Bishop Montgomery June 1894 – Visit to the Furneaux Group.

Extracts from Bishop Montgomery – who also visited in 1893. On this 6 day visit (1894) Bishop Montgomery stayed with Dad’s maternal and paternal, grandparents and two sets of great grandparents that is  – Harry and Adeline (1&5), James and Emily (3&5), Henry and Hannah Collis  including the ‘Willetts’ Ed and Maria (1&3),(2), also his Great Uncle William and his wife (James brother)and Ellen (4) on Cape Barren.

‘Extracts’ from – CHURCH NEWS for the Diocese of Tasmania August 1894


1) ‘It was announced to the expectant public that the daughter of the school-house was to be married at 9.30 to Mr. Henry Briant, owner of the “Furneaux” cutter, and now a would be farmer on Flinders. It was also announced (with a fatal coincidence) that the bride and bridegroom were to set sail for their new home directly after the ceremony. It is needless to say that the church was crowded to witness the first marriage in the Church of Epiphany and to see the Bible given away which had been promised on the occasion’

The couple were made man and wife amid the solemn silence of the devout congregation. But once they were outside the church the scene became exciting. From the church door I beheld white clouds discharge themselves upon the devoted pair, and learnt it was rice.’

‘In about half-an-hour the bridegroom went to his ship to get under weigh. He soon returned, and his looks told us something was wrong. If the truth must be told, a band of youths was absent from the church, a band who had vowed that the happy pair should not depart until they had joined in an evening dance at the township. The cutter had lost her jib and staysail. The bridegrooms other boat had no rudder, and no peak halyards nor could searching discover them anywhere. Even if they had found the missing articles, I am told that it had been determined to drag the ship back to her anchorage, and good sailors were there by the dozen to make escape impossible. The two who were most concerned took the whole thing thoroughly well, and were greeted with a cheer when they confessed themselves beaten. The dance was held, and at 1030p.m., under a brilliant moon, the newly –married pair sailed away to Badger Corner.’

2) ‘Mr. Collis’ hospitable house was reached by 5p.m. another service of baptism followed, two children being brought forward.  Then, after a merry meal, we started for a moonlight walk to the old settlement of the aborigines, where Mr. Willett now resides. Family prayers were conducted in due time, and once more enlivened with the merry stories of our old schoolmaster friend we returned to his house, and I obtained a real bed to sleep in, a luxury we do not expect often in the Straits.’

3) ‘We had to fly before the wind to Badger Corner through the long channel south of the Flinders Peaks. Oilskins were now in requisition, and ere we reached our anchorage we were becalmed. The darkness was settling down upon us as we landed at Mr. James Holt’s, but I thought it best to push on at once to Mr. Stephens’ new farm, some two miles back in the bush. Through open flats and fantastic grass trees we splashed our way until the aspect of the country changed, and trees of good growth were reached. Here, near the confluence of two creeks, is Una Vale, the property of Mr. Stephens. Nor do I think I have ever heard of a more wonderful record of energy than that which was unfolded to me by Mr. Holt of the way in which, during a few week’s holiday, Mr. Stephens put up a four roomed house two miles from the sea, all the material being carried up, or wheeled up in a barrow, along a rough bush track. Even the iron for the roof was carried up on the heads of the girls of the family.’

4) ‘I have not yet alluded to the fishing company which came from Melbourne to Flinders with a steamer to take their fish to market. Its fate was not fortunate. The fish were plentiful enough, but the venture failed; and though I saw the spot where they camped the region is given up once more to the wallaby: it is to many miles from Badger Corner, but in the channel between the two great islands. One night at the township Mr. W. Holt threw his net a couple of times into the boat harbor, and we watched with interest the landing of between 30 and 40 dozen garfish-a feast of course for the whole community. And now that the works are done, there came over me the usual feeling of anxiety. When could I hope to get away?’

5) ‘At length we bethought ourselves of the bridegroom at his farm far away, and of his large cutter. Perhaps he would take us back to the mainland. So we departed once more for Badger Corner. That night Mr. James Holt fed us wallaby and gave us the best accommodation he possessed. I slept that night on six chairs, and slumber was sweet. The next day we tried our utmost to reach the school-house. The bridegroom left his bride and sailed the “Furneaux” to the best of his ability, and Charles Stephens ably seconded him, but we took 19 hours getting over 15 miles of sea. Anchored that night, and waiting for the tide to turn, I saw a sight, which made us explode with laughter. It was about 3 a.m., and bitterly cold. We had laid down in our clothes, prepared to sail at the first opportunity, and when I put my head up on deck I beheld Mr. Briant cowering over a fire-pot, and looking the picture of misery. So miserable was his appearance that there was nothing left to do but to woken the echoes on the dim shores hard by with laughter as I pointed to the “happy bridegroom.” Nothing could really have been more brutal, since it was I who had torn him from his home. But at length our day came, and on Friday, June 29. After six days of waiting (I hope of patience too), the “Furneaux” started for Cape Portland. In 4 ½ hours we were in the boat harbor of the Cape, and in a short time we too (my boy and I) presented ourselves to Mrs. Bowne’s as occupants for a lodging.’