Saturday, October 27, 2012


I have just published a remarkable speech about Jimmy Governor called "Chief of Sinners" by a remarkable 19th century Christian missionary to Aborigines, Miss Retta Dixon, later Mrs Retta Long.
It's the very moving story of Jimmy's conversion and reconciliation with God just weeks before he was executed, brought about through Retta's intercession with the Lord on his behalf.
For the five weeks before he was hanged, during December 1900 and January 1901, she visited him twice a day, every day except Sunday, in his condemned cell at Darlinghurst Gaol.
I have retyped the entire speech, originally prepared on an old typewriter, on six separate pages for ease of access.
Links to these pages are in the left-hand margin of this blog.
This is the first time, as far as I am aware, that this speech has been published.
Retta, a Baptist born in Sydney in 1878 of Irish baptist parents, decided to devote her life to spreading the Gospel to Aboriginal aboriginal people while in her teens.
She became involved with a Christian group evangelising on Sundays at the La Perouse Aborigines' Reserve and in 1897, at the age of 19, became the first resident missionary there.
Retta, was just three years older than Jimmy Governor and was 23 when she made her visitations to him at Darlinghurst Gaol.
She would have visited him 60 times, travelling from her parents' home in Sydney, and returning to La Perouse every Sunday.
In my view, her true Christian devotion and dedication to the Aboriginal people whom she loved deserves proper recognition today.
She is a perfect candidate for an Order of Australia, or its precursor, an Order of the British Empire.
The Australian government, however, does not award these posthumously.

For more information about Retta Dixon / Long see AUSTRALIAN DICTIONARY OF BIOGRAPHY