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Journals and correspondence from the New Hebrides
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Journals and correspondence from the New Hebrides

  • AU PMB MS 1387
  • Collection
  • Sep 1870 – Nov 1943

Magaret (Maggie) Whitecross Paton was born in 1824. On 17 June 1864 Rev. John G Paton married Maggie Whitecross. She was his second wife. Rev. John G Paton and Maggie travelled to the New Hebrides in August 1866 and established a Mission station on Aniwa Island, near to Tanna. They lived in a small hut whilst they built a house for themselves and two houses for orphan children. Later, a church, printing house and other buildings were erected. Maggie Paton bore 10 children on the island of Aniwa, 4 of whom died in early childhood or infancy. Their first born son was Robert Robson Paton, born in Adelaide on 23 March 1865, Fred, the second born son was born on 5 March 1867. Fred was referred to as the “White chief of Aniwa” as he was the first white child born on Aniwa. Minnie the only daughter was born on 13 December 1868. Their fourth son, Frank Hume Lyall Paton, was born on Aniwa on 26 August 1870. Frank later followed them as a missionary in the New Hebrides. Lena was born on 28 March 1873 but lived only one week. James was born in South Melbourne on Nov 26 1875. Walter was born on 27 Aug 1878 but died at the age of 2 ½ years. Both Lena and Walter are buried on Aniwa. John was born on Aniwa 23 Nov 1880. Alec and Willie were twins and born at Kew but died when 3 months old.Another son, Rev. Frederick James Paton (1867-1941) was also a Presbyterian missionary on Malekula Island in the New Hebrides. Rev. John G Paton learned the local language and later translated the New Testament into the Aniwan language. Maggie Paton taught women and girls craft, singing and reading. Both Rev. John G Paton and Maggie Paton trained native teachers who were later sent to the villages to preach the gospel, translated, printed and taught the Scriptures, ministered to the sick and dying, taught the practical use of tools and held worship services. In 1899 Rev. G Paton saw his Aniwa New Testament printed and the establishment of missionaries on twenty five of the Southern New Hebrides.

Maggie Paton’s Letters and sketches from the New Hebrides was edited by her brother-in-law Rev. Jas. Paton and published in 1895.
Maggie Paton died at the age of 64 on 16 May 1905 in Kew, Victoria, Australia. Rev. John G Paton died at the age of 82 on 28 January 1907 in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia.

Journal, Sep 1870 – Mar 1872.
Journal, Feb 1874 – Nov 1875.
Correspondence from Minnie Paton to William (Wilfred) Frederick Paton (Oct 1942), includes “some of Fred’s jokes” and small excerpts transcribed from Maggie Whitecross’ journals.

See Finding aids for details.

Paton, Margaret (Maggie) Whitecross (1824-1905)