John Harris explains what makes the founder of Maloga Mission impressive to people today.
I think what impresses people about Daniel Matthews is the type of man he was. I mean he was a very physical person; he was big, he was hairy, he had a beard, you know what I mean – he was a man’s man, and he was on the goldfields. But he was a decent man who was simply distressed by the way in which Aboriginal people were treated. “God, this can’t be right!” is one thing that he’s quoted as having shouted.
And he determined that he, personally, was going to do something about it, and that’s an impressive thing. And of course, eventually this led to his establishment of Maloga Mission, of a place that was a refuge for Aboriginal people, a place where they could live. But because of his big physicality, he had no qualms at all about going into the timber-getters’ camps and taking girls of 12, 13 year old that they were keeping there and molesting in the camps and just taking them away. Because they were afraid of his fists and nobody really wanted to fight him. So he was an impressive person.