishop of Botany Bay.’[24] He had also quickly noticed his future wife, albeit amongst a bevy of interested young women and their match-making mothers during the initial phase of his travels through the Parramatta Circuit.[25]

Born in 1799 to parents who had travelled from England to Tahiti as non-ordained, trades-based or ‘artisan’ missionaries aboard the Duff in 1796, and then on to the colony at Port Jackson via the Nautilus in 1799, Mary grew up in an edifying and stable environment.[26] Situated on the banks of the Parramatta River and blessed with water views and a generous orchard, her parents’ house was perennially warm and hospitable, providing educational opportunities and a platform for Christian outreach, in addition to hosting parish meetings and an array of ‘billeted’ missionaries. Mary and her siblings were well brought-up and roundly educated young people, with access to a variety of social experiences and intellectual stimulation. Moreover, in the case of Mary and younger sisters Ann, Eliza Cordelia and Susannah, they were also rare commodities in early nineteenth-century Parramatta: literate, humble, chaste young women with impeccable familial associations and promising dowries.

The Cession of Matavai - sepia - SLNSW
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Mrs. Elizabeth Hassall (née Hancox) holds her infant son Samuel Otoo Hassall and is seated next to her eldest son Thomas Hassall in this image, Cession of the District of Matavai [6 March 1799] in the Island of Otaheite [i.e. Tahiti] to Captain James Wilson for the Use of the Missionaries Sent Thither by that Society in the Ship Duff, painted by Robert Smirke, engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi, (London: Published for the benefit of the Missionary Society by W. Jeffryes, [c.1797–1799]) DL Pg 52 / FL8795730, State Library of New South Wales. For the identification of other key people depicted in the image, see William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, During a Residence of Nearly Eight Years in the Society and Sandwich Islands, Vol. II, (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), pp. 13–14.
Mary’s father, Rowland Hassall, was a civic and religious figure of some importance in the colony. He had worked in various capacities since he and his family arrived in New South Wales, including as a Calvinistically-oriented Methodist and Presbyterian itinerant preacher, and as the government appointed manager of the Parramatta granary and the Toongabbie store. By 1814, he had been appointed to the trusted position of superintendent of the government stock, including the herd at ‘the Cowpastures’: the largest run in the colony. For a time, as he recovered from a violent robbery, Hassall also operated a profitable general store at Parramatta and was said to have been the first shopkeeper in Cadi (Sydney) to import popular wax-headed dolls.[27] Despite dabbling in various commercial opportunities, the senior Hassall happily took on the role of a ‘galloping parson’ at Toongabbie, Toogagal Country and Kissing Point, Wallumettagal Country, acquired considerable land-holdings in the Camden area, which covers Dharug, Dharawal, and Gundangara Country, and served on the committee of the New South Wales Philanthropic Society, with a declared legislative and personal interest in the ‘Protection and Civilization’ of Māoris and South Sea Islanders in the colony.[28] He and his wife, Elizabeth, were devout ‘Congregationalists’ who followed ‘the Congregational way’ or a dissenting, ‘reformed’ Protestant tradition based on the teachings and practices of reformer-theologian, John Calvin (1509–1564).[29] Alternatively, Methodists in the Arminian tradition—notably Wesleyans—followed the dissenting teachings of Dutch theologian, Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609). The theological divergences between the two traditions were sufficient to perpetuate tension amongst Protestant missionaries[30]

Elizabeth Hassall portrait
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Portrait of Elizabeth Hassall [née Hancox], c. 1800, ML 253, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.
Interestingly for their time, the Hassalls appeared not to differentiate between the various strands of Protestantism seeking a foothold in Sydney’s West and never lost sight of their original designation as Christian missionaries, sympathetic to all Protestant sects.[31] The couple acted as mentors to various ‘dissenter’ missionaries in Parramatta during the early nineteenth century, offering particular assistance to new missionaries, including Walter Lawry, who benefitted from their high-ranking civic connections while only barely tolerating their ‘Calvinist’ sympathies and close working relationship with Samuel Marsden and the ‘Established Church.’[32] For Lawry, a growing affection for the Hassalls’ daughter, Mary, was tempered by his doubts regarding her family, or as he described in his journal:

My affairs with my dear Mary are all settled…My heart cleaves to the young lady whom I have chosen for my companion thro’ tribulations; and from her I expect nothing but sweetness and the very best of enjoyments; but the family are Calvinistic Dissenters, which thing annoys me.[33]

While immediately recognising and rejecting the Calvinist leanings of his future father-in-law, Lawry quickly discerned the senior man’s benevolent position on missionary praxis in New South Wales, his influential ties with the upper echelons of Sydney’s colonial life and his potential as a financial sponsor. In addition to offering personal support and transient accommodation to all-comers, Rowland Hassall eventually converted the barn on his Parramatta property into a rudimentary ‘chapel/schoolroom’ for worship, Bible studies and parish meetings on Friday evenings and Sundays. As such, the Hassalls’ home became an epicentre of Christian teaching and evangelism in the fledgling years of the town’s religious life and one that produced a number of future Christian leaders—none the least being Lawry himself, a future General Superintendent of the New Zealand Methodist Mission (1843–1854), and Thomas Hassall, a future Reverend, prolific landowner and ‘galloping parson’ of the Camden-Cobbitty region in Dharug, Dharawal, and Gundangara Country.[34] For the Hassalls, their introduction to Lawry was an introduction to Wesleyan Methodism and its foundational values and practices. Lawry noted in his diary that until his arrival at Parramatta, Mary’s parents were ‘not well acquainted with the Wesleyans…they neither know our outward circumstances, nor our respectability as a public body.’[35]

Reverend Walter Lawry
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Reverend Walter Lawry in later life, from a portrait by William Gush painted in 1840, in D. H Souter & James Colwell, The Illustrated History of Methodism: Australia, 1812 to 1855, New South Wales and Polynesia, 1856 to 1902, (Sydney, William Brooks & Co, 1904), p. 48. nla.obj-29770120, National Library of Australia.

Still in her teens when she met Walter, Mary knew her own mind, and possessed many of her parents’ traits, including their enterprising natures, practical skills and self-determination. Although young, impressionable and positioned to benefit from a strategic marriage to a senior churchman, Mary had rejected a proposal of marriage from Samuel Leigh and, instead, chose his younger subordinate. A man of ready humour and characteristic sensitivity, Lawry had quickly proven himself an enthusiastic and gifted missionary, both at home in England and during his early work in Australia.[36] On his part, while being preoccupied with his mission responsibilities and wrestling with the question of whether he should marry or remain single in order to achieve the most perfect Christian life, Lawry’s attraction to Mary was sufficient for him to pursue a permanent arrangement.[37] After a short time, he found himself ‘strongly followed’ by the image of Mary and concerned for her welfare. [38] By the autumn of 1819, he was courting her in earnest, or as he put it, ‘negotiating matters with Miss. H.’[39]

Ultimately defying a strict Wesleyan directive that no missionary should marry in the colonies until a ‘probationary period’ had been completed, Walter and Mary married in a popular ‘triple wedding’ at St. John’s Church, Parramatta, on 22 November 1819. Those wed in the same ceremony were Mary’s older brothers, Samuel and Jonathan Hassall. Samuel was married to Lucy Mileham, the daughter of Dr. Mileham, and Jonathan to Mary Rouse of the renowned Rouse family and a trusted governess to Governor and Mrs. Macquarie’s son, Lachlan. Rowland Hassall wrote a hymn for the occasion and Elizabeth Marsden was an official witness.

The marriage between Walter and Mary was the commencement of three landmark phases in the couple’s life together: the period involving the planning, building and opening of the first Wesleyan Chapel on Macquarie Street, Parramatta, in 1821; their time as missionaries in Tongatapu, Tonga (the ‘Friendly Islands’) during 1822–1823; and their stay in Cornwall during 1825.[40]

Parramatta

During the first of the three major periods that defined the couple’s married life, Walter and Mary resided at the ‘Mission House,’ a small parsonage likely built for them on or near the same site as their Parramatta Chapel. It was a simple home, lacking the cosmopolitan atmosphere of their Cadi (Sydney) residence, the acreage that Lawry had known at his parents’ ‘Tregarton’ farm in Cornwall, and the middle-class comforts that Mary had experienced growing up at her parents’ house in Parramatta. Nonetheless, the newlyweds made themselves comfortable and devoted sizeable personal funds (£300), including most of Mary’s dowry, to the building of Parramatta’s first exclusively Wesleyan place of worship.

Plan of Parramatta 1844, Market Place, (Parramatta Town Hall), Jane Poole, Jane McManus, Macquarie Street, Parramatta, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, St. John's First Fleeters, First Fleet convict
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. This segment of an 1844 map shows the location of the first Wesleyan chapel, the 1821 “Lawry Chapel,” which stood where the present-day Leigh Memorial Church carpark is now located. Detail from Plan of the Town of Parramatta and the Adjacent Properties, as surveyed by W. Meadows Brownrigg, (1844). M M4 811.1301/1844/1 / FL3690457, State Library of New South Wales.

The small Chapel on Macquarie Street, built by convicts, on land granted by Governor Macquarie and situated in the heart of the town, was dedicated by Reverends Lawry, Mansfield and Carvosso on Easter Sunday, 20 April 1821.[41] Its realisation was due in no small part to the determination of Lawry himself, and his unmovable vision of a Wesleyan Chapel operated by Wesleyans, for Wesleyans. In doing so, he rejected his father-in-law’s proposal—and one likely endorsed, if not prompted, by Marsden—that the Chapel’s operations be overseen by a corporate body of Anglicans, Congregationalists and Wesleyans. In defence of his proposal, Lawry cited the imminent arrival of more missionaries to assist him in his work and the directive given to him on leaving London that he ‘Adhere to the Rule.’[42] He further suggested that Hassall’s plan would cause inevitable dissent amongst the venture’s multi-denominational trustees and argued that, ‘As the Wesleyan Methodists have been owned of God in their labours and have prospered equal with any other people,’ there appeared little justification for the proposed alteration.[43]

First Wesleyan Chapel, Macquarie Street, Parramatta
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. The first Wesleyan Chapel at Parramatta, the Lawry Chapel, was built by convicts and dedicated on Easter Sunday, 20 April 1821. It stood on Macquarie Street, Parramatta and some of its archaeological remains can still be seen in the Leigh Memorial carpark today. As a side note, the residence of First Fleet convict Jane McManus is likely the structure in the background to the left. Courtesy of Parramatta Mission Archive.

In a letter to his parents in Cornwall one month after its opening, Lawry noted the success of the Chapel and the contentment that its beneficence and popularity had brought to Mary and himself. Quoting Mary’s words to him, he wrote: ‘My dear, what a lovely congregation there was tonight. I thought while I was there, that if we had lived on a crust, in a miserable hut, in order to build the Chapel, such a sight would have amply repaid us.’[44] Subsequently, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS) in London directed Lawry to establish the first Wesleyan mission in Tongatapu, Tonga (the ‘Friendly Islands’). Faced with the dilemma of whether to take Mary and their son Henry into largely untested and reportedly hostile territory or to leave them at Parramatta, Lawry decided that the family should stay together.

‘Tongataboo’

Following their self-funded sea voyage on the St. Michael, including a brief stopover with Samuel and Catherine Leigh and other missionaries in Ipipiri (Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands in Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Lawrys attempted to establish a permanent mission in Tonga between 1822 and 1823. This was largely unsuccessful. While securing a satisfactory working relationship with Chief Palau and successfully executing some cross-cultural exchange, the deep-seated spiritual beliefs and ritualism of the Tongans proved wholly resistant to Christianity.

Canoes of the Friendly Islands, by John Webber
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. John Webber, J. Archdeacon, & David Roberts, Canoes of the Friendly Islands, (1777), nla.obj-135573376, National Library of Australia.

Both Lawry and wife Mary lived under almost constant threat of injury or death and with dwindling supplies. ‘They were in a tricky situation, where they needed every friend they could muster,’ writes church historian E. W. Hames: ‘They had no soap and no sugar, and thieves were active among the stores.’[45] For Lawry’s wife and coadjutor Mary, a confluence of events in Tonga proved especially debilitating. Whilst pregnant, she had to contend with the demands of caring for a toddler and carrying out daily chores in the unrelenting tropical heat. In other missions, local people were retained as household assistants, but mutual mistrust and separation between the Lawrys and the local people meant that Mary was left to handle many things singlehandedly, all of which, according to her husband, culminated in her suffering a miscarriage: ‘Yesterday my dear Mary had a miscarriage—She was about three months gone; it was probably occasioned by her washing and lifting tubs the preceding day, the heat being intense.’[46] During the final ten months of the island mission, Mary became pregnant again with second daughter, Elizabeth Anna, and expressed a desire to return to New South Wales in time for her confinement. Cognisant of his failure to bring a single Tongan to Christ, and struggling with both the native language and the Tongans’ absolute resistance to his preaching, Lawry decided to return to Cadi (Sydney). Ultimately, however, with little food and clothing remaining and a lack of desirable goods to use for barter, the family struggled to leave Tonga in time to avoid retribution and for Mary to give birth in safer and more familiar surroundings.

Once arrived in Cadi (Sydney), Cadigal Country in late 1823 and following the birth of their daughter, the Lawrys took nearly a year away from Chapel building and overseas missionary work to live in Mary’s homeland and pursue a simpler ministry.[47] By all accounts, it was a restorative time, marred only by Lawry’s ongoing battle with the Wesleyan leadership in London and the repercussions of his falling-out with his senior colleague, Samuel Leigh.[48] Given that he had disobeyed the Committee’s directive to go to Lutruwita (Van Diemen’s Land / later ‘Tasmania’) immediately after the Tongan mission, and that the charges of disruption and rebellion brought against him and fellow missionaries Ralph Mansfield and Benjamin Carvosso by both Leigh and Marsden were still standing, he was compelled to make a dramatic gesture.[49] To this end, he gathered up Mary, son Henry and daughter Elizabeth Anna, and sailed to England on the Midas in the spring of 1824. Under threat from hazardous weather and a tyrannical sea captain, and facing impending dismissal from the Wesleyan ministry, Lawry nonetheless decided to count his blessings. Sailing across the South Atlantic Ocean, he noted in his diary that beyond his troubles with Mr. Leigh, the loss of first baby Elizabeth and Mary’s miscarriage in Tonga, ‘I have been married five years to this day, and we have two fine children, a boy and a girl.’[50]

Although the subject of deep personal regret for the missionary, Lawry’s failed attempt at Christianising Tonga proved a temporary glitch in his career path and in what was otherwise a halcyon era for Wesleyan Methodism throughout the South Seas. A second wave of Wesleyan missionaries arrived in Tonga in 1826, led by Reverends John Thomas and John Hutchinson, and assisted by Tongan interpreter and guide ‘Tamma Now.’ For Tongans, the year 1826 became known as ‘the year of the coming of Christianity,’ and one that sparked a Wesleyan Methodist movement throughout the Pacific, culminating in mass conversions in Fiji, Samoa, Rotuma and Papua New Guinea.[51] By the mid-nineteenth century, the utilisation of islander converts and the resources of the new ‘Board of Missions’ of a freshly independent ‘Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australasia’ enabled Wesleyan Methodism to make important gains.[52] The denomination also found itself implicit in the spread of the British Empire on the far side of the world and the simultaneous imposition of Anglocentric codes of moral uprightness and sociocultural obligation on indigenous societies.[53]

England

Blessed by better conditions towards the end of their sea voyage, the Lawry family arrived at Portsmouth, England, on New Year’s Day, 1825. Mary reportedly enjoyed the English countryside and London, or as Walter noted, ‘Mrs. Lawry and Tamma Now…were much pleased with England, even in her winter dress.’[54] After Walter braved the steely judgement of the London Committee and successfully defended the charges against him, the family moved to St. Austell, Cornwall, and connected with his extended family.[55] For all Mary knew at the time, her young family’s move to England was a permanent one, so she did her best to embrace her new surroundings. She also spent most of her year in England expecting the couple’s fourth child.

Tragically, two weeks after the birth of their sweetly named daughter, ‘Mary Australia,’ Mary died from complications of childbirth on Christmas Day, 1825.[56] For Walter, the death of his wife was a shocking blow. Subsequent senior appointments to South West England and Aotearoa (New Zealand), and sea voyages in the South Pacific, including a visit to his previous mission site in Tonga, only partially distracted him from his bereavement. As it was, his melancholy delayed him remarrying for another four years and took him back to Parramatta and his fondest memories of Mary during the final two years of his life. In a curious twist of fate, Mary passed away and was buried in Walter’s birthplace of Cornwall, England, while thirty-four years later, Walter passed away and was buried in Mary’s birthplace of Parramatta, New South Wales.[57]

News of Mary’s passing took seven months to reach Cadi (Sydney). It arrived via the ship Henry, and resulted in the following tribute in the Sydney Gazette on 26 July 1826:

LAMENTED OBITUARY—The melancholy news has arrived, per the Henry, of the death of one of Australia’s Daughters, who had only some twelve months before been transplanted to Albion’s soil, in the person of MARY COVER LAWRY, eldest daughter of the late Mr. ROWLAND HASSALL, of respected memory in this Country, and wife to the Reverend WALTER LAWRY, formerly Wesleyan Missionary in New South Wales and in Tongataboo. This young lady leaves three children, with an inconsolable husband, to grieve over a loss that will be irreparable to all acquainted with her many virtues. She was not only almost idolized by her numerous connexions in this land, but also loved by those who knew her merely by name. An afflicted Parent is left to mourn over her first of several daughters. Mrs. Lawry accompanied her husband in his mission to Tonga, and despite of every entreaty, nobly braved the fury of savages. In Tonga, she remained about a year, when her condition became so interesting as to tender her return to the Colony expedient, for the sake of medical aid, and she had scarcely been on shore one day before she was delivered of a fine girl. In some few months after, though advised to the contrary, she again risked the danger of the ocean, and proceeded to England with her husband—and in England she died.[58]

Reverend Samuel Marsden, Missionary, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, St. John's Cemetery, Parramatta, Principal Chaplain Colony of New South Wales
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Mary Lawry was warmly eulogised by one of her husband’s staunchest critics, Reverend Samuel Marsden. Portrait of Reverend Samuel Marsden, 1833. Watercolour, possibly by Richard Read Junior. ML 29 / FL1119855. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Mary was warmly eulogised by one of her husband’s staunchest critics, Samuel Marsden. Not only did Marsden preach a sermon with eulogy to her in the very Parramatta Wesleyan Chapel that he had queried some years before, but said of Mary that he had known her ‘from infancy’ and that ‘when the Parramatta Sunday School was established, she was indefatigable in attempting to promote the best interests of the children.’[59] Mary’s gifts as a young mother were also recalled at the time of her passing, with her first child, Elizabeth, included in the summations.

*          *          *

The Lawrys’ ‘Little Babe’ had propelled her parents into the excitement of new parenthood and the depths of grief almost simultaneously and impacted them for the remainder of their lives. Her death at barely two weeks of age, along with grandfather Rowland Hassall and baby cousin, Rowland James Hassall, proved a sobering counterbalance to the buoyancy of the Lawrys’ missionary enterprise in Sydney’s West. The ravages of contagion in early Parramatta were, in fact, no better exemplified than in the triple loss that enveloped the Hassall-Lawry family in the early spring of 1820. The demise of a revered patriarch and two babies in quick succession was one that tested the boundaries of ‘faith,’ familial and community endurance, and simultaneously placed two prominent and connected missionary families at the frontline of colonial-era disease and its tragic potential.

Mary and Walter Lawry’s surviving children—son, Henry (born 1821, in Parramatta), second daughter, Elizabeth Anna (born 1823, in Parramatta) and third daughter, Mary Australia (born 1825, in Cornwall, England)—ultimately married well, had families of their own and produced descendants who furthered the Methodist cause in Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Pacific. Elizabeth’s eldest sibling, Henry Lawry (1821–1906), would spend a portion of his toddlerhood in the tropical confines of a Tongan mission-station and ultimately become a long-lived Reverend and stalwart of both the New Zealand Wesleyan Church and the British and Foreign Auxiliary Bible Society. As part of his duties, he would also become an accomplished Māori-English translator and interpreter, and represent the government of Sir George Grey at the Native Land Court. Elizabeth Lawry’s sister, Elizabeth Anna (1823–1857) married Francis (‘Frank’) Oakes, son of Parramatta chief constable, Francis Oakes, and died after a long illness, aged 33. Her five surviving children were raised by Frank’s second wife and Wesleyan Minister’s daughter, Eliza Rabone. Baby Elizabeth’s second sister, Mary Australia (1825–1903), migrated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) with her father, stepmother, brother and sister in 1843 and married Reverend John Aldred, an English Wesleyan missionary to Aotearoa (New Zealand). In his capacity as General Superintendent of the New Zealand Church, Mary’s father, Walter Lawry, conducted a ‘double wedding’ for his son Henry and wife Hepzibah and for Mary and her husband John, at the new Wesleyan Chapel of Auckland, in Tāmaki (Auckland) in 1849. Together, the Aldreds had eleven children, seven of whom survived to adulthood.

Remaining a faint but cherished memory within the detail and complexity of her parents’ and siblings’ future lives, baby Elizabeth Lawry had already found her ‘eternal home.’[60]


CITE THIS

Elizabeth de Réland, “Elizabeth Lawry: Little Babe,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2020), https://stjohnscemeteryproject.org/bio/elizabeth-lawry, accessed [insert current date]


References

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources


NOTES

[1] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 1 September 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[2] Charles Wesley, “Hymn: Rejoice, the Lord is King!” Verse 4, in John Wesley, A Collection of Moral and Sacred Poems from the Most Celebrated English Authors, (Bristol: Felix Farley, 1744); also available online https://hymnary.org/text/rejoice_the_lord_is_king_your_lord_and_k, accessed 12 May 2020.

[3] Charles Wesley, “On the Death of a Child: Hymn XXIII, Part IV,” Verse 2, in G. Osborn, D. D. (ed.), The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, Vol. VI, (London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1870), pp. 256–7, https://wesleyscholar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Poetic-Works-vol-6.pdf, accessed 12 May 2020.

[4] Mary Lawry’s middle-name, “Cover,” was given to her in tribute to the Hassalls’ family friend and fellow missionary in Tahiti, James Fleet Cover (1762–1834). Cover became a popular and busy Congregational minister during his time in Cadi (Sydney).

[5] “Elisabeth,” Bible Study Tools, (2020), https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/elisabeth/, accessed 12 May 2020.

[6] Spencer Thompson, A Dictionary of Domestic Medicine and Household Surgery, (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen and Haffelfinger, 1877), p. 497; Charles E. Rosenberg, “Medicine and Community in Victorian Britain: Review of Journal of Victorian Social Medicine: The Ideas and Methods of William Farr, by John M. Eyler, and Cholera, Fever and English Medicine, 1825–1865, by Margaret Pelling,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 11, No. 4 (1981): 677–684. doi:10.2307/203150.

[7] (1) Miasmas: “This belief held that most, if not all, disease was caused by inhaling air that was infected through exposure to corrupting matter. Such matter might be rotting corpses, the exhalations of other people already infected, sewage, or even rotting vegetation. The “miasmatic” explanation of the cause of disease figured prominently in the long debates among the people who were responsible for combating the cholera epidemics.” Stephen Halliday, “Death and Miasma in Victorian London: An Obstinate Belief,” BMJ, Vol. 323, No. 7327, (Dec, 2001): 1469–1471, doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7327.1469. (2) Elizabeth A. Reedy, “Care of Premature Infants, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing,” https://www.nursing.upenn.edu/nhhc/nurses-institutions-caring/care-of-premature-infants/, accessed 12 May 2020.

[8] Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity, (New York: WW Norton Company Inc., 1997), p. 367, 369–72; Milton J. Lewis, (Ph.D. Diss.), “‘Populate or Perish’: Aspects of Infant and Maternal Health in Sydney, 1870–1839,” (Canberra: Australian National University, 1976), p. iv. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/afc2/ad3c9ca8fcd1ce5d93bf9325fab4e97d8d98.pdf, accessed 12 May 2020; Milton J. Lewis, “Medicine in Colonial Australia,” The Medical Journal of Australia, MJA, Vol. 201, No. S1, (July 2014): S5–S10, doi:10.5694/mja14.00153.

[9] Lisa Featherstone, (Ph.D. Diss.), “Breeding and Feeding: A Social History of Mothers and Medicine in Australia, 1880–1925,” (Australia: Macquarie University, 2003), p. 24,
http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/38533, accessed 12 May 2020.

[10] Patrick R. Saunders-Hastings and Daniel Krewski, “Reviewing the History of Pandemic Influenza: Understanding Patterns of Emergence and Transmission,’ Pathogens, Vol. 5, No. 4, (December 2016): 66, doi: 10.3390/pathogens5040066; Malcolm Knox, “Known Unknowns, Influenza,” The Monthly, (April 2010), https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2010/march/1329283804/malcolm-knox/known-unknowns, accessed 12 May 2020.

[11] Archdeacon Oakes, “Rowland Hassall, A Pioneer Colonist,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 4 February 1928, p. 11.

[12] John Frith, “History of Tuberculosis. Part 1 – Pthisis, Consumption and the White Plague,” Journal of Veteran and Military Health, Vol. 22, No. 2. https://jmvh.org/article/history-of-tuberculosis-part-1-phthisis-consumption-and-the-white-plague/, accessed 12 May 2020.

[13] Charles Badham, M. D., An Essay on Bronchitis: With a Supplement Containing Remarks on Simple Pulmonary Abscess, Etc., (London: J. Callow, 1814), p. 16.

[14] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 19 August 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[15] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 19 August 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[16] Archdeacon Oakes, “Rowland Hassall, A Pioneer Colonist,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 4 February 1928, p. 11. See also, “The Influenza Epidemic in New South Wales in 1820, after a Visit of Russian Ships,” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), Saturday 7 November 1891, p. 14.

[17] Niel Gunson, “Hassall, Rowland (1768–1820),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hard copy, 1966, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hassall-rowland-2166/text2777, accessed online 16 July 2019.

[18] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 1 September 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[19] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 1 September 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[20] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 10 September 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 54. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[21] Edward Young, “Night Thoughts,” in Robert Anderson (ed.), The Works of the British Poets: The Poetical Works of Edward Young, L.L.D, (Edinburgh: Mundell and Son, 1794), p. viii.

[22] P. Massey, A. Miller, D. Durrheim, R. Speare, S. Saggers, K. Eastwood, “Pandemic Influenza Containment and the Cultural and Social Context of Indigenous Communities,” Rural and Remote Health, Vol. 9, No. 1 (March 2009): 1179, https://www.rrh.org.au/journal/article/1179/, accessed 16 July 2019; Malcolm Knox, “Known Unknowns, Influenza,” The Monthly, (April 2010), https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2010/march/1329283804/malcolm-knox/known-unknowns, accessed 16 July 2019.

[23] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 5 June 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 8. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[24] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 23 December 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), pp. 8, 28. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[25] “The young women are falling in – with me – at Parramatta, Misses Mason and Hassall; Portlandhead, Miss Arnal; Windsor, Miss Miles; at Richmond, Peggy Randal. Old Mother…played her cards very well with me, to get off her daughter.” Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 4 September 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 14. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[26] Artisan missionaries of the London Missionary Society’s 1796 venture to Tahiti, Rowland and Elizabeth Hassall and their infant sons, Samuel and Thomas, began to witness growing resentment amongst the Tahitian people. This was due in no small part to the missionaries’ controversial acquisition of the resource-rich district of Matavai in 1798 and various other religio-cultural practices that raised the suspicion of the islanders. As a precaution, the Hassalls accepted a quick passage to Cadi (Sydney), however, “Mr. and Mrs. Henry, who remained at their post when the other missionaries left…it is said, were killed and eaten.” Mrs. Campbell, granddaughter of Rowland Hill Hassall quoted in Archdeacon Oakes, “Rowland Hassall, A Pioneer Colonist,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 4 February 1928, p. 11.

[27] Mrs. Campbell, granddaughter of Rowland Hill Hassall quoted in Archdeacon Oakes, “Rowland Hassall, A Pioneer Colonist,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 4 February 1928, p. 11.

[28] Bain Attwood, “Protection Claims: The British, Maori and the Islands of New Zealand,” in Lauren Benton, Adam Clulow and Bain Attwood (eds.), Protection and Empire, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 153–8.

[29] Calvinism is based on a belief in the sovereignty of God and concepts including predestination, the total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints. Arminianism emphasizes conditional election, man’s free will through prevenient grace, Christ’s universal atonement, in addition to resistible grace and salvation that may be both gained and lost. “Calvin taught that all human beings are warped by the curse of original sin and are thus powerless to overcome their evil inclinations without the aid of God’s grace.” Carlos Eire, Chapter 3: “Calvinism and the Reform of the Reformation,” in Peter Marshall (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation, (Oxford: Oxford University Press Inc., 2015), p. 84; Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder, The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History, 1740–1914, (Clayton: Monash University Publishing, 2018), pp. 325–8.

[30] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated April 1820, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 51. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[31] Niel Gunson, “Hassall, Rowland (1768–1820),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hard copy, 1966, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hassall-rowland-2166/text2777, accessed online 16 July 2019.

[32] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 2 September 1819, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 42. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[33] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 2 September 1819, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 42. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[34]The Rev. Thomas Hassall, M.A.,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Monday 6 April 1868, p. 5.

[35]The Rev. Thomas Hassall, M.A.,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Monday 6 April 1868, p. 5.

[36] E. W. Hames, “Walter Lawry and the Wesleyan Mission in the South Seas,” The Wesleyan Historical Society (New Zealand) Proceedings, Vol. 23, No. 4, (Sept 1967): 6–8, http://www.methodist.org.nz/files/docs/wesley%20historical/23(4)%20walter%20lawry.pdf, accessed 16 July 2019.

[37] See Lawry’s “Arguments for and against Marriage: FOR 1. My thoughts are often led that way and nothing is more painful than an inclination without the means or probability of satisfying it… AGAINST 1. Will not this subject occupy more thought after than before marriage so that the remedy be worse than the disease?” Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 18 December 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 24. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[38] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 8 August 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 14. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[39] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 29 November 1818, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 23. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[40] The subject of Margaret Reeson’s popular, fictionalised biography, Currency Lass (1985), Mary Cover Lawry’s life has regularly aroused the interest of historians and members of the public. It has also highlighted the role of missionary wives as genuine “partners” in their husband’s work, with many either initiating or bolstering key efforts from “behind the scenes.” As Reeson commented during the release of the Currency Lass second edition in 1988, “For a long time I wanted to write a story that expressed what it was like to be a missionary’s wife. So many have lived marvellous lives, but as they mostly exist in their husband’s shadow, little is heard of the job they do.” Margaret Reeson quoted in “Reeson’s history of a woman in second edition,” The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), Sunday 25 September 1988, p. 10.

[41] “Yesterday our new Chapel in Parramatta was opened to our very great mutual joy.” Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 21 April 1821, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 49. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[42] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 20 March 1821, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 49. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[43] Walter Lawry, “Letter to Mr. Rowland Hassall, 20 March 1820,” in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), pp. 48–50. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[44] Walter Lawry, “Letter to his parents, 21 May 1821,” (copy of original), Parramatta Mission Archival Collection.

[45] E. W. Hames, “Walter Lawry and the Wesleyan Mission in the South Seas,” The Wesleyan Historical Society (New Zealand) Proceedings, Vol. 23, No. 4, (Sept 1967): 18, http://www.methodist.org.nz/files/docs/wesley%20historical/23(4)%20walter%20lawry.pdf, accessed 16 July 2019.

[46] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 16 February 1823, in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 98. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[47] In contrast with the harrowing experience of their first daughter’s birth and death in 1820, the arrival of the Lawrys’ second daughter, Elizabeth Anna, was uncomplicated: “My dear Mary was brought to bed early this morning of a fine girl…She was remarkably favoured with a quick and easy delivery.” Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 11 November 1823, in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 126. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[48] Tension between Wesleyan missionaries Samuel Leigh and Walter Lawry was fuelled by the tendency of the younger missionaries (Lawry, Mansfield and Carvosso) to operate independently of the Established Church and emphasise the “Wesleyan” way. This manifested itself in the establishment of a Wesleyan Sunday School at Parramatta in 1821 and in the missionaries’ decision to independently serve the sacraments of communion and conduct their own worship services outside those of the Anglican Church. Finding such behaviour an affront to Rev. Marsden and a rejection of their agreed code of conduct in the colonies, Leigh began a letter-writing campaign to the London Committee seeking official sanctions against, and/or the dismissal of, the guilty parties. As he wrote, “Mr. Lawry has established a Sunday School at Parramatta…and he has endeavoured to prejudice the minds of the teachers and children.” See: Samuel Leigh, “Report to the London Committee, 23 October, 1821,” cited in Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty & Sons, 1977), p. 54. The situation was unaided by Leigh’s exhaustion after many years of foreign missionary work, or by the men’s rivalry for the hand of Mary Hassall. As Lawry noted in his diary, “Mr. Leigh is evidently ill disposed towards my plans and my peace….Disunion with a senior colleague! What a grief, especially in a Foreign Mission.” See: Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 16 August 1819, in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 41. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[49] “Leigh in London,” “Embarrassment for N.S.W. Missionaries,” “No Letter from Leigh,” “Leigh’s Unseen Report,” in Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace (Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty & Sons, 1977), pp. 50–56.

[50] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 22 November 1824, in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 127. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[51] Finau Pila ‘Ahio, “Christianity and Taufa’Āhau in Tonga: 1800–1850,” Melanesian Journal of Theology, Vol. 23, No. 1, (2007): 32.

[52] David Andrew Roberts and Margaret Reeson, “Wesleyan Methodist Missions to Australia and the Pacific,” in Glen O’Brien and Hilary Carey (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015), p. 203.

[53] David Andrew Roberts and Margaret Reeson, “Wesleyan Methodist Missions to Australia and the Pacific,” in Glen O’Brien and Hilary Carey (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015), pp. 197–8.

[54] Walter Lawry, Diary entry dated 4 January 1825, in Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, transcribed, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission Archival Collection, n.d.), p. 129. NB: The Diary of Walter Lawry (1818–1825) used as a reference in this essay is an A4 transcribed version held in the Parramatta Mission Archival Collection. The transcriber is unknown (n.d.). The copy has been verified for accuracy against the original manuscript held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Walter Lawry, Reverend Walter Lawry Papers, 1818–1847, (1818–1847), https://search.sl.nsw.gov.au/permalink/f/1ocrdrt/ADLIB11036479, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

[55] “Committee Confronted,” “No Handshake,” in Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Chipping Norton: Surrey Beatty & Sons, 1977), pp. 74–6.

[56] “Since Mary Australia was born, I have not been well…I’m not frightened of going to be with God – I feel that he has been my Friend for so long that I will be safe at home with him – but I am clinging to Walter’s hand because it is so hard to be separated…” from the fictionalised account of Mary Lawry on her deathbed, St. Austell, Cornwall, 25 December 1825 in Margaret Reeson, Currency Lass, (Sutherland: Albatross Books, 1985), p. 250.

[57]Some Historic Graves,” The Methodist (Sydney, NSW : 1892 – 1954), Saturday 2 April 1921, p. 4; “Walter Lawry Methodist Memorial Park – recent upgrade,” Elizabeth de Réland, Lawry – 200th Anniversary: Rev. Walter Lawry at Parramatta Mission (Revised Edition), (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 2018), p. 97.

[58]Lamented Obituary,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 26 July 1826, p. 3.

[59] Samuel Marsden quoted by contemporary newspaper reporter in “Australasian Politics,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 9 August 1826, p. 2.

[60] Charles Wesley, “Hymn: Rejoice, the Lord is King!” Verse 4, in John Wesley, A Collection of Moral and Sacred Poems from the Most Celebrated English Authors, (Bristol: Felix Farley, 1744); also available online https://hymnary.org/text/rejoice_the_lord_is_king_your_lord_and_k, accessed 16 July 2019.

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