This book contains the annotated diary of Adolf and Mary (Polly) Hartmann, missionaries of the Moravian Church who worked at the Ebenezer mission station on Wotjobaluk country, in the north-west of the Colony of Victoria, Australia. The diary begins in 1863, as the Hartmanns are preparing to travel from Europe to take up their post, and ends in 1873, by which time they are working in Canada as missionaries to the Lenni Lenape people.
Recording the Hartmann’s eight years at the Ebenezer mission, the diary presents richly detailed insights into the daily interactions between Aboriginal people and their colonisers. The inhabitants of the mission are overwhelmingly described in the diary as agents in their lives, moving in and out of the missionaries’ sphere of influence, yet restricted at times by the boundaries of the mission. The diary reveals moments of laughter, shared grief, community, advocacy and reciprocal learning, alongside the mundane everyday chores of mission life.
Through the personal writings of a missionary couple, this diary brings to light the regular, routine and extraordinary events on a mission station in Australia in the third quarter of the nineteenth century—a period just prior to British high imperialism, and a period before increasingly restrictive legislation was enforced on Indigenous people in the Colony of Victoria.