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The Short Life of Johanna; The Everlasting Life of Johanna

“It was my sad duty to prepare the coffin, and to place the little wasted black form therein; but amid my tears, joy filled my heart to overflowing at the thought of this precious gem, the glorified spirit of our dear little Waradgeri girl, shining in beauty in the Saviour’s crown.”


The following excerpt is taken from Black but comely, or, Glimpses of Aboriginal life in Australia, by Rev. J.B. Gribble (1847-1893):

Johanna, a little black girl, about twelve years of age, came with me to the Mission station from a place called Cootamundra, about one hundred and fifty miles away. Though her skin was very black, her heart seemed pure and tender, and soon yielded to the touch of the Saviour’s love. Very earnestly she listened to “the old, old story,” until the love of Jesus became to her a great reality. She opened her heart to Him; He entered, and dwelt there.

One evening, after service, I was walking to the Mission-house, when I heard the familiar pattering of bare feet behind me. Looking around, I saw the little girl. “Well, Johanna, what is it?” With a great deal of native shyness she replied: “I would like you to baptize me, sir.” “Why would you like me to baptize you?” I said. “Because I love the Lord Jesus, sir, and I want to show my love to Him before my friends.” Tears came to my eyes at these touching words, and I said: “All right, Johanna, I will baptize you;” and one Sunday shortly afterwards the dear girl came forward, in the presence of the whole of our Mission community, and in the holy rite of Christian baptism made her profession of faith and love.

Only a few weeks afterwards Johanna’s pure and loving spirit passed away from “our home of mercy” to join that “great multitude” before the throne.

It was my sad duty to prepare the coffin, and to place the little wasted black form therein; but amid my tears, joy filled my heart to overflowing at the thought of this precious gem, the glorified spirit of our dear little Waradgeri girl, shining in beauty in the Saviour’s crown.

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