# 35908

[NORMAN, James, 1790-1868] SCOTT, Thomas Hobbes, Archdeacon; HILL, Richard, Rev.; ARTHUR, George, Lieutenant-Governor

Official duplicate correspondence re. reimbursement to the Church Missionary Society in Sydney for Rev. James Norman’s passage to Tasmania from England. February-October, 1829.

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[Sydney, NSW, 1829]. Manuscript in ink, [3] pp, foolscap folio bifolium; in the hand of a CMS clerk; being duplicate copies of three letters, comprising: 1. Sydney, 17 February 1829. Archdeacon Thomas Hobbes Scott, to the Rev. Richard Hill of the CMS, Sydney; 2. Sydney, 26 August 1829. Rev. Richard Hill, to Archdeacon Thomas Hobbes Scott, Sydney; 3. Van Diemen’s Land, Government House, 24 October 1829. Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur, to Archdeacon William Grant Broughton, Sydney; complete and fine.

Official CMS duplicate copies of three items of correspondence relating to the reimbursement of the Church Missionary Society by the Government of Van Diemen’s Land for the outward passage from England to Australia paid for CMS missionary Rev. James Norman and his family (who had arrived in February 1827) on the basis that Norman has been working as a chaplain at the Port Arthur penal establishment. In the final letter, Lieutenant-Governor Arthur writes to the CMS secretary in Sydney, Rev. Richard Hill, confirming that he has recommended to the Secretary of State for the Colonies that a payment of £125 be paid to the Society.

Essex-born James Norman, a builder by trade, was ordained as a missionary with the CMS in 1820. He was quickly posted to Sierra Leone, where he was appointed as a schoolmaster and building superintendent for the West African Mission. In Sierra Leone, he and his wife Judith suffered constant ill-health, and the couple lost their young child. As a consequence, the Society despatched the Normans, along with fellow West African missionary James Lisk and his wife, to Australasia. The Normans and the Lisks arrived in Sydney as passengers on the convict ship Midas,  on 12 February 1827. It was originally intended that both couples would proceed in due course to New Zealand, with its milder climate, in order to join Marsden’s mission amongst the Māori. By 1830, however, poor health would force the Lisks to return to England; while Judith Norman died in Hobart Town. Rev. Norman stayed on in Tasmania, where he was to become one of the colony’s longest-serving and most respected clergymen. Early on he was made temporary chaplain of St. John’s Church, Launceston; he then served at New Town, before being given the permanent chaplaincy of Sorell in 1832. He died in Hobart in 1868. An important glossary of Palawa words collected by Norman at Port Sorell was published posthumously as Aborigines of Tasmania : the Norman vocabulary, by the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1910.

Note on Thomas Hobbes Scott (1783-1860) and the Swan River Colony:

Within a matter of months of this correspondence Thomas Hobbes Scott would become – purely by chance – the first ordained minister in the Swan River Colony when he was marooned at the new settlement after his ship, HMS Success, struck a reef off Fremantle. He built a temporary church and held the Colony’s first services, before the arrival at Swan River of the official colonial chaplain, John Wittenoom.

Provenance: Private collection, Australia; ex Maggs Bros., London, c.1978; ex Webster Collection, but without collection stamp.

Kenneth Athol Webster (1906-1967) was a New Zealand-born dealer and collector in manuscripts, books, paintings and ethnographic artefacts relating to the Pacific. In the two decades after World War Two he built one of the largest and most important collections of this type of material ever assembled.