Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
John H. W. Pettit letters to his family in England, illustrated with sketches by the writer, 1852-1868
[Previous pages are cover and Library catalogue information]
Attrevida 132 ft keel
Fore Rake 14
Stern Rake 8
Ship rigged 23 hands
Captn Shearer of Caledonian Lodge Dundee
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
Sailed Sep 12 from Gravesend
Arrived Dec 12
83 days in all
75 from land to land
Atrevida sailed from Gravesend on Sep 12 arrived at Melbourne Dec 5 83 days on passage
Attrevida 132 ft keel
Fore Rake 14
Stern Rake 8
Ship rigged 23 hands
Captn Shearer of Caledonian Lodge Dundee
My dr. Nabs
We kept our eyes upon you until the boat reached the shore when you were lost to our view. Nor could I catch a glimpse of you again even with the glass could distinguish a party waving a hankf for some time but we could not make out that it was you Hope you had no difficulty in Town with respect to your lodging & journey home = suppose you saw us start We are ploughing along now with a splendid breeze our Vessel already exhibited her superior sailing qualities = Sheerness is passed.
course will give all detail of our proceedings until the time of your departure [indecipherable] is now making his bed up An accident which I have been expectg. has just occurred one of the little ones has just come down the ladder by the poop & there is a pretty yelling going on next door = Pray do not forget deliver all my the pages [indecipherable] Love to [indecipherable] but I cannot mention names all the old ship begins to roll slightly now Well [indecipherable] Bye God bless you have not much to say this time shall keep Fathers letter open until the last minute Send letters out by next mail
Yr truly Affectionate Bros.
Sep 12, 1852
Sunday 1 oclock
My Dr Father & Mother,
Hope you arrived home in safely Our anchor was weighed precisely at 12 up to that time [Ab.?] who remained on board until the last minute) & can give you full details We are now running down the Thames with a spanking breeze on our larboard quarter at about 10 knots an hour everything is bustle & excitement The pilot is giving his orders on the poop which
are echoed by the mates and executed by the men Have had a hand in setting some of the Canvass which is nearly all spread Some of passengers are already a little seedy Am writing this on my box in the Cabin & sitting on the floor having been turned out of our Sitting Room by the running thundering about = & dinner is about being served up so must leave off for a time or it will be Short Commons Having lost our allowances of water this morng. from not bustling after it We shall
soon get sharp = Up to the present we find our allowance more than sufficient the Old Violin was brought out last evening = there were several other musical instruments about, but it shut the lot up in no time monopolizing all attention even the Bagpipes shut up disgusted = it obtained me an extra pint of tea this morning that it may be a useful auxiliary to our comforts = The Van, lc. came out heavy Virtue let me off between 25 & 30 feet but altogether it measured up to £12/12/ & the primage made it 13/./. Robts. box is included which is a great nuisance as had it been in his own name it would not have been
charged Virtue said it was a pity but he could not help it he dare not allow us any more on any pretence as it stood in my name on the books Shall commence my log this afternoon. The pilot has undertaken to post this for me about ½ past 4 oclock We are just entering the Downs the pilot soon leaves us so am obliged to finish this the Vessel now begins to jump a little We have had a quick run Well my Dr. Father & M. must now say Good Bye Wishing you all happiness & that we may [indecipherable] a long period has elapsed meet again & with the kindest love to all my dr. friends believe us My dr. Father & Mother ever
Yr truly Affectionate
Write when you can
Attrevida 132 ft keel
Fore [indecipherable] 14
Stern [indecipherable] 8
Ship rigged 23 hands
Captn Shearer of Caledonian Lodge Dundee
[Map of the Victoria Gold Fields]
Let. No. 2
N.L.38° W.L 14°
My dr. Father
Tuesday Afternoon Sept 21st, 1832
Let. No. 1 which I trust you receivd. was forwarded by the Channel pilot (for post) who left us in the Downs all in high spirits the Vessel bounding merrily along We of course saw the Coast of France Cliffs of Dover in eveng. Lights of Calais during the night we were tackg. along the S. Coast of Old England with a smart breeze coming about every 6 hrs. Made about 8 miles direct on our course during monday rather tedious considerable delay was feared in the Evening the Wellington an Emigrant Vessel which left on the Saty. was some miles to [indecipherable] Beechy Head, Brighton Lights the Night was seen but it was not to be [indecipherable] by me not clear of the English Coast until Wedsy.
From that time our misery [indecipherable] for the "Atrevida" then began to show us what she could do [indecipherable] from then until Sunday evening throughout the period of crossing the Bay the weather has been most coarse Close reefed topsails almost every body was dreadfully ill the whole time [indecipherable] stood it uncommonly well I dont think he has been really what we here term sick but as for myself couldnt get on at all could neither eat drink or sleep or keep below night or day Used to sit or lay on a hen coop holdg. on by the poop ladder or a rope through a ring bolt if you didnt hold on tight too you would in a moment find yrself all in a heep in the leeward scuppers almost drowned. & yr head broken never saw such seas before the Vessel at time stood almost on end thrown up a terrific height coming the next moment into a woosh with fearful violence (water washg. her foreaft) startg. every thing that was not lashed just fancy about 70 passengers cooped up close down below the 1st night out was a terrible sickness for I as often (in berth) stood on my head [indecipherable] any other position then the smell.
Every now & then there would be a most terrible crash & quantity of the tin housekeeping implements & materials would be racing all through [indecipherable] decks but not a soul of the passengers would look after they the light bulk heads & fittings are a terrible nuisance for when there is heavy sea on they do moan & creak so much can only compare it to about 20 large crates turned deliberately round & that at times can hardly hear ourselves speak
When we were getting away from the Old Coast it was so pleasant that I stood quite
[indecipherable] in my own estimation with respect to keeping sight for about ½ an hour previous to our coming into the Weather We were carry. crowdg. every inch of Canvass no end of [indecipherable] sails the Vessel looked all wings = the weather looked all right to me but the Captn. quietly gave orders to get everything in which was soon done & in about 10 minutes she was deck under [indecipherable]
racing along at a most terrific rate last Saty. night was at times a most grand scene only the watch to myself on deck she was pitching most fearfully the waves rolling up on each side of her as high as the poop guard ropes each one seeming as if it must roll completely over & swallow her up from the phosphorescent light she seemed to be flying tho a sea of fire it was indeed splendid If I had been all right I should have enjoyed it the Seaman used to chaff me at first but latterly they quite pitied me.
The Saty. Night the 3rd mate dragged me into the round-house & packed me up tight against some of their chests The 2nd mate came in about 4 in the morng. [indecipherable] the Doctor & said hed see what he could do this was the biscuit & rum cure making me drink a tumbler full it was no use sayg. no he swore like a Trojan and down went the rum I was afraid he would persist in makg. me try his pipe the next day most strange to say I was coming round again & he is quite proud of his case & we are uncommon good chums now he sometimes makes me turn up to join him on his watch its of no use saying no to him for hes such a fearfully powerful fellow that he can take me up in his arms as he would a child & walk off with me the worst is, he would too
Robt. Woods & myself were with him on the quarter deck last night until 12 while he gave us some of long shore yarns I mean to make him teach me a little of the nautical = the only nuisance is being so many men passengers, lc. he is so fully occupied for when he is in command he is so busily engaged Mother most probably remembers him he is the chap in Blue she spoke of as he was standing on the ships gunrail giving orders while in the Shadwell Basin = there is no comparison in the workg. vessel like this &
the generally [indecipherable] little insignificant Ips Vessels such orders
We are now nearing Madeira expected to have seen it today but about 12 tomorrow it is thought if this wind holds we shall do so. We are spinning along at about 10 or 11 Miles Knots I should say We find a perceptible difference in the temperature but the weather is delightfully clear & open You must make every allowance for letters written at sea am seated on the poop Deck making a fixed seat & table & when too much cramped in that position I turn round & use a stanchion for the same purpose every now & then she gives a jump & a lurch & away go myself and all my writing apparatus towards the lee bulwarks = as for below that wont do someone is always making preparation in the cookery line, lc. lc.
Robt. comes out in style he and Woods have got up some very respectable plum & jam pudding As for Woods he is prepg. Grub, lc. all day long Robert has been writing (close by me) a letter for home Willins wishes me to remember him to all of my Friends whom he has seen Thurgars Bros. cabin & ours are arranged into one mess & all is in common We Agree very well The poor Soherns they are worse than children & no little trouble this undertakg. will either kill or cure them They get awfully chaffed The Eldest asked most seriously if we thought he could get a situation at Madeira = As we hope to touch there but it is uncertain
My dr. [indecipherable]
Here we are about a mile from Madeira it is a most glorious sight the morng. is calm the water the deepest intensest blue you may see down an immense depth the Dolphins are playing about showing the most Vivid Colors in the sun some have been caught which we had for breakfast it tastes like Mackeral the Island we are on the N. side rises to an immense height = the mate was throwg. at Dolphins yesterday
they were playing about us in Schools
Robt. is just going ashore must finish.
Give my kindest love to all
Am tired of the sea already so are all
Yr affectionate Bros.
Jno H. W. P.
[Newspaper article The Atrevida The Melbourne Argus, of December 8]
The Atrevida.The Melbourne Argus, of December 8, has the following testimonials from the passengers of the Atrevida to Captain Shearer :
To Captain Shearer, ship Atrevida.Port Philip, Dec. 6, 1852.
Dear Sir,The ship Atrevida having accomplished her passage from London to Port Philip in 83, and from land to land in 78 days, we, the undersigned cabin passengers, feel desirous of expressing our sincere thanks for your kindness and attention during the voyage, the shortness of which must be mainly attributable to your constant and unwearied exertions. Wishing you and your fine ship every success, we are, dear sir, yours trulyMr. and Mrs. Learmonth, George Dawson, Richard Jarmouth, John Buckham, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh L. Taylor, William Brockwell, Mrs. Hardman, W. C. Thurger, M.R.C.S.L., &c.; W. Crawford, Lieut R.N. ; J. MKendrick, David B. Brown.
To Captain George Shearer, of the Atrevida,We, the undersigned passengers in the intermediate cabin of the ship Atrevida, which sailed from London on the 12th day of September, 1852, having come to the termination of our voyage to Port Philip, after the very satisfactory passage of 78 days from the time of our leaving English land till our arrival at the port of our destination, take the opportunity, before leaving the vessel, of conveying to you an expression of our high approbation of your conduct during the voyage, believing, as we do, that, with winds frequently adverse to the progress of the ship, it has been mainly owing to your indefatigable perseverance, continual watchfulness by night and by day, and your superior seamanship, joined too the excellent sailing qualities of the vessel, that our voyage has been brought to so successful a conclusion without a single case of ill-health on board; and, while expressing our sense of what is due to the able navigation of the vessel, we would take leave to state that, from the complete satisfaction we have all along enjoyed, in so far as regards the quality and quantity of our provisions, we are convinced that, if equalled, they have not been surpassed by those of any emigrant vessel that ever sailed to the port of Melbourne ; and in adding our best thanks to you for your uniform attention to every passenger on board, we most sincerely wish that the same success which has attended you in this voyage may always follow you in future. James Brown, James Ballantine, Geo. Vallentine, Alex. Durie Stracathro, Thomas Stiven, Richard Pybus, John Smith, Peter Sinclair, John Spencer, John T. Vorley, Alex. Tulloch, Alex. Hume, J. B. Gardner, H. W. Pettit, Wm. Woods, E. Sothern, Robert Taylor, Edward E. Marsh, William E. Marsh, H. E. Hunter.
Mar 26th 1853
[License Victoria Gold License. No.126. January 1853]
[indecipherable] slip not reckoned as a letter. [indecipherable]
My dr Father & Mother
We arrived here quite safe & well yesterday morng. Sunday after a fine Voyage the Mail is about leaving a boat for shore alongside taking letter cannot write more now you shall have full account next
time mail going have not yet been able to get information enough to state our prospects = Give my our kindest love to all =
Your truly Affec. Son
Please communicate this to Mr. Woods
My dear Father & Mother
Sydney now You will see from previous page our present situation will write next mail, we hope all are quite well. Our kindest love to all
Your Affect Son
Lower Orwell Street
[Map The Most Complete Popular & Mercantile, Map of Melbourne; Victoria.]
[Print The City of Melbourne, 1854]
December 1st, 1852
My dr. Father & Mother,
As we are now near the end of our voyage, having passed the meridian of long of the most western parts of Australia by some hundreds of miles have seated myself to commence my 3rd letter home, since leaving Gravesend The first was handed to the Pilot (who left us in the Downs) to post The 2nd was dispatched when off the island of Madeira, (Sep 24th) from circumstances connected with its delivery into official hands induces doubt as to its ever being forwarded =
When off the above island, a great many of the passengers had prepd. epistles but being off that side furthest from the town there existed but little chance of getting rid of them it fell however a dead calm after much petitioning on the part of the writers, the Capt. at last consented to allow a boat to row off on condition, that they should do all the labor themselves without taking any seamen off their work this was of course readily consented to, & away they went, hoping by rounding one of the points of high land about 12 miles dist. to get in sight of some of the craft out fishing the town was at least 20 miles away The Capt. going as [interpreter?] he speaking Spanish (The islands are Portuguese) Thurgar as Surgeon (Doctor called on board] to certify to the good state of health of the ships company in case an opportunity to land presented itself
As expected they fell in with a couple of Boats of whom they bought some fish, & a few apples they were gone for some hours we waited their return with considerable interest = The letters were of course handed over to be forwarded to the right quarter for transit, giving the men a crown for their trouble but these gentlemen were very lazy & uncertain & it is very probable that they the letters never changed hands again Will therefore make mention of a few of the principal incidents as they occurred up to that time
Sept. 12th. Ran down the Thames with a fresh breeze saw Dover Cliffs Coast France in eveng. Calais lights Weather fine Sea smooth Nearly run a Schooner down in the night she not giving way as she ought just cleared
Monday 13th. Good breeze, head wind S.Coast of old E. saw Beachy hd., Coast France, lc. Top gallants taken in arranged into Messes of 8 Splendid sunset Brighton seen passed :Wellington" Emigrants to P. Phillip, which left London on the Sat previous
14th. Wind light more fair Stern sails set Isle Wight seen St Albans head last land seen
15th Blowing hard double reefed topsails, just entg. the Bay (Unwell) heavy sea
16th Weather [indecipherable] saw a small whale Sea very luminous at night
18th getting better
Sunday 19 beautiful day (Weather fine) Atlantic 19th squally at night all sails set afraid of the masts thunder & lightning much rain
21st. School of porpoises playg. about the bows harpoon thrown, none taken Musical evening Fiddling lc.
22nd Two Vessels to windward xx
24th. Up before sunrise Madeira abt. 7 miles ahead hardly a breath, sea smooth Most splendid sunrise the tops of the island being hidden from view by the clouds sides almost perpendicular no trees visible but could see some Vineyards sea very bright & clear Dolphins playg. round us, caught some very similar mackerel in flavour Saw a small Village as we passed (apparently inaccessible from the shore)
25th. Good breeze left island at about 8 Knots
Sunday 26th. Service on Quarter-deck, just sighted some of the Canary islands Peak Tenereffe just decerned
27th. Man fell from fore yard 36ft no bones broken
28th. Becalmed saw small shark
[A sketch of Madeira on the bottom left-hand side of page].
Some of the rocks formg. the sides of this island rise perpendicularly to the height of 2000 from the surface of the water.
Octr. 1st. Saw several flying fish, they when alarmed or pursued
flyarise from the water, about 3 or 4 feet from the surface, & fly along, (keeping a horizontal line) for a considerable distce. And at last strikg. a wave higher than the reef they disappear (they have much the appearance of swallows, while in their flight) A few birds about us
Sunday 3rd. Sighted two of the Cape Verde Islands early in the morng., passed betn. them during the forenoon they are called St. Vincent &. St. Antonio the pass between them should imagine to be about from 12 to 13 miles wide & some considerable length It was a most beautiful day Sun very bright & warm A most magnificent sight far surpassing anything I have ever seen
We passed within 1 to 3 Miles of St. Vincent & the rapidly changing scenery resembled a morning panorama its sides were formed by lofty rugged rock, with numberless bays, capes, lc., lc. at one time we would be close to, & our view limited by, a lofty projectg. mass of dark rock (in deep shade) in a few minutes we would open a green [indecipherable] Vale sloping in on both sides & in the background to the tops of the mountains many of which rising quite into the clouds which has a most singular effect (the water running down in many places in small streams forming beautiful little waterfalls).
Our view was at one time limited as just described, when in a few minutes, as if by Magic we opened a most beautiful bay containg. many Vessels at anchor (the E. Ensign was decerned at the peak of some) the shore was low round it a town on one side, while the sides & back ground sloped gradually up to the Mountains on one part of the low shore a Vessel lay laid stranded it was a most beautiful picturesque scene you can have no idea of its beauty Just masses of light & shade in the foreground formed by the rugged perpendicular rocks forming its entrance while in the middle of the entrance was an immense island of rock rising to a great height on the top of which were the habitations of many eagles some of which were hovering about its summit Endeavoured to get some sketches, but we were going too fast
St Antonio presented a very different appearance the shore being low & flat throughout sloping very gradually back up to the mountains No trees were seen in either these islands About 1300 people died from want of water a few years ago no rain for 3 years Saw an immense school of herrings the water was quite dark (compared with the other parts) for a great distce. round.
[Note: Sketches of St. Antonio, Porto Grande, (St. Vincent), Bird [indecipherable], 1.[indecipherable] 2. Ship [indecipherable].
Have added a couple of sketches but they of course can only give us an idea of the relative position of some of the principal parts.
Wedsy. 6th Oct. Heavy squall in the previous night the Vessel was thrown over a great deal [lc. lc.?] in consequence a strange unaccountable hissing noise was heard in the opposite cabin for the greater portion of us were aroused by the [indecipherable] & the rattling of the pots, pans, lc. lc. upon enquiry it turned out to be one of the mess (R. Sothern) filling his life belt you can imagine the [indecipherable] that followed Saw vessels to Windward homeward bound passed near. exchanged Signals it proved to be the ["Kedgeree"?] thought to be from Calcutta
8th. Nearing the line E. Sothern another of our mess had it pointed out to him (a dark line of water ahead) which he believed Weather getting dreadfully hot many sleep on deck at night Sleepg. below is horribly uncomfortable from the excessive heat
Sunday 11th. A large Vessel some distce. ahead came a/c with her proved to be the "Anglesea" a crack ship of Greens sailed from London a fortnight before us she is one of the finest & fastest of her class Emigrants to P. Phillip had a fair [indecipherable] of speed
See page 5 [indecipherable]
both about same No. of sails set same tack, & close hauled both vessels held well together for some time,
when but the little "Atrevida" at last drew ahead of her antagonist walking out windward at same time both Captns. doing their utmost towards evening she (the "Angelsea") was some miles astern to leeward she is about 1100 tons register, the "Atrevida" 320 = plenty of room, no bothering each other The "Atrevida" has walked clean away from every thing that she has fallen in with & it is no uncommon occurrence to see a vessel [indecipherable] at one time today
Oct. 11 "Angelsea" about 12 miles astern to leeward & our last sight of her Expect to cross the Line about 9 this eveng. by Calculation, lc. Our position is obtained by observation at mid-day The rate of progress at regular intervals is taken from the log line Plenty of chaff respectg. crossing the Line & the Shaving abt. 1000 miles for Coast of Africa stearg. a S.[indecipherable]. course about 36 miles from line at 12 today A splendid sunset the last we shall see in the N. hemisphere the sun being at this time S. of the line he will not be directly above us for a few days we have now about equal day & night no twilight so soon as the sun touches the water it begins to be dark = the Southern X is seen the events are beautifully bright the moon & starts rendering it almost as light as day
The Capt. anxious to get on will not allow any time to be lost so the shaving was
to be managed quietly between decks &. in a mild form Some lather was prepd. soot, tar, greece, lc. &. some awful sized razors, the old cook was made to be represent his Aquatic Majesty, after being adorned & rigged out after the Approved plan he repaired with his assistants & tools between decks the passages to the upper deck were blocked by some of the confederates filling he ladders full the poor passengers were seized by the assistants. & his face prepd. I thought I should have died with laughing to see what figure each cut after the operation, the shavg.-mixture was not in every case placed merely upon those parts usually shaved, but all over the face & it being dark only the oil lamps burning, it was a singular scene, it seemed more like pandemonium than anything else the noise, struggling rushg. about, shoutg. singing, lc. while a lot numbers were ½ sweeps in appearance, all tended to convey the idea = it was highly laughable to see some of the fastidious ones preaching against the "disgraceful proceedings", as they termed them with their faces all black
Robt. was operated upon I escaped was fixed upon 2 or 3 times, but something coming up to attract attention at the moment, I
suspectwas forgotten altogether some locked themselves up in their Cabins by piling up boxes, lc. but it was no use
Just as our friend, Russel Sothern was about being done another poor [indecipherable] (a disagreeable fellow) was dragged out to have his face cleaned of his beard, & who snatched up a knife & threatened to stab the first who came near him this caused a bit of a skirmish, upon which the Capt. came & ordered all the men forward, this just saved R.S., who to the amusement of every one, was stampg.swearing, calling them all impudent fellows, threatening to knock them all down statg. he was a Poet & such things were repugnant to his feelings, he was sorry to see men so far commit themselves as to perpetrate such barbarities, lc., lc., lc. he went & complained to the Capt. who listened to his story, (apparently) then advised him to go & give the fellow a good thrashg., & he would take no notice of his doing so as he consdd. it would be serving them right Mr Taylor can give you some idea of what kind of a chap he is to give any one a thrashing he & his Bro are about the biggest fools I ever saw for parties of their education
As Russel was not shaved he managed to rub his face in against a handful of tar in the dark, & to get a bucket of water accidently upset over him from the top of the round-house every one thought they were both accidents there was plenty of washing, lc. after all was over there was a vast deal of fun throughout the whole process a little water (a few buckets) were scattered over each other afterward, for one thinking that another was not quite clean would give him a bucket which was sure to be retd. & a water was carried on
Oct 12th. Ship in sight ahead, homeward bound passed each other within Ό mile threw out signals, she answered with signals,
stating where she was the "Athol" (a small barque) Our Capt. requested to have the "Atrevida" reported at Lloyds soon away from each other & out of sight
Saty. 16th A Flying fish came on board it was bitten just above the tail = it was pursued it was flying from the pan into the fire for the Young Gentn. was cooked for breakfast they are a pretty fish about a foot long with very large expending fins or wings on the sides have seen them rush from the bows of the vessel = dozen at a time = Weather getting cooler
Oct. 24th Sunday Captn. birthday getting cold we are southing fast, Albatrosses, Cape-Hens, Pigeons, lc., lc. now begin to follow us in great quantities
26th. as we are nearing the Cape the large spars are being sent down & small ones rigged coarse weather being expected (it is about spring here the best time for fine weather)
27th. Sighted the island of Tristian dAcuhna on the east of us the day calm, clear, bright, cold it rises in some parts to the height of 8000 feet at about ½ its height a portion was hid from sight by a layer of clouds, above which another portion was visible, then another layer of clouds, above which the summit peeped the two upper portions seen were covered with snow which flittered in the sun beams Sea very smooth only a long swell it was a very pretty sight
the island is English, was taken from the Dutch during the last war it was inhabited by the Corporal of the Attackg. party (with his family only) for some time it now contains about 300 inhabitants the island is very little frequented from the difficulty of getting to land at times one of the men on board has informed me that coming off he was with his party blown out and given up after waiting some days the vessel started they fortunately again made the island & retd. home by another vessel
soil is fruitful wheat & oats all kinds of vegetables many fruits wild goats on the mountains The present Govr. is a Scotchman from Newburgh in Fifeshire A friend too of the Captns. it was his intention to have called at the island but the Wind was very light that the delay attendant on stopping could not be afforded.
[A sketch of Tristian dAcuhna on left margin].
Up early many birds round us at times swimming quite under our stern let down some lines with hook & bait our line hauld up the [indecipherable] a Cape Pigeon Web-footed (of course) sevl. were caught & were allowed to run about they are unable to rise from the deck they are about the size of a common pigeon the underpart of the neck breast & body was white the top of the neck dark until it reaches the wings when it becomes white with black spots the tip of the tail black the wings black & white.
[A sketch of a birds head and bill, and a sketch of a bird under previous paragraph].
beak orbill is rather curiously formed
Monday Nov. 1st. Spent the morng. on the top gallant yard with a pal of mine named [Pybus?] (a young Australian from Van Diemens Land) who is returng. from visitg. his friends in England) Watching A whale Chase = it was about 10 oclock or 4 bells in the the morng. we had a Whaler about a mile to leeward who then started her boats off in chase of a Whale who spent [indecipherable] her it was a very pretty sight three boats started going along with great rapidity, sometimes sailg. sometimes pulling or both it was astonishing to see how near they would be to the spot where the Whale rose each time they were never but very [indecipherable] from him when he spouted shearg. great judgement the Whale was evidently very playful lurchg. to windward
See page 5 [indecipherable]
Thurgars & our own Cabin were formed into 1 Mess containg. Thurgar(A) Willins, Everett, R. Sothern, = Woods Taylor, E. Sothern Pettit after being out some time we had a good shine & then we three Woods, Robt. & myself resolved to grub by ourselves &. we get on Very well =
You must make every allowance for the scrubby appearance of this my letter as it is written a littl. bit at a time & very frequently not in circumstances rendg. the task easy but perhaps youll be able to make out the principal parts & get some idea of how we manage & our position, we have not been unhappy
but comfortable to a certain extent but one must not be fastidious or expect much take things as they come, always laugh at & make merry at the shifts you are put & do everything for yourself & youll do I wash & mend clothes, sweep scrub in short everything for myself Robt. the same trust to anyone else & youll come short dont study appearance = was obliged to shave a little but I sport a tremendous Moustache (the largest on board) plenty of Whiskers & I believe I do look fearfully rough & ugly
We are nearing our destination now & the ship is beginning to be trimmed up. Last Sunday being fine many of the passengers came on
board deck with hats on not having seen any for some time they did look most unnautical quite ridiculous
Dec. 2nd. a good breeze springing up
3rd. getting out anchors & chains packg. up clothes, expect to see land to-morrow
Saty. Dec. 4th. Up early cold wind from South. The loom of Land Cape Otway just decerned early in the forenoon became gradually clearer as we neared A vessel passes us bound for India (in the Afternoon) Made P. P. heads in the eveng. We were too far off the shore throughout the day to distinguish much beyond the [indecipherable] irregular line some parts were more clear distinguishing the irregularities of the surface a light-ho was just seen it was too dark to go in that night so the Capt. stood off [indecipherable] there was a little merrymakg. went up to the [indecipherable] gallant yard abt. ½ p. 11 to see the light from the light house on the headland being 78 days from Lands End Cornwall to P. P. Entce. =
Sunday Decr. 5th. Up about 4 in the morng. standg.in for the entrance [indecipherable] land about the entce. appeared rather low do. the headlands we appeared to be slightly embayed as we approached the opening (which looked like a small passage cut out of the line of land) the water soon exhibited traces of a strong current running by the disturbed appearance of the water this part of the passage is termed the [indecipherable] with reefs & breakers close
Makg. the head land a boat was seen leaving from near the light house (with Pilot) on the larbd. quarter & when just in the entce. the pilot came alongside he immediately took command he was a dapper little man very like our Revenue men at home both in dress & appearance but as for the fellows who put him off they looked ready & ferociously rough not very particular in point of dress as to style quantity or quality, sunburnt some with great beards slops loose at the neck, breeches legs & arms bare straw hats & wide [indecipherable]
About 2 miles between the heads & some depth through the country looked beautiful & interestg. Trees & green land was a great treat to look upon such scene looking in
to towards the bay a Steamer & a Vessel were just visible with the loom of the land in the distce. Upon passing thro the strait only one mile of which is navigable a most splendid Bay opened to our View As far as the eye could reach in almost all directions
A beautiful Vessel named the [indecipherable] from Liverpool with emigrants was lying just inside The pilot told us she was in quarantine having lost 10 of passengers on her passage & about 50 since lying here (about 6 weeks) of Typhus, Emigrants, & other fevers, lc. passed the openg. to Geelong there are buoys to mark the course
See page 8 [indecipherable]
& to leewards we hoped he would have made towards the "Atrevida" but unfortunately for us he took a contrary direction the boats following on his track & their ship keeping as close to the scene of Action as possible have seen many whales lately Yesterday we had a couple on our quarter within 30 yards keeping their position for 10 minutes every now & then they gave a spout sending out great quantities of water we have of course heard many anecdotes lc., lc. relating to whale fishering as some of the men on board have been engaged in that line of business it was a beautiful clear bright cold day
Nov. 3rd Wind shifted quite fair. In the meridian of the Cape have averaged about 12 Knots an hour for some days
4th Went to my box in the hold for 1st time
Nov. 6th A Mother [indecipherable] Chicken on board, caught by gettg. entangled in some of the lines aft, there was evidently an anxiety on the part of the seamen that the bird should not be injured in which I think the Capt. even participated one of the passengers (who had been a sailor) after getting it to look at threw it over the side they are pretty little birds about the size of a blackbd.
Tuesday 7th. Prayers on the poop calm sea
8th. squally towards the evening the wind died suddenly away We were doing 10 Knots & in a few minutes we were quite still the sails flapping heavily against the mast rolling in a heavy sea it looked black all round the greater portion of the canvass was taken off her other sails [indecipherable] we soon had it & no mistake within a quarter of an hour we were doing over 14 Knots an hour = it was a stiff wind the ship rolled heavily taking the water some way up the deck each time as for keeping ones feet that was quite out of the question & shooting every loose article from one side to the other the tin pans, lc. amuse me they rattle so well sometimes in the middle of the night a well charged shelf will discharge the whole of its contents at once Bottles pans pots cans, lc., lc. with an awful crash it is almost sure to wake up every body, & it is most amusing to hear the unfortunates blundering about trying to pick up their utensils the rolling does not affect my sleeping in the least now my bunk be athwart ship when she rolls heavily some times stand upon my head, at others on my feet, am obliged to put a board at the foot of my bed, or I slip over into Robts. get my feet fast against the board & shoulders against the side of the bed & let her jump as she [indecipherable] Im soon asleep it is not very uncommon to hear a fellow grumbling in the dark from having been unceremoniously deposited in the furtherest part of the cabin floor (& not in by any means a comfortable position) = Have seen her roll so much (in fine weather) as to have her stunsail & lower boom dragging in the water
Monday 13th. came up with a Vessel which started from London 17 days before us bound to P. P. (Emigrants) passed her to leeward at about 100 yards distce. Spoke her each captn. statd. his [indecipherable] from Calculation bad reckong., lc. of the ships position not having been able from the dull weather to take an observation for some days (raining hard today) the first Vessel we have spoken to, She is named the "Orestes" her decks were crowded with emigrants, who from fellow feeling waved their hats hankfs, lc., lc. & retd. our cheers heartily Wind high sea heavy We went past her like a shot & in a few hours she was not to be seen
We were doing from abt. 250 to 300 Miles per diem almost direct course for the last day or two had the first part of our voyage been as rapid we should have been out by this time but from being for some time very close [indecipherable] & being obliged to run so over to
the America it caused us considerable loss of time the Capt. little thought to find a Vessel so far S. as [indecipherable] being much beyond the usual course it is very cold much rain there existed a probability of falling in with a stray iceberg A most splendid rainbow towards evening most brilliant vivid colors touching the water on both sides of us just ahead. The effect at the time was
most singular & beautiful
Nov. 16th. A most heavy coarse night sea running rather heavily more so than at any other part of our voyage at times coming over the bulwark sails = Yet it is considd. nothing
We have had a most fine passage altogether comparatively speakg. no really very heavy weather It is a splendid sight to see her cutting thro the water at abt. 14 Knots sometimes take a seat on the bow sprit for an hour at one moment from the motion, the water is a great distce. below the next it is level with the top gallant forecastle, nearly touchg. my feet, she ploughing thro it out on both sides in gallant style, it is at times quite excitg.
Sea sickness is never thought of by me am sometimes on the yards at others down the hold We are much too light for comfort being too buoyant that the ship is thrown up by every wave like a cork toppling every way she wants at least 100 tons more in her for in heavy weather it is no joke = can do but very little at such times have occasionally been battened down for a day or two not from fear of the ship but to prevent the heavy sprays from coming down she frequently takes seas
our over amidships shipping rather large quantities of water going quite over the lee bulwarks drenchg. every one who happens to be in the way & this in quite fine weather at times when least expected perhaps a dozen or two are baskg. in the sun on the weather side talkg. lc., when over it comes without any notice in a regular body there is such a scampering all like drowned rats which causes much fun
Have while cooking at the Galley for breakfast (when the weather is heavy) been drenched 3 or 4 times during he operation went up aloft & assisted to reef topsails fearfully windy cold & raining the great [indecipherable] swinging heavily & wet sails flapping most violently Sailors bawling swearg. hauling, lc. by no means pleasant work
21st. While prepg. breakfast at the Galley this morng. we hard an awful crash just above head when down came the huge fore top mast stunsail boom & sail with a fearful thump on the deck just before us no one hurt it made us stare it was in a great measure the fault of the [indecipherable]
Dec. 1 Very little has occurred worth mentioning during the last few days Caught a very large bird of the Albatross class (name unknown) measuring 7 ft from the point of one wing to the other when extended while measuring the gentn. I [indecipherable] stepped within range of his bill when he caught me just under the arm, giving me such a nip that I wont forget just yet making the hooked points of his gt bill meet thro flesh = Caught an immense Albatross on the book was just getting him on board when the book snapped & away he went
Will now give you a sketch of our manner of living, lc., lc. The 3rd Mate myself are great pals He has the care of & the serving out of all stores to the passengers, lc. I always assist him at those times you would be amused to see me Weighing out the provisions one or two of the boys hand them out [indecipherable] & he the mate gives his instructions (& assists) many are very jealous of my position for you may be sure we dont want for anything What ever we want of course I take the allowance is generally sufficient if economical but the
allowance quantities of sugar butter & a few things of that class we can consume a little more of than is allowed We get everything we want many things that are not even mentd. in the list Water is given out every morng. commencing with the Cabin at ½ p. to the consumption of the whole Vessel is about 100 gal Which I assist to pump off from the Various barrels in the hold it is no easy job when there is much sea on filling buckets by a small hand pump & scrambling over the cargo with them = Of which water we get 3 qts daily each
the passenger cook gets one qt of this from each person which is served out to him deductg. it from the quantity given to passengers for tea Water which is boiled all
toget at once each getting his allowance boiling in hook pot to do what he will with = the same at tea time = two days in the week pea soup is boiled for all the cook giving round & [indecipherable] it from all those who wish for any for this another quart is deducted from our quantity leaving us 1 ½ pints each person = The serving out the water lasts until about Ό to 8. Grog is served out every day (1/2 Gill) which is ½ quartr [indecipherable)
On the Sunday we get preserved beef which is beef boiled & preserved (in dripping) in painted tin cans holdg. about 2 quarts (A can is usually given out to 2 Messes to open when they please) Also preserved potatoes (which are potatoes cut into small pieces dried & stowed away in large airtight tins holdg. sevl. gallons)
Monday Ham is served out, (which cooked in the galley boilers) also preserved Soup or Bouilli in cans similar to the Beef
Tuesday we get a pint of milk each preserved in cans ([indecipherable] to the others) each holds a qt.) the quantity for the week also Cheese Butter Sugar Tea Coffee Beef or salt pork
Wedsy. Preserved Beef Potatoes
Thursday Salt pork
Friday Preserved Beef do soup do fresh fish (Viz Haddock or Herrings)
Saty. Flour, Raisins, Peas, Rice Beef or Pork Suet, Pickles pepper mustard, lc. all for the [indecipherable] With the flour we make decent bread (some of us having bakg. powder puddings plum, & plain, meat pies using the preserved beef also hot soup with the Bouilli lc., lc. that altogether we get on very well
Want of exercise I feel most do take all I can but comparatively speaking we have none at all frequently generally the Vessel is so [indecipherable] down that walkg. is out of the question =
I get up about 5 every morng. & assist to pump off water it my duty to prepare breakfast
which cooking a few slices of our ham some herrings or anything I can manage to get then sweep out & clean the Cabin make bed, lc. which [indecipherable] lasts me until about 10 or ½ past Robt. & Woods prepare dinner Then I prepare tea = It is anything but an agreeable job to [indecipherable] the boilg. water from the galley cookg. there, lc. when the ship pitches much = if a fellow does not hold on or set his pots, lc. fast a good jump sends everything into the lee scuppers = (The preserved potatoes require a quantity of boiling water over which causes them to swell & soften that when cooked up resembles mashed potatoes at home).
We turn in about 12 to ½ past Sometimes we catch soft water & have a good wash you would be amused to see us at it washg. shorts, trousers, jackets, lc., lc. but we dont like it much
The Old Violin is often called out on the fine evenings plenty of singing & dancing, lc. Strange to say every other instrument but the old fiddle is quite rejected with scorn it was quite an introduction, all over the Vessel the After Cabin sends Compts the intermediate wishes Pettit would have the kindness the [indecipherable] says "[indecipherable] it fiddler cum [indecipherable] & giv us a tune for a darnce" there is another young chap on board who can manage a very good seconds which gives very good effect & the music is not bad
particularly it sounds very well in the evening when all is calm & still = sometimes Robt. flute & my fiddle join together = there are a great many Scotchmen on board therefore Scotch tunes are most in requisition =
We are very quiet in our part of the Vessel (there are some terrible [indecipherable] occasionally forward) all in our immediate locality are very respectable & quite a separate party from those fore of the mainmast great licence has been allowed as hardly any restrictions candles allowed alight uncovered at all hours we rigged a little table in our Cabin which we regulated according to the position of the Vessel
The 2nd Mate who was here the beginning of last Nov. 12 Mos enqd. after some men, Vessels, lc. he was informed that some thing had been lying here upwards of 15 Mos. One he was lying alonside of is still here but the pilot thought she was about moving the sails [indecipherable] were being bent. (Voyage home £60)
The Grt Britain has been in about a fortnight or 3 weeks she has not beaten us The "Ballarat the one previous to ours on the list made her passage from Lands End in 74 days but she was longer in the Eng. Channel Going up the bay land was just decernable on both sides except in a few places am told the Bay ts from 20 to 60 miles broad by about 40 deep Supl. the land round appeared very high in places Coming near the terminal of the bay a gt number of ships were Visible after threading through & [indecipherable] some the little "Atrevida" shot up & down went the Anchor 1st time for 3 Mos
We brought up abt. the middle of the forenoon (There are 18 pilots which are not near sufficient at times but during last week from the wind none could reach the Port) are now lying (I believe) in what is termed Hobsons Bay
Many boats were soon alongside they are all Yawls (Whale boats) stearing by a long snipe run vat aft The men all look very rough & are very independent talk very large one of the passengers happened to call one of these men a liar for something he asserted When he very cooly told him to be careful what he said or they would be further acquainted reminding him he was not in England now so hed better be careful Saying he (himself) was a gentn. & reminding the passenger he had to land & might be known again. He soon pulled his horns in & shut up
We are lying Nr. Williams-Town a small town on our Starbd. at the end of the Bay (a splendid place for a [indecipherable] imagine I have seen some in the distce.) Melbourne some way ahead the boatman are askg. [indecipherable] to put people ashore a boat a mile distt. = The Reporter came on board soon after we had swung to our anchor We were informd. the Duke of Wellington was dead (Mail by overland) Some of the passengers asked about some place Nr. Melb. upon being told it was but a mile or two he said oh! only a slight walk The boatman replied with the utmost [indecipherable] he need not walk he could take a cab to the place for a guinea everyone exhibits so much independence None were allowed to cross the side of our ship until the Officer of health had been on board Some of the men we shipped at Gravesend have seen some parties from that place during this Sunday Afternoon the "Anglesea" the Vessel we passed Nr. the Line & the "Orestes" passed Nov. 13th = came into the bay bringing up near us not many hrs. between us but no doubt both these Vessels brought the breeze [indecipherable] we laid becalmed sevl. days Every thing about us assumes a thorough English appearance Ships lc., lc. we might fancy ourselves lying somewhere in the Thames
(3 Vessels in with Emigrants since we have been here the 2 just named & one from America others insight
Monday Morng. Decr. 6th. Woods gone up to Melb. to [indecipherable] (by steamer) to return this Afternoon many of the passengers gone ashore in a boat at the beach Melb about a mile dist. from which spot it is about ½ mile walk 7 miles by river the day is very warm & clear delightful have obtd. some informatn. from people coming on board New diggings discovered called the Orens it is estimated there are upward of 180,000 people employed seekg. Gold Bread about 2/- the 4lb loaf Butter & Cheese betn. 2/6 & 3/- fresh Vegetables being dear Meat £4 ½ liquors dear no lodgings to be obtd. tenting is common as we came up the Bay tents were visible on the shore We are allowed to board in the Vessel until to-morrow giving us 48 hrs from dropping Anchor Put on my cords this morng. have been up to the Main top gallant to get a view of the country a beautiful view
Geelong just decernable The passenger Cook was drunk yesterday setting everything [indecipherable] a flag was hoisted for a Police Officer the boat
[The following text is five lines handwritten vertically up-down the page].
Give my kindest love & regards, lc. to all friends I must sum it up in few words It is very possible you may find many discrepancies in this long rigmarole but it is written a small portion usually at a time & in haste that I hardly, I do not remember what I have scribbled
Remember us to all the Brethn. of P. F. L. There were Masons on board but did not get up a Lodge
came off & took the Gentn. but as the Captn. was not in attendance this Morn to appear against him he was brought on board again he is a drunken lazy scamp we have frequently throughout the voyage been obliged to tend the fires ourselves because he was the worse for liquor he behaved middling towards us for in the early part of the trip I gave him the Old fiddle (Mr. Staggs)
The Capt has an idea he will have to lay here a time they are unbendg. sails The men have been well worked coming out (the ship not near enough hands they came aft sevl. times on the Voyage to speak & one or two at times refused duty I should not be surprised if almost all leave (slope off) not exceptg. Officers = The 3rd Mate Booth it is not improbable may some time or other give you a look We
were have been great pals his name is Charles C. Booth = No. 1 Morpeth Terrace Victoria Park Hackney London
We are anxiously waitg. Woods' return hoping he will bring letters from home There are some Bees about us don't seem inclined to tempt sting =
Monday Decr. 20th. Have allowed some time to elapse since writg. the foregoing have not time to read what I have penned therefore it is probable there may be some tautology Woods retd. but no letters from home no good new for of Adams & party Many of the passengers are were disgusted with the place the first time they went ashore Some are off to Adelaide already the accounts not very promising took an oar in the gig to fetch off the Captn. = broke the oar (very rough.)
We came ashore on the Thursday could hear nothing of our party until the friday when Robt. accidently met young Slack who informed him they were all off to "Forest Creek" diggings
The Lighter that came alongside us the Bay would not take the [indecipherable] on board unless it was unpacked & you may imagine what a job we had before unpackg. we made a bargain that he should take our ships measure for the goods which was 147 feet (besides the Wheels & Store)
& not measuring each parcel separate He cheated himself out of the Wheels & Store, thinkg. they came in the Van getting them included in the 147 they were taken up to the Wharf at Melb. for about 3/-/- =
Woods has not behaved quite the thing towards us When we asked him to join us in the Share of the expenses we had incurred in bring. out the goods & in those we should have to incur before we should get square he objected quite giving us the Cut thus every thing was [indecipherable] entirely upon us two but sevl. parties joined us agreeing to share us in expenses & trouble in getting the Van together & putting the tent up, lc. they were allowed the use of the said tent to live in for a short time until we could get settled
Just fancy us two poor wretches in Port Phillip (about 7 Miles from Melb. the ship taking us no further) forced to get ashore with our goods & dispose of them as we best could price exhorbetantly high & about a ton of our luggage (the ton goes by measure of 40 ft) (the boatmen here frequently refuse from 2 to 3 pounds to take parties off = have seen instances where 2/-/- have been paid (shore abt. a Mile distce.) =
To [indecipherable[ the [indecipherable] the sailors were cheeky about workg. = part of our luggage was already in the lighter, the Capt. ashore, & the 1-mate a disagreeable fellow would not get our Van out = But the Capt. had told me if we assisted to clear away it might come up as soon as it could be got at
We set to work & soon came at it the Mate would not let it come up unless we did it ourselves We were well aware we could not manage it alone without the proper tackling so we hoisted one end up (when he was out of the way) & [indecipherable] it [indecipherable] so as to effectually stop any thing further coming up until it was out All went on a bit but out it came = it was unpacked every article placed one by one taken out & stowed away in different parts of the sd. lighter
We came up by steamer costg. us 4/- each the [indecipherable] presents a most singular Appearance the greater part of the way up = the [indecipherable] & country round are covered by thick brushwood & small straight trees or bushes about 10 to 12 ft high very [thick?] it would be no easy task for any person to walk tho it
Lodgings were not in the
question so we in No. about 11 took a small tent on shore with us & pitched it just outside the town amongst about from 700 to 1000 others erected temporary residences by parties coming out laying our oil clothes, lc. on the ground & turning in as best we could all [indecipherable] lying on each other pretty articles we looked in the morng. lying in the dust faces as well
On wharf all day getting up luggage [indecipherable] per load cartg. to tents (small loads) this night we laid on the tops of the boxes less room the tent being [Note: A small drawing of outline shape of tent "A" shape inserted here] the boxes & luggage of the 11 being inside) [indecipherable] measure about 9 ft x 7 ft rather close = Next day after a very great deal of trouble Mother we got all the parts of the Van Ashore & managed to get it together
No further news of Adams & Co.
A very pretty go to have stored the things would have ruined us wholly (we run the sd Van up to the tent ourselves & after a day or two put up our large tent got the Van inside Never was in such a mess in my life [indecipherable] supposed the party saw the articles were totally useless to them & thinkg. the expenses would swallow them up they had gone off this was the only conclusion we could come to Still we were almost afraid to sell So we at last resolved to wait a few days tho "Atrevida" was advertised & our names mentd. amongst a few others in a kind of memorial to the Capt.)
After waitg. for a short period it was our intention to advertise the parties statg. we should be obliged to sell on this very day last Thursday
was we were going to put it in the paper had a Copy in my pocket we had informatn. Knights had was as having found us out had been to the tent We cut home & there we found him they it appears had left employed two or three parties to look out for us with letters of instruction but none had troubled themselves they saw the advertisement in the paper at the diggings on the Sunday Knights started off on the Monday getting down here on the thursday = it is about 83 Miles distt. but such a road at times it is almost impassable it is very common for teams of men to get so stuck fast as to be unable to get their [indecipherable] and they are left to die there
We have been engaged during the last few days disposing of the principal part of the goods [indecipherable] & [indecipherable] to store our boxes tomorrow we purchase startg. off a Dray (2 wheeled vehicle) as to take up our goods 20/-/- per ton two horses) we walk we hope to get up by Thursday (the roads are not so bad just now being the dry season) it is sometimes a Months journey there is some danger from Bushrangers (the law is very severe with them)
Black party are going to join us so we shall be a pretty strong body & there is not much to fear the diggings are pretty quiet not much fear there The party have paid expenses & a little more it is sharp hard track Knights says but he thinks hopes something may be done. Shall soon see now
Our joint property has not gone off very well Every thing now is rather low not above ½ the value they were a Month ago the Van was [indecipherable] auctions & was sold yesterday private [indecipherable] for 18/-/- (loss abt. 15/-/-) Store 6/10/- (it was a folly to bring them) Some few other things went rather at a loss Some we take up with us The party expected the Van would make [indecipherable] dont know what they will say there are [indecipherable] any Wheel Carriages here things fluctuate very much the market is glutted with certain stores the town inundated with emigrants I understand there are from 8 to 10 ships in today people are leaving the place very rapidly for Adelaide, Sydney & Engd.
Such numbers coming in at [indecipherable] run up provisions very much it is bad policy to bring out many things Emigrants are selling them off in gt quantities nr. to wharfs at considerable loss it is but little use anyone but trades people (workmen) coming out or to the many customers with [indecipherable] = plenty of money flying about [indecipherable] Good Joiners & Carpenters -/30/- per day (these are most in request) but they may be down in a week or two = -/10/- per day on the roads (Labrs.)
Buildg. the thing here just now = At the prest. rate if it lasts & ½ doz good men of sevl. trades, buildg. places entirely [indecipherable] [unlikely?] here no men might make fortune in 12 mos. Houses are built of wood blown together stud-work weatherboarded
the stuff is prepd. in Van Diemens Land (hard wood) small scantlg. (abt. 3 x 2 ½) covd. generally with shingles [indecipherable] & myself were with 2 others who came out in our Ship (Carpenters) were about trying the places
I found out J J Woods & Whitesmith after a very great deal of trouble & as I could not hear anything of our party to try buildg. a small way he was not doing much just then & would have joined us letting us have a small premises he had taken
to commence a been for his own business to commence upon joining us each of us to share in the expenses & all to work & he thought we might get on he could get us 2 or 3 hours to begin with but Knights coming down just as we were arrngg. the matter it was stopped if the diggings dont amt. it is not improbable we may try it
Woods is separated from Short he complains much of the treatmt. he has recd. from him from what I can gather it appears they were partners, & one day when Woods was out Short turned to & carted away the stock to a premises of his own taking so they had a [indecipherable] & separated he say Short is doing very well now & might if he stuck to it his rise or fall at one time depended on a [indecipherable] & he was successful he has given me his address shall see him some time before we start tomorrow if possible.
Think I have a Clue to Mr [indecipherable] relative Mr [indecipherable] I made many enquiries after him shall endeavour to see him before we leave I
asked after enquired for him on [indecipherable] so the fellow to whom I spoke carelessly & [indecipherable] to his pal & said "This love want to know if there is a [indecipherable] of the name of Trollope here" the men are as impudent as possible you must not talk about masters
Dont think from this acct. that this a land flowing with milk & honey it is much misrepresented it is quite vexing to see the poor creatures come ashore here landg. in thousands & no more fit for the life they must lead here than babes not one spec of comfort but work hard you must Board & Lodgg. (sleep from 5 to 7 or 8 in a room) the lowest -/35 to /4 of per week they are not to be had houses an exhorbitant rent Bread is now 1/6 this 4lb loaf Meat abt. -/4 ½
Mrs. I was right about the Maggots the flies actually drop the maggots alive on the meat within ½ an hour of it being cooked pots of flies As for the dust when the Wind blows from inland you cant hardly see a yard ahead We since we have been in this tent have had sevl. dust storms (they come on very quick) & we have hardly been able to see across our house then the rain generally comes down in style afterwards we are then obliged to be out sevl. times in the night to slacken the cords of the tent or it pulls out all the pegs & down she comes last night it rained from after a storm we had yesterday we over slept ourselves & were woken up abt. ½ p. 4. by the [indecipherable] is a benefit upon lookg. [indecipherable] the weather stays adrift on side of tent flapping about our ears
As for laying out [indecipherable] as the books published at home tell us tis all humbug there are very heavy dews & youd certainly do for yrself almost all the fine tales told of this country (At any rate as far as this place is concerned) are lies still we dont regret coming out there is better chance of getting on in the world than at home I dont like the place but fellows can manage for themselves
The weather is now at times fearfully hot the ground looks parched the generality of people are disappointed Knights says it is by far more comfortable at the diggings than tentg. here
The laws are strict robbers punished by 10 years on the roads, 2 yrs in chains
the general great quantities of the inhabitants are lawless unprincipled rascals The streets of Melb. are scarcely not safe after dark We kept watch in our tent for some nights things lying about no stranger thinks of coming to another tent after dusk except a store a party one night had been lurkg. round about & he was watched by some of the inhabitants one of our party going round our tent to see it was all right when up walks a party & putting a revolver to his nut asks him what he is about mistakg. him for the Chap they had been keepg. their eye upon We are pretty quiet nor do I see any likelihood of being interrupted if not incautious
Robt. & myself came from Town tonight rather late (we are abt. Ύ Mile from [indecipherable] the town & we came with a pistol each ready just under our smocks I dont say this is altogether necessary but it is well to be on the safe side did not like matters at first dont think much of mind these things now the Capt. has been [indecipherable] a look today the After Cabin passengers often do this is a levelling country Jack is as good as his master
It is now 2 oclock & we must be up early to prepare for startg. Have not slept on a box (no bed) ever since I came on shore dont care about pickg. a soft plank even had my cloathes off about 2ce. Wash in the Yara Yara which is about a ½ Mile distt. from which place we fetch water make a fire on the ground & cook meat outside (when fine) Meal bred-tea our living I must now come to a conclusion trusting, hoping, you are all & all friends quite well
When you write to us forward the letters to Mr. Jas. Brown at Mr. Youngs Merchant, lc. Melb. Mr. B. & family was the party in the Cabin next to ours if sent to P. O. it is 10 to 1 that you dont get them hundreds are always round the post O. We have spent sevl. hours at the place some who [indecipherable] squeeze have spent days in reachg. the box We spent forwarded a few words by last Mail
Tuesday Morng. The tent is now about being pulled down We are seated writing on [indecipherable] to the gaze of all parties = Will send a few words if possible from Diggings by this [indecipherable] Gt Britain" youll see the Account of her trip out We were 78 days out from land to land the [indecipherable] was 82 or 3 from Liverpool
Yr Truly Affec
Mr. Joseph A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
Lre. No. 6.
Forest Creek Victoria
January x x I forget what day I commenced 1853
[A small sketch at top of letter].
My dr. Father & Mother
We left Melbourne for these Diggings on Wedsy. Decr. 22nd. our party consisting of 11 A dray (which is of very similar construction to an Engh. Tumbrill) with 2 horses took our luggage we walkg. getting out of Town about mid-day we commenced our journey
For about 3 Miles the Country was Woody, presentg. an appearance very like a park at Home, but more wild after clearing this distce. the Country was more cleared & roads were forming (the trees are felled & rolled to the side to form the
fences) We arrived at a little place named Flemmington which consisted of a Gentns. house a public ho. Store or 2, & a few scrubby wood & bark buildings the roads were what I should term (in the Old Country) very bad which opinion I ventured to express, the Carter looked at me in perfect astonishment & told me to wait till we made a few miles further
Many men are employed makg. roads felling trees clearing the ground, lc. at -/10/- per day. Met half a doz. fellows carryg. one of their gang who was dreadfully mutilated by one of the trees falling upon him The accounts we heard about Bush-Rangers were not very encouraging these fellows are almost always mounted, & well armed, going in possies of 5 or 6
The country continued much the same, but little variety (hills holes bogs swamps, lc., lc.) We camped that night on the edge of Keillor Plains about 13 Miles in [indecipherable] in the direction we had to cross pitched our Tent on the edge of steep declivity (of about 150 ft. in depth) which run round on plans nearly forming a circle at the base a little creek ran round the base enclosing a little level plot of about 100 Acres, on which was a pretty little homestead, the greater portion of this island being cultivated our road to the lef right laid thro a low Valley, rising a steep hill on the other side mountains in the distce. this view was one of the prettiest I have seen in the Colony, the low ground being very fertile
Our tent was soon pitched the Wheel of the bray formed one end A rope from the top of the Wheel to a long crow bar struck in the ground formed the ridge making the end fast to another bar thus
[A small sketch of tent construction here.]
over this we stretched our tarpaulin hanging up portion of our Canvas tent at the ends &
lying on the other portions to lay upon on the edges of the tarpaulin we placed pieces of rock & trenched it round accommodation for 5 or 6 in a few minutes While some were pitching the Tents, others were gone for water firewood, lc.
A tremendous fire was soon blazing away tea & coffee was soon made & within ½ an hour of our coming to an anchor we were taking our eveng. meal after which out came the pipes & tobacco we were round the fire for an hour or two afterwards smoking & listening to the tales of the Old Colonists it is very comfortable & pleasant We had some rain during the night, in the morng.
[Note: The following words are written upside-down along the bottom of the page].
My letters are written a small piece at a time a little now & a little a week after just when I can get a minute generally getting distbd. every few minutes that you must not be surprised if you find much tautology & many errors as can hardly remember from time to time what I have written
in the consequence of the Wet, the Carter refused to proceed until the roads were dried [indecipherable] a little all but 2 of us went for a ramble
Thos. Slack & myself remained at home to take care of the Tent during the morning we had a strong breeze of wind, coming up in a few minutes shaking our light fabrics all to pieces they soon began to get adrift & flap angrily We were soon obliged to get them down by the rain & sit on them [indecipherable] to prevent their being blown away There we sat all alone in our glory holding on the lighter articles like Grim Death darent get up this afforded us amusement for about ½ an hour a little rain accompanied the wind just to keep our [indecipherable] cool
At about 12 oclock the sun & wind dried the roads slightly, we again got under weigh descending the hill in our [indecipherable], in which there was a curve & the dray made as much lee-way (slipping) as it went ahead rising
the a hill
We met the Gold Escort, a light carriage with a few mounted Armed Guards (going at a sharp trot ) We crossed Keillor Plains during the afternoon plenty of wind, hail & rain on our way serving us out in style no shelter toward the end of our journey for this day we passed sevl. Bullock drays stuck fast, the drays sunkg. in the mud & the bodies lying flat on the surface but little chance of their getting any further that night (6 or 8 Beasts to each dray) the driver slashing raving & swearing in style I think no class of men in existance swears so much, or has such volleys of original oaths at their command as Bullock-drivers = they have to dig their drays and get out as they can at times when the roads are very bad (in the Winter time the cattle get stuck fast as well & are very frequently left to their fate to die We saw sevl. carcasses on our way up, & this was in the height of summer, what they are in the middle of winter I can hardly form an idea
We camped that night at a place named Hagans Gap just over the beforementd. plains (the rendezvous of B.Rangers) about 14 Miles today
The next morning we were off early, passing at times over small plains up hills & down sometimes we were in a thickly wooded part, then all at once we would open a most extensive splendid view mountains in the distce.
That night we brought-to near a public Ho. named the Bush Inn within a mile or 2 of the Black Forest Being Xtmas-Eve some of us started off the above Inn & purchased some fresh meat while taking a round in seach of so walkg. stick & a set stick for our leader (horse) felling a tree with some good straight branches I found a long, straight, tapering light pole pointed at both ends lodged among the branches it was a straight & round as if turned out of a Carpenters shop many were the speculations respectg. it
We came (it was very dry & covd. with a kind of moss) We were almost inclined to think it a weapon of defence of some of the black gentlemen it made a good stick or two for us
The next morng. Xtmas day, we were off early, passed the Bush Inn just beyond which we made a a most fearful hill, which our load laid We had a most difficult job to get mount it We wee afraid we should be obliged to unload our Dray & take up a part at a time however we made a dash all holding on to keep our conveyance from turning over & up we went Passed near the foot of a Mountn. named Mount Macedon a lofty rocky mount covered with trees the Carter told us it the road to its summit is about 10 miles Saw Mount Alexander in the distce. We made the Black Forest early in the Forenoon which occupied
the principal part of the day to get through it is of course Very Woody but little or no brushwood which I am told was destroyed abut 3 yrs ago about that time, the Weather for a long period had been very dry & hot no rain every thing was parched up, from one unusually hot day which every one who was here at the time tells me was an awful terrific day the air so suffocating that people could hardly breathe every thing being so parched the intensive heat fired the country in many parts which fire lasted for weeks, wasting all before it almost all the trees of any size that are standing are scorched, blacked & burnt to a great height up
With respect to the statement made that the trees give no shade is of course false they (the generality) it is true, give but little for the leaves being something like our Willow (the foliage being thin) & they hang perpendicularly there do not appear to be many sorts the principal are commonly called Box and Stringy Bark all hard the name stringy bark is not I think inappropriate, for I have seen the bark on this [indecipherable] tree [Note: The following words have a box drawn around them: where the foliage is all near the top trees of small diameter long & straight] peel off in strings of a few inches wide (& hanging swinging loosely) to perhaps from 50 to 80 ft high x x
The Forest is about 12 Miles through, the road in some places cannot be called a road at all there are perhaps a dozn. trucks in some places the drivers of teams going round prospecting for the hardest ground, going in some places a mile out of the way to prevent the risk of stickg. Winding & turning in all directions to avoid running against the trees Saw sevl. drays in very awkward predicaments it must terrible doing getting thro here in the winter or Wet season We at one time were brought up & thought it would be a case of unloads but by deal of great exertion each putting his shoulder to the wheels we made a move Clearing the Forest
We went a few miles further on & encamped at a place called Jefferies Station its a pretty spot by the side of a hill our tents were run up in a pretty little dell before us was an assemblage of wood & bark houses & one or two of a superior style for the Dons all in a kind of enclosure beyond which were meadows thro which a beautiful stream "[indecipherable]" the meadows were dotted here & there with by Cattle Grazing
I do not remember ever faring so badly on a Xtmas day before for having exhausted the stock of bread we brought from Melb. we were reduced to the dire necessity of making our meals off hard biscuits Robt. & myself made various speculations as to what was the Bill of Fare at Orwell Street and at No. 13 Upper St Giles
Being Xmas day we resolved to keep up the custom as far as laid within our means so we bought 2 or 3 quarts of milk at I think 1/8s per pint & got the Old Feedle under weigh we soon had a deputation from the inhabitants of this station to go down & give them a tune stating they would be happy to give as "Nobbler" & what their board would afford I must tell you a Nobbler is a measure of Spirits (I think answerg. to our ½ qts.) Brandy is undestood when the word Nobbler is only used
Went We went down (Robt., a young Sailor & myself) & entg. one of the Wood-houses there was the a large Xtmas Tree blazing a Yule-log & no mistake laid on the hearth the [indecipherable] end of a tree abt. 6 ft. long & 2 feet thro its fire places of course are out of the question, the chimney was something like a small room at one end of the buildg. built of clay the ground formed our floor along [indecipherable] (white) table & forms
with a few pots (tin), lc. formed the furniture a pot with filled with greese with a wick in it gave us, with the blazing fire, a good light While at home I was led to believe the night was not cold, or damp, & one might lie out without fear of taking cold dont know what it may be in some parts of this Contint. but if I laid out one night I should not expect to move next morng. it is frequently bitterly cold, & always a very heavy dew =
We gave the settlers some Music Songs, lc. plenty of dancing We could have all the Milk, Brandy, lc. we could stow away & one of the Chaps made a [indecipherable] of tea for use on our journey up Some of them very strongly advised me to stop at Kyneton (a place about 9 miles distt.) for the Races which were to come off on the Monday & Tuesday following statg. as an inducement that one of the Public Hos. were in want of a Fiddler that there was but one in the place & I could they were certain obtain at least from £30 to £35
for by so doing for my work under other circumstances I should have (I believe) tried it =
Robt. & myself drank the good health of all our Friends at home, wishg. all a merry Xtmas & a happy New Year but it was in a beverage I never did drink a persons health in before Viz Milk All Relations & Friends at home are all & often thought of x x We rather miss our home evengs.
It was no joke to get your Xtmas dinner in the Blk Forest off biscuit and rancid butter, did just think of you all then but had to walk on quick as we had a hard days work before us must finish my long letter
Love to all Goodbye Robert. T.
We started at Sunrise again next morng. Made Kyneton in the forenoon it is a street or two formed of Wood houses Butchers & Bakers the principal shops There is one, I may say very large stone Built Hotel a credible piece of work too about 5 mile from Kyneton we halted to get a bit of dinner, it was at a tent situated it the middle of a large plain where they cooked a Beef steak pie or 2 every day about dinner time at /3/6 per head includg. a cafe of coffee this compared with all other places on the road was most reasonable We did make a dinner there
Towards evening we reached a gulley (a small Valley between two steep high hills) into which we turned, intending to camp there for the night, we halted there for about an hour, but being anxious to get on our way we by dint of much persuasion prevailed upon the Carter to go on for a few miles further on we went again up long ranges of hills (small mountains our road in many parts laid over lofty extensive hills covered in many parts by trees which is commonly termed the bush)
We stopped at last at a place called Saw-Pit Gulley near a public Ho named the Columbine Diggings it being very late, & quite dark, we could not fix our tent some of us went foraging for water while others made a large fire & boiled Coffee, lc., lc., spreading our oil-cloth in front of the fire we laid down throwing a coat or two over us we passed the night as best we could laying our heads on a small tree for a pillow fortunately it was a fine night, had it
rained we should have been in a pretty pickle the dew was very heavy & the night cold there was an eclipse of the moon that night watching which afforded us amusement until we fell asleep & it was not long before we were all fast enough our days work being a good sleeping draft the distce. accomplished however was not more than abt. 24 Miles the states the roads were in rendered it equal to double the distce. in Engd.
Had forgotten to mention 4 of our party left us at Hagans-Gap on our second days march in consequence of the slow rate we could could be obliged to only travel at walking ahead thinking to reach their destination some time before us
We were off again at Sun-rise reaching the commencement of the T. C. dig. early in the forenoon using a hill shortly after a most curious picturesque scene opened to our view as far as the eye could reach every gulley & some hills (very hilly hills running in all directions) and the valley through which our road laid being dug full of holes in all directions Thousands of tents, all sizes & shapes immense numbers of all kinds of primitive machines for raising & hoisting up the soil patches of trees were standing throughout the scene Hills in the distce. were covered with them the Mountains filled up the background Our road thro all this up hill down
The inhabitants of this singular place were a rough strange looking lot, the greater portion with long beards after going a few miles along through this we reached our Companys tent our future home as we passed along, all were busily engaged some digging, some picking, carting, and whenever we sighted the creek or water, there were men coddling & washing out for gold
Our Company were all out to work except 2 The tent keeper & S. Sexton who by the time we had unloaded the dray the rest came home to dinner, they were all well We went round in the afternoon to see what was going forward in our neighbourhood
After which Robt. myself & one of the others took down the small tent, fixed up the large one, placing the smaller one onside which we have fitted up with rough berths to sleep upon which is infinitely more comfortable then lying on the ground not so dusty for many a morng. previous to this arrangement have I got up with one side of my face covered with dust, from rolling my head into a little heap during the night
As for beds they are almost out of the question, one or two of us manage to exhibit an apology for one Mine consists of a piece of dried bark of a tree (about 13 ins. wide (which is very tough & about as hard as steal) laid on a couple of poles arranged horizontally, all I [indecipherable] in the shape of a bed cloathes as a blanket, & a coverlid, with a bag for a pillow As my night covering had acquired a habit of always slipping off into the dust & leaving me uncovered I sewed one end & side of my blanket together so as to form a large bag this I lay on the bark (working my way into it spreadg. the coverlid over me)
The nights are sometimes very cold but am getting used to it I often think people at home would smile to see us here I really believe you would not give me a crown for all the cloathes I
am have on just at this time while at my work Viz a pair of ragged canvass trousers, my old straw hat which is almost falling to pieces a pair of old boots cracked & burst every way (I used to wear them when at home) stockings, flannel & a dirty blue shirt = Jacket, Coat, Waistcoat, Neck-tie or any thing of this kind are quite out of question I never wear anything of the sort (trousers are kept up with a belt or a piece of string) but anything is good
enough here, nobody takes any notice of appearance What with my rough long beard & dirty appearance, I pass very well for what is termed an Old Chum i.e. an old digger Our tent is situated nearly at the further part of these diggings from Melb. going towards Melb. from here we should pass thro a space of ½ doz. Miles all dug up &
We are well off for both water & wood two very steep hills (rocky) covered with trees on both sides of us, & ranges of woods Mountains running in all directions which may be seen in the distce. from the tops of these hills beyond us about 7 miles are Bryers Creek diggings but the whole way you will see traces of digging prospecting parties New soil lying in little patches on the grass round holes the country all round us as far as the eye can reach is woody the illustrations given in the London News convey a very good idea of the character of the country in many parts
The creek runs just below us at least it runs in the winter time just now it is but a number of water holes, or ponds if we want wood for firing or any other purpose, we range up into the wood on the hills with an axe, & cut down what ever suits our purpose good or bad, large or small making free with whatever the country produces it seemed strange to me at first, when dropping a fine lofty tree I could hardly help turning my head round to see if I was observed almost questioning within myself the right I had to do so fancy cutting down a large tree to get a small piece from the top just taking what you might want leaving the rest to rot the trees are mostly lofty the principal part of the foliage is at the top
Will now give you a sketch of gold digging washg. lc
One or two, as the case may be take a look round to select his spot taking a pick & shovel with them each man (if by himself) is allowed to make a claim of a 8 ft sq wherever he pleases, provided it does not interfere with the ground belongg. to any one else 16 ft sq. is the largest size space that is allowed to be worked, no matter the number that forms the party supposeg. a party to have made his claim which is done by putting down a stake at each corner
round which if you he choses to sink his hole the whole size he is allowed 2 feet to deposit the soil beyond which limit any one else can claim it is usual however to mark the claim & sink a moderate sized hole in the centre some prefer them oblong others round
The first hole I was employed upon was with Robt. for a partner it was about 10 ft long, by abt. 6 ft 6 wide, sinking which down about 6 ft. (the soil on the edges from ours & the surroundg. holes being 2 or 3 ft high, it was as high as we could fairly pitch up) We left a ledge abt. ½ size of hole sinking the other portion down,
th one pickg. up, & throwing it on the ledge the other throwing it up, going down about 7 or 8 feet We came on to what is termed the bottom or the rock on which the gold is usually deposited the soil in which the gold is deposited found is called washing stuff our washg. stuff in this case, was dark clay, pipe-clay, & the rotten slate rock, all which was carefully picked & sent up in buckets, picking out, scrapg. with a knife all the deposit in the irregular rugged bottom this is carted down to the creek, placed in large tubs full of water & puddled that is stirred & tossed about until the clay mixes with the water this is done several times, until the stones are left clean which with the sand grit, lc. of course remains the water being poured off
for the last time the bulk of the mass in the tub being washed
it is of course much reduced from the puddling it is now ready for cradling
A cradle is a simple contrivance of the following description
Dotted line shows position of hopper
[Five sketches across the page and one these near the right-hand margin].
It is made usually of hard wood, fixed upon 2 rockers as may be seen by end elevatn. which are fixed to the cradle The
several principal parts of the cradle are the hopper the slide besides the box The cradle is largest at the upper part decreasing towards the bottom
A small filler is carried round the upper end inside about 2 ins from the top, on this rests what is termed the hopper which a light square frame (similar to the above) with its bottom perforated with holes of a certain size (the bottom is usually a perforated metal plate) just immediately below the
led filler on which the hopper when fixed in the cradle rests, commencing from the end is a small narrow shelf abt. 4 or 5 ins wide, placed transversely across the cradle (see sectn. lc.) a few inches below which is placed a sloping moveable slide extending from the outside of the hopper to within a few inches of the end of the cradle, on the lower part of the [indecipherable] slide is a small ledge extendg. its whole width the sides of the cradle being tending inwards as they approach the bottom, causes the slide from its shape (& having its edges bevelled) to fit closely at its upper edge to the sides of the Cradle
The motion given to a cradle is the same as that which is given, to that little piece of domestic furniture (from which it takes its name) in which a newly made mother lulls the dearest duck of a baby off to sleep) To keep the motion regular, & prevent its slipping the rockers work in a groove deepest in the centre cut in pieces of timber The Cradle is fixed slightly inclined, & near a creek or Water the slide & hopper fixed =
The washed stuff is taken from the tub, about a shovelful at a time & deposited in the hopper & water poured upon it, a continual stream) & the cradle put in motion, the holes in the hopper allows the greater portion of the stuff to pass thro it, which then falls upon the small shelf & the slide & from the shelf extendg. beyond the ledge on the slide it all falls upon the sd slide the lighter portion is carried off with the water, while the heavier lodges against the ledge
Gold being so much heavier than anything else it is sure to be stopped, no matter how fine it is should any escape the next ledge on the bottom is sure to detain it while as I before mentd. the lighter portions are carried through the cradle in the direction of the [A sketch of an arrow here] but a very small portion if any is lost by a Good Cradle
We have tried it, putting a measured portion of fine gold in a mass of [indecipherable] & washg. it, & have found it all again to a speck = We hardly ever even washed again or exd. the stuff deposits in the bottom of the cradle
After running a few shovels full thro the cradle the mass detained in the hopper is
looked over, & thrown out that deposited on the moveable ledge is carefully taken off, placing it in what is termed a Riddle, a large tin dish the bottom of which is perforated with holes, but much smaller than those of the Hopper
is containg. the stuff, is placed in a large tin dish abt. 2 ft over with sloping sides water is then poured into the Riddle which is well shaken washing all the smaller finer portion into the tin dish underneath the Riddle is then sqd., the nuggets (if any) are picked out the tin dish with the cargo is taken to a spot where water is clear it is filled & well shaken keeping the deposit in it alive with by the water, it is then poured off quickly, carrying off the lighter portion with the water this is done sevl. times, the quantity of deposit in the dish is greatly reduced the washing is now more carefully performed & all the gold will be found in the bottom edge of the tin =
Have for a trial had a single very light speck in my dish therefore beginning to wash & after washing sevl. buckets in my tin (carefully of course) have found the same speck at the bottom of the tin when at the finish
Any other means of obtaing. gold generally, than by washing cannot pay Quicksilver is all humbug Fancy about 50 loads of stuff each load containing about 64 buckets being tried by Quicksilver
We usually reckon under ordinary circumstances, if not very extensive workg. that an oz. to the load will pay & I would guarantee to wash a load of stuff containg. fine gold without losing hardly a grain there are machines for crushing quartz to obtain the gold contd. in it but it wont answer a diggers purpose to try that
Having given a slight sketch of washing for Gold, will now speak again of our (Robt. & my) first sinking having washed that portion of the bottom of our hole that was uncovered, which paid us very well we drove (i.e. made a small tunnel about 5 ft wide x 4 ft high one side trying the ground, after going in
about as far as we could on this side being nearly into another partys hole (could hear them talking)
We then drove in on the other side after doing which, we look down our ledge, & drove in another direction We were down about 12 to 14 feet below the surface of the ground, the annexed is a rough sketch of our hole & driving = We broke thro into another hole one way at [Note: A symbol inserted here]
[A sketch near the right-hand margin].
We were at last obliged to leave the hole the ground all round being so riddled & tunneled, that it began to get dangerous We had timbered it well too, but it was rather loose soil & began to fall about our ears one of the others lent us a hand latterly, & working rather carelessly, it caved upon him, we dragged him out he was not hurt = having nearly worked the ground as, we as they term it here "dingd"
the (left) the hole having taken out about 10 ozs. of gold
Our great trouble was the water several hundred buckets every day it was more than knee deep every morning
it is the work is very similar to sinking live Wells at home = We hoisted our water & stuff out by a lever & pole, we were at work on a flat & there were hundreds (I may say) round us it looked like a small forest of poles all at work some use windlasses pickg. out a forked branch to a crotch a round straight piece for a barrel barking & trimming it
[Three sketches near the bottom of the page].
We (the Company) have sunk about 20 holes average abt. 12ft deep since we have been here but have not been very fortunate have made about 1Ύ lb weight of gold at abt. 3/12/ per oz.
We are now Myself & another have been working a drive at the bottom of a hole about 4 ft deep, it is on a hill about a mile from our tent
We did not sink the hole the whole way it was nearly down & was deserted (The Claim must not be left more than 24 hrs must do a little every day, if to only throw out a spadeful) it was beautifully dropped down as true & fair as possible thro soil
actually literally burnt & runned together & = great quartz stones in it, so hard in places as to almost render the use of [indecipherable] (mining chisel hammer, lc.) necessary (sinkg. in many cases but a few inches each day)
Have been some of us there for 3 weeks (have had a fortnight of it myself)
& have it is driven but 20 feet, & work hard too our greatest trouble is foul air, frequently when the day is close the candle wont burn in the afternoon after dinner, & never over 4 oclock it is an oblong hole [A sketch of an oblong shape] sinking
We go up & down by means of foot-holes after making the bottom of the hole, we commenced driving, going down
over a rocky bottom, quite a steep slope it was this slope that encouraged us to proceed we found a little piece or two of gold lodged on the cross ledges as went on we hoped when we came to the bottom of this steep slope, or dip to find something that would pay us well (Gold if found on hills is generally found rather heavy but parties are afraid to tackle hills from the difficulty & experience to get down, & then very probably for nothing). Arguing our gold being heaviest it would sink lowest
[Two sketches on left-hand side margin].
It is terrible hard driving the tunnel being quite dark & abt. 3 ft high x 3 ft wide rather cramping work pick, pick, pick, almost all day long by the light of a candle spell & spell air hot, confined, & close
We came to the bottom of the dip on Saty. last but found nothing but a speck or 2 this is the pay for 3 weeks
time work for 2 of us judging now from appearance of the hole now we have a very reason to believe it is folly & useless proceeding any further
One week 3 of us went out prospectg., tryg. a new gulley while workg. a party of 2 came up asked the name of the gulley, & what we were doing I christened it "Speculation" Gulley as we kept on workg., parties on the look out came, made claims, & some sunk down I daresay in the course of 2 days [indecipherable] 50 holes were marked out & partially dug it went [indecipherable] by its name but it is a bad speculation for all the holes turned out nothing & the place is deserted sevl. fellows for some time having passed our tent with a bag or 2 of washg. stuff upon a little hand track
We (2 of us) started to find out where those men were workg. tracking the impression of the wheels for upwards of 3 Miles winding our way through a long narrow deserted gulley which
had been was dug up last year quite in the bush
We get on very well amongst ourselves Adams took up another chap (from aboard the Gt. Britain) into the party besides Balls the one who joined at Norh. = That when we came up our number was nine =
Adams rather ruled the roost for some time but this would not do altogether one or 2 of us had a bit of a shine with him
aft one event he had a pretty quarrel with Knights after which he told us that either he or Knights, must leave the Company & called upon us to vote upon the matter as to which who it should be
We of course would have nothing to do with it Those who came out with him would not say much but we said he must do as he pleased it was not for our consideration so he, I suppose for reasons of his own left us & we paid him out I dont say it was with regret about a fortnight after which Knights left us Nor did he tell us he thought of doing so until the morng. he left he I suppose has his own reasons for doing so he stated he thought the party too large = We however
paid him out too
much and to tell the truth now Im glad of it now theyre gone We think they left us shabbily they have done nothing since (i.e. made no money) & I think they would like to come in again but they will never join the Co. us again while Im in it We can do just as well without them =
Knights & his party are going off to the diggings at Ballarat We parted friendly with both
but it is probable another [indecipherable] may ere long leave in Viz the party who came out in the Britain with them when his name is Andrews, he comes out of Somerset
We talk now of selling both our tents, & providing ourselves with a smaller & more dry house for in the Winter time, or we may expect to get blown or washed away
We have purchased a piece of No. 1 Sail Cloth for a top & intend if we stop here at the digging thro the Winter to strain it over rafters, lc. & make the sides of the hut bark We must also lay in a stock of provisions
for the winter We have just covered our living expenses since we have been up but I am minus about £10/- the amt. I had when first in the Bay = however we hope to do better
Very few are doing anything up here just now = Some immense Nuggets have very recently been discovered at Ballarat but you will see Accts. in the papers at home before this reaches you Have forwarded (both Rob. & myself) sevl. Melb. papers home =
You would be amused to hear the names given to places about here = The party 1st working at a place generally names it in our immediate locality is More-Pork Gulley, New-Chums-Gulley, Murderers-flat, Penny-Weight Flat 40
foot Hell lc., lc.
There is also plenty of slang = Swearing is universal, the oaths are very few, but very choicely select A new comer is termed a New Chum and old hand are Old Chum
amongst addressing each other its Mate, Matey, Partner or something of that sort dont speak about Masters
Thieves are termed Rowdy Mob = if a party is stopped
called termed bailed or stuck up Old Convicts are called Laggers or Leggars in speaking of a hole that turns out good for nothing it is said to be a Shisher dont know how tis spelt this is tis pronounced Trying old deserted holes is called Fossaking
I think I said we are situated upon a flat which is named Cambells flat a few miles from the station of that name
between We are in a Valley between 2 ranges of Woody Mountains E. & West of us thro & in this Valley are the principal of these diggings At the Township of Castlemaine are situated all the Govt. places (abt. a Mile dist.) There are Court-House, Barracks, P. Office, lc., lc., lc., Commissioners a few Soldiers Policeman [indecipherable] are held there prisoners tried
Robt. was hauled off one day for being about without his License Fined -/10/- Have enclosed my old License = It is dangerous to be about after dark = or to go near any ones tent as the inhabitants might suspect the honesty of yr intentions & make you a mark for his pistol no redress in such case we always have 2 or 3 brace ready
There is a great deal of firing (discharging fire arms) every eveng. it is dangerous too as some of the fellows frequently shoot low have heard balls whiz past me & at no gt distce. & picked up a ball a day or 2 [indecipherable] just outside the tent which had been fired up
& dropping & falling on the ground was quite [indecipherable]
We dont notice these little things now Have seen sevl. parties from our way The party named [indecipherable], who used to be a Brewer at Hadleigh, bought our Van at Melb. & is on these diggings We have allowed him to sleep in the tent for a few nights & saw a fellow who came from Mr. Bungay he knows all about that part He was called "Little Charley" there (Used to Ride for some one named [indecipherable] he mentd. T. Cullains name do Artis he spoke of a [indecipherable] that I think Ive heard Richd. mention & laugh
It was a little business transaction in the Norto line between him and Artis
The Diggers about here are generally speaking a rough lot, at any rate they look rough enough, From English to Chinese & Darkies from Doctors to "Laggers"
We deal at a store which is carried on by a party named Profs he is a Naval Officer on half pay he told me he was engaged in the expedition after Sir J. Franklin
We are tolerably comfortable our style of living not bad but what we at home called comforts are widely different to the little extravagancies we call by that name here we can rough it now if we heard of good diggings turning up a few miles away 2 or 3 of us would soon be off with our Swags at our backs (i.e. our luggage) A tarpaulin, an axe, blankets & a few tools, lc. We use small heavy American axes here with long light handles [Note: [A sketch of an axe here] tis astonishing how soon (in the hands of a party who knows how to use them) they will bring a great tree down a long swingg. blow =
Can manage a days work can drop a hole down about size common well thro tolerable hard stuff (picking up every course & throwg. it up single handed) to about 9 feet in the day which is thought middling for a "new chum" for us sharp drilling at first sinking here is no childs play sometimes go out a few miles prospecting putting a hole down on spec perhaps in a likely looking gulley in the middle of a Wood picking digging away all alone We have not been interfered with ever
We make our own bread not damper being very tired of that purchased a Camp Oven, which is a great round deep cast iron pan with a lid makg. the bread we put it in this oven heaping ashes round it making our own yeast our efforts have proved very successful Meat is cooked in a similar manner
Most things are very dear compared with home prices Bread from -/6d. to 8d. per lb (it was 1/3 when Adams 1st came up) Meat abt. -/5d. Potatoes -/10 Onions 2/6 Apples 1/9 Salt 1/- Coffee 2/6 Tea 2/6 Sugar /8 (Brandy from 15/- to 20/- for bottle 1 ½ pint on the quiet not allowed to be sold) Cheese 2/6 Butter 3/- These prices vary every week a little bad weather will double them Flour abt. 5/-/- per bag of 200 lbs it was last winter as much as 20/-/- per bag = As much as £160 to £180 per ton was given to bring goods up
During the last Month we have been sinking holes & sinkg. money obtg. but abt. 2 oz. gold but during the last week Andrews Balls, & myself began a fresh hole in a rich gulley about Ό mile long that has been worked almost entirely out hardly a square yard of solid earth (where there was any gold) left being driven underground in all directions timbering & leaving small pillars in
some places the rainy season coming on filled all the holes up.
To give you some idea of how it is dug & tunneled, we commenced on apparently solid ground no holes near getting down about 8 feet (our sinkg. about 5 ft x 8 ft) we found were upon sevl. drives sinking in all at once as thro quicksand stuff loose & water boiling up in style We traced out 4 drives getting down a little
Remember us to the Bros. of 522
lower we just struck a pick in one side when in came sevl. hundred buckets water, from a fresh drive the sides caving in in all directions we nearly bottomed a portion 3 times when each time the stuff came down burying every thing We knew it was useless bottomg. the drives we wanted the base of the pillars
Saty. afternoon we got down cleared & sent up the bottom of a piece about 1 ft. 6 square
were washing it out in one pan or tin dish we had about Ύ lb weight gold & brought home abt. 13 oz. with [indecipherable] this is the greatest quantity we ever washed out of so small a quantity of stuff this was [indecipherable] of the pillars left
We shall of course try again, We think we have another little piece of good ground [indecipherable] have been tryg. again today the hole will be about 30 ft sq. before we get another piece down then it is a question if we get a piece of good bottom more than a few ins. sq. Some try hills you may walk all over it below the surface of the ground (in tunnels)
they the drives in some directions were are sevl. hundred yards in length large pillars are left at first but one party & another pick round their bases that at last they are but 3 or 4 ins over [A small sketch in the middle of the line]
Digging for Gold is
a quite a lottery Chances much against one there are about 200,000 known diggers & but very few make anything particular it was better at 1st when good ground was discovd. each one could have plenty of good spots in it but now thousands rush to the spot & cut the ground to pieces making a good nice woody green piece of pasturage a sandpit of in a day or two so much for Gold Digging
We are dreadfully afraid our letters are lost We employed an agent to call at Melb. but no go Have written to the P. Master Gent.
Melb. The Mail Ship Melb. (as you will see by the papers so many letters destroyed) by which we expected to receive some had her bags all soaked in water
Robt. & myself often talk about Friends & home not a word have we heard yet that we began to feel anxious about you all shall call at the Office again next week Hope all friends are well = Give my kindest love & remember me to all cannot pretend to name them individually
Remember me Hope when you do write you will give the full proceedings of home doings This brother & neglect with respect to letters is a source of much if at the when applyg. for any have generally to state the whole name & where the letters are expected from but in my 2 last I gave the name of a Mr Youn James Brown at Mr. D. H. Young Store Mercht., lc. Market Strt. Melb. to which place they could be sent for me
I must now come to a conclusion am almost afraid you will find many parts unintelligable but you must make allowances for the circumstances under which it is written
And With Kindest love believe me my dr. Father & Mother
Yr truly Affectionate Son
Concludes Feb 21st
Posted at Castlemaine 22nd
Mr. J. A. Pettit
Knight called in the other eveng. I think he is annoyed with himself for leaving as he did Adams would be glad to join us again he has left his party
Have sent a little piece or 2 of Gold
Have sent sevl. papers
Jno H. W. Pettit
No.1 Reg. Lve
Mr Joseph A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
J. H. W. P.
March 28th, 1853
[A small sketch on right-hand margin]
My dr. Father & Mother,
I immediately upon getting informn. of the arrival of the "Melb" Mail Steam Ship at this colony We wrote down to the P. M. Genl. instructg. to forward to here what letters there might be lying directed for us & about a fortnight since I received yrs dated Sept. 29th. you may imagine how welcome it was the 1st lre from home altho it could contain but little news being closed so soon after our departure it was also welcome from its giving us reason to believe we might get others for from the vast quantities of letters at the office & the bad workg. of Postal affairs we were dreadfully afraid
& feared we should not get lrs from home at all
We make regular application Our 2 last were registered (containg. a few small specimens of the precious metal) which plan we intend to adopt with respect to all future communications
Were very glad to hear you were all well, lc., lc. We are as you may see at the same diggings as when we last wrote have been doing but little The Claim we were
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]
Gold fetches £3.15. per oz. here
Did not forget Mar. 8
On the 5th made a spicy P. Pudding (stood Sam)
working when I wrote last, to which I alluded then did not turn out much afterwards but it afforded us about a fortnights amusement in the shape of real hard work have made a few ozs. since, just to use a common current expression "Clearing our Tuckers" = but we are free & indepdt.
Our (formerly large) party is gradually diminishg. becoming "small by degrees yet beautifully less" I told you in my last that Adams was the first to go then Knights, Andrews the party who joined on board the "Great Btn." recently discovered some intimate friends out here & has joined them he is now working with them at a place abt. 6 miles distt. called Fryers Creek We propose paying him a visit on Sunday next (Dine out) Porter & Davey left on Saty. eveng. last they are going with a dray tomorrow it is their intention to work thro the Winter at Melb. as Masons =
There are now but 3 remaining of that regular, well formed systematic Company [indecipherable] us by the bonds of Brotherhood = Viz Taylor Lyton & myself Balls remains with us We are therefore but 4 = have gradually reduced our establishment sold the 2 large tents for £20 We made a smaller Colonial shaped one about 13 ft x 10 ft by abt. 9 ft to the ridge in which we have taken up our abode in which we shall if we remain at the digg. fit up for the Winter & rainy season which lasts abt. 3 mos. A couple of sacks ends sewn together with a pole put thro each side & the ends
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]
Davey & Porter are just started off to Melb with kindest love to all at home Love Regards Viz to all friends Shall write to Jno W. Remember us to the Men of the 522
Shortly am anxiously expectg. the arrival of next mail
The "Atrevida" is off again to Engd. Passengers & Wool
We frequently forward papers
How is [indecipherable] more flourishg. I hope tell us all the news when you write Address letters to us very plain The one I recd. was listed at the P. O. as Jno. H.W> Pettis
laid upon 4
natl. naturally formed Crotches makes our bedstead
[Two sketches of bedstead and tent]
[One sketch of arrangement of beds]
Sketch shows the arrangement of the beds
No 1 Balls 2 Lyton 3 Taylor 4 Pettit
We in consequence of so many changes have been very unsettled if we can see our way clear have no doubt shall continue a few months more at the diggings give them a good trial We want to manage to get a few pounds together to enable us to stand the bad weather, which comes on in about 2 Mos. otherwise we should be in a pickle provisions very high & not in
A place called Bendigo abt. 25 or 30 miles distt. is the spot talked of amongst us for winter quarters being generally easy & dry sinkg. = but if we run short we must try other dodges get work as a Carpenter or be a [indecipherable] or get work on the road abt. 10 bob a day this is colonial I guess too we should make you open yr eyes if you could see us and hear us "life" the Diggers Colonial slang
This life is very far beyond a Gypsys in Engd. for wildness = free to [indecipherable] & do just as you please =
There are We fall in with many strange characters there is some rough work too at times We have never been molested nor do we much fear it
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Hope I hear from you again soon
Yr. Affec. Son
have always a brace or two of [indecipherable] handy at night it is very dangerous work to approach any
strang ones tent after dark = & not often tried by strangers = 1-2-3-pop!! = & I guess we shouldnt be far off a mark at 15 yds
We are abt. to shift our quarters having decided to continue to work in "New Chum Gulley" which locality I think I alluded to in my last, & being abt. a mile dist. it takes up time going backwards & forwd. to meals and as our number is now so materially reduced we shall be obliged to dispense with a Regular Cook & Tent Keeper We get handy chaps Can do a piece of Beef Brown make a plum p. & a tidy Cake Soup, lc., lc., lc. according to our ingredients
We make first rate Bread make our own yeast = bake in a Camp Oven = a round deep cast iron pan with a cover [Two sketches of camp oven and a sketch of a loaf of bread at beginning of line] our loaves are round abt. 2 feet over by abt. 7 to 9 ins deep This life teaches one to shift for oneself & it [indecipherable] with fastidiousness =
The Nights are generally terribly cold frosts frequent when we get up in the morng. (before sunrise!!!) the hills & country are often quite white The fleas confound em (if I spoke Colonially I should use another expression, but hardly fit for [indecipherable]) are a terrible torment they run [indecipherable] large in size with respect to number it is not at all limited have had sevl. upon my paper while writg. (at about this size [A sketch of a flea here] This country abounds in insects of every description =
Have not heard a word of Thurgar & his party or of Woods since we left Melb Adams is gone to Bendigo = Have never seen any thing of the Young Tracys = shall close this in the morng. "our Chaps" all asleep long ago
J. H. W. Pettit
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
Jno H. W. P.
Forest Creek Diggings
Monday January 24th, 1853
Letter No 5
1 from Downs
2 from Madeira
3 from Hobsons Bay P. Phillip
4 from Tent Ground Melbourne
My dr. Father & Mother,
My last letter was posted just previous to our leaving Melb for these Diggings We should have started on the Tuesday but the Carter deceived us We had struck our tent & Rob. & myself were seated very disconsolately upon our property almost all day Knights was trying to find fellow up Towards the evening the sky suddenly became very black & threatening so we hastily made as good a tent as we could with our said property & a tarpaulin & trenched it just as we were completg.
our arrangements, we had a fearful storm of wind & rain blew down tents all around us but we remained all right & dry slept there that night, & started on our journey the next morning Three of Mr. Slacks sons & a party named Hills from Norh. as well as 2 sailors joined us going up making the No with the Carter 10
We arrived up here safe the details of our journey & proceedings
of since our arrival you shall receive from me next mail Robt. is at home this afternoon to finish his letter which you no doubt will see, from which you can obtain some acct. of of our doings Commenced a long letter yesterday but could not finish it
My partner is waiting
now for me to go to work my turn to be at home will come next time We have been sinking sevl. holes about have obtd.
Gold enough to pay the expenses of living up here perhaps a little more it is hard work we usually rise with the Sun, & keep at it until dark, Rob. & myself have been usually employed about wet holes which I can only compare to bucket-well sinking the way of proceeding will communicate next time have obtd. a specimen or two with some Gold which will enclose next time
We are anxiously looking forwd. to receive
a lres from home trust you are all well, lc., lc.
Adams & Knights had since our arrival several petty quarrels which terminated by Adams leaving the party I cannot say
altogether that I regret its
We are as comfortable here as we can expect the weather is dreadfully hot I think I told you in my last that I saw
Short at Melb. he stated he had written sevl.
letters to you I said you had recd. but one he is doing well he is rather afraid of being found at by some of his former Englh. acquaintances he tried the Diggings
We are quite well
Give my kindest love to all Friends [indecipherable]
And believe me my dr. F. & M.
Yr. Truly Affec. son
In my last I wished you to direct my future letters until further advice to Mr Jas. Brown Mr. H. Youngs Store Merchants, lc.
Melb. Market Strt Melb.
Write me a long acct of the doings for I feel rather anxious to hear something of you all
I an 25 Letters were too late to go yesterday thinkg. you would like to see gold of our processing I opened the letter & have enclosed a small specimen or two from our first sinkg. Wet work, sevl. hundred buckets of water drawn out every day keep the water down or we could not work at all there is one little rugged [indecipherable] piece amongst the Gold which was taken from the top of a hill that taken from the flat where we worked is as you see well washed Robt. & myself have usually up to this [indecipherable] been partners this week Davy is with me we are now sinkg. a good size grave soil something like leather between 2 hills sun directly above us
[A sketch of tent in the top right-hand corner of the page]
Letter No. 8
Nr. Saw Pit Gulley
June 1st, 1853
My dr. Father & Mother,
Since last writing we have experienced a few more of those changes both in position, & employment so common in this changeable Colony
We have relinquished Gold digging almost from necessity from a run of indifferent luck it being to us latterly like Mr Wilkin Micawbers [indecipherable] in the Coal line hardly sufficiently remunerative
We were finding a little (very many were doing much worse) but bad weather was gradually stealing upon us when the opportunity for working would be less and the rates of provisions lc., lc. multiplied by 3 or 4 have a few ozs. of the precious ore by me which I firmly resolved should be held sacred, & not touched upon any consideration
So just previous to coming to that position of being obliged to dip ones hand into the deepest corners of ones pocket in the attempt to find a sixpence We After various pros & cons decided to try something less exciting & interesting, but decidedly more certain, so we each applied for, & obtained Govt. situations I daresay you would puzzled to guess what they were, & the duties to come to the point at once we are on the Roads
I dare say you have seen old men in England on the side of the Turnpikes smashing stones, lc., lc., lc. for about 5/- per week Well that is (just at this time) the style of our employment How very aristocratic Having obtained the necessary information myself & another of our party started off as pioneers (leaving Robt. & the rest to complete a hole they were working) taking a tarpaulin our blankets tin pot [indecipherable] tools, grub, lc., lc., to get set on & kick out a spot for our tent, cut the necessary poles, lc. & prepare for erectg. & the rest coming
At the first road party (abt. 3 miles distt.) it was no go so on we went to the 2nd which was located beyond the Diggings in the Bush it became dark before reaching our destination, so we struck up our tarpaulin "by de light or de Moon" all amongst de possums made up a huge fire, lc. & turned in Next morn we made the second station all right the others came soon after & there we are as right as the mail
Having been at work about [indecipherable] weeks there are a few men followg. the same occupation tented not a great distce. from us but some of them were [indecipherable] rough gentlemen Just imagine yrselves located in a tent amongst very steep lofty rocky continuous ranges of hills very thickly wooded every direction nothing but trees, lc., being in fact an immense forest We see plenty of "Possums up de Gum tree"
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
think how anxious I am respecting one for me as I feel sure there is one if it is not gone astray We often speculate & wonder how you all are & what you are doing, lc., lc. but this is very poor satisfaction I often write to the M. Gent. Melb. Cannot help feeling very anxious about you all have walked miles & miles to the P. O. to see if any letters were come up in answer to my applications
Just fancy yrselves almongst a rough lot as we are no one we can make friends of My names Bill, Tom, Jack, Jim & Fiddler amongst them indiscriminately I mean amongst the men generally about here many are of course [indecipherable] time convicts shouldnt care if I [indecipherable] look in amongst you all sometimes English news generally we see by the extracts in the journals of the Colony it is useless for you to send any papers I shall not by any chance get them under the present state of postal arrangements
My mates are in bed & asleep long ago this is my week to be Cook unfortunately so have but little spare time its a sort of slavery week up first [indecipherable] first to bed last do everything in the cooking line & tent work extra its getting late Im almost frozen the Possums scampering about outside in style shall endeavour to add a few words tomorrow night If Id time opportunity & the matls. would send you a sketch of our tent
& do Kitchen, lc., lc. as we are
You would be amused at my appearance now not shave for 6 months & some parts for nearly 9 My beard is some inches in length & very thick a moustache of immense size if turned up it reaches up beyond my eyebrows shall if I go on in this way have to lengthen ends over my ears my hair has not been cut for 5 months (am asked how many years Ive been in the Colony ) It keeps me from takg. cold sore throat so common just at this
sometimes have a bang at them on a clear moonlight night Kangaroo Rats, & Flying Squirrels occasionally pay us a visit one of the latter class came thump upon our canvas during the night & was "humbugging" round us for some time it was cold frosty
night we all tired & sleepy & tucked up warm so he was allowed to depart as he came
While up the ranges a few days since in search of poles we fell in with some Emus but they soon gave us leg bail (immense birds)
As for mice Confound em they almost run away with us We have most extensive cellars & tunnels under us We fear some of us will break thro some time or other & disappear from this world they appear to have large general meetings every night, & fine frolics when they do meet it is a source of great regret to us their not bringing their night-men with them they run all over us Robt. woke up [indecipherable] alarmed a few nights since from one of the interesting little creatures gambolling over his face
While clearing some ground of large trees we had a rope hitched to one to bring one down in a particr. direction While [indecipherable] on it it the rope snapped down hill I went, head first by the run, & was brought up ([indecipherable] "all standing") by my head coming in contact with the sharp edge of a projecting rock lucky it was rather thick in that quarter I picked myself up, wondering if I was at [indecipherable] entirely when I saw the blood they gave me some Brandy which topped me up altogether a day or two put me to right again
We are tented on the brow of a small hill overlooking a flat on one side on which the Supts. Tent is placed Hills & Woods every
The Diggings generally are very dull those at Forest Creek are nearly stamped up for a time (Thurgar went there) The Ovens are in a great measure over for the Winter in consequence of the wet there has been some strange work there the police driven from the ground set at defiance the men worked without a license this state of things was caused principally by one of the detectives accidently shootg. a man at some disturbance
A new field has been opened recently a few whose workg. caused the rush did pretty well, but the majority have lost money 20,000 parties made their way there in the course of a week or two under such circumstances there was not half enough in the store grub line for such a mass of people so the state of things there may be imagined
We as well as others heard flattering accounts at first & I may say some of the party had thought of giving them a look but diggers returng. made us think it could not be very prime, so we remained where we are We heard recently that Adams was at Bendigo running franticly to every new Rush Davey & Porter are engaged nr. Keillor a few miles from Melb. at good wages
Grog selling goes on here to a great extent numbers of tents have recently been pulled down by the Police
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
My amusement all to day has been breaking up great masses of sand-stone (some containing 1½ cubic yards & rolling them about 50 yards making a heap theyll be carted tomorrow
We are on very good terms with the Suptt. & his Assistant The former always call "Sir" the latter often smokes a pipe with us The men fraternize with us The Fiddle brings them up I think this life would suit Arthur
Tis no use being nice here turn yr. hand to anything
I heard a few days since T. Leavolds the Drapers son was store keeping nr. Krillor Porter who used to be in our party found out he knew me & thro [indecipherable] from said Gentn.
Let me beg of you (all) to write every opportunity even if the Communications are unimportant Often sit over our fire with the pipe Geo. gave me wondering how things are going on
Building with old country is paid very difft. to what it is here good Carpenters can make extraordinary wages one came out in the same ship with us is makg. 35s/- per day any price to get work done Men here with Horses & Carts can clear £50 per Month cartg. for the Roads for each horse & cart
I think I have nearly exhausted by Budget of news so must come to a conclusion
Kindest love & regards to all Friends
Hoping to hear from you shortly believe me
My dr. Father & Mother
Yr. Ever Truly Affectionate
What think you of one of these places clearing £500 pr. week by the sale on the sly of this article this was done at
a place a large general store (General) we used to deal at when on Campbells Flat
Sorry we are not able to send a few words by young R. Slack he called upon us just previous to his startg. for Melb. to get a ship for Engd. We prepared a small parcel to forwd. by him Went in search of his tent, but could not find him it up until a few hrs. after he had left had enclosed a specimen or two of gold in rock
I received a very kind letter from Mrs. Short I wrote down askg. her to send up a couple of Rugs for Robt. & myself which she sent a former letter
from me of mine had miscarried & not having heard a word she thought something was wrong = & advertized for me twice in March which of course we never saw I expect to get a letter from them again in a few days they were well
Provisions now are getting up Carriage from Melb. to this spot £60/-/- Bread pr lb. -/9d Potatoes 1s/- Butter /4/- Flour pr bag of 200lbs £10/-/- & upwards Cheese /4s/- pr lb Rice 1/3 Plums 2/- Apples 3s/- Coffee 4s/- Tea 4s/- Coarse sugar -/10d. Meat -/6s. Milk 1/6 pr pint Oats 25s/- pr bushel Bran 1s/- Hay from 1s/- to 1/6 pr lb
We are obliged to be economical dont allow ourselves Butter dripping is substituted no cheese Rice enters largely into our meals abt. 1lb of "taters" each pr week time now being a consideration (days short & company smaller) We content ourselves with soda-damper ask Geo how he would like to have to set his bread agoing before going to office We have to do this before going to work it is sometimes precious cold up at day-break frosty & we frequently have the water in our buckets sheeted with ice in the morning grass milk white
The Winter here is very disagreeable rain! rain! rain! & it comes down "& no gammon" "my word" "believe me" (Colonial phrases without the trimmings) it I am told rains incessantly for 3 weeks during some seasons but weve been much favd. up to present have 2 or 3 times been caught coming from the further part of the Diggings (abt. 6 miles) raining in torrents & coming off the hills & down the Gullies in streams the roads knee deep in parts all dark as the grave in my shirt sleeves 2lbs of beef & other things on my shoulder floundering in holes stumbling up hills it can be better imagined than described but the realitys by no means enviable
We cant altogether forget Gold seeking We are workg. two holes on the quiet in a neighbourg. gulley ([indecipherable] times for amusement) Am afraid theyll turn out deep, when finished
Bush Ranging is commencing to be carried on extensively in some parts of the Road (Black Forest) the Escort is strengthened but theres almost too much traffic to be good pay 3 Fellows came past a few days since Bracelets on & each ones horse linked to another on which was perched a raw-lobster armed and one behind with a Colts in his hand it appears there were 4 of them they "stuck up" all they met indescriminately stopping at a Public Ho. on the Road abt. 4 miles distt. they took a "Nobbler" too
Fancy 7.14 to 35 yrs on the Road
Bush & escaped they Visit offences of this nature very severely = & theres no nonsense a cart a short time since was conveyg. some prisoners & one attempted to get over the side & escape one of the police in charge up with this piece & shot him dead instantly
We are comparatively quiet up Forest Crk way occasionally a party get stuck up our tent robbed = the rascals pretend to be [indecipherable] Weve never been molested
Our first job upon the Roads was excavating to land up We took a [indecipherable] to build 2 of us employed upon it Went up into ranges cut poles placed them upright feet in ground tops between 2 rails trimming the bark [indecipherable] make them but together it was abt. 16 ft x 12 ft in clear 6 ft to plate 10 ft to ridge it was not a Govt. job but for the Suptt. so we did it for £10/-/- very cheap makg. at that 10/- to 12/- pr day
[A sketch inside left margin amongst a few lines of text].
Have had all kinds of work Quarrying stone for the land surfacing the stones off & opening
the hills Quarries in the hills knocking out & rising (with gt. hammers & wedges) up the metal to moveable sizes for which we get 4s/6 for yard cubic of which we can make from 10s/ to 30s/- pr diem it depends much upon the quarry it is heavy work then theres the what is termed blinding good binding stuff to cover the stone if lucky enough to get a good spot, good wages may be made but must take the rough with the smooth a day or two ago we knocked between 70 & 80 loads after dinner 5 of us we had to work 2 carts going £1/3s pr load (1/2 yard to the load) Spreading metal 18 in at crown to abt. 6 at lowest part 2/6 pr yard 5 ½ yds cubic to the lineal yard of road Table draining or cutting the down the sides of the road [A sketch inserted following previous word] 4/6 pr. lineal yd. of Road can do well at that
Myself & another of our party were carters for a few days for which we had 10/- pr diem (from about sunrise to sunset) only the seeing after yr. horse is a confounded bore The horse after getting a [indecipherable] after leaving off has to be taken up into some gully where theres good feed hobbled & turned adrift next morn off as soon as it begins to get light to bring the animal home to give him his breakfast altho hobbled they sometimes get a very long way from home & of a thick morng. you may hunt for hours amongst the trees & bushes wet up to the knees from the heavy dew rainy weather tis anything but pleasant my nag was a young strong half broken in self willed hard mouthed animal he wanted a curb but my MASTER hadnt one so with only a common bit in his mouth it was no fun he would never back one inch all go ahead & required my whole strength to bring him up & the work all amongst holes stones trees, lc., lc. =
We want if possible to make a few pounds before trying anything fresh which I must by perseverance, we may do there are of course a few drawbacks but I think very good wages may be made on the average In Quarryg. we see plenty of very large Cent-pieds, Scorpions & some young snakes & a vast number of most beautiful insects, lc.
Robt. in answer to a lre. to the Post Master Melb. recd. lre from home, which came out pr "Adelaide" Mail Steam Ship to my gt. disappointmt. there were none for me I dont now quite despair it may come up from Melb. yet but this will be forwarded before I can know you cannot
Lre No. 9
June 16th, 1853
My dr. Father,
As one of our party is going to Castlemaine Forest Creek today have just snatched up a pen to acknowledge the receipt of two epistles from home
One from you is P. Mark some time in Novr. and
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. Have forwarded a paper by this post.
from Nabs. Octr. 14th.
Many many thanks for the News when Ive a minute to spare I read my letters I wrote home a few days ago but was not then in receipt of them
I have but little news to communicate having given you all in my last
I intended to have
something in the shape of a letter last eveng. but the Assistant Road Supt. came in to offer us the chance of a contract for excavating a Culvert across the road
Am just off to get particulars to form an estimate for the job I put it down somewhere about £300-/-
Mr. Short is removed from
Flinders Street but dare say youve heard from [indecipherable]
Shall correspond with [indecipherable] in a few days am expecting a letter from that quarter
With kindest love to all dr. friends [indecipherable]
Jos. A. Pettit
Lre No. 10
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
August 4th, 1853
My dr. Father,
It was with feelings of the greatest pleasure and delight that at one of my visits to the Post office, situated in the township of Castlemaine, I received two epistles, one from you, the other from Nabs another was given me, but it was not mine however & it was with some regret that I retd. it again to the Office Many many thanks for the accumulation of News forwarded it was very acceptable
My letters were read regularly every day for a long time, writing recently to Short I forwarded yrs for their perusal have not received any communications from them for so long period afraid theyve moved again wrote 2 letters to them yesterday to 2 addresses to endeavour to find them up also scribbled a few lines to Jno-Yorng. Swan River Settlemt. giving him what news I could, lc.
We are still upon the Roads but just now worked out altho we hope to go on again in a few days should we get that which in polite language is termed the Sack
Why Robt. & myself have made up our minds to trudge down to Town
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
shell enclose one each time
Dont forget me to all frds. [indecipherable] Mr. & Mrs. Bird [indecipherable] Jackson [indecipherable] All my little Cozs & frds
It appears therell be a lot soon that I shall know nothing about Remember me truly to Messrs. Haggs-Barnes [indecipherable] & in act all I know Members of P. F. L.
Hoping to hear from you soon
[indecipherable] believe to remind my dr. Father
Yr. truly Affec Son
and try our luck there Almost all but ourselves have been discharged for some time The Supt. informed me he would endeavour to keep us on We are pretty quiet & in some measure to be depended upon for generally he has to do with some very queer characters
Dont want to go just now, for being almost the only chaps on the place we can to a certain extent pick our spots for quarrying, lc., & make very good wages our last week averaged us about 25s/- pr diem ea.
We excavated the Culvert mentd. in my last, for which we had £30/-/- it is across the proposed new road, in a small gully to take the water from the hills we had to cut a track down about 30 ft long 4 ft to 4 ft 6 deep building rough stone-wall, dry on either side leaving a course about 5 ft wide in the clear Hewn plates laid on both walls & logs about 7 ft 6 long, varyg. from 8 in to 10 in diar. [indecipherable] across a post being put down at the end of each wall to keep the logs together which were lain close, busked & the loose earth thrown over the logs were obtd. & trimmed in the immediate vicinity the stone found & carted We did very well at it
[Three sketches across the page].
I have recently been sleeping in a tent about 100 yds from our own, to take care of Scotch-woman & her bairns, while her husband gone down to Melb.
Upon referring to our Company papers we find we have passed the 12 Mos. agreed upon but only
3 of us have stood to their rules Robt. Sexton & myself Bulls whom Adams admitted into party the remains with us & we have agreed very well, & have been pretty comfortable together Sexton has found out so friends of his & it is not improbable that when we do break up altogether he is likely to join them at digging at Bendigo
What has become of Adams nobody knows weve never heard from him Porter & Davey are at work at Melb. Also Knights =
Ive not yet delivered Mr. [indecipherable] Packet to Mr. Trollope his instructions were for me to deliver it into his own hands not having been in Melb. have not been able to do so but shall endeavour to find him up by some means the next time I go down
Have advertized the Messrs. Traceys, some time since stating I had brought out a communication from their friends but the fools at the Paper Office
neglected to put in my address they do things by halves here I wrote to them calling attention to the mistake but not being able to get paper to print their periodicial upon there has been no advertisement sheets printed since the beginning of June & but very few copies of the paper, & so it will have to be until they get a supply from Engd.
With respect to letters, lc. forwardd. to me for the future I thnk it will best for you to disregard any information you may receive in any way, & address plain (for I hope youll continue to write) as follows "until further notice)" Jno. H. W. Pettit Archt. late of Ipswich P. Office Melbourne the last I recd. from you was addressed to Care of J. S. Flinders Strt. he was [indecipherable] & the letter retd. to the P. Office & I obtd.
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
Let me beg you to write when you can & as much as you can.
application to the P. M. Genl. Im afraid now some are gone [indecipherable] for there has been sevl. mails in recently but no letters can I get nor Robt. Sexton has recd. 7 or 8 & as late as the latter part of Apl. Im afraid sombody has obtd.
I have given some particulars of a daring robbery on the Road recently committed out here in some [indecipherable] the home epistles The private Escort was stopped some of the guards shot All the Gold amountg. to some thousands of ozs. [indecipherable] & the thieves clear off & no clues to the [indecipherable] it puts the Govt. upon their Mettle
The Murder of [indecipherable] Probart Hunt & others is undoubtedly well rembd. by you, Im given to understand upon I believe good Authority, that Hunt is at this time Post-Master at Bathurst nr Sydney
There is some talk about a movement like to take place amongst Diggers to get the amt. of Gold licenses reduced to [indecipherable] Month, lc., lc. a stir is threatened
We fall in with occasional Kangaroo but havent got so far as the skinning yet
I dont know if Ive told you ever that in this locality [indecipherable] standing the [indecipherable] that of the Shepherd who first discovd. Gold in this part the story says that being annoyed at the digging becoming general he played some pranks made himself very obnoxious to the diggers who buried him alive in his hole
Things are pretty dear here it cost me 30s/- for a pair of "High-lows" that I should get for abt. 7s/6 at home & 20s/- for soling a pair & not done first rate either
With Kindest love to yrself & Dr. Mother to whom I return many thanks for her little note
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
What think you of brs £19 Slates at £45 a ton.
Sunday Octr. 31st, 1853
My dear Father,
Having very recently seen a Lady named Hardman one of the first Cabin passengers in the "Atrevida" who informed me she was starting at once for England by the "Ballarat" (which vessel came out just previous to our little craft) & very kindly offering to undertake the charge of any communication and post it for us in the old country thinking this too good an opportunity to lose for forwarding a few words, have taken up our pens this morning for the purpose of dotting them down just to convey to you
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Labourers about 60/- pr week Lodging & Board (in regular Lodgg. It is from 40s/- to 60/- per week washing, lc. extra The value of Labor fluctuates much, according to the state of the market, speculating Builds is a payg. game & should think it will be for some long period to come Am anxious to scrape a letter together & get up a place or two = I have an idea of getting you to make me a few sashes & casements but will give you
further the necessary instructions in my next must now come to conclusion and with kindest Love & Rembrances to all friends
Believe me to Remain Yr. Affec.
our whereabout that we are still in the land of the living & all right, lc., lc. (but could not finish [indecipherable] lose it) [indecipherable] very nearly completed a detail account of our proceedings during the last few weeks
We are both down from the Diggings and are with J. Short about 3 miles from Melb. all are well they are at Chapel am engaged to superintend the working some Steam-Sawing-Mills, away up in the Bush which are now in the course of erection He has a young man at work for him an Engineer named Hastings from Dereham Norfolk He is an intelligent, well informed young fellow & we are great chums but will forward particular very shortly (next mail)
Robt. is with me Have obtained your packet No. 5 (containing Letters for Messrs. Tracey) but not Nos. 3 & 4 Robt. has communications as late as June, which informs us nothing has
reached you from us but one little scrap sent off immediately upon our arrival in the Bay. It is needless to add, we have written very long epistles periodically, which we trust have by this time reached their destination Be careful to address always Jno. H. W. Pettit Architect (
late of Ips) P. O. Melb. Have taken a private box at the Office almost all letters of mine have been opened previous to coming into my hands
Short has left Flinders street a long time He [indecipherable] to give us a lift when he can Building is the Business to make money at here But will describe more fully in my next Short has done well if he were a little better businessman he might do much better he wants much to see you out here and Im almost tempted to wish you were should have no fear for yr. success Nothing hardly is done that does not immediately
return from 100 to 400 per cent by business men in yr. line a turn of the scale reaches a man
As for the horrible doings
at home as described at home they are much exaggerated Robbery is common but bloodshed & murder is not now committed with impunity that day is gone by from home letters you all appear to have most ridiculous ideas of how we go on here fancyg. we must come down to Melb. for the Winter, lc., lc. What should we come down for [indecipherable] we stopped up the country during that period I dont exactly know the population of Melb. say 30,000 there are about 2 or 300,000 people on the various Diggings suppose them all in this little town during Winter a pretty fix =
Dont upon any acct. let my letters home ever be allowed to induce any one to come out Half that do come had better have stayed Clerks are not wanted they must come to hard work Stone masons are just now getting 3s [indecipherable] per day really good Carpenters & farmers can
make about the same good plasters as much as 40 [indecipherable] per day
Lre. No. 11
Parish of Mulgrave Dande-nong Ranges
Sunday Evening November 28th, 1853
My dr. Father,
Since writing last from Elphingstone (Township) or Saw-Pit Gully as tis more commonly called we have had another change both in locality & employment as you no doubt will have seen by this time, from a letter forwarded recently by a Lady named Hardman, one of our first Cabin passengers out who started for Engd. pr "Ballarat" one of the ships sent out by Youngs Agents just previous to the "Atrevida" = she behaved most uncommonly kind to me while unwell = (We understand by the bye she is returng. to get married to the Capt. of our little Craft) She most kindly offered undertake charge of a parcel to post or forwd. upon her arrival in the Old Country to you
Her departure was hasty we wanted to have sent a few specimens, lc. by her but from various causes could not Took the liberty to mention to her, should she honor Orwell Strt. with a visit you would be happy to give her a trip upon one of the most beautiful Rivers in Engd. or to receive her little son as a visitor for a period
Have found up Messr. Short a party brought me a letter up (while upon the roads) from them wherein he stated he was about starting some Steam-Sawing-Mills offering me the place to work the affairs came down & am with him now Rob. joined me about 2 mos. afterwards & he we are = Did very well latterly upon the Roads making from 15s/- to 30s/- per day =
We had quite worked our way into the Supts. good graces, and he behaved most kindly when I came away = Rob. & his mate W. Balls (Sexton went to Bendigo to join some of his friends there) frequently dined with him after we left = his wife cooked for them = he the Supt. has since left the Roads and started a Wine-Store at Saw-Pit Gully (I made him some sketches estimates, lc. previous to leaving) he offered
Messr. both Rob & Balls situations with him one of which Balls accepted his offer and is with him now =
Deposited Gold at Escort-Office previous to leaving for transit about 1lb weight =
Started for Town on Weds. morning Aug 31st. joining a 2 Horse dray [indecipherable] light it was a wretched miserable rainy day rain coming down in torrents roads in a fearful condition, lying at times thromere swamps many miles nearly knee deep with mire we came up with many loaded drays, capsized, & set fast for some time we gave each a lift & a pull but these unfortunates at last were so thick together, that we were obliged to give all the go bye as our leader was getting knocked up leaving them in their unenviable condition or we should not be able to
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
My dr. Mother Have not sent you any Gold to manufacture into a ring but will do so next time Wish I had known it had been desired before If Father has not enough will also enclose some more but tis hardly safe to send too much at one time Write when you have an opportunity
reach a spot where we could Camp ourselves could not help pityg. the poor devils but what was to be done had paid my fare to ride but that was out of the question the horses could hardly get the dray along =
We brought up that night upon some large swampy flats about 3 miles from a place named Kyneton our comfort being added to by a nice drizzling rain = after some trouble we got a fire going, dried ourselves as well as
possible we could (our No. being 3 two chaps belongg. to the Conveyance & myself) stuck a bit of a tarpaulin up over us after a fashion and however we managed to stow ourselves [indecipherable] away was & is to this day a perfect mystery up at daylight off again
This days march was more tedious & miserable than the previous one the dray frequently up to the [indecipherable] Miles & miles did we tramp it thro mud & mire nr. knee deep Drays fast Horses & Bullocks down in all directions often nr. a spill the common road in some parts being impassable we went round another way finding a road, where we could had to twice ford a river called the Campaspe River (am not quite sure how this is spelt) which from being much swollen by the late rains rendered it both difficult & dangerous however we blundered on until making a place called Woods End the entrance to the Black Forest
The road here was in a terrible condition the dray slipped into a hole caught one wheel against a part of a fallen tree & over it went completely bottom upwards there we were settled at last, and above our knees in mud both horses fell the one in the shafts being forced down by the weight of the Dray, could only see his head & neck
We were in a fine pickle after some difficulty, better imagined than described, we cleared the Horses and looked at the Dray for a while = tackled this job at last this was no easy task seeing we could hardly extricate our legs to make a long story short by dint of much grunting-sweating, puffing & blowing this feat was accomplished luckily a tarpaulin was covered over our traps, and from the complete turn over it formed a bottom for them, we eventually recovered the principal part of the things when a another conveyance came up & blundered over the spot driving everything remaining (to speak colonially not elegantly) to the Devil the tarpaulin bedded as it was stuck to our ribs & no mistake You would have been amused to have seen us diving our arms down in search of the missing articles We were obliged to leave many bedded beyond redemption =
One of the chaps had a nobby white Beaver "Chimley-Pot" in which he intended for to [indecipherable] a shine in town [indecipherable] this suffered much from the disaster having been subjected to the slight pressure of a Horses hoof upon my presenting it to him in it delapidated condition twas most laughable to see his look
of as he contemplated the ruins the loss of our fryg. pan was most felt,
and regretted we cut smart figures after this exploit smothered from head to foot talk of mud-larking in general, or of the appearance of youthful aspirants for fame at Whitsuntide, they were nothing compared with us
We proceeded a mile or two into the Forest camped by a little brook where we made futile attempts at a polish but it was a miserable apology We made an enormous fire had a tune on the Fiddle I dont suppose the [indecipherable] Shrubland-Polka or [indecipherable] is often practised its gloomy shades made thro forest next morn = passing close to Mounts. Macedon, roads bad of course frequently holding on the Dray to keep it up, after getting clear of this place the way begins to improve
Upon my word am not surprised at men [indecipherable] being wound up by this [indecipherable] on the roads in the
rainy winter [indecipherable] more Brandy & burnt more Backy in those two days than I ever did in so short a period before
Passing "Aitkins Gap" (which in a previous letter I believe I misnamed Hagans Gap) made the Keillor plans camp about the middle it looked miserably dreary, hardly a tree & no scrub to be seen for many miles round, another dray joined us on which was a Lady & Gentn. from some where nr. Norwich had a tune, some talk about Jenny Lind the Festival, lc. = Made beds on the grass I hoped it would continue fine it looked rather inclined to cool our courage
Reached Melb. next day had a clean shave for the first time since leaving home was beginning to assume quite a [indecipherable] appearance, beard abt. 8 ins. long, slept in a Lodging Ho. that night the bed-room was very low & about same size as one occupied by Geo. & myself when at home there were only 6 beds in it Trudged to Prahan next morng. Found up Messrs. S. they made me welcome seemed very awkward in a house chairs quite superfluous much more at home seated on the floor = lc., lc.
The Saw Mills are being erected up here in the Bush upon part of 5 Acres of land he has purchased at Govt. Sale the ground about here is disposed of, it is proclaimed a Township & people are now gradually gathering Have been up here this week entirely by myself am buildg. wood houses shops lc. have built a brick chimney or two, lc., Jack of all trades, Architect Surveyor Paper hanger Painter Glazer Bricklayer Carpenter Wheelwright Carter Clerk anything thats required am getting 12s/- per day clear grub, lodgg., lc., lc. found = and am to have a percentage on the work done in the cutting line
These mills ought to have been going ahead 12 mos. ago when they must have paid stuff then was very high common ceder boards from Singapore were fetchg. from [indecipherable] & upwards pr. ft (3/4 stuff) now 2 Ύ will buy it = his plan is to cut quartg., lc. up here in the Bush & cart it into Town hope they will answer if they dont my next Lodge is uncertain Thorough good workmen are gettg. good wages Building established men are doing well Houses are high [indecipherable] to purchase or rent Common labor is coming down =
I regret I was not here 3 yrs. ago A fellow really
had a fortune thrust into his hands when the Diggings opened Quite a Colonist now You must not pay any attention to the Old Womans tales preached at home times are altered much even since our arrival = This place is neither a paradise nor a hell every body are generally "gallus" sharp making money or trying to do so =
There are very many Jews at Melb. Half the poor wretches who come out had much better have remained at home particularly those well brought up unaccustomed to work, theres nothing but sheer labor for them they are cowed, beaten & disgusted = I pity the New Chum who is unwell out here No friends or money =
Im sure I cant say if we shall do much good
out here but have not had a fair trial yet altho weve had a rough drilling Short made almost all his tin by purchasing land at the right period
Have obtd. Lre No. 5 brought out by Cpt. Cloid at the P. O. = but No. 4 & 4 have not reached me = You can imagine how anxious I am to get yr epistles to hear something of home have recently received a couple of papers many thanks
Have never seen or heard of the Messrs. Tracys I enclosed the epistles I had for them in a letter of my own & posted them = Am anxious to deliver Mr. Duninghams packet but cannot find Mr. Trollope yet there are such vast nos. of merchants tis true Ive but few opportunities to make enquiries.
Robt. has received 4 letters from home within I think abt. 2 months one as late as August am anxiously on the look out for some = Am glad to hear business improving everything you write is news am vexed to lose the letter forwarded by Mr. Hatch Glad to hear of Jno. W. have written but never recd. any [indecipherable]
Trust my dr. Mother & all Friends are well Gdfr. & Gdr. Pettit [indecipherable] Uncles Aunts kind love to all Remember me to [indecipherable] all friends Mr. Mrs. Duningham do Barnes Mr. Stead Messrs. Townsend & family Mr. & Mrs. Dorling [indecipherable] all Bros. I often think of all & wish I could return for a short time to have a look round =
Must come to a conclusion tis of little use spinning a long yarn about nothing have but little else to communicate worth mentioning = I trust you all will enjoy a Merry Xtmas & may the new year prove a happy one I need not say
how pleased write as often as possible if it be only to say Alls well, lose no opportunity as it is probable some letters will miscarry = Being up in the Bush I cannot ask Short if he has anything to say but am satisfied may add [indecipherable] Kind regards & best wishes from them
And with every good wish for the health & happiness lc., lc. of all at home believe me my dr. Fr.
Yr. Affec. So.
March 13th, 1854
My dear Father,
It is now a very long period since I received any communication from home, the last letter numbered 5, but the 3rd only that had come into my possession bears date March 5th/53 now more than 12 mos. back you can imagine how really anxious I feel to hear from some of you
Robert has obtained epistles up to September or October last and were it not for some mention made of friends generally in them, should begin to be very uneasy as so much may transpire in so lengthened a space of time
Have called many times upon Mr. James Brown (the party to whose care in the previous letter we advised you to address) from him have had but one solitary paper, ("Express")
Have made applications at the Melbourne P. O. times without number particularly after the arrival of mails, but to no purpose Occasional notes written and posted in the Colony I do get, and sometimes those that are not intended for me for instance, one was handed over the other day addressed H. W. Pettits it proved to be from the Union Bank Melb. stating that an acceptance for £287 of the sd. H. W. Ps had been dishonored
Being perfectly satisfied Letters, lc. are forwarded, cannot imagine into whose hands they are falling any that may be sent for the future, pray register to Jno. H. W. Pettit Architect (!!) (late of Ipswich) P. O. Melb. it gives probably greater chance of my getting them, dont trust to private hand From Robts. I imagine nothing very particular has occurred
We have allowed a much longer period than usual to elapse between writing hoping to have been in a position to state we were doing something satisfactory to ourselves, but under any circumstances, nothing can justify longer delay, particularly as this consummation devoutly to be wished seems as far off as ever like the Will & the Wish receding as we advance and now it appears (to use a nigger preachers definition of of perspective "Perspective my bredren means very often a dn long way off"
Have but little of any consequence to talk or rather write about Have tried hard to get into something on our own accounts, but there is so much to contend against, that it is no easy task can assure you to gain a position of business without money & without friends Good opportunities & chances, are not
now forced upon individuals that day most decidedly is gone by There is plenty of work but there is also plenty of competition, altho at higher prices than in Engd. and undoubtedly it is in many respects much better here both for the Tradesman and Workman than it was at home when I came away
Occasionally parties make lucky hits some investment which turns out most profitably from some sudden unforseen change in these Variable Markets Established men of money Capitalists are the persons who can do best as is the case every where money is lost as well as made here
Intelligent steady industrious persevering hard-working men (labrs.) do uncommonly well too compared with what they could at home inured to hardship, they generally after a while commence, & settle to a course of labor in some line in a small way at first, steadily persevering, in their course & occupation & they gradually attain comparative comfort and independence Viz. perhap 5 Acrs of Land up the country, a hut upon it a horse & dray, and perhaps a little cash in hand to work with Here is a home (such as it is) for him & his family His employmt. probably taking firewood into Town for sale (no coals) burning Charcoal, lc. = & gradually clearing his ground if good for farming in a small way But this is supposing him to have no draw backs = and generally he is considered doing well (perhaps he can lay some cash by) but he has had to struggle and work hard enough to obtain this cannot say this is my ambition =
The Diggings in the first case gave to every thing a false value, and the consequent reached will in my humble opinion be severely felt by many classes persons who possessed any small property in Melb. previous to the discovery of the Gold were almost immediately after such discovery raised in consequence to men of Wealth every thing went up enormously in value property that before could have been purchased for a few hundreds, could not now perhaps be bought for as many hundreds of thousands = but things are gradually coming more to a level and becoming more equalized
Some little time since there was a perfect mania for purchasing Land no matter where, in consequence of which great quantities were sold at the Govt. Sales, not worth two-pence = Some who knew what they were doing of course made money but the mass lost money
A tract is surveyed put upon paper a stylish name given to it and a flourishing account as long as a fore-castle yarn appended detailing the so long overlooked great natural advantages, and vast resources of the locality
(a perfect Eden)
Persons anxious (probably "new Chums") to become Landed Proprietors buy the lots upon speculation the next job (having paid their deposit, lc. is to find up these lots these decided Bargains which is perhaps accomplished after much wandering, and trouble & perhaps discovering at the same time that the Land is not worth a Cent Dry, Light, out of the way (say 20 miles in the bush (terrific roads) and in the dry season no water near by miles =
They may however be in a reverse fix and find their estate to be a regular bog & swamp under water during the greater portion of the year covered with a dense thick scrub of the Tea Tree as it is called It is but seldom a casual buyer picks up anything worth having at a Sale
As far as I can judge there is comparatively but little good Land (available for Agricultural purposes) The country throughout most part the summer, generally speaking completely dried up no feed of any description for Cattle and Drays going inland are often to hike up provisions for their Bullocks
The Diggings continue to give a
continued regular supply of the precious metal should there be anything like a failure in that quarter there would be as [indecipherable]
Labor keeps its value but people have not to run about to entreat men to come & do their work at any price they chose to ask no matter how exorbitant Thats all Gammon Thorough good hands are rather scarce in proportion to the quantity of work reqd. to be executed Consequently wages are high moderate workmen are at a [undecipherable] tis generally admitted they are more trouble than they are worth and tis with some difficulty that they get employ at their trade at remunerative prices or in many cases at all
At one period it was sufficient if a man but stated he was a trade I(then much in request) he could obtain jobs & at any price almost that he chose to ask the result was many ([indecipherable] & Tailors) who never before had a tool in their hands turned to the business say a Carpenter and took Contracts As to how the work was executed, contracts performed, lc. you can pretty well guess
Good Carpenters & Joiners abt. 25s/- per day do Bricklayers 20/- to 25/- do Stone-masons 40/- do Plasterers 40/- the two latter are likely to come down as these high wages are bringing men of these trades in fast, & in the common course of things there exists the probability of considerable reduction this is usually the case here whatever is highest today, will in all likelihood be lowest ere long the high price of the commodity induces so many speculators to obtain a supply
and the market is glutted
For instance look at Timber common scantling 2 ½ in x 3 in (of colonial fresh cut wood ) was abt. 12 months since
was over 50s/- pr. hundred feet this induced so many to turn sawyers, lc. that it may now be had in [indecipherable] for 28 & less and for 20/- at the pit it is the usual practice to make a pit amongst the timber Common Ύ and 1 inch boards (Singapore Ceder is most [indecipherable] tis very poor stuff) went as high as -/7d & 0/8d pr. ft run (9 in & 11 in) it can be bought now for -/3d & less
Again sashes, casements, doors, lc. were fetching tremendous amounts this induced America to send over largely, and they are now to be picked up for a mere song J. G. S. would have had me get a supply out but I wished to see how matters would go first had I been fool enough to have tried that spec should have found out it was very far from being a bright one, as they can be had I believe as low if not below what you would want in yr. own yard One had need be cautious
We thought a short time since to have made a beginning in the Building Line having been brought in contact with a very good Carpenter (a Yankee (named Jacobs he had a Bror. with Macarte) who offered to join us to make a start together and go in sharp at knocking up wooden houses All was arranged and we were to make a commencement in the course of a week or two from that time provided we could get a job came up here for that period
On the Sunday next following he was to have come up
here, and all was to be finally arranged he did not however make his appearance as appointed & abt. the tuesday after Robt. came up & with the information that the fool was on his way to New-York U.S. It appears on the Saty. he went to Melb. fell in with some of his friends who disgusted with the Colony were about returning and persuaded him to accompany them, agreeing to pay his passage on the Monday he was gone leaving us in the lurch
You may guess we were mad enough at the time about it, and offered up short prayers for his folly but perhaps considering the state of things tis as well as it is he was not apparently a bad sort of fellow but dreadfully home sick
We might possibly by working hard have saved a little money after a while there was a chance my informatn. of Archite. & Building generally would have been quite equal to his better acquaintce. with the tools and there would have been plenty Rob. could do
As you are of course aware I want to join a better workman than myself single handed my practice is not sufficient to do well at it and as to paying men 25/- pr day to do almost as the please will not suit
the step would incur expenses
and outlay and outgoings are by no means light would commence at once and even if moderately fortunate what little cash we could muster, would vanish like smoke before we could turn round Building now finding Labor only (have been assured by those in the Line) does not pay at all well unless a party has an opportunity to supply materials getting the benefit of alterations in the Markets
Tis useless attempting to do anything with a mere working man they are best let alone as partners, for almost without exception they appear so excessively short sighted conceited narrow minded & selfish
Robert is at this period in a store Am still with J. S. but have some thoughts of getting away His schemes are many but not my sort at all =
Havent any notion what the next Lodge is to be Have no fear of getting employmt. but dont like the idea of a situation out here at all = It is not at a respectable salary sufficient considering all things away from friends the continued discomfort and total sacrifice of everything in the shape of amusement recreation, lc. then strive as we will are getting no standg. that if a fellow cannot scrape together something like an amount worth speaking of, tis poor doing after working hard (it is no use shirking) continually exposed to and running unavoidable risks of lossening the revets of ones constitution, subjecting it to most unfair, wear & tear & this roughing it is by no means pleasant
The worst of this Climate the temperature undergoes such rapid changes from one extreme to another The morning will be frequently open with a hot wind, which gets worse as the day advances (there is no mistake about its blowing hot either that seems like puffs of heated air from a furnace making one imagine his smellers are singed) the sun blazing away over head all the while frying & broiling a chap in his own tallow
The heat is at times intense almost suffocating this will perhaps last until eveng. when probably the wind will in a few minutes chop round, and blow from seaward, just as cold as it was before hot whistling through one one minute the lightest covering is too much the next requiring 3 or 4 Great Coats sure skylarking amongst the thermometers These hot winds are very prevalent during the summer in Melb. especially tis dreadful at these times they are there most expressively & appropriately termed "Brickfielders" if the wind is strong, it sends the dust flying in style
Will just describe my last visit to the City on a Letter hunting expedition as an illustration a Mail came in recently towards eveng. away I posted to ascertain if there were any for me it was the Golden Age came out in 55 days a very smart passage about the quickest yet made No Letters as usual coming back had to face one of the most violent dust storms I ever witnessed, it blew a perfect hurricane all at once driving dust & large sharp grit with great violence, sending the atmosphere quite thick & dark so as to render it difficult at times to distinguish objects a yard or two distant, sharp work for the face & eyes like 500,000 pea bluffs being discharged at you all at once from want of some better protection, I pulled off my coat (which I happend by chance to have on) did my head up in it and got home as best I could Black as a Tinker from dust and perspiration, eyes nose ears, hair, mouth full also cloathes & boots dust & dust & nothing but dust almost enough to start a heap in
During the last season, there has been (as Im told) more bush fires than were ever remembered in one summer before, in many cases doing considerable damage They owe their origin to individuals, it is sometimes done to clear the Country destroy vermin, lc. People having tents in the way have to look sharp = tis no uncommon sight to see a large extent of underwood flaring away
On Sunday week last was all day child-hunting, some 4 miles further up the country a little boy 8 yrs. old (in the mothers absence) strayed from the tent, with an infant in his arms into the scrub as is supposed to have lost himself, this was on the thursday previous & no tidings had been obtd. of them Horsemen had been scouring in all directions, & on the Saty. evening a man came round begging a genl. gathering of inhabitants next day to make search a large company met & forming into long straight lines about 30 yd. apart (between each individual) by this means examining a large tract We walkd. about all day but without success nor have they since been found the hope is that they are picked up by some dray going up the Country
The Aborigines will occasionally carry children off if they get a chance but none have been seen about the spot These natives are certainly excessively ugly bright specimens of human natur", and decidedly partial to rum, backer, & white money they are not now allowed to camp, in the vicinity of Melb. being great nuisances these parts are almost free from them now and the race is fast disappearing
Being down in Prahran a sunday or two since I accidently met Geo Tracy his Bro Jno. joined him a few minutes afterwards they were quite well, have had a
very tough time of it, and expressed themselves very tired of the Colony had a long Chat, lc. they received the letters enclosed to me which I posted, their last letter from home was dated about last Nov.
Looking over an Argus paper the other evening my eye caught the word Ipswich It was James Ethersey advertising for his Nephew A. Maddocks an old school-fellow of mine I wrote as pr address in the paragraph, & hope to hear from him, my impression was J. E. went to Sydney = Have an idea of putting a few instruments into my pocket and sloping to that place with the notion of going into an Architct. Office just to see what can be done there or if that doesnt do why must try anything that suits best there is a wide field from an Archts. Assistant down to a Nightmans man But "alls serene" as we say
Last Saturday was intensely hot broiling in the evening there came on a violent storm of thunder & lightg. the rain came down in torrents and completely swamped my poor little hut [indecipherable] be rather off the common in Engd. taking a shower bath in bed, amusing your-self the while by watching yr. boots and every light loose article swimming about just below you = But one must not mind these [indecipherable] in the Australian Bush
It has been raining almost ever since without cessation Weather [indecipherable] cold & damp This neighbourhood is at the present period a most agreeable inviting pleasant spot for a Colony of young ducks, frogs, & other amphibious creatures the "Estate" is not now in want of water to enhance the beauty of the views
You no doubt wonder all this time what is done with the Steam-Saw-Mills mentd. in my last tis not finished yet Winter is coming on when it will be cant say when it is am not sanguine as to its paying the Engineer Hastings of whom Ive before spoken, is gone, am up here alone for how long dont know
My employment has been various putting up rough places was hammer man to a smith that was up here for a time forging Cranks, lc., lc. for the Engine, Cutting & shutting the innumerable number of wheel tyres repairing drays genl. wheel [indecipherable] & Carpentering work Have occasionally been at work at Prahran Painting Glazing Lettering Canvassing for paper hanging drawing, surveying, lc., lc., lc. Anything "I can do it Mister"
We have at times since out made first rate wages but then there are draw-backs, expenses are not light occasional losses which will casual calls for cash, moving about, lc. make a hole into what would be a good
round sum at home I dont regret coming in the least I guess it makes a chap sharp, & does a world of good but must confess I dont admire so much of this fun
I have given the place a decent trial and shall continue to endeavour to push on for a while longer in hopes of dropping upon some thing satisfactory to ourselves I guess unless I do it will be a case of [indecipherable], one of these fine days Whether for England direct is uncertain that depends upon circumstances = Working for people dont exactly wash = [indecipherable] South A. is much talked of out here, many are leaving for the diggings there, However have no immediate idea of blundering
there on spec. to that spot think it is a bit of a hoax dont suppose tales lose by carriage
From the same cause matters are undoubtedly are much exagerated at home youve not the slightest conception not a correct idea from genl. accts. of what this place is have read the most ridiculously absurd paragraphs pubd. as facts in Engd. papers, relative to the Colony = tis all fiddle-de-da people have to work, to live here but those who do not work can live You dont see Diggers now lighting their pipes with Bank notes I cant see such sights diggers have generally speaking to look sharp to get note or two Remember there are thousands similarly situated to ourselves
A party was telling me recently that there were either 70 or 170 (I forget which) names on the list for the next Govt. Situation Vacant Numbers of those knowg. [indecipherable] who came out with the idea of upsetting the state of affairs here have been glad
to obtain nolens volens to obtain a common labrs. place at from s8/ to 10/- pr day they dont make a rapid fortune on that very An occasional one does tolerably well my impression is that a steady careful persevering good work man does best upon an average tis said that one half the Merchts in Melb. are but men of straw, and a [indecipherable] check to business would double up great numbers of them this no doubt is a fact Letters of recommendation generally are of but little use, they have been brought out & delivered by the basket =
Robert has obtained another Letter dated Jany. 1st -/54 there are still none for me = Is it not provoking He has sent it up to me for my perusal Mention is made of these new diggings & the wonderful doings there
have People must fabricate lies by the thousand to stuff the Public at home with suppose to keep up the excitement they invent greater wonders each time Mountains of mole hills Have at this time a Letter lately to hand from our old Mate
Sheet No. 3
S. Sexton You shall have his version of the thing He has been and is working at them he says "I am digging but doing very little just getting a living If you should know of anything that would suit me I do not trouble much what it is asking as I can see a little tin coming in you would greatly oblige an old friend by sending the word Can assure you the more I see of the diggings the more I hate them I dare say there is great talk of these new diggings " Bryans Ranges " but I dont think much of them for where there
are one doing well there is 100 doing nothing There has been one very good Gully and that is "German Gully" some stuff washed One Pound Weight to the Load". This is nothing to make so much noise about =
I see Adams is home tis rumoured too in Norh. he has done exceedingly well & thinks of venturing again = in our minds this is a great question as to his having done so wondrously well parties are known to get tired of the place, & return minus but have too much pride to state they have been done brown he was never so fortunate when in our neighbourhd. but almost immediately after his arrival at Bendigo he began it appears to get on he might do so he knows best as to his coming out again it will be from other & stronger motives than the wish to dig for Gold let him preach that to the Marines it wont do for the Sailors I dont think Adams would feel very highly flattered at
the an expression of our candid opinion of himself
There appears to have been a large addition to the family circle at No. 13 at Xtmas and no luck of pleasure & enjoymt. Very glad to hear it
Hope you spent a merry one , We wished often at the time we could have run over for a short period and have seen you all
Intended to have completed this epistle last Sunday and have sent it off by now but somehow like Robinson Crusoe, I lost my reckoning and under the impression that it was Saturday worked hard all day in the rain to my great disgust
covering cutting up rafters & putting on a fine covering on a small place did not discover my error until the monday morng. the information was by no means graciously received = horribly annoyed you may fancy
Hope every thing goes on satisfactorily at home and that all
friends are well, lc., lc. Must soon bring this lengthy epistle to a close think have spun a pretty long yarn it has been dotted down at different periods when opportunities have presented themselves so you must overlook the errors you may stumble upon Hope to see Rob. here next sunday = to spend the day with me & have a talk over home & the future
Robert Now come to a conclusion am afraid you will be weary wading through the foregoing cannot say anything about the future must do the best we can & hope for the best = Do be particular in writing for it makes me feel so vexed losing so many letters Have not known what to think have advertised but to no purpose = Suppose you get an occasional paper = as well as our Letters
Give my kindest Love to all friends trust all are well
tis needless to mention names
Remember me to all who kindly enquire respecting my welfare = Do to all at the "White Horse"
And believe me my dr Father ever to remain
Your Very Affectionate
I need not add Robt. unites with me in Love do Sents. & all friends known to him do. Member of P. F. L.
My dr. Mother,
I have enclosed you a few small pieces of Gold as mentioned in my last have no news to give you particularly as you will read all sent to dr. father You must not suppose from my long silence that you are forgotten for
there never does a space of even a few hours go by [indecipherable] what you & friends come into my thoughts and wonder when I shall see you all again Some day I hope the life we have been leading tends to remind continually of the comforts and pleasures of home = Am obliged to be my own tailor washerwoman Cook & everything dont you want a maid of all work
With kindest love believe me my dr Mother Yr most affectionate son
[Two sketches on page: a "Grass Tree" and a "Fern Tree"].
Reg. Lre =
Mr. Jos A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
IPSWICH. John H. W. Pettit would feel obliged if persons having letters for him would place them in the Post office, Melbourne ; and would esteem it a favor if parties obtaining his letters would, after they had satisfied their curiosity, give him an opportunity to peruse them. 89
Mr. Joseph Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
May 27 letter p.95
[A lithograph of Melbourne Post Office and floor plan at top of page].
August 21st, 1854
My dear Father,
A short record since Robert handed me an epistle from you dated March 5th last (from Norwich) enclosed in one of his from home =
Upon applicn. at the Post office a few days ago, he obtained another letter, which contained a small note from Dr. Mother in yours mention is made of communications being regularly forwarded from time to time now it puzzles me exceedingly to think where they can go to hardly any ever reach me = All that have come to hand this year (besides those alluded to on other parts of this page) was one dated Dcer. 2nd, -/53, and another brought out by Davids Bror. = Have made particular enquiries after the arrival of every ship but there has been nothing by the last 4 or 5 mails = The best way is to address, as advised in previous epistles = and post, so that they come by the regular Govt. mails with the Vessels name upon the covers Up to last March I think but only 3 or 4 had come into my possession =
Recently found up Mr Haxell he is at this period in a Drapers establishmt. at Melb. from him received a packet = which was duly opened by [indecipherable] and the contents distributed = she appeared much pleased with it Anna is
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Annexed is an illustration of the Melb. P. O.
A is the part where application has to be made for Letters It is a long buildg. lighted by lanterns entering under the verandah at B passing thro. the revolving gate which turns out one way enquiries at the Boxes marked ++ accordg. to the letter of the alphabet which is the initial of the name = passing out at C thro another revolving gate on the wall [A symbol of an O with an X over the top inserted here] inside hangs the lists of unclaimed Letters [A symbol inserted here]
D is the Dead Letter Office
E the Post Office
Newspapers are obtd. from a Buildg. at the back
Have forwd. 2 or 3 little sketches but have neither the time nor opportunity to do much in that way Had enclosed some in one of my previous epistles but that I believe was lost
[The following text is written along the top left-hand margin].
Mr. Joseph A. Pettit Builder
Ipswich Suffolk England
at school, undoubtedly they will reply themselves so there is no need to say much about it
Have succeeded at last in discovering the locality of Mr. Bright he also gave me a packet of papers, lc. pray accept my many thanks for your kindness = We spent an evening with him =
Have fallen in with many Ipswich people of late almost every body appears to be out here while walking along the Richmond Road, who should I come up with but Neezers friend Wildo mounted upon a poney have since given him a call at his place = (he was wantg. a job just then) while there who should come in but one of Cushberts the Brewer sons (Jno) =
Met Youngs who used to be at Mr. Pownalls yesterday in Collin Strt. = he told me Johnson the surgeon was holdg. a very good Govt. appointment Amond Johnson is an assistant at the Govt. Waller the Auctioneer has been a lucky fellow he had some introduction to a proprietor of one of the lage Horse Bazaars,
in town who quite took him by the hand, and has given him a partnership in one of the most profitable businesses in Town Visited him at his house one Sunday =
The sons of Backhouse the Stonemason are at Geelong understand they are doing tolerably well Wilkinson the Upholsterer is in this neighbourhood, a Bros. of Hagg the [indecipherable] is living at Richmond and many more that I could mention
You remember Maplestone formerly of St. Matthews, he is here, and has done very well, he obtd. from recommendatn. introductn. to the Colonial Archt. a situation next under that party individual, and is as well gradually drawing a nice little private practice
together have been at work for him during the last month at 20s/- pr day gettg. out some drawings rather different employ to what Ive been accustomed (and looking after things generally = as he was called away upon Govt. service to superintend some repairs to the light ho. at Cape Otway =
Having worked him up have now nothing to do again, and it does not appear that I can get a job unless Ive a mind to take to stone breakg. at about 10/- pr day or might perhaps get employ as a "Navey" upon the line now information from Melb. to the Beach 10/- pr day will but just keep any one out here = Board & Loding in the commonest way costs 2/-/- per week anythg. less than that may be considered cheap, but at the same time, it will be uncommonly nasty = then comes washing 8/- to 10/- per dozen the [indecipherable], and the etceteras & necessaries will leave but very little in hand I guess (no fear of any one "nobblerising" much with the remainder)
Theres also but little fear of our ever tryg. the stone breaking dodge again until we get regularly hard up = To expect to get assistance from parties (who have been fortunate) to whom one might he known in England is perfectly ridiculous and according to our notions, a sure & certain proof is insanity Our experience has taught us that it is misplaced confidence altogether to think of such a thing = If per chance you are recognized at all at first rest assured, that upon the second introductn. of yr. illustrous self, you will get the cut direct, in the most de [indecipherable] cool & unmistakeable manner
I shall never forget how truly indignant I was once or twice from this cause at first but it does not ruffle my "dander" now at all, generally muck them in their own coin and it always makes me laugh when I hear a new chum expressing his intense disgust in most caloric terms of similar treatment that he has recently met with where it was least expected, = to hear the awful views they always make under such circumstances = but cannot say they are ever of a character to interfere much with the comfort or happiness of the object of their vengeance
Have not the faintest notion what my next job is to be = Have trudged many miles in search, suppose shall have to walk a great many more = We thought recently to have taken a Store, but the terms did not offer sufficient inducement
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from top to bottom].
Hope the Stall at Pakenham is favorably progressing have never received the illustration mentioned
The Gt Britain is out again but having a few cases of small pox on board = no one has been allowed to Land she is doomed to be kept in Quarantine for 14 days after the last case of convalescense = Two gentlemen, large merchants from being too anxious join their spouses, who came out by her managed top get on board in the confusion attendg. her arrival, and they are also compelled to remain on board until the Vessel is released by the Officer of Health
The winter here is getting over and we have now to look forward again to Heat & Dust & Flees, lc. Your winter will soon commence = How does the Albatross behave now
Am afraid this epistle will not possess much interest with you but we have very little in the shape of news to communicate
Some new diggings have been started but it is reported they are a failure =
Undoubtedly you are in a State of high excitement throughout England from operations in Russia, home communications are now looked forward to by all classes with great interest the war is in a every bodys mouth Should not be surprised if Sir Chas. Hotham drags a lot of us out to drill there has been some talk about it
Since writing the above have just been informed of the insolvency of one the largest
Melbourne mercht. in Melbourne, tis the general opinion that this is but one link of the chain that must follow unless times improve = should think your London merchants must begin to feel the effects of the state of things out here, as there are great numbers of large consignments disposed of by Auction at prices that do not even pay the freightage = It has payed lately to purchase invoices of goods sent out to reship them to England for sale there = and many vessels have in slabs as Ballast
the Rental of the premises and Interest upon the stock was too much Upon going into the matter we discovered that the Expces. would be about £10/- to £12/- per week, and the avge. profit upon the returns about £8/-/- , or about that proportion and but little chance of improvement as stores were getting up around every week so we thought it decidely a bad scheme to go to work & try to get £500 in debt
I do wish much we could jump into something permt. & paying for one gets very tired of knockg. about fromplace to place a months work and then a months search does not put much into the pocket We are game for anything could we but get a chance But everything is very dull there has been great changes during the short period we have been out the country is becoming more & more like England = The reaction attendt. upon the great changes effected by the discovery of Gold is beginning to tickle great numbers in a severe manner in most tender parts Wages are coming down The highest
wages given to Best Hands now are Plasterers 30/- pr day instead of 2p. Carpenters 20/- instead of 25/- This is still very tolerable pay if there was plenty of work for all hands but there are great numbers of both trades out of employ, therefore tis not very probable it will stop there =
A party told me that an single advertisemt. for joiners today, would bring him 200 applicants tomorrow As for stone masons they are quite at discount, am told there are many now glad to do for 15s/- pr day not much of a reduction from 40 [indecipherable]- they have seen their best days over, and those who have not availed themselves of the chance that has been offered them, are not likely to have a second opportunity
Ships are always coming in with emigrants from some part or another which tend to make matters worse the high
wages price of labor, lc. apparently quite excites people at home and almost without a single thought of the draw-backs they have to be dropped into the opposite scale out they come whether for or not for the task job they have undertaken
I should advise every one to weigh the matter well before making a bolt they may perhaps better themselves by the step or they may place themselves in a very much worse position than they held at home Townships are information in many parts, but it puzzles me to know what the inhabitants are to do for a living for very many are laid out in parts, where there is no water and the only means of communicn.
[The following text is written across the page from top to bottom].
is by a unmade Road through the Bush Cannot pretend to say I understand much about farming but in almost all the parts that Ive been the land appears to be wretchedly poor, all sand in the summer time, all sludge in the winter Undoubtedly there are some few good spots about, but my notion is theyre like Angels Visits in some parts of the year things certainly grow very fast it always puzzled me what nourishment is obtained
they get from the earth for in the summer time gardens appear to be nothing but beds of perfectly white sand =
There is very little done on the agricultural line at present whether there ever will be I cannot tell, I never heard any one prophesy that such would be the case = And unless a great mass of the increasing population can find remunerative employment upon something of the sort cannot see what they are to do at all Just at this time heres the place full of people and but little employment for them = This however must be for wiser heads than mine to settle
Saw Thurgars Bror. a few days since in Town they are about returning home some how do not imagine they have done any good = appearances far from induce that belief
Recently forwarded Mr Dunninghams Letter to Mr Geo Trollope to which he has replied (also his father) in a very kind manner the son is Senior Clerk to the Launceston Steam Navigation Co. V.D.L. & seems to be doing very well.
Am very glad to hear business is brighter & brisker with you at home I only wish you had been out here 4 years ago have but little hesitation in stating that at that time without any great exertion on your part you might have realized a most handsome fortune in about 2 years simply by building but tis too late now, when the diggings first opened was the money making time, a Master Builder told me but a few days ago that in a recent competition for a some small erection in Town 32 Tenders answered the Advertisement
Saw Geo Tracy not long since he is with a Dentist in Town went to get a troublesome tooth doctored = he told me Jno was at Castlemaine
To Mr. Joseph A. Pettit
Builder Lower Orwell Street
Oakleigh May 27th, 1854
My dear Father,
A short period since in reply to a personal application at the Melbourne Post-Office received to my great delight a registered packet from Nabs containing a communication from you tis easily to be imagined how much pleasure it gave me to see the old familiar writing again, to know all were well, lc., lc. It is now about 9 months since the one previous dated March 5 1853 came to hand am sorry to find you have forwarded epistles by private
party person there exists but little, if any probability of my ever obtaining them, or even one thus sent unless the parties put them into the post properly directed
Have made numerous enquiries to find up young Haxell but cannot discover a soul who knows either the said Mr. Nelson, or him at any of the Newspaper Offices Have inserted advertisemts in the public journals, but to no purpose So quite give it up as a bad job these said enquiries cost me no end of trouble & expense being located 12 miles from Town
In yours you mention to have received all from me up to No 10 with the exception of No 4 from Canvass Town and consequently have had no account of our movements from the time of leaving Madeira until the start for the Diggings
Shall never forget (so long as I live) the terrible fixes we tumbled into, thro that immense pile of worse than useless lumber, in our care or charge it would have given us most unfeigned pleasure to have seen the whole lot disappear beneath the surface of the waters of P. P. Bay Didnt we envy the passenger who went off for shore with only a carpet bag under his arm (a most sensible man)
This said No 4 should have gone by "Gt Britain" it was something in the form of a Diary detailing the various occurences that transpired on the voyage out the dilemmas in which we were placed upon landing, and the delights & pleasures afforded by a [indecipherable] at the Campg. Ground
No. 4 recorded = How I was appointed Fiddler or Violinist rather, to the Clipper ship "Areva." from poop to forecastle never hardly getting a quiet evening = How at Lat. 0 many underwent a little bit of barberism under the hands of a representative of the Monarch of the Ocean How upon our arrival in the Bay 5 sailors bolted How
[The following text is written in the top right-hand margin from top to bottom].
Waller the Auctioneer is in Melb & should think from what I hear he is making a rapid fortune he keeps Auction yard for horses
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Dont forget poor old Josh Lawrence (thank him for his kind enquiries) & Phillips & all the men known to me
Must come to a conclusion it is getting very late Sharp frost no fire up before daylight tis jolly cold of a night some times now The amusing little legend of sleeping under Gum-trees wont do tis a popular fallacy
Do you ever hear from J. A. W.? Have written but can obtain no answer
With my Kindest love to you & dr. Mother
believe me my dr. Father to remain Your ever most truly affec. Son
We had to assist to work the cargo How W. W. Woods very cooly administered the Cold Shoulder, refusing to bear any share of the expcs. of the freight, lc. leaving us to manage alone as best we could dissolving partnership washing his hands of the Co. altogether when his asstce. was most needed.
How the Lightermans visage approximated in running measure to the lineal dimensions of a violin when he put his Optics upon the cursed van, refusing to have ought whatever to do with it unless everythg. was unpacked out lest its ponderosity & weight should be too much for and upset his Craft
How the number of articles were multiplied an hundred fold in the unpacking wheels, shafts, iron-work, boards, bolts, screws, picks, shovels, handles, bars, drills, files, gauge wire, saws, barrow, wheels, [indecipherable], vice, sledge, lc., Store in abt. 50 small pieces cooking tins, tents, ropes. poles, tarpaulins, lc., lc., lc., lc. requiring unremittg., searchg. industry during 2 days of unloading at a public wharf, involving the necessity for one to have a head even superior to that of a "Philadelphia Lawyer" to know when all we collectd.
How all the above articles were deposited in every available part of the said Lighter we possessg. a vague notion that they were some where on board, but as to whether they could ever be found again was a question for time to solve, being intermixed with every bodys luggage & goods
How the men chaffed about the useful articles brought out, deriving much pleasure from an inspection of our handy little picks expressing the wish to possess them for Redges How delighted and amused we were at being obliged to pay somethg. over £12 for lighterage
How we discovered to our cost that the Melbournites were not anxious to buy our useful van (warranted to take a ton of stone anywhere) and not being in a position to purchase 2 or 3 horses at £50 to £100 each to take it up the country we dragged it from Auctr. yard to Auctr. yard (up & down hill) hoping to get a liberal bid but unfortunately, we ourselves were the only parties that made the liberal Offers so were each time consequently the purchasers we often when in draft received encouragemt. from spectators who very frequently expressed their opinions upon so novel a turn out as "Gee up Jack", "Whats the fare", Are you taking home the mungling, lc., lc., lc. How it went at last by private contract for &18 having to deduct sevl. fees that had been paid
How we camped with 10 more in a little tent abt. 8ft. sq. belongg. to a fellow passenger for the first night. How the floor was paved to the height of 2 feet with boxes How some poor worn out devil very tired every now & again slipped down between the sd. boxes waking all up before he could be released How we afterwards camped in the big tent keepg. one on guard or watch all night, in conseqce. of the terrific tales abroad invented to amuse the
New Chums, getting a few hrs rest upon a box How the old tent one night when it was raining heavily pulled all the pegs out of the loose ground & was nearing falling upon us
How we heard nothing of the party for a whole fortnight
How W. W. Woods when all was serene & square wished to join again and lots more in detail but tis so long a story that you must excuse my not writing it as it would occupy more time than is at my disposal
After a days search soon after our arrival we found up J. J. Woods accidently met J. G. S. in the street about a day before we went up the country had passed his house fifty times at least before there had been a terrific explosion between him & Woods some time previous the latter was of course a "dan rogue Short had been fortunate having bought several lots of land nr. Melbourne which turned out well he also held the lease of a house hired previous to the Diggings startg., which brought him a thousand or so Woods at this period is at a foundry in Collins Strt. dont imagine he has any money
Saw Young Leavold a little time since at the Supreme Courts in Town, he was just [indecipherable] one of the Criers there, not a very lucrative post Attended these sd. Courts to give evidence as an Archt. & surveyor for J. G. S. upon some work executed at Geelong makg. drawings for the occasion
Leavold tells me Geo. Farrow is at Bendigo but doing no good also that Amond Johnson is a Drayman on his own acct. & a bright boy that Young Fitch has arrived Walking down Elizabeth Strt. recently met James Dorhie Son of the Tobacconist a New Chum about a week old had a long yarn about Ipsh. Have not seen the Tracys lately
Recd. a letter from James Othersey he has been unfortunate think to call upon him in a few days =
Am about to write to Mr Geo Trollope strange but the very day I received yours had obtd. his address from a Mr. Tripp a Solicitor who I accidently discovered knew his family
Remember me most kindly to Mr & Mrs. Duningham am sorry to hear of his family afflictions
So the old Wix Parson has turned out a "bright flower"
Am very pleased to know you have so good a job at Pakenham how was it you obtd. the work so easily Do you want a Clerk of the works?
Still with J Short but about to leave he wants me to stay (but unsure now) but his notions of business dont suit me at all the Mill has never been finished here it is about 3 parts done = She was very dangerously ill a short time ago no hopes of her recovery but is quite well again Anne has grown a great girl (is a boardg. school) They are at this time carrg. on a Grocery, Draper, & Millenary Business with a circulats.
Library at Windsor but he wishes to dispose of it & commence about 50 other schemes which he has in his head
What a dirty fellow Adams had proved himself How I should have liked to have been confronted with him at Norwh. I reckon there would have been very little [indecipherable] on my part, it is a source of the greatest annoyance to me to think we ever allowed ourselves to be so hum bugged by such a selfish, quarrelsome, knowing, conceited Ass "Never no more dr. Bro"=
Could tell you little tales of that man that would tea totally disgust you altogether he "riz & ruffled my dander" considerable almost the first day we joined him on the creek Could not have thought him so mean & despicable a character
Robt. & myself had determined trifles should be passed over unnoticed = but he became almost unbearable & all save Rob. Sam Sexton & myself were quite led by him
You undoubtedly remembr. the pretended cause for his leave because we would not nose out Knights, to gratify his caprice as we would do nothing of the sort he demanded previous to leaving us that we should give him a document bearing our signatures certifyg. that Knights was the cause of his going, we gave him to understand we were not children nor would we have our course dictated to us flatly refusing to sign anything informg. him he could please himself as to his going Whereupon to frighten us into it he threatened to publish
it the whole affair in the "Norfolk News" which I most politely told him to do & be, lc., lc.
He was a most overbearg. humbug To come out 10,000 Miles to be ordered about like children, & have our money spent for us without havg. a voice in the matter wouldnt do at any price
If ever we come athwart [indecipherable] again shall give him a slight idea of our opinion of his character and actions = Knights doesnt stand very high in our estimation If they wanted to leave why couldnt they have done so in a straight forwd. manner we should never have blamed them for that I hate such dirty underhand work
The stone masons trade is a first rate payg. business just at this time only 40/- per diem (their own stroke too) they have the power in their own hands & can & do dictate to their employs.
Pray write when you can, send all thro the post registd. to Jno. H. W. Pettit Architt. late of Ipswich P. O. Melb. Packet No 4 from us was the only one I believe not registered which was never deld. to you = it is safest & surest
Shall be very pleased to receive a long epistle from dr Mother next time it is very long ago since I had her last somethg. over 12 Mos. = Give my kindest love to Grdfthrs. & Gdmrs. Pettit & Wroth & all friends = Remember me to all kind enquiring frds Retn. our fraternl regds. & thanks to the Bros. of the P. F. L. for the kind wishes expressed for welfare
[A sketch across top of letter].
Lre. No. [indecipherable]
August 28th, 1854
My dear Father,
In my last, mention was made of our recent accidental meeting with Mr Thurgars brother at Melbourne Yesterday (Sunday) evening was called upon, and spent a hour with the "Doctor" himself, who informed us that in all probability one, or both of them, would ere long be on their way to England such being the case we did not like to allow so good a chance to pass by without forwarding a few lines, the charge of which Mr T. has kindly undertaken
Having dispatched a communication but so short a period since, it cannot be supposed anything has transpired in so brief a space, to afford matter of interest for the foundation of a lengthy production
[The following text is written across the page from left to right]
Xtmas will wind up by wishing you all a very merry one and an equally happy New-Years = and with Kindest Love to dr. Mother & friends at home Kind love & regards, lc. to all friends about believe me my dr. Father Your ever affectionate
It strikes us that youve
made fallen into a great error respectg. one of our small contracts taken upon the roads recent communicatns. have spoken of £300 & £400 I think if you refer to our Letters of touching that matter it will be found to dwindle down to only Thirty Pounds
Can therefore little more than state we are alive & kicking and the same as when we last wrote
The Doctor talks of visiting the Mauritius in reply to an invitation given to Medical practitioners generally, from the Governor Sir C. H. to offer their services, to render assistance to the inhabitants of the above island, who are suffering from the ravages of Cholera
While in town to day to my great surprise I fell in with Geo. Farrow spent a little time with him running over the past, lc., lc. he is all right, & working much the same = Singular to state he was located within but a very few miles from us upon the Diggings, and we were frequently in each others neighbourhood = He gave me some Ipswich news having recently obtained some letters from home = it was with much regret that I heard of the death of poor Fred Lovell = Wanted Geo. to sell me
[The following text is written across the page from left to right].
one of his epistles from Bredfield it not being my happy fortune to be so situated as to get any such tender delicate Letters & would as I told him have been a great treat = but could not prevail upon him to part with any of these interesting documents = He thinks now that it was a good job that he came out alone but speaks of the probability of returning at no very distant period
Have forwarded a paper (the Herald) also a [indecipherable] type sketch of an individual with whom we have formed a close intimacy out here, hope one day to have the pleasure to introduce him to you as he mentions it as his intention to return to Engd. at some future period =
Have not up to the present been able to drop upon any employ = shall soon be tempted to bolt up the country again upon spec. or take a turn to some other part of the Colony = Did any Diggings start should be inclined under existing circumstances to have another rap at the fun
Must draw to a conclusion and as this epistle will not reach you much before
My dear Father,
I will if possible forward a few lines by this mail but much doubt my being able to do so
Robt. has sent all particulars therefore I must refer you to his this time and you shall any way hear from me very shortly
Kind Love to dr M & all frds
Yr Affec Jno
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
Have recd. no letters from you since last writing
Mr. Joseph A. Pettit
Kind Love to all at No. 13
[The following text is written on the back of the letter].
Mr. Joseph A. Pettit
Kind Love to all at No. 13
[A sketch of a "Ringtail Possum"].
[Two sketches: "Madeira" and "One of the Cape de-Verde Islands"].
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
J. H. W. P.
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
J. H. W. P.
[A sketch of a man on horseback mustering cattle].
[Two sketches: "Entrance Port Phillip Heads" and "Light-House Point Henry (Heads)"].
My dr. Fr.
Since writing the accompanyg. have received from stuff o.here in reply to an application to the Genl. Office Melbourne No. 3 Letters from you No. 10 dated Dec. 31/53. No. 11 Feb 26/54. No. 15. enclosed in Robts Aug. 1st.
You have several times expressed a wish to made acquainted with the contents of the epistle from the Camping ground have made mention of it in previous
epistles letters, but will now say a word or two relative to S. =
We hunted Collingwood thro and at last when about giving up the search discovered the whereabts. of W. W. he invited us to dine with him, wh. we did = offerg. to join us and some ship mates in knocking up wooden houses in Melb. Very good speculation then
As we could get no tidings whatever of our party further than they were off without us after waitg. a fortnight had decided to have a trial at it = to
sell advertise for the party, lc., lc. & sell off the trash brought out however on the day we were to decide having an advertisement in my pocket for insertion in the Argus we received tidings of our party, but wishing to behave dirty settled to go up to them (after spendg. 3 weeks on the Campg. Ground) =
S. & W. had some time previous dissolved partnership after a mighty row W. insinuated S. was a [indecipherable] scoundrel he however gave me the name of the neighbourhood in wh they resided could not find him then, but the evening previous to our going up Country met him near his own door did not know me soon settled that he did not express much surprize, called at his place in the evening saw Mrs. she appeared pleased [indecipherable] was much grown = Went off to the diggings next morning the rest you know having received all the epistles since =
While on the Roads he wrote up inviting me to come down and undertake the management of a Steam-Saw-Mill near the Dandenong Ranges Came down as you are aware agreed to go terms Twelve shillings per day, board, lc., lc., lc. included But instead of the Mill being ready for work, it was only just commenced He had an Engineer at work
Well the two of us were stuck up on his ground (abt. 40 or 5 acres) away about 12 miles in the Bush by ourselves with an occasional laborer Knocked up a hut and some rough places for shops After which he kept me humbugging, doing, & undoing all kinds, of anything but agreeable work Carpentrg. Labrg. Charcoal Brick Burng. Rough Laborer to a Smith, lc., lc. some times not coming near for a fortnight & more, short of Grub & everything else =
Soon upon obtaining more knowledge of the locality and the capabilities of the machinery, he was pretending to erect (really could not call it anything else)
I saw the scheme never could answer and told him so pretty plainly but this he would never hear of
Well as you may imagine I was getting quite disgusted with the whole affair, and wished to leave = Wanted some money = wh. he promised, but would not hear of my going making the the most liberal promises offering every inducement for remaining but having had so many promises made
before never regarded them =
Month after month went by, still no money, until my becoming quite decided, he offered Robt. & myself to take the Store wh. we agreed to try however when it came to the scratch, there was so much humbug & all under the guize of anxiety on our account, that we gave up the idea dont suppose he ever intended we should have it = everything was always considered apparently with the most liberal skew of friendship on his part assuming quite the Parent You can suppose this wouldnt wash any longer, this kind anxiety on his part only tended always to his [indecipherable] advantage
Strange to say none of his ridiculous promises could induce me to return I decided to leave, & did having been with him near 12 Mos. without getting but a few pounds throughout the period for trivial expenses = He gave me no downright chance of accusing him of actg. double, altho there was not the slightest doubt on my mind he would not commence a row could never tell him what I really thought without risking an outbreak, which situated as I was could not have assisted me =
My firm opinion is when matters had reached thus far he wanted but a shadow of an excuse for his conduct to throw me entirely overboard my only chance to get anything was by smooth means
Made an engagement with Maplestone remained about 1 month with him After which waited for 2 Mos. with nothing whatever to do He S. professing to be making attempts to get some money for me, whether he did try or not, God only knows = Could never get him to sq. a/c
Well after waiting so long detd. to go, money, or no money anything was better than remaining as I was (dont suppose I was living [indecipherable] to be obliged to pretend a friendship I did not feel told him at last I could wait no longer having arranged to come here he went to Town, came back, said he was unsuccessful in obtaing. cash sayg. Mrs S. was to arrange accts. with, and let me have what she could, and the rest should be forthcoming
before long as soon as he could get it & off he went up to his Dd Mill again
Gave him all the papers, lc. I had kept for him, also my own a/cs, wishing an arrangement, she said he had not authorized her to settle anything, but merely to give me what cash she could but some kind of a settlemt. I was detd. upon obtaining, so replied that as she could do nothing in the matter I would walk off up to him this she seemed most anxious to prevent so after some little hesitation she agreed to arrange it some how the Bal. due to me was abt &130 = She was evidently in a fix = telling me she dare not arrange so large a bal. as that altho she could not question its justness admitting he was only to blame =
Having often told them both I considd. he was spending money very foolishly = & that I felt annoyed with having to humbug about so much =
I did him justice as far as I could, was anxious to get away Why then did he prevent me = if he was dissatisfied why did he
never not complain = but he never uttered a syllable he never expressed himself otherwise but satisfied = This I told her & said I did not consider I should be asked to make any reduction = in the very best light I have done nothing for myself =
The wages were low, had he made a proper use of me = and not one single promise wh. he made me did he ever perform = However agreed at last to make the Bal. &90 obtained
£20 in cash only, and an I. O. U. from her for 70 wh. of course (legally) is not worth one curse, what could I do = go to Law if I had any money = She told me she felt glad I did not go up, as there would only have been a row (that is most probable )
Never saw him after (dont want) = no doubt but he was put out with her for giving me the I. O. U. = but should he ever get fixed in a corner for the shabby treatment to me she will be honored with the entire blame my only chance of getting a fraction is from her = which is a poor look out I think she is ashamed of it, & would wish to see me fixed = Cannot altogether clear her tho some of her conduct has in my idea been rather strange
It strikes me he is not doing very prime, & if his not becoming involved, Im a Dutchman tis impossible for him to hold his thick headed obstinate fools course long = I reckon theres but little chance for me As for yr. tin dont you wish you may get it have often spoken about it he always replied he must let you have it = You may think yrself fortunate matters were not worse My candid opinion is no trick would be too dirty for him
You may possibly hear from them perhaps tis hardly likely if you do undoubtedly twill be a most friendly plausable document = What they wish to do for me, lc., lc., lc. he has done enough as tis & be damned to him should they by any chance write to ask you to send any goods out, or any thing of the sort = take my advice & play the cautious = they have never expressed a single thank to me for what you did do = Should you ever write to him think perhaps you had better appear ignorant to an extent of the foregoing
As I wish
to give them a chance of to obtain what I can from them and I believe a good row would be sufficient excuse in his eyes not to give me anything at all = Do not suppose it
[The following text is written across the page from left to right].
Robt. thought of going up to Castlemaine hope to hear [indecipherable] has found a big nuggett he advises me to remain here if theres a chance of doing anything as Melb. is awfully dull =
Young Crispin was a fortunate fellow thats all I can say his chance to us 1 in 5000
Tell Dr. Mother Im very much pleased to get her long epistles cannot this time write direct in reply but hope she will write again soon
Many thanks for all News & for your kindness expressed in yr Epistles
believe me Dr Fr Yr Af. Jno
[The following text is written upside-down across the bottom of the page].
Am trying to get into the Govt. Roads Surveying & Exploring = but dont suppose shall be successfull
would make much difference either way but may as well give him the chance =
Well have said almost enough about him = but could tell you little funny tricks of his that would surprise you shock yr delicate nerves Am heartily glad Im away for I could only regard him with feelings of contempt & disgust = be on what terms you like but have as little as possible to do with & never trust him = Should not be surprised to hear he had bolted again with all he could grab = He is a fine Christian
They have still a pension for meeting parsons = Anna is grown much = spoilt edecated into [indecipherable] elevated notions = No small bar = Having thus elevated you to the Altitude of the Indian Weed or Herb or in Young Englands chosen dialect made or put you up to Snuff =
You in a great measure understand why my home epistles have never teemed with detail a/cs of the great kindness received at his hands = tis doubtful to me if "chisel" wasnt his motto from the first Twas very pleasant to have friends out here who so kindly took me in & did for me = Suppose I was the fool for ever having anything to do with,
him & trusting him
Youve lost yr bet most decidely for my funds at this present moment are as low as £2/10/- thats a long way off having saved £ 1/-/- per week ever since we landed = Do not for one moment think of sending anythg. out I am very much obliged for yr. kind offer but would be great folly & 50 chances to 1 against its realizing its outlay at home indepdt. of freightage, lc. = depend if we imagined any good is to be done by an step of that sort I would write = dont think of sending anything)
Have now to begin the Colony afresh Rob. is not am happy to say
quite so badly off as myself in respect to tin have recently heard from him Gave him Mrs. S.s IOU when he left to call on my acct. but he obtd. nothing = S. finds the Mill wont answer
[The following text is written across the page from left to right].
Mentd. the receipt of packet by Haxell in a previous
Also having heard from Mr. Trollope recd. sketch Fallerham Hall
Give my kindest love to all friends, Gdfrs. & Gdmrs. Uncles Aunts Also to all at Norwich
Mr Taylors idea of an Eating Ho. lc. lc. would be a poor spec. Youve no idea what this place is it would require some little capital and twould be a great chance if we cleared enough to pay the Rent Stores Lodging Houses, lc., lc. abound in thousands Times are altered
Rembr. me to Miss Barnes [indecipherable] Traceys Townsend & Dunningham and to all who kindly enquire for me
Gipps Land November 10th, 1854
My dear Father,
When Robt. wrote from here about a month since to be forwarded pr. Gt. Britain I was not in a position to pen you a long letter, and doubt much being able to do so this time, he I believe gave some account of our movements, which you will of course see therefore there is no need for me to repeat in detail what I have reason to believe he has said but probably you would wish a sketch of what weve been doing since last writing from me, which I will endeavour to give
Do not quite recollect if in my last it was mentioned we had seen Thurgar, who was then about returning (suppose he has started by this time) to whom we entrusted a small parcel containing a few lines and some specimens of Gold, lc.
In a former epistle I think I spoke of having had a short engagement with Maplestone to get out some drawings for him, lc. which concluded abt. the middle of Augt., having worked him up =
Endeavoured to pick up something else but not being able to get anything satisfactory hearing good reports of some diggings from abt. 20 to 25 miles distant from
off Melb at a place called Andersons Creek (it was here that Gold was first discovered in Victoria) finding a party situated similar to myself agreed to join him for a prospecting expedition (Robt. was engaged at the time)
Each with a couple of blankets about backs, a pannikin to our belts a tomahawk, lc., lc. & some prog away we went one fine tuesday morng. abt. 11 oclock, bowling along for some hours we began to lose sight of anything like a road it falling off to simply rough bush track diverging in all directions enough to puzzle a conjurer, getting out into the bush amongst the ranges of hills we had the good fortune to get a tolerably good soaking from a heavy storm Hail, rain, & thunder and lightning the latter is usually particularly vivid amongst the hills probably from the great quantities of mineral on the soil, and the thunder generally roles & rattles in rather a lively manner
Shirking this fun as best we could, off we bowled again up hill & down hill, not coming across anything in the shape of water were obliged to go on until quite dark, coming to a Cattle pool we dropped anchor bringing upon the side of a swampy gully made up a glorious blaze rigged a bit of a shanty or [indecipherable] (a miserable apology for a hut) with leaves & a [indecipherable] to keep off the drizzling rain & damp a little during the afternoon we fell in with 2 others on the same errand as our own so all camped together the night was very dark & miserable wind cold rainy
while getting some firewood to keep a good blaze I accidently dropped into a muddy water-hole, which did not contribute much to my comfort or delight boiling some water in our pannikins made tea walked into the grub or "Tucker" and there did our "backer" for an hour spreadg. some leaves on the ground rolling up in a blanket gave our whole attention to sleep luring out occasionally to keep the fire going
My boots being full of water took them off to dry some of the party made up the fire without noticing them, and in the morning they presented a very singular appearce. the feet having been evidently making insane attempts to
take describe take a spiral form and [A sketch of a boot] so decided were they in the matter, no persuasion could bring them back so was obliged to cut away in the front and wear them open =
Morning very wet made the Digging about 10 oclock, rigged up a tiny hut with a couple of blankets & some leaves, look a round to examine the locality, and se what was doing nothing very promising about 2 to 300 parties at work principally engaged in sinking in & washing the bed of the creek, took a walk thro the Gulleys and over the neighbourg. hills, some very steep and very lofty rising to a great height from the appearance of the surface and general character of the county did not imagine it to be very rich in the precious metal
All the holes sunk in the gulleys were shizars We had a trial at the creek, working a hole washing a party of what had been evidently its bed plenty of water & mud borrowing a dish tub, lc. The result of our labor came out about ½ dwt -/2s/- apparently about the general average of the [indecipherable] ground one or two parties had once or twice obtd. ½ oz. pr day but none were quite as numerous
Many fresh diggers were continually arriving, but the departures were quite as numerous
We soon decided to remain long here was anything but a good speculation, and settled to go off to another fresh spot reported to be good, about 25 to 30 Miles distt. in another direction near the River Plenty = packing up our paraphanalia, off we started again arriving at a store purchased a pair of shoes discardg.
my the abortive attempts at volutes Camped at night with some stock-riders & draymen nr. a creek made fire, tea, lc., lc. water brackish
Off again next morning getting amongst the ranges very thickly wooded, followed on a bush track the greater part of the day without the appearce. of a hut or a single soul began to wonder where the devil we were going to, or when we should come to something, continually going up a steep hills for about a mile, when up nothing but the tops of trees were to be seen in any direction, then down hill again for about the same distance, trees & trees, & nothing but trees some parts thick high scrub towards evening came to some small farm
very pleasantly & prettily situated on a creek of beautiful water near what is termed the Kangaroo grounds discovering we were about as far from our destination as when we started in the morning going on a little further we camped for the night
Off again next morng. fell in with some natives, with their Cubras & children lying about in all directions the wearing too much clothing is not one of their little weaknesses by any means they requested shillings should be given them but we had an idea we required the shillings ourselves
so left them and went on =
We eventually reached the river plenty forded it and went on a voyage of discovery the hills then becoming ranges of mountains, rocky rising almost perpendicularly in some parts to a great height, impassable for horses quite climbing the higher portions get names attached to them for instance the "Sugar-loaf Peak" in the neighborhood of wh. we were (very rugged & lofty) =
After considerable search coming across nothing in the shape of Diggings we decided upon returning = nothing could be heard of them many parties had been out on the same errand following all the creeks up in all directions without a sign of any thg. of the sort Twas no doubt all a hoax
We visited the Reservoir works from which Melb. is to be supplied with water by pipes, tis about 20 miles as a crow flies from Town About 2 or 3 hundred men were at work making embankments puddling lc., lc. about 12 oclock we started for Town much of the roads laid thro mere swamps shot a few parrots
When about 10 or 12 miles from town it became quite dark, being however resolved to get in that
night evening (Saty.) kept on, and arrived there abt. 10 at night; almost lame from the new shoes our swags getting very heavy reached St. Kilda at abt. 11 having had enough of new Gold fields for a time at least being away almost a fortnight had earned about /1s/7 each & spent abt. £8 or 9 between us
A short time previous to this trip, had gone alone with my blankets towards the Dande-nong Ranges on a similar errand, but twas all gammon Reports have been circulated of other spots turning out remunerative = but all have failed Undoubtedly these rumours emanate from interested parties, for the purpose of bringing people to their neighborhood and from Govt. offering rewards for the discovery of new fields Short prayers are generally offered up by the hoaxed for these good kind people tis fortunate for their own safety they are not known or they would run no slight risk of getting roughly handled
Not long after the fun, I have been describg. there began great talk of the Lake Omeo Digging in Gipps Land, Robt. had almost decided to start off to Forest Creek, Bendigo or some other of those spots, but thought we would give Gipps Land a look first and ascertaing. if anything was to be done there in consequence of so many people rushing to the district a small Screw-Steamer named the "Oberon" had been started to Port-Albert went down with idea of getting a passage
but were too late she was more than full, were therefore done, but as she would leave again in about a weeks time took our passage for next trip £4 each steerage and went to Geelong spent a most wretched week there living in a boarding-house with a score or two of lodgers nothing whatever to do
returning to Melb.
Returng. to Melb. we started as previously arranged for Port-Albert on the Saty. morng. pr "Oberon", a beautiful little Scotch built boat, but much two small for rough weather, had about the most miserable uncomfortable voyage that ever I experienced blowing ½ a gale or more of wind on the land getting out of the heads, we rolled pitched & thrashed about fearfully gunwale under
The Steerage Cabin about 15 or 20 ft sq. affording (single & double) berth accommodation for about 20 to 25 had somewhere between 50 & 100 on board the night dark, raing, sea high imagine the scene below The place crowded almost all ill (didnt feel very prime myself) every now & then some ½ doz. would break away from their moorings, & fetch away to leeward upsetting about a doz. more in their passage an extra heavy sea occasionally rolling over the bows, and coming down the hatch by the hogshead, dogs howling, men swearing, lc., lc., lc., lc. a perfect pandemonium was jolly glad to see daylight The coast presented a very high, rugged, wild appearance passed many rocky islands luckily the passage was a very quick one not occupyg. more than abt. 30 hrs
When we landed there was no accommodation for a quarter of the unlucky passengers the place consisted of
about a public ho. a store, few wood houses & some huts
We shouldered our packs, and bolted for the next Township Tarraville about 5 Miles distt. this was very little better however we obtained somethg. to eat, & managed to get stowed away for the night in an out-house with a lot more Have slept in some queer spots in this colony one I particularly remember only 30 beds in the same room and almost all these occupied = the worst is Ventilatn. is but little studied =
The accounts here of the Omeo diggings were much too discouragg. to think of going up the country 200 miles, under the circumstances it would have been the height of folly so we settled it a bad spec. & stopped where we were
Found up a party named Hastings who was with me at J. Ss. thro him obtained a little job to measure up the principal public Ho. here & made out a skew plan & elevations to be forwarded to
Melb the Agents at Melb. & Hobart Town to effect its sale, for which am to received 10 guineas You can guess it was no easy matter to turn out a creditable drawing under the circumstances fortunately had some instruments & colors with me obliged to get paper from Melb.
Have decided to hold out here for a while with the "faint hope it may lead to somethg. else not a very bright lookout but dont see but it would be as bad were I to return to Town have managed to get introduced to a few parties but it
does not at present add much to my income so must try & "Work the Oracle" some how speculate upon nothing tis a safe game cannot lose much = the question is shall I realize rather doubtful [indecipherable]
Poor Rob could not get any employ at all so after a few weeks stay he decided to return again to Melb. was sorry for it but could not be helped could not advise him to remain any longer He is of course anxious to get into something for himself but what to do or how to begin is the question
We will have no more of the mere laborer, only in case of necessity unless for somethg. very much better than
10s/-8 to 10/- shillings per day it might be different, were we resolved to remain so for the rest of our lives buy a tent do donkey & cart and each marry a great, big, raw boned, Scotch woman who would take in washing, lc., lc., lc. but unfortunately cannot make up our minds to dig potatoes & luxuriate for life in an atmosphere of steaming soap suds, dirty linen and heaters the only relief being to carry home the washing = It wont do.
Another thing we might make a mistake in our choice and get one of those fair delicate creatures, who might be a little too decided and prone to settle little matrimonial disputes rather too summarly occasionally "spiling" ones appearance by a "floorer" or like a lady I once saw who affectionately grasped her beloved partner by the ears and rattled his head against the door post in the most spirited lively manner = it was a little habit she had acquired = others have a great affection for Nobblers and decided objections to going home before morning have often known their objections on this head so strong as to prefer remaining out anywhere rather than return before that time
Am expecting to get a few lines from Robt. stating what he is doing if I can see a chance for him in any way he will of course return, unless better engaged, he had when he left almost made up his mind to go up the Country again we held together while we could however hope to see him soon again =
When we first arrived we were living at one of the Public Houses have since managed to get into a tent this wont do at all
No doubt you imagine I must have saved some little tin since Ive been in this great gold colony Cannot say its a game Im quite up to yet = I left Melb for this district with but £15/- in my possession not very prime for 2 years work = tis true I ought to have more than £100/- at this minute clear but altho due dont at all expect ever to see any of it
Humbugged about Melb. for near 2 months for £20/- which was all I could obtain so thought it best to slope while I had a little & try & earn a little more now I am away there is but little hope of getting any
more of it that is due IRather guess if I dont have £100 until that is obtained it will be a long time first = So am now
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Hope you all will have a Merry Xtmas and a corresponding happy New Year
Saw Geo [indecipherable] several times short time previous to leaving Melbourne, he started off to the Diggings again went a mile or two on the Road with him Have a Lre. from him before the dated 2nd October from Fryers Creek he is quite well & says he is about writing home
Saw Geo Tracey in Collingwood he was with a Dentist in Swanston Street John he said had obtained a situation in the Treasury at Castlemaine both were well
commencing the Colony all over again however cannot help it All serene dont care if not lucky enough to be ill that would [indecipherable] "pall my Capstern" Should have liked to get into the Govt. Survey for new Roads here but could not manage it
Sometimes I think if Gipps L. dont turn up better for me than the other portions of the Colony have done shall be "[indecipherable] to give this delightful country the "Cold Shoulder" so dont be surprised if you should hear from me in New Zealand the back woods of America or some other outlandish spot it would not take much sometimes to induce me to make a fresh speculation that way This part is very far superior (I think) to the land round Melb for Agricultural purposes have not seen much about yet
Youve heard of the Australian Stock Riders a few days since being some miles from home and anxious to get back, I accepted an offer from a settler to get up behind him on horseback being perched up aft of the saddle the Horse did not quite understand carryg. double, so after a few tricks, away we went at a smart gallop thro the Bush thickly wooded, and over such roads which pace was kept up the greater part of the distance abt. 15 miles, the Horse well up to bush work never touched the trunk of a tree although he turned round them like a top rather too close shaving to my fancy sharp work for [indecipherable] head against the branches must look sharp or theres great risk of being raked off, or made an Absolom of there was I ducking up & down like a bottle in a short sea when he very cooly told me sit up, & hed tell me when to stoop as he could judge with ½ an inch rather cool they never attempt to guide a horse clear of the obstacles leave him alone if hes a good stock horse youre all right try to steer him & youre safe to get barked = tis a perfect mystery to me how they manage to keep whole bones = in riding in Horses & Cattle they go full gallop thro the Bush no matter how thick the trees turning sharp round them almost touching jumping all fallen
trees logs in the most astonishing manner going over such ground as would capsize any horse not up to it
I think I have almost spun my yarn out (all about my own wonderful doings) and must begin to think of coming to a conclusion =
Received an epistle from Dr. M. & Geo. by last mail glad to find you all well you / Abs were at Pakenham at the time of their writing & undoubtedly should have heard from you Hope however to receive one shortly Trust the work is going on to your satisfaction & will turn out as well as you can wish with
Kindest love to Dr. M. Nabs to all friends
Kind regards to all who kindly enquire for me and with every good wish for yr. happiness
believe me my dr. Father
Your Very Affec. Son
[Map: Township and Suburban Allotments Longford "Hill Top" Gipps Land].
February 15th, 1855
Mr. J A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
My dear Father,
As another mail is I believe about to close for England have taken up a pen for the purpose of giving you a few lines, but unfortunately have but very little in the shape of news to communicate =
No home epistles have reached me since last writing from the commencemt. of this War with Russia, the arrivals and departures of Mails have been more uncertain, and less frequent than before One is now expected in very shortly, trust to get some letters by her
In my last was mentioned my introduction (through a friend a Mr. Hastings) to Mr. Gibson the Govt. Engineer for this District, with whom I am now staying = He spent some little time in Ipswich about fourteen years since (he was at that time rather a fast gentleman) was very intimate with J. E. Sparrowe Esq. The principal part of his life since has been passed in India =
He has shown himself most kind introducing me wherever he can, but most unfortunately the wants of the District in my line are rather limited, so am not very sanguine of doing a roaring trade the returns at present being less than the expenses am however much more agreeably located than have ever been before in the Colony being for the first time introduced into civilized society have been at several 3 or 4 Quadrille Parties this Xtmas One was given at this establishment but a few days evening ago in honor of a very youthful member of the family being Christened
The weather here now is very different to that experienced by you at this period of the year today is intensely hot even now while
writing this, a large Bush-Fire is blazing and smoking away about a mile distant in front of the house the grass and scrub being quite parched up from long continuance of dry weather
There is the very same place (Mr. Gibson recently removed here) that Dr. Hedley Miss Pecks (Stow market) relative was living at the time he wrote that letter which we heard read just previous to our leaving home
Often meet, see & call upon the Dr. he lives about a mile and half distant, in the Township of Tarraville = He sold this property for some thing like Two hundred and fifty pounds it is worth almost as many thousands as he took hundreds for it
I have not heard from Robert for the last three weeks his last communication was dated from Castlemaine = he had dropped into some employment that suited and he expressed himself tolerably pleased He was quite well Have just written to
him & am hoping every post to here from him = but undoubtedly he has given all news in his home epistles as last time he mentioned his being [indecipherable] to write to his friends
Every thing is very dull in this District a [indecipherable] Check has been given to the Omeo Gold-fields and in all probability it will be some time ere they go ahead again
Mr. Thurgar Esq. before leaving Melb. spoke of them being impressed with the notion that it would be a good speculation for his part to start doctoring there = There are a few diggers still at work but they remain in the most provoking state of health & the Medical men there are obliged to sell stores instead of physic
This place Green Hills is by far the prettiest spot throughout the Lower District of Gipps Land the House & Garden are large (the Verandah quite overgrown with Rose trees in full blossom a most wicked sentimental looking Verandah it is) = Situate quite
in the Bush about 2 miles distt. from Tarraville
Have several times been lost coming out at night from missing the track, and upon two occasions did not reach my destination until next day Spending the night amongst the scrubs but from previous training & drilling, this is no great hardship, provided the night is fine
Am often on horse back but the worst of that fun is, the generality of horses have certain little weaknesses and peculiarities of their own, viz. Bolting, Shyg. Buck-jumping, lc., lc. but of all tricks the Bucking is the worst the brutes put their heads down make a perfect arch of their backs, then plunge, buck, kick in the most furious, frantic, violent manner the Devil himself could hardly expect to keep on And its mighty few can, or will even try to ride these beauties
A mare of Mr. Gibsons has twice bolted with me = And a few days since was capsized & spilt in the most ungraceful, unceremonious manner While out on a young horse he took fright & bolted shied when amongst some trees bringing me with a crash against a leaning one clearing it himself but knocking me out of the saddle yds away didnt know whether I was smashed or not at first escaped with but a few bruises & scratches the brute has since killed himself = but I was fortunate enough to be clear of that job = Have been a little chaffed for these exploits but tis thought but little of here this sort of fun is common
Youve no doubt heard of the shine at Ballarat between the Diggers and the Military, it was rather a serious affair = Sir C. Hothams resigning and returning again to England = He has become rather unpopular of late = he promised too much at first
The Russian War is an all engrossing topic out here = Some little time since news was brought of the fall of Sebastopol which caused great excitement but it turned out gammon unfortunately = What a fearful loss of Officers have accompanied the engagements = this war really assumes a most serious aspect = Some of the Accounts are fearful =
Suppose the work at Pakenham is drawing to completion hope it has answered your expectations = Have you had a Merry Xtmas, lc. this makes the third spent in this Country =
Must now draw to a conclusion With Kindest Love to Dr. Mother Friends generally to all at No. 13 Kd. Regards, lc. to all who kindly remember &
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
Lre No 18
June 12th, 1855
My dr. Father,
By Sundays Mail from Melbourne received a letter from you, a period of I think more than eight months had elapsed between the receipt of this last, and the previous communication have often been puzzled to account for such long silence, and naturally began to feel anxious mail after mail arriving from England, but no letters for J. H. W. P. as for News papers had none for the last ten months nrly until yester. eveng. when 6 answered the application at the P. Office
Obtained the parcel forwarded by a Mr. Cole last Thursday, he accidently found out Robt., who wrote at once to me, enclosing late letters from Norh. quite overwhelmed with communications There is but little probability of any one from Engd. ever falling in with us if they do so, it must be by the greatest chance our
my localitys being so uncertain and so many changes occur in a very short period
Was very sorry to know of you and dr. Mr. had been so seriously ill it was with much pleasure that I read of yr. recovery trust you are now both quite well
Glad the parcel kindly ford. by Mr. Thurgar arrived safe Yr. idea of the "Murder [indecipherable] Flat" nugget was perfectly correct
Robt. is at present at Castlemaine in a situatn. (our old neighbourhood) heard from him a few days since, he was quite well and "all serene" shall forward Lrs to him next post
Many thanks to you all for the kind wishes, & present dated March it came all right, the Violin strings were most acceptable unfortunately the saccharine portion of the contents of the packet entertained too great an affection for each other, forming themselves into a solid body, and being near neighbours of the strings imbibed the oil intended for the preservation of the said strings which with the mixture of red & blue papers imparted rather a peculiar flavor
Am as you see above still in Gipps Land Have for the last two months been in Govt. service Supt. of works connected with Roads & Bridges under Mr. Gibson (Engineer for this District) Several heavy rough Bridges are now in course of erection also a large heavy pile Bridge, over the River Tara at Taraville Original Contract £2500 the Contractors are precious slow coaches not up to the work one of their amiable little weaknesses is to "slum" where they can and having also to do with inferior workmen it gives one plenty of employment many a "Blessing" and "short prayer"
[The following text is written near the top right-hand margin].
Bridge & Approaches total length
do I offer up for their welfare
The Bridge with built approaches is about 244 feet long, total of waterways over 160 ft. No. 6 tiers of piles some of the Bays 40 ft span piles (about 60 in No) round logs, abt. 30 ft. long 18 ins diar. Bearers are round all other timber sawn (caps, corbels, struts, strainers, wales, lc.) the best colonial wood for strength and durability for the work is the "Blue Gum" close straight grained & heavy when green sinks like a stone in water
[A sketch of bridge construction].
Have seen logs brought in for some of the Bridges, near 100 ft in longth about 2 ft average diameter and as straight as Arrows they look well when squared up Two or three short lengths of Roads are being cleared of timber, lc. Stone is almost unknown in the District, the made Roads are formed by laying tea-tree (a scrub with straight stem bushy at top) longitudinally & transversely to the depth of about 18 ins, large drains are excavated on each side the line, and thrown on to the layers of scrub
these roads may formed in this way never bog, altho they require frequent attention over swampy places straight saplings (6 ins diar.) are laid across the line an then tea treed and blinded.
My situation is not permanent, pay 13s/- pr day
unless almost all Govt. works are stopped and unless they go ahead shall in all probability not be wanted much longer Mr. G. has been most kind some resided with him a long time as a friend he has always endeavd. to forward any interests and to him owe my present employ = but under Sir C. H. no govt. Officer is sure of his situatn. for a day no matter his position Consequently Mr. G. cannot do much for me He is just returned from Melbourne having been examining the almost impassable track to Town now in use having been away about two months Had entire management of all Works in this lower Distt. during his absence (a great man).
Have been building a Wood House (providing Labor) for a friend a Mr Hogarth ( a Bro. in Law of Chas. Dickens) nearly finished contt. £200 commenced workg. at it with a man or two myself, had I continued to do so it would have paid me very well but having a chance of getting into Govt. employ, thinking it might lead to something better I of course accepted it, being consequently obliged to neglect the house shall not do anything at it particr. one
is works under great disadvantages here being so out of the way, the District being so far behind
a good bag of them at night the other eveng. we brought home an immense bird the Eagle-hawk (about the size of a large Albatross) also a very large Pelican, they are about here in hundreds there are also Wild Swans & Geese
Have been up the Country 2 or 3 times with Mr. G. since last writing first time about 60 Miles J. Peck ([indecipherable] Pecks of Stow Nephew we are very great Chums) rode up with us they both tried hard to get me "doubled up & sore by giving one some precious rough riding, it is a common trick played upon new hands, and the greater part of them in such cases finish the last part of the journey with the seat of the saddle covered with blood however, managed to get thro with a whole skin & even rode the stiffness off tis sharp work tho without a little practice previous
Spent 2 or 3 Weeks with a Gentn. a Mr. Turnbull at his Station a short time since
this was about 60 Miles from here the place is situate on the Melb Road and called "Loy Yang" (a native name) it was a great treat to me always riding about well mounted out several days Stock-Riding thats rough work and no mistake the first time was a great collecting day
The "Snakes Ridge" where J. Peck lives
was is the adjoining Statn. and only about 6 or 8 miles distt. ( to give you an idea of the immense this run takes up somewh. between 250 to 300 Square Miles ) "Loy Yang" is not so large but it has one fattening paddock fenced in of about from 12 to 14 thousand acres
Riders for both stations were out that day J. Peck came round and spent the previous eveng. with us Off early in the morng. parties of men startg. from different points, taking different directions, arranging to round up all the Cattle they could find to one parties spot by a certain
time hour =
All well mounted, each having a stock whip The handle of which is about 15 to 18 inches long
and , the whip thick next the handle, gradually tapering to the point & from 15 to 20 feet in length At its end is fastened a shred of silk to make it crack well when used, and they do kick up a fearful noise as sharp as a rifle they are most awkward things in the hands of a beginner, he invariably ties the lash in a series of intricate knots round his own neck =
Off we started collectg. as we proceeded, sharp riding, cattle continually breaking away in all directions The Country was very rough thickly timbered and full of what are termed Crab holes they are holes in the ground (
and are very dangerous) having perhaps but a small opening 4 or 5 ins over at the surface covd. with grass, but a few inches down the earth is worked away & there is a large wide hollow 2 or 3 feet deep A Horse going at any speed putting his foot into one of these holes must come down
Tis not an uncommon occurrence they are supposed to be caused by a species of Land Crab Our pace throughout the greater portion of the morning off and on was full gallop
The Cattle leading off at a [indecipherable] pace, almost expected a spell was on a good stock horse well up to the work, but once excited he wouldnt be left behind, go he would over every obstacle, like a cat, clearing fallen logs, up and down such places that had they been pointed out before should have considered any one cranky to attempt at such a pace =
The Rider must look out for his head the Horse for holes logs, lc. thought two or three times we must capsize sat close & kicked clear of the stirrups ready but [indecipherable] like over all went, without checking
Remember one leap in particular Riding at full gallop to gain a certain point to head and cut off the chance of any of the Cattle bolting there, all at once came to a deep dry creek banks very steep, to go straight down was certain smash the horse (see sketch) turned a little going down sideling about once the way was stopped by a huge fallen tree, about 4 feet diar. Hobsons Choice a sharp dig of the spurs
and and over, & before I had time to think were up the almost perpendicular bank the other side and galloping away again twas the coming upon such an obstacle in such a place hardly dreamt of clearing it
[A sketch of creek bank and crossing].
Youve no idea what fearful looking places they ride thro But they must take all without hesitation or lose the Cattle Horses often do come down
Met together about 12 oclock in the day each party bringing up a lot about 20 horsemen and 800 head some precious [indecipherable] ones amongst the number then came the work again singling out and seperating (or drafting as it is called) the cattle belonging to each Station
Then again for driving home for branding or market = all are rounded up together Two or three good hands ride amongst them, single out the beast whip & drive him from the body a short diste. away so with all that are wanted horsemen being placed to keep each lot separate this is not very troublesome if the cattle are tolerably tame but if Wild look out! Some will charge right & left the only plan is to worry and tire them out, if allowed to get the upper hand they always try that game and make others as troublesome as themselves
One led a dance of about 4 Miles at full gallop and whenever headed charged the riders but when he began to flag, then he was punished whipping & thrashing until he could hardly keep his legs = One brute singled out and made for me in the most determined manner obliging me to retreat in a very rapid unceremonious manner to the great amusement of some of my neighbours = Had no notion of being knocked over
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
I trust you make every allowance for my scrawls they are undoubtedly full of reflection and tautology but not having time to copy what I write cannot remember what has been said in previous epistles there must be much repetition and as each one is written a small portion at a time there must necessarily be
a great deal much tautology.
All those picked out are driven to the station into large stock yards these separated again, branded, lc., lc. Branding is performed by driving a number into a narrow railed passage & so closely jammed together as not to allow any to move, they are then closed in and the man walks on the Rails above branding ea. with a hot iron for other operations they are driven into a small yard where they usually charge at every thing the men manage to get a running [indecipherable] over the head or horns
he is they are then drawn close up to a heavy frame, thrown down and the legs secured the Ropes are made of undressed or Raw-hide laid together, and [indecipherable] ropes they make
[Sketch of Stock Yard at "Loy Yang"].
1.Yard for Receiving Cattle
2.Yd. for Horses (Separate)
126.96.36.199.8.9.10 Yds for drafting
(A frame for Operations)
(11 Yd for Killing)
C.D. long lines of fencing for leading in Cattle
Cattle are first driven into No. 1 = A portion of them into No. 3 A few into No. 4 = from No. 4 singly into No. 8 = from thence into the Yd required The fat for market into No. 5 for Branding or turng. out again into No 6 = Calves, lc. reserved for any purpose into No. 9 Those belonging to other stations into No. 10 ("Strangers Yard") Any for killing into No. 11 No. 7 is used for Branding A man is statd. at each Gate
Before the Digging started Cattle were boiled down for their fat now they fetch from £8 to £15 at the Melb. or Horbart Town Markets much of course depends upon the beast and the supply at the time Great many Young Calves are now often killed & destroyed to prevent the Run getting over stocked it seemed a great waste to see them
just knocked on the head and left or burnt in such a wholesale manner but the market is too far off for pay to pay to get them there Many are destroyed by Wild Native Dogs
Went home with J. Peck to the "Ridge" the House and Buildings are situated on the top of a hill should think nr. 200 ft above surrounding Country the approach is about as steep as it is possible for anything on wheels to get up but when up the view is most magnificient
A squatting licence is £10 pr. year giving right to 25 miles of country for Cattle grazing Settlers
to have to return the quantity on their runs (but the returns are always a long way short one thing it is impossible to know themselves what they have so they always err on the right side) They have to pay annually 2/- pr head for Horses 1s/ for Bullocks or Cows /6d for sheep Their runs can be taken from them whenever required by the Govt. but they have the right (called Preventive Right) to be purchase a section of it (640 acres) at the upset price if they chose The Squatter Question is now making engaging a great deal of attention
Sir Ch. H. has rendered himself very unpopular here amongst all classes He appears to regard the people in the same light a school master does his boys too much of the quarter sick with him He promised much when he first came, but has performed nothing No doubt by the time you get this, some reports will have reached Engd. relative to the entertainment given at "Toorak" (Governmt. House) on the evening of Majestys birthday = The papers here have been full of it placards & caricatures all over Melbourne Have enclosed 2 or 3 letters cut from the "Herald"
It is a fact that poor Colonial Beer (many say it was sour) or swipes in Jugs, and bad wine was all that was furnished the guests on that eveng. = all good furniture removed and the place lighted by common dips which spoiled many dresses When the
Colonial Sec. Treasurer (I think) asked the Butler to bring the Champagne to Drink her Majestys health Sir C. said there was none = Large posters over & all over the Town = Headed "Hospitalities at Toorak on the eveng. of her Majestys birthday" lc., lc. giving an account of the whole affair stating that the letters K. C. B. after his Sir Chas name meant "Keg of Common Beer" Illustrations too representg. Sir C. & Lady H. with the Brewer, in front of 3 Barrels marked X XX XXX Lady H. is pointing with her parasol to the X
One or two of the Govt. Officers were dismissed because they expressed by some little act their contempt for the Vice Regal Snipes the correspondce. as to the cause of dismissal with the reply are published in the papers = Some parties holdg. high appointments have been
dismissed summarily disposed of from some ridiculous whim of S. Cs His folly has made him the laughing stock of the Country should think he must be driven almost Cranky
Tis said some of the last of the company after retiring happening to return for something found my
Lord & my Lady round blowing out the Dips Tis proposed to
freight serve him as was one of the Govrs. of Sydney vz. subscribe Charter a Vessel & pack him off Nolens Volens to Engd. =
What a frightful state this war must be bringing things into at home it is a matter of great interest here every mail is looked for with much
interest anxiety but no thing news of any great importance has reached us for some time it was hoped the Dash of "Old Nick" would have produced beneficial results = the mail "Marco Paolo" has recently arrived but only brings news of preparats. before Sebastopol still =
Many thanks for the receipt lemonade am not however likely to do anythg. in that line tis a stale game taken up generally by
the lazy people by no means a paying spec.
Youve several times expressed surprize at receiving a paragraph in a
letter cover without a Lre but about the day previous to obtaing. & posting it had posted sent a long communication home so there was no need to write again then
So [indecipherable] is started for Australia suppose that is in conseqce. of his hearing from Maplestone
With respect to matters have turned out just as I feared, heard from her
the other day about a month since in ans. to an applicn. He it appears is again almost done up and the greater portion of what he had is in the hands of his Creditors stated am listed amongst the creditors and a long yarn about their intention to pay in full to this rep. at once have recd. no ans am pretty certain tis all [indecipherable] it wont answer my purpose to go after such a chance the trip would cost about £20/ or £25/ besides loss of time = so may as well make myself happy about it
Have received 3 or 4 lrs. commencing with an illustration of Pakenham Ex. suppose it is by this time nr. completion Glad to hear business is as brisk as it is
While writing this have been regaled by a little Aboriginal harmony = being in the new House have been buildg. a number of blacks are camped near round it, and having lost a pickaninny they singing and beating time with sticks on their oppossum skin rugs which are lightly strained across their knees tis a strange wailing noise = but not unmusical =
Have been very very busy of late hardly a minute to spare walk a great many miles a day from place to place the work I have to supertd. lies all round the lines below show my rounds which I take almost every day
Bye the bye Dr. Hedley is a Mason have had some little converse on the subject Dont know if I ever told you I had prepd. sketches for a Wooden Church also
[A sketch of daily walking rounds in above paragraph].
[The following is a newspaper clipping from the Melbourne Morning Herald].
[The following letter was omitted accidentally, at the proper time; but, as the topic seems to interest the public, we insert it now.]
Who Pays The (Toorak) Piper?
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald.
SIR, For the first time in his official life in the colony, Sir Charles Hotham is about to give a ball, and something of a supper. The day chosen for this is the birth-day of her Majesty. It is evident, therefore, that this is not at all to be regarded in the light of hospitable festivity; a sort of official re-union, or an attempt at re-union, under cover of the Queens name, and, we suppose, at the expense of the Governor. Is it not so? The expense may not appear on the estimates in a definite form; but will it not be included in some allowance, or some secret service money? Why has Sir Charles never done this before? The inference is, because he would have had to pay it out of his own pocket.
One peculiarity in the form of invitation would lead us to a different conclusion, did we not know from innumerable instances that his Excellency, though not a "good dancing Governor," is a "finished traveller," and a first-rate "dodger." It is thus the invitation cards are printed with "Lady Hotham, at home." We must all be glad to see this, at any rate, were it only on account of the surprising novelty. Many of the principal ladies of Melbourne and Geelong, and our environs, called at Toorak long since, but never once had the good fortune to find her ladyship "at home." Visitors were told to leave their cards that was all! This is the first time she has been able to receive anybody not specially invited; and the number of the latter has been rigidly confined to a small official clique of very incoherent qualities. A similar course has been adopted even in the selection of the guests on the present public occasion; and if there be discovered here and there a "cunning exception," it will only provide the rule.
[The following is a newspaper clipping from the Heidelberg, May 28th, 1855].
Her Majestys Supper.
Addressed to the Peacock "At Home."
Oh! spirit pure of malt and hops,
Retaild at all the little shops,
Whether pale Indian ale or stout
Of Guiness, Byassworth a "shout"
Or een good, wholesome, sound small beer,
I praise the comfort of your cheer!
But, oh! Sir Charles, what can we say
To damaged beer for the Queens birthday
When gentlemen made strange wry faces,
And walked away with hurrying paces;
And ladies, bending double, strove
To smile, and twirl a careless glove,
While secretly they writhed and moand,
And, ere they reached home, fairly groand
At having drunk viceregal swipes,
And suffering all these loyal gripes!
For what?In order to cow-tow,
Receive a cold and haughty bow,
And feel the eyes contemptuous dart
Strike ice into each generous heart.
Yes,all were cut,of each degree,
By apes of vulgar "quality!"
Heidelberg, May 28th, 1855.
[The following is a newspaper clipping from the Melbourne Morning Herald].
The Open Column.
For the opinions of Correspondents expressed here we are not responsible; we give every phase of intelligently-expressed opinion a place in this column, refusing no useful letter merely because its sentiments differ from our own.
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald.
Sir, I mentioned, somewhat doubtfully, in my previous letter, that Sir Charles Hotham had not danced with any lady, in the whole course of the evening, at the late Ball. I am now enabled to assure you that it is not only a fact but that Lady Hotham did not dance with any gentleman! Why not,for heavens sake? The Queen and Prince Albert always dance, and are very fond of it. I am also assured by gentlemen who have visited foreign courts, that members of the Royal Families always dance, and so do Ambassadors, and Governors and their ladies. What is the cause of this petrifying hauteur on the part of these two people? What on earth does it all mean? Surely they are able to dance? Or have they some chronic affection, causing a stiffness of the joints? Or is it simply pride? They are all greatness, and we mere dirt. I object to being regarded as dirt, and I resent, as all other ladies should, such insulting treatment. Why did Sir Charles drink our champagne, and talk of the "elegance and beauty" that surrounded him, and such stuff, if he meant to give us all a dead cold cutting when his turn came to be a little hospitable?
I remain, Mr Editor,
Geelong, May 27, 1855.
P.S. Please to request the gentlemen who print the Herald, not to spell my name after the French style of "Marie," but English "Maria." Dont forget, Mr Editor, my previous invitation whenever you come to Geelong. Well give you some soup and curry, and a good bottle of Burgundy. I only hope I shall be able to get down stairs by this time. I write this in bed, my husband holding the inkstand, and suppressing his laughter; partly for fear of spilling the ink over the counterpane, and partly because he knows I am so very angry at the shameful treatment we have received.
[The following is an undated newspaper clipping].
Another circumstance might lead most people to regard this Government Ball as an effort on the part of Sir Charles to open his private purse-strings at last, and give some indications of hospitality; we allude to the fact of the "supper," having been bargained for, it is to be done by contract, at 12s 6d per head, but even this does not convince us as to who is to be the paymaster. If there is a certain "allowance" for the expense of a fete in honour of her Majestys birth-day, the more that is saved out of it, the more goes into the private pocket of the autocratic economist. Will no member of the Legislative Council put this question to the Colonial Secretary?
I do not dance myself, but I am fond of dance music, and while on the question of "who pays the piper" at Toorak, I must say I shall laugh to see how right my conjectures have been, if, instead of regularly-hired professional musicians, I observe a choice selection, perhaps in plain clothes, from the military bands of the 12th and 40th regiments, who "could not think" of accepting money for playing on the Queens birth-day, and with all their officers present! Oh! this vice-regal scrutinizer of books and salaries, the trenchant supervisor of abuses "out of doors,"let him look within, and turn pale at the thought of the record he will leave behind him in Victoria.I am, Mr Editor, Your obedient servant, Hawkeye.
St. Kilda, May 22, 1855.
[The following is a press clipping from the Melbourne Morning Herald dated May 28, 1855].
The Birth-day Ball.
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald.
Sir,Since "Black Thursday" of last week, so many evil comments and ill-natured remarks have been appearing on the Toorak hospitalities of our justly esteemed and highly popular Lieutenant-Governor, that some notice seems called for, at last, from one or other of his friends and supporters.
As one of these, and to begin with, I must declare it a mistake to say that the anniversary of her Majestys Birth-day was dishonoured by the swipes or sour beer, with which the guests of her representative in Victoria had to celebrate it. I maintain, without fear of contradiction in any quarter, that the greatest care was manifested from the outset, to let all who were invited to Toorak understand that the Queens birth-day had nothing at all to do with the matterit was not even her representative, the Lieutenant-Governors assemblyit was simply "Lady Hotham at home;" and I do ask with some indignation if a lady in her own house (with of course her husbands consent previously obtained), is not to be allowed to do as she pleases without a fuss in the newspapers about it? If the company did not appreciate the beer there, I see no call for their repeating their visit; but such public notice of private hospitality (or what was meant for it), is, I maintain, in the highest degree unhandsome and disagreeable.
Again: it is said that at this friendly re-union, neither of the distinguished entertainers seemed to think of treating any of the numerous guests, of whatever degree, with the ordinary reception ladies and gentlemen are accustomed to expect when meeting each other, even at the Antipodes. But how is it possible, I would ask, in an upstart colony like this for new-comers like them to know who to shake hands with, and still less to dance with? On the evening in question, the example of their newly-married Excellencies ought to have been felt as highly exemplary, and even affectingly so. It was one of domestic happiness, singularly displayed in the assiduity of their attention to each other throughout the evening, and finished off very touchingly, by their even dancing with each other; in contrast to the stray husbands and wives on all sides of them. How sad to hear, now, even this good example brought in evidence against them, with a sneer too at their showing such disregard for everybody but themselves.
I cannot help noticing, also, that in the desire to find fault, even the gale which was unluckily blowing during the evening has been taken advantage of to say something about "raising the wind" in that quarter. A sneer like this might, perhaps, as well have been omitted here. The colony would, in my opinion, do well to take a hint from those at the head of its society, as to the folly of drinking champagne and other liquors still more dangerous and detrimental than the swipes now complained of, and which have brought a discredit already on it, making the very broken bottles with which it is bestrewn a testimony in high places against it. With turkeys and what not at the present ruinous price, £5000 a-year is not what it used to be.
And now, Sir, may it not be asked, in the revulsion of feeling so painfully apparent, what has banished the enthusiasm shown a short year ago? The popular breeze has, alas, died away with a witness, and who can tell but that in the secret retirement at Toorak, some distressing doubts may be flitting across its occupants as to the sentiments once uttered at Geelong; and whether it would not have been better to shake hands with invited guests on a day of general and loyal festivity, than to clasp the unwashed palm of an unwashed mob at Ballaarat?
Melbourne, May 28, 1855.
[The following is a press clipping from The Herald, dated Tuesday, May 29th, 1855].
"Impartial, Not Neutral."
Tuesday, May 29th, 1855.
Maria and Mr Murphy, at Toorak.
We should, perhaps, be suspected of want of gallantry towards the fair, were we to publish, and pass by, without comment, the second letter of "Maria." Only about six weeks back, our at once gentle and severe Geelong Correspondent, addressed us in her first epistle to "the Herald," wherein she complained that Sir Charles Hotham had not returned the Geelong festivities in a style, and with a promptitude which might have been reasonably expected from his promises and his pay. Since then, Maria has had her ball and supper and still she appears to be dissatisfied as ever. Notwithstanding the natural and acquired fascinations of the officers,"most gentlemanly men," Maria freely admits,Sir Charless "dips," and his large investment for his companys behoof, in Mr Murphys apparently anti-constipative mixture, seem to have completely disturbed the,we trust,naturally sweet temper of "the better half" of the officer of the Geelong Rifles. What little things,or rather, what apparently little things, for they are not in reality little, when we consider the results,will suffice to make or mar a mans reputation or fortunes. We think it was Dr Johnson who acutely observed that the gentleman who gives half-a-crown to a footman, is voted a munificent patron amongst the knights of the shoulder-knot, whilst the man who gives two shillings is regarded by the same constituency as a scurvy fellow; and yet there is only a wretched sixpence between two such opposite reputations, and two such different judgments. In like manner, Sir Charles has saved some fifty pounds upon the item of champagne,or (which comes to the same thing) upon gooseberry,and has set some four or five hundred tongues at work,Marias, rely upon it, not the least efficient,upon the curiosity aperient entertainment at Toorak, on her Majestys birth-night. "The supper," Maria and others say,we can only speak from report, not having been there,"was good;" but Murphy and the guttering "dips" appear to have marred all. Sir Charles does not care about spoiling a ship for a "haporth of tar." But we certainly think that he has allowed to pass by the happiest opportunity, of a social character, he has yet had for partially retrieving his waning, if not lost, popularity. He has saved £50say fifty pounds, as dealers express itand he has lostwhat? He has lost, or missed the difference between the moral effect of two very different speeches. To wit: "Well!" (we here assume some fizzing liquor, and popping corks) "they may abuse Sir Charles as they like, but hes a liberal, frank fine, old English host, after all thats said and done;" and, "Well! this is, it cannot be denied, a most small beer Executive, in all its branches, social, moral and political." And either speech, if it proceed not from the bottom of the speakers heart, at any rate comes from the bottom of another organ, quite as sensitive an organ in an Englishmans constitution.
For aught we know, Sir Charles might prove a very Nelson, when fighting a ship. What we do know is this: that no man can prove himself a highly successful Governor of men, unless he have some knowledge of human nature. In this article of knowledge Sir Charles appears to be as yet singularly deficient. Men are principally moved through their brains, their hearts, andalthough last, perhaps not always leasttheir stomachs. Sir Charles has not as yet much moved the colonists through their brains; he has not won their hearts; his chance he wilfully lost the other night, and, all the Marias and their husbands and brothers are down upon him, as any man of the world might have expected.
We shall not pause here to do the didactic or the philosophical. We shall not express any disgust at people who appear to be more excited by a bad supper than by a bankrupt revenue, and an imbecile administration. Sufficient for one article is the principal topic thereof, and that principal topic at present is "beer." That birth-night ball might have been made the rallying point of much of the finer social feeling in the colony. What a potent instrument for the management of men, and women, is a flowing and graceful hospitality. Who understood this great fact better than poor Sir George Gipps? What marvels did he not effect with his piquant dinners, his elegant and never beery "at homes," his frank "How dye do," his genial and warm-hearted squeeze of the hand. How many opponents did he conciliate? How many friends did he knit to him in "chains of perdurable toughness?" Not a few, were there, who, whilst they condemned his measures, could with difficulty be brought personally to oppose himself. He was indeed a man of too winning a manner to please the sterner colonists, who wanted acts, and not graces. Like the "fenders" let down between ships, many a collision did he break, and soften off, between colony and Downing-street, until he was crushed in the process, one of the martyrs,too noble stuff for such ignoble work,of Downing-street misrule.
But "Revenons a nos moutons," let us return to our dips and beer. Amidst all the storm of indignation, disgust, and diarrhoea which this manifestation appears to have produced, no one seems to have had any consideration at all for the feelings of Mr Murphy. That highly respectable brewer and M.L.C. has been spoken of in every direction as if he and Sir Charles had been secretly plotting together in some dark conspiracy against the insides of the general colonists. Was any thing ever more irrational? Was it Mr Murphys fault that his economic beverage was not champagne, or the best sparkling moselle? Is he to answer for the "upturned eyes" and "thunderstruck" expression of Marias vis-a-vis, at the supper table, the gentlemanly officer who "took her in," and very nearly "did for,"himself? We think not.
Nor was it, we wot, any part of Mr Murphys contract to find Toorak in brandy sufficient to carry off the effects of the more drastic liquor. In nothing, as it appears to us, has he been to blame, save in one particular,he ought not to have allowed his beer to enter Toorak supper rooms at all. His beer is very good beer in its proper place,in the "dura messorum ilia," the hard and defiant viscera of reapers, and of others who live by the sweat of their brow. No colonial beer better, as we believe,and much imported beer worse,and therefore he ought not to have perilled the reputation of his manufacture, upon such sensitive stomachs as assemble at birth-night balls. It is not the first time we have known delicate Marias improve the occasion of a rout supper, by taking in supplies of pigeon pie, custards, lobster salad, turkey, and ham, tipsy cake, tarts, and trifle, (the very sight of which operation would give an ordinary man, a bilious attack,) and then fasten the next days consequences upon as innocent an agent as Mr Murphys beer.
We shall not, however, further pursue this delicate inquiry. Suffice it to say, that from some cause or other, as we have been credibly informed, a very large portion of Sir Charless guests kept their beds on Saturday, and many-tongued rumour was busy during the whole of yesterday, to the effect, that the medical profession were about to subscribe for a piece of plate as a testimonial to Sir Charles, a Delphic Jug, or Delf-ic may perhaps be the word, typical of the composition of the vessels from which the liquor was drunk,with a portrait of Mr Murphy on the one side, and the figure of his Excellency, like a reduced Bacchus, bestriding a "small-beer" barrel, on the other.
Taraville Gipps Land
July 6th, 1855
My dr. Nabs,
Have received two epistles from you since writing last, which am sorry to say was near three months ago, you must not think it unkind on my part in allowg. so long a time to go by without yr. getting a line for upon my word have commenced several times but have not really been able to finish up this packet before
The contents of the above alluded to letters have rather taken one aback had no idea matters were progressing at that rapid rate with you such being really the case I most sincerely & truly hope it will be for yr future & ultimate good it is of course needless to say you both have my most earnest wishes for yr welfare All I can say Nabs, dont rush blindfold into a step that you may both repent at your leisure In my own case have no fear whatever of being able to pick up a living any where but it would in all probability be sharp work with any one dependg. upon me
It is of course folly on my part to attempt anything in the shape of advice Can only wish you well You have frd. at home both able and willing to advise and assist you, to whom I should urge you to listen and not consult merely your own wishes or inclination in a matter of so much importance to you both
Now dont go off with the idea that Im turned "Croaker" in my old age for mind you am not saying one word in opposition to the course you purpose adopting far from it I only say think well of the step you are about to take, and be advised by those who are interested in yr welfare No one can or will be more pleased than myself to know you are doing well = Am not going to give you a long lecture or spin an elaborate yarn on the subject = But whatever you do I most sincerely hope & trust will turn out successfully Let me hear from you when you can spare a little time as shall feel very anxious for the result
With respect to myself you will within a little by Lre home see what Ive been up to "All Serene" You appear to be laboring under the happy delusion that we are in a state verging to extreme by utter destitution want beggary and all that sort of thing and rapidly killing ourselves to boot what a notion = It is now some time it is true since I saw Robt. = heard from yesterday he appeared all right enough altho he hadnt quite made his fortune Cannot say have made much tin myself been
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Have only escaped getting smashed a few days since riding over the other day to visit [indecipherable] Bridge at Alberton being [indecipherable] & spurred walking along some of the timber about 20 ft above ground turning round the blessed spurs
got caught & all but pitched me over but managed to catch some of the timbers and save myself though I was a gone Coon
employed under Govt. during the last 3 months (sorry to say am knocked off now for they are lost in funds) superintendg. the erectn. of heavy Bridges, lc., lc. Mr Gibson being out of the way he is retd. now and the works nrly completed = [indecipherable] the Govt. of about £60 or 70 in the shape of salary = wish it had lasted =
Have built a House (about 8 rooms) stable, lc., lc., lc. complete A spicy looking little place and far beyond any thing else erected in this part of the country Just now finishing working Drawings Specificatn. for a wood church = also for additions to
a a Clergymans House, lc., lc. which are to be tendered for at once
Have just joined in partnership a young fellow in the
Mechanical Engineering Line (has just erected a steam mill for a party here) We are started as Archts. Engineers Surveyors, lc., lc. Sevl. small jobs of land surveyg. on hand now and hope to get a private Survey of about 5000 acres to resurvey and lay out for sale = Land surveying is [indecipherable] work so much timber and thick scrubs = Now dont run off again in the opposite extreme and suppose am making a fortune because youll be wrong again should the District go ahead we might perhaps do very well = but it is of course a chance =
My dr. Nabs you rather strongly advise my return = you rather puzzle me = am anxious to do what is best of course have no doubt of being able to pick a tolerable living in a small but independt. [indecipherable] At least have a better chance than has been before presented it may not turn out well cant say = but am in honor bound to make the trial for a while but 12
or 18 Mos. shall settle my course = have pretty well resolved this shall be my last Venture = but think it would be rather stupid to throw it up thus at the commencemt. = Have been rather an unlucky chap since coming out = There is little, may say no chance of ever gettg. a sous from Old S. believe he is going to the Devil and be Dd. to him.
How is my frd. Geo. suppose he begins almost to think that he is altogether forgotten pray undeceive him in that respect = I owe sevl. letters to difft. parties but upon my word Nabs I really cant get time to write them = We are obliged to do our walking in the day and our work at night that a fellow hasnt a minute to spare = Young beginners cannot ride the very high horse Thank [indecipherable] Geo & Mr. Bird for their very kind epistles I will reply to them when I can but cant say when always feel disappointd. when a Mail arrives & brings no letters for
Well old Chap must bring this hasty scrawl to a conclusion being warned by both [indecipherable] & paper Give my kindest Love to all relatives Kind regards to all friends And Nabs wishing you every success in what you are about to undertake believe me to be Yr Affec Bro
My Dr. F. & M.
Must close this tonight for the Melb. post tomorrow Received yrs of May 1 Yester even Many thanks for the news, lc. very pleased to know you are both improving in health trust you now quite well Sorry to hear so bad an account of poor Gdfr. N : Gdmr. P. trust both are recovg. pray give them my kindest Love Dr Love to all dr friends at Norwich tell them heard from Robt. yesterday he is at Castlemaine Well, & all right=lc., lc. am writg. to him this post he has fordd to me a Lre from Mr. Taylor am obliged to defer replyg. this time
Thank all for their kind epistles Aunt Emma, Mr. Bird, [indecipherable], Geo, All Am always very much pleased to hear from them and if opportunities
were offered they should not have to blame for delay in [indecipherable] Kind Regards to all who kindly enquire for me Mr. Mrs. Barnes, Townsend = Robins [indecipherable], All, All,
Relative to any future course cannot yet say much about it Ablett urges return informing me of his prospects hope very much he may be successful & do well = shall be anxious for letters now
to hear about him
You will see in mine to him have just entd. into partnership with a Mr. Hastings alluded to in a
former previous letter = Am in a measure bound in honor now to make the trial and as it has been my aim and object to start in this capacity ever since my first arrival in the District, it would be stupid after gradually working up to this point to throw the whole thing up without making the trial = Having got over the worst part. Have 2 or 3 things in to start with (Have an Office at Green Hills = quite coming out)
We are both well known throughout the District and if it does go ahead as there is much probability of its doing why we should have a tolerable chance of doing something in the shape of business however this is a chance =
but but think it worth the trial am almost decided = this shall be my last venture = and that say 12 Mos. shall settle me one way or other = Have no fear of being able to pick up a decent living but thats hardly enough to make up for being so far away from friends, lc. = Have made sevl. out here who have treated me very kindly =
Well my dr. F. & M. must conclude = Hoping to hear again shortly = & to receive good news believe me Yr Affec Jno
September 11th, 1855
My dr. Father,
This last post has brought me your letter of June 3rd. from its tenor you appear to wish for something more definite than has yet been received relative to my future movements I forwaded you a packet very recently therefore this will contain but little news Hope Dr. Mosher is again quite well
Am deeply grieved to hear so sad an account of your Gdmr. and fervently trust she is recovering from the effects of her injury What a wretch that woman must be hope to hear better news next mail and shall anxiously look for a communication being so removed I hear of nothing until it is long gone by Gdfr. too I trust is improving he need not be under any apprehension relative to Jnos being able to provide for himself = if he will
Youths in that position have many advantages offered them nor is hope of getting on shut out if one so situated conducts himself properly he is not for ever damned as he would be at home tis generally acknowledged as a fact here that the greater [indecipherable] make better men, and are more to be trusted than the free Emigrants Have been brought into connection with many, holding various positions in society, and they are mostly very steady, honest, industrious, and respected in their position some of course are incorrigible but if a man tries, endeavours to recover his lost position he is not distrusted shunned or deprived of all chance of rising again it rests almost entirely with himself my advice to Jno. would be to stay out here persevere, work steadily on and he will not eventually regret having done so His chances here are infinite to what they would be at home Would never
advise his going back.
Josh L.e too was very sorry to hear such an account of the poor Old Man Am afraid many many changes have taken place during my absence that I little dream of
Now for a few words relative to myself the Last 2 or 3 Letters from home have rather strongly advised my return About the beginning of this year, had almost finally determined that it was best to stay and settle in the Colony for a number of years seeing clearly, nothing was to be done in a short time, nothing it could
only be accomplished but by time and steady perseverance in some decided line or course of proceeding and judging from accounts from home that no chance existed for a Young Engineer that it must be work work without advancg. once step = that therefore without in any way considering my own inclinatns. had decided that to remain was my best course thought Gipps Ld. a good field and commenced My position in society is very good and believe in the course of a few years I might do tolerably well Dont mean to say should acquire a fortune thats all folly have long long dropped that ridiculous notion it is entirely out of the question Am perfectly satisfied shall always have to work for my living any where my last mentioned I had joined a young man in partnership
Your letters have altogether upset my plans and the thought of being at no very distt. period again amongst you all makes me feel very unsettled However I am for a period tied, having 2 or 3 things to carry out, wh. will take say 6 months if you
can in reply to this my Dr. F. think I may do tolerably well in England and advise me to return I will endeavour to wind up with my partner as soon as possible afterwards and start Dont anticipate being able to bring any cash with me, for a business just started cannot be expected to return much Mind you it has been no childs play to get on as
I have = Have now much greater reason to be satisfied with my prospects than ever had before you no doubt think that is saying but little, but I believe I have tolerable living before me dont suppose should make much money
This District is in its infancy it was almost totally deserted during the Gold Mania, but things are working round and beginning to move gradually ahead people are commencg. to settle and are turning their attention to Agriculture, lc. They dont talk now of making fortunes they are as tales of other days it must one day be a great agriculturl. District the climate is very fine
I have thus briefly told you my prest. position shall anxiously wait yr. reply should you advise my return, I will do so need not say wh. way my inclintns. tend I leave them out of the question Dont suppose Rob. will be prevailed upon to return with me Wrote to him a few days since he was quite well did not say what he was doing
I cannot think what induced the belief that I was in the state alluded to in yrs. Dont remember Ive ever written anything that could suggest such dismal foreboding Am quite well only not quite so
plump fat as formerly
I trust you will write and say what you advise as soon as you can after the receipt of this because I would rather
do so return as soon as possible than be uncertain or undecided in my course it must be a question of go at once or make up my mind to work quietly on until I can do something for myself that can only be a work of years so pray think it over and tell me what you advise = You need not be entertain any anxiety on my account I can always
get my living out here any where
We have had a great Aboriginal Demonstration A War Party of about 3 or 4 hundred blacks all men of course armed to the teeth, in their way = They came down from Monaro with the express purpose of killing all the Gipps Land Blacks they could catch these poor devils were hustled off to the mountains, and escaped there have been several instances of late of their killing some in the middle of Townships and on the House Verandahs of peoples houses They were a queer mob Lots of spears and waddies = Had a "Yabber" with several of their parties some speak tolerable broken English they never can aquire the language for in every case do the whites speak in broken slang to them Their covering both for Ladies & Gentn. is a bit of Blanket or Rug thrown loose round them they are strange looking Creatures
Well my dear Father I must now come to a conclusion trusting to hear from you in reply as speedily as possible believe me
to be With Kindest Love Remembcs. to all relatives & friends
Yr. Affectionate Jno
How Did the Corn Hall turn out you tell me you have just completed the Contract trust it was a remunertive one = You make no mention of Abletts prospects I hope they are as you [indecipherable]
My Dr. Nabs
I thankboth you and Saro much for your kind notes of June 3rd.
So you are seriously bent upon getting married and starting for yourself I cannot of course venture an opinion or any advice You have kind friends at home listen to them for rest assured youve a vast deal of very unplesent experience to give I trust you are not premature in your arrangements Be careful money is soon spent, and precious hard to get Remember youve more than yourself to consider However Im not going to croak out a long sermon You have my every wish for your happiness and advancement Should have of course liked to be present at the time but thats impossible This is another change =
What is your own real candid opinion of the steps you are about taking, and the course you purpose pursuing I earnestly hope you may do well Nabs
You rather strongly urge my return need not say I would rather be at home amongst you all = But Ablett can you really with good reason recommend this step? Can I do anything in England. I have always imagined from home Letters that but little chance, if any, existed for me there upon this supposition I have tried hard to endeavour to work my way out here and had almost settled in my own mind that Australia was to be my home = Could not of course do anything in a year or two it must
have be steady perseverance in some
decided course for many years
I doubt to do any thing particular Have as you see started in partnership with a young man and do not doubt of our being able to pick up a tolerably comfortable living = High wages, lc., lc. will gradually come down they must = This Country cannot be in the close communication it is with England & other countries without things coming gradually to a level approximating only to [indecipherable] things at home nearer to each other
It must be, stay altogether, or go a middle course wont do I must either go on steadily with what Ive already commenced or give it up at
once soon as possible & return =
Now think the matter over calmly, consider everything Dont say come back merely because you might wish to see me, for if I allowed my inclinations only to guide me I should soon be off Must I be a poor unfortunate Clerk or something of that
sort? can I do any good for myself? is there really a good chance? Am perfectly aware I shall have always to work for my living whether here or there = Tis no use to think of saving much money, one must be satisfied without that
You can The answer to this packet shall decide me if any return is advised upon good grounds why mizzles the word I shall feel very unsettled now until I know my course
Thank Saro Geo. for his notes Tell him I will write to him next time also to all frds to whom I am in debt so my dr. Ab. with earnest sincere wishes for yr. advancement, lc., lc., lc. With Kind Love to you & Saro
Believe me Yr. Affec Bro
My Kind Love to All friends at
My Dr Mother,
Have to thank you for 2 or 3 little notes which have only come to hand was very sorry to know you & Dr. F. had both been so unwell but glad to know you are both recovd. = Abletts news quite took me by surprise had no idea matters were progressing so rapidly with him hope it may turn out well and for his benefit =
He urges me very strongly to return throwing out great inducements Dr. Mother I dont know what to do = Must remain here for a period having commenced a partnership
to must see if it will answer there is I think a tolerable chance
I tell Ablett I should not be fit for a mere Clerk again after my free rough independt. life feel rather anxious both on Fathers & Abs
account Ablett will tell you what Ive written to him = think this will be my last Venture = Theres no fear of my being able to pick up a living out here = but I want to do what is best =
Am tolerably comfortable = Have asked him to think the matter well over in all its bearings = if what he urges can really be recommended shall be very strongly tempted = I think I may say 12 Months shall settle me one way or another = and I trust to do what is best believe me my Dr Mother Yr Affect Jno
[The following text is written upside down].
Jos. A. Pettit Esq.
Lower Orwell Street
January 6th, 1856
My dr. Nabs,
You must not put me down as unkind for not writing earlier
But Want of time and opportunity is the cause, not neglect
Well old chap am rather anxious to hear how youre getting on not spliced yet Dont you be in a hurry Nabs theres time enough get things right first and when once started persevere steadily like a Brick = A Single Chap has only himself to consider, and should be able to make his own way surely but with others dependt. upon him the case is very different He ought not then to think of himself but those who are dependt. upon him =
Well old fellow, Im not going to give you a long lecture, you must know your own minds and affairs best I can only earnestly hope & trust you may be happy together, and get on in the world =
You press me rather earnestly & strongly to return = but having gone into the matter in my last need not go into detail again now shall wait the answers from home before deciding, for my next step will be an all important one to me and ought not to be taken without some little consideration = Am perfectly willing to do as you propose, if it can really be advised (you must not go off with the notion that Im on the verge of starvation) Can get on here I dont doubt but in that case this Country must be my home for the next 15 or 20 yrs.
Can assure you Nabs am getting very anxious to see my way clear and settle steadily down to some decided course of business Am heartily tired of "Shilly Shallying" humbugging changing and knocking about Am not a Chicken now Dont want to waste and foolishly throw away time now and be obliged to work when Old
Cannot say what I might do if I remained out here = that in a measure depends upon the advance of the district But say perhaps at the end of 2 or 3 yrs
my business might my business would return = about £300 perhaps more pr Annum As you may very naturally suppose I do not wish to remain always as I am may have certain other views, I might wish to carry out who can tell?
However think enough has been said on this matter you no doubt can understand all I mean if I do come back I want to have a chance of getting on a Clerks billet at £1/7 pr week and worked to death into the Bargain wouldnt do at all But Let me see theres a good fair chance and Im ready to try it Dont wish to throw away
substance for shadow now you know all
about ithave not said much about it in my Lre to Father but you can talk it over with him and give me yr joint advice upon the matter All of you
My partner, alluded to in my last has obtained a very good Govt. appointment so am all alone in my Glory Fancy my turning Surveyor rather busy just at this time in that line £2/2s/- pr day my men extra or at so much pr acre Laid out and cut up some Township Blocks the other day for Auction =
Offered not long since to take
on run all the lines and to correct and cut up a surv a Private Survey of nearly six thousand acres at 1/- per acre the job will no doubt be offered me if it is done Have an order to lay out all the Roads in this Estate (about 5000 acres) of Tara Vale for Dr. Hedley
Surveying here is by no means easy work so many trees and dense scrubs in the way Sometimes with 3 or 4 men it is a hard days work to run a chain line only one mile in length having to cut complete Vanes through otherwise impenetrable scrubs
The Govt. Surveyors cut up Blocks of say 10 to 15 thousand acres [indecipherable] of course it is impossible for individuals purchasing to find their ground as the Lithographed maps give no reference as to the marks I can get all the information required = being chums with them, in fact am often employed to assist in getting their plans up = So every one is referred to me =
Bless yr. innocent heart Ive cheek enough for any thing here = Take any thing that pays Have made some good friends = but one feels differently towards friends at home As the song says "Stranger friends are not like mine" However here I am give
me good advice and dont make a fool of me
Am sorry cannot be at yr. Suppose if I do make up my mind to return you are both in such a dreadful hurry as not to be able to wait Am glad the gold made a good ring = Tell Saro I would write to her if I could but she must take the will for the deed but dont let that prevent her writing a few lines with the rest of you Suppose writing to you is the same as writing to her You must both allow it to be so
Will my dr Nabs I must draw to a conclusion with Kindest L. to
you back all friends and to you both regards, lc. to all who kindly remember me
And with every wish for yr happiness & prosperity
believe me Dr Nabs Yr Affectionate Bro
Mr. Ablett Pettit
[The following is a note on the bottom of the page : "Probably enclosurs to 31 May 1859 letter p. 254-7 and [indecipherable] 1857 p. 264"].
Boolam Boolam Native pheasant or Lyre Bird
Bucquarrie Ring tail oppossum
Coungulla Wild Black Fellow
Tourgie Big Large
Dundiall Monkey or Bear
Narrumbul Young man
Jerribung Old man
Milung Very old man
Wudda Wudda maninuli Kie Give me a light for my pipe
Nurunuli Cah Kow pilarn Gunyah nuce Come over here to the hut and Ill tell you some [indecipherable]
Pulla Wut Stop a bit
Bouie Be off
Pigeongul Long while ago
Bookong a Big Fly
Muc Muc Phelgon
Tchu tchugong snake
Koo ki Oh dear
Nuninuli Kuc Kow Come here quick
Bullarn Mocha Old gin
Jimbie Jimbie Catch him hold him
We manniac Give me tobacco
Muttarlee Stop a minute
Nooroodarnie Are you going to journey (travel)
[The following text is written across the bottom half of the page from bottom to top].
Worradyeree a corruption of languages understood by the tribes generally
Burra Burti Be quick
Wonga Wonga Blue pigeon
Maddie mundoe Wooden leg
Gipps Land Tribe
Targoot Stop a bit
Layunmun Very Good
Tallabordine Little Old Man
Tallamart Young master
Courai ulman Surge
Woodda Be quick
Jeddic Jeddic Knife
Jenki Jinki Blood
Benda Benda Sleep
Gipps Land Contd.
Mulloo Pipe Clay
Yarwun Lightwood tree
Punka Punka Canoe
Karrang Consumptive Cold
Nirwun Stick to throw the spear with
Gouinyourr Full grown Swan
Cuttarie Oppussum Cloak
[indecipherable] Ki Oh dear
[indecipherable] Ka dorn Oh dear Oh dear
[indecipherable] a cunni Where are the Blacks
[indecipherable] Give me an oppossum
We mum a Wadgin Where are the Oppossums
Booruk Booruk Nivo I want a drink
Woothur Woothur Yam Bring me some water quickly
Ganya Ganya Smoking (a pipe)
Kar Kar gee li mourdana) Why did you kill my
Borro boollugga) Bullock a long while
Mulloo earth, Dust, lc.
Bunnik Rope String
Lairn bark Beautiful Breast
Canyu Gunnuk Nioo I am hungry
Quorraulmun Large-Big, lc.
Cut wort Pigs Face (wild swamp)
Doola Doola Boots
Welbunite Stop a bit
Yuck un brait Thumb
Nart bun a dounga dounga nioo I dont understand you
Lourmakin White woman
Cuttoung Plenty of water
Lournbrie A native vegetable
[indecipherable] Fish Bream
Giddi Swan a moulting
Coungulla Wild Blackfellow
Gourrumtchanuk Large Water Hole
Baul Baul tchanuk Large Morass
Bim Bim Windy
Murriwunghong Quick scent
Goonyong A native fruit
Uca Mirren Sun rise
Bow Worrang Good hunting ground for oppossums
Wunt Wun River
Telbut wunt wan Junction of two Rivers
Bairndun wort mull worrin guttinga You and I sat down & had dinner
But But Bastd. Box tree
Dirtywun Stringy Bark tree
Den Small Box Tree
Mullo Carewat Pipe Clay Creek
Yad juk Apple tree
Peundull Left Arm
Muck bindan Right arm
Lournagill White Gin
Glent [indecipherable] under knee
Blunjhean Archilles Tendon
Gillung A vessel for carrying water constructed of wattle bark by lyg. ends together
Nulluc Skin of body
Boulghun Doolet Heart
Nulla Wulluck Liver
Nenda buttagwanga Tube connected with stomach
Je Jerritt Cricket
Cowungan A Swift
Jerrung Boughs Leaves
Names of places Rivers [indecipherable]
Gourrumtchanuck Large water hole
Baulbaultchanuc Large Morass
Muttarlie Stop a minute
Burra-burri Be quick
Couieryong A native fruit
Gerrumbodie To spear
Waddie Wood, Stick, Club
Boolan-Boolan Native pheasant or Lyre Bird
Bucquarie Ring tailed oppossum
Giddi or Couinuk Swan
Cullunurric or Lourn Whiteman
Coungulla Wild Blackfellow
Waddie Mundoie (Wooden Leg)
Miem-Miem Gunyak or Hut
Toomboon Species of fish
Wonga Wonga Species of pigeon
(A sounded as ah at the end of a word)
January 7th, 1854
My dr. Father & M
It was with much pleasure I received yrs of Sept. 1st. (recently) informing all were well, lc., lc.
Was truly & deeply grieved (as mentioned in my last) to hear of the death of poor Grandmr. and in such a melancholy way too Could hardly think it true little did I imagine, the doubts she used to express relative to my ever seeing her again would prove true was indeed vexed poor Lady Gdfr must miss her very much = Am afraid that even during my short absence many many sad changes have taken place =
How rapidly the years roll by = am now commencing my fourth in the Colony = It almost startles me when I think how time flies, and how old Im growing =
Ablett tells me in his that hes about making a great change, well I most earnestly hope and trust he may succeed in his undertaking =
You all rather strongly urge my return Do you really advise it? Do you think I may
be get on tolerably well?
Am situated about the same as when I last wrote but feel very very unsettled Letters from home quite puzzle me Dont know what to do for the best = Am in practice for myself as Architect Surveyor, lc., lc. Establishing oneself is of course uphill work but have surmounted the most part = My work is gradually encreasing, and I do think that by energy, perseverance and a little judicious expenditure I could eventually render my business a very good one and gradually work myself into a position here.
Knowing the uncertainty of my movements have not pushed ahead as I otherwise should have done = Have not solicited a single job, all comes to me = Thinking I might soon throw up every thing was of course anxious not to tie or involve myself too much, in case I might leave and on the other hand do not wish to throw away chances I ought to lay hold of
A District Road Board is about to be formed the
Secretaryship is mine if I will accept it (salary somewhere about £150/ [indecipherable] this is of course in addition to what I may be able to do at my business (150 is not
a good salary much out here ) I believe I have a good chance of establishing myself, but must make up my mind to remain, settle, persevere and make this country my home. Could not expect to do much at first but lay the foundation for the course I intend to pursue =
I need not tell you more than this, you know well enough what I must
be do if in business here = money is not to be made by lucky hits thats the chance of not more than one in five thousand Steady application is the only means by which I ever expect to do any good = Now my next step must be a decisive one and I do want to decide at once = Am continually thinking it over and it worries me not a little = I never know what to do once fairly settled it will be something extraordinary that will turn me again = Am now finally heartily tired of changing and knocking about, and begin to feel most anxious to settle be really settled down to some line of business =
Let me beg you to give me yr candid opinion = Have stated the matter plainly my dear Father and Mother & I know perfectly well you will give me the best advice you can for my good = I need not say which way any inclination and wishes tend I leave them out of the question altogether I dont mind working
while now while I am able but it will be hard to be obliged to do so when Im old = I feel I have no time to spare A year or two more and I shall be drawing near Thirty And what as yet have I really done for myself?
If you can so advise me why Im ready to go back You know what I can do and what chance there may be for me It would be a great change from the rough wild independt. life I have led Well Dear Father and Mother think the matter over and advise me for the best if it is to stay why I must make up my mind for 15 or 20 years more here I must really do something for myself =
Am afraid Ive perpetrated a little tautology in the above, but I allow mys to get excited when I write on this subject & feel that the words do not convey half what I wish to say = However dare say youll make it out =
Only think of my turning Land Surveyor Have a Theodolite lent me and I go into the field with my instruments and men as thought I had been brought up to it all my life = Nothing like Cheek & Bounce out here =
Was sorry to hear the Pakenham Corn Hall turned out so profitless & unsatisfactory after all =
Trust you are both quite recovered from yr recent illness From your Letters I find the little Albatross still performs her accustomed pleasure trip to the satisfaction of her passengers =
Hope you spent a Merry Xtmas and happy New Year was very quiet myself in fact hard at work the whole week thought of
you and pledged you all in a "Nobbler" I mean a glass of wine Xmas is not much thought of out here the weather is of course the very reverse of what it is at home
Heard from Robert very recently he is still at Castlemaine quite well and appears to be jogging quietly along
I think I mentioned in my last that I had joined a young fellow and started Housekeeping together But being out a great deal and much away from home as a matter of course we get imposed upon I believe it costs more to keep us two & a servt. than it does your whole household = but tis necessary for me to be near my work and to do that must adopt the present course or live at an Inn, which I detest =
Was up the country on business last week rode down about sixty miles on Monday The greater portion of the upper part of this district is very fine magnificient plains many many miles in extent bounded by belts of trees & ranges of mountains, grass growing 2 or 3 feet in height, looking when green like immense fields of grain Lots of wil Trukeys
on them = There are also some large Lakes one might imagine himself by the Sea Shore
Have several invites to visit in the upper district but cannot afford myself a holiday just now =
Was at a couple of invitation Balls down here not long ago about 80 or 90 present = Band from Melbourne = First rate affairs = They
do certainly do this sort of thing in the most extensive style =
Have forwarded you
an occasionally copy a number of the Gipps Land "Guardian" cannot say it is much of a production or a mighty political engine my name often appears in it = the editor is a regular stick
but the paper is useful as a means of advertising = Certainly much could not be expected for I dont suppose Gipps Land contains 2000 inhabitants altogether
Governmt. is now laying out Townships in various places = & cutting up and throwing plenty of Land into the market
In this neighbourhood are Four Old established Townships Govt. and private Port-Albert private, Taraville Govt. & private, Alberton Govt. & Victoriaprivate There is great rivalship between Alberton Victoria and the other Townships = The Tara & up country people stick up for Port Albert the Albertonians for a port in their direction = As private, individuals they are all right but in public affairs a Daggers drawn if anything is advanced at one place it is sufficient reason for the other to oppose it = but the Albertonians are in the minority = which makes them "Mortal Savage" = it is often most amusing = I tell them its a capital job for me, for if one place commences erecting a Church
or Shools, lc. the other is sure to try hard to get up a similar & better building of their own in opposition = Am often over and never by any chance fail to get their bristles up by explaining something proposed to be carried out on the other side within a week of my advertising for Tenders for the erection of Schools at Tara I was consulted about getting up some at Alberton = Fancy me giving them a quiet poke in a sore place & cooly smiling & rubbing my hands over it = Fine Fun =
So Geo. Farrow has made up his mind to return = had entirely lost sight of him for some time altho I wrote 2 or 3 letters did not get any answer =
By the time youll get this the news of the Govs. death will have reached Engd. I do not think any one regrets him = They say a bad un go & worse come = if that will be the case hell be a choker -
Well my dr Father & M. Ive no news to tell you, let me have yr. answer as soon as you can as to what you advise me to do for I want to make up my mind to something = if I decide to come back shall arrange for so doing with as little delay as possible = but should I see a chance by remaining a few months longer of making a little money to return with it is probable I may do so must now draw to a conclusion
With Kindest Love to All relations Regards Remember to all those friends who kindly remember me I need not mention names
believe me my dr. Father & M
My dr. Father
Being informed that a Mail for England closes this afternoon could not allow the opportunity to pass without giving you a few lines more than this I cannot manage although I have much to write about A longer period than wished has again elapsed since last writing but indeed you must not consider me neglectful = You would not did you know how Ive been situated = occasionally when time might have been found no chance existed But enough of this =
It is now some time since I received any Lrs. from home but hope upon my return to G.Land to find some awaiting my arrival (as I believe 2 or 3 Mails have come in lately) informing me that you are all well, lc. and not conveyg. such melancholy news as two or 3 previous ones =
Have been rather anxious to know how Nabs is getting on Satisfactorily and prosperously I hope = thought to have heard from him but suppose he has been too busily engaged
Heard from Robert recently he was quite well apparently in Good spirits forging ahead a bit
Now no doubt you wonder what has brought me again to Melbourne will endeavour to enlighten you on that point = it was a very unexpected trip for me one of the Surveyors down in G Ld. was dismissed
for inefficiency not long since at one time I thought of trying for the appointment but supposing it would be useless trouble gave up the idea = thinking it best to stick to the certainty =
Being one evening down at the Port upon business, the matter was casually brought up and some friends very strongly advised to make the attempt = The Surveyor in charge of the District happened to come down the next morning, the subject was broached to him and he (very kindly) said he had thought the situatn. would just suit me, and
he had deferred making application for another assistant to be sent down until he had spoken to me about it He offered me a Lrr to head quarters I of course jumped at the chance the [indecipherable] was just about starting the Lrr was written while the Bell was ringing
and I was aboard & off in no time =
Came up to Town presented myself, sent in my application but have not
as yet obtained the situation could not have applied at a worse time the Surveyor General being very busy electioneering (All heads of Departments have to be returned for some places or they lose their appointments) Have not yet been able to get at him or even to get an answer = have been kicking about at the Survey Off. for more than a week it is always a bad look out when anything has to go thro several hands = The Surveyors too in Gipps Land have done their work in several cases very badly and this makes them extremely cautious as to now who they appoint
Had to undergo examination by one of the head Engineers got thro that part of the business very well but he
wanted my Articles, which of course I couldnt produce, this he stuck at and at last advised that I should place myself under some one in the Town to prove what I was in the field
Have since had it quietly intimated that some one else was in view = So I suppose the notion was to get me quietly out of the way for 2 or 3 Mos. it would be all right the vacancy would of course be filled up, and I might perhaps get a promise to be remembered the next vacancy that occurred "Walker" I know twas now or never = and stuck to it =
Wrote again to the Surveyor Gl. The Chief Clerk tells me
the He is so much engaged that he cannot now go into the matter, and but that it is probable I shall be sent down to be to be tried by the Surveyor in Charge this is all I want and have no fear for the result if I get any thing like fair play
So my Dr. F. you must not feel vexed
if you do not get a long Lrr. from me for a time for can assure you if sent down, shall have something to get through, it will be no childs play = shall be judged by the quantity of work I return (and compared with that of some of the Crack men)
and unfortunately everything is against me The routine is new Have my men to teach = the season is rainy days wet and dark ground swampy however have no fear provided I get a decent piece of country to walk through into Tis not a bad Billet &600/-/- a year = this Men are paid by the Government But shall have to find equipment (but that of course is private property) and more camp whenever & wherever required Tis rather a wandering life but the pay makes up for a great deal =
Next time I write shall in all probability trouble you with a Commission to get me some instruments (have all along been at work with borrowed tools) shall want a Theodolite Pocket Sextant and a few other little things but
dont take any steps in the matter until I write and describe the kind of Theodolite, lc. that I require
My Little Church at Tarraville is at last completed & opened with great [indecipherable] It was a grand day = The first Church in Gipps Land = the Bishop is going down shortly to consecrate it = Saw a long account in the papers the other day describing the affair (Speaking too of course of the
great beauty of the building = & the great taste & skill displayed by the Archt., lc. [indecipherable]
Have been almost all over the District since last writing = Was stowed away for about 3 weeks on the Lakes quite an expedition =
Must come to a conclusion for I ran away only for an hour to scribble
this and time is up
Give my Kindest Love to Dr M. and all Friends
Also ([indecipherable]) Kind regards lc., lc.
It is now nrly 2 years since I was last in Melbourne the place is grown immensely
Havent seen anything of S or heard of him for a long time = dont know where he is or what he is doing = No good Ill wager I almost think I can get on best without his kind advice & assistance = Dont you think Im coming out starting Surveyor all at once = It has cost me some little application =
Well my Dr. Fr. must say good bye
And believe me to remain
Yr Affect Jno
[The following text is written across the bottom of the page from top to bottom].
The "James Baines" has just arrived bringing new of peace
She carried away her main mast just outside the heads
Hope to be a Govt. Officer next time I write
Forgot the No. of this Lre. have not the means of finding out here = will no the next
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
Lower Orwell Street
Registered No. 54
My dr. Father,
Some considerable period has elapsed since receiving yr last Lre. announcing Nabs marriage and his being about to enter into business at Bildestone have been looking most anxiously for further communications hoping to obtain more information stating how he is getting on and if eventually it is likely to answer his hopes and expectations have not had a Lre. from him for a very long
period and I do trust my inability to write to each of my friends individually has not been misconstrued into either indifference or neglect it is of course much easier for many to write to one than for one to write to many Can assure you it has at times been most difficult more so than you would imagine to write to even a few being often so much tied up with my work, lc. Will endeavour to give you some slight idea how Ive been situated
A few months since I undertook in addition
[The following text is written across the left-hand margin from the bottom to top].
Well my dear F. I must come to a conclusion Let me beg you to remember me to my friends all round Mr. Head, Messrs. Barnes Townsend Dorling [indecipherable] all Members of Lodge
Kind Love to all relatives Gdfthrs A. Uncles Cousins My dr. Mother
And believe me my dr. F.
to my other work, to re-survey, re-mark and cut up into lots, an old awkward shaped Special Survey of more than Five thousand Acres (8sqd. miles) it was laid off more than 12 years ago The starting point as well as the boundaries were all uncertain many running through densely scrubby and swampy country on fire perhaps in Summer & under water in Winter Time & local changes had destroyed almost all the marks
The land immediately surrounding being sold altho but little taken up, and where it was occupied the fences were almost invariably wrong but generally the land was in the hands of speculators, who merely purchased at the Govt. sales without taking any further trouble in the matter many of the Allotments also within the Survey itself were also sold and it was as you may well imagine a most difficult heklish job having to arrange and settle long standing disputes & questions relative to boundaries, to meet other Surveyors on the subject, and give each person his block both in quantity and position as originally laid
laid out it was quite common to find individuals located on a wrong lot often on the boundary line of two it is by no means pleasant work having to inform and shew any one that
people they are built on on the wrong place
To make matters worse some 6 or 7 persons had been over portions of the work at various times, each differing from the other taking only his own views upon the subject some being most incorrect You can form no idea of the state of muddle & confusion it was worked into enough to defy the attempts of the most experienced to unravel & put right
The only guide I had was an old map drawn to a (small) scale it is true but very badly strained and without a single reference or even a figure given, and all that existed upon the ground were a few marked trees, (you must know that lines running through forest country are marked by notching the trees nearest to it throughout its length (say all within 10 to 20 links on each side)
Am most happy to state my work
[The following text is written in the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
I have a very great deal more that I could wish to write but am in a great bustle preparing my equipment and winding up my private affairs.
came out most successfully and correctly at the last it was a great triumph for me dont care who goes over it It gave my employer very great satisfaction
Was well aware how much I was risking, and knew it would either make or break it was as you may suppose very hard fagging a most harrassing anxious time at first, occupyg. and absorbing every minute of leisure
I am at last going to trouble you with a rather extensive, expensive commission (somewhere betn. £40 and £60) if you will be kind enough to execute it for me I want you to send me out some surveying instruments, lc. as described on the accompanyg. sheet with as little delay as possible as they are of the very utmost importance to me (have to borrow & make shift as best I can just now) and if you will not mind paying for them
I will remit you the cash upon receiving them (or very soon after) with the account of the amount of expenses incurred I will I will remit you the cash Let me beg you to be careful to obtain & forward just what I have described Have
them all most carefully packed and addressed (say in Paint) to Jno. H. W. Pettit
Gipps Land Port. Albert Albert Gipps Land to the care of R. & P. Turnbull [indecipherable] Melbourne take care to write & advise these agents immediately of their shipment & by what vessel, describing the package that upon the arrival of the craft he may look out to obtain it otherwise it might possibly get lost Let me also have a line at the same time ([indecipherable] invoice of contacts) that I may be able to remind them as well
I am very happy to inform you that I am a government "Hosoifer" not a "peeler" but an Assistant Surveyor in this District having obtained the appointment for wk. I made application have received Official Instructions to form my party as soon as possible Have had an interview with the Chief down here and expect to be sent to lay out a Township and cut up a tract of country near some of the recently discovered diggings Am just now winding up my private matters and making the necessary preparations My pay I think I told you would be £600 a year Salary £300 Equipment £300
[The following text is written in the left-hand margin].
(See anexed sheet)
the party to consist of 6 men
also paid by Govt.
Living in Camp need cost but little and after the first 12 Mos. my probable expences are not likely to exceed £200 pr. annum
The Climate of this District is exceedingly fine and it would be difficult to find any employment that could suit me better Plenty of exercise generally walking all day long Could never stand an Office now
Have made many very excellent friends you would have been surprised to have seen the testimonials which I obtained & forwarded to the Surveyor General Some from very influential gentlemen every one appeared to wish me success
Had a most liberal offer made me very recently by a wealthy individual the owner of Two or three Cattle Stations several Vessels, lc., lc. it was to start and take the management of a large timber and general trade at Port-Albert, Have at this minute work (Jetty, Wharf, lc.) to carry as Archt. for him to the tune of about Two thousand Pounds
A Theodolite for general use and rapid Bush Surveying approximate Levelling, lc., lc. with the Horizontal Limb as large and the needle as long as may be without thereby rendering the instrument too heavy or cumbersome
A first class article of its kind
most simple in its construction, well and finely divided on silver, easy adjustment Good Telescope, not to invert objects with means of correcting parallax, lc. Its parts must be so constructed & arranged as to allow a full clear and unobstructed view down on to the Needle at one of the cardinal points, without any interruption whatever of either standards, axis or the telescope itself
A really good & superior needle is of the very utmost importance As long as possible
steady true to its work, turning just clear of the divided edge of the box one that can always be set exactly to the same point reading of course any difference of bearing upon the Horizontal Limb
Mind I dont want a Circumferenter but a Theodolite, embracing and combining the advantages of a good Circumferenter
I always use a powerful microscope to read the needle but the difficulty of always placing the eye in exactly the same position exists of course
placing at moving a little on either side makes a difference perhaps a sight might be fixed immediately at above the Cardinal point (which is left open) for the purpose to act as a guide
Dark-glass for observing the sun
Traversing microscope attached to Horizontal Limb for the purpose of reading Vernier A spare needle of the most approved kind a very steady stand
sending- and slow motions screws to fix turn Instruments bodily to and, lc., lc., lc.)
The Box strong and well fitted up
It is of course unnecessary to mention that the needle is never used when it can possibly be avoided, but in a new uncleared country like this there are times when
it cannot be avoided one is obliged to have recourse to it for instance though a heavily and densely timbered forest where it is altogether impossible to work clear of or remove the obstacle to the sight In such cases when quantity as well as quality is an object it must occasionally be employed and you
may fancy, if it cannot each time it is made use of be brought and set exactly to the same point, it will necessarily most materially affect the truth & correctness of the work
The Theodolites in general use at home are superior to that which I have attempted to describe but at the same time they are not at all suited for Bush surveying for this reason the Needle is almost useless and cannot be trusted at all being so short and so much enclosed as to render it impossible to get a proper sight at, or set it true within several minutes to the same point
The only instrument which I have seen approaching to what I require was made by Adie of Edinburgh
Its parts were few, its construction very simple, (excellent qualities for Bush work) but in that even the needle was hardly good or long enough Half the Compass Box was left quite open and clear The upper half of the horizontal limb was made with rack & pinion motion The vertical Limb was [indecipherable] and made to serve as a standard for the Telescope which worked round upon it by a rack motion for the purpose of raising or depressing it One Level was fixed upon the Horizontal Limb One on the Telescope, lc., lc.
The accompanying sketch Although doubtless in many respects incorrect, will give you some idea of its general construction
Yet the article I have described if possible never mind a few pounds extra if necessary, as a first rate instrument of this kind would be invaluable to me
Troughton and Simms (136 Fleet Street) are by far the best makers of this class of instrument explain what I want and get them to fit it up (they never send out a bad article) if they cannot supply it get one from Adie (he is sure to have an Agent in London) of the very best kind and similar to that described (with an extra needle) and fitted up to answer my purpose The one which I saw of his make had no clamping screw or slow motion below to fix or turn the instrument bodily round should wish this added
[The following text is written in the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
My dr. Fr. may I ask you to execute this for me as soon as you possibly can as I shall be in greater want of the principal things mentioned and not having them may involve me in a scrape Two or 3 of the articles are for other parties but I will send you the cash for all as soon as I get them as well as for any expenses you may be [indecipherable] to
Get also from Troughton & Simms the following articles of the most improved and very best description
A. Prismatic Compass
Pocket Sextant and Telescope, lc. in leather case
No. 2 Circular Protractors with Vernier to minutes each motion (see sketch)
No. 2 Large good plain metal Semi-circular Protractor 9 or 10 inches diameter well divided (see sketch)
No. 2 Land Chains (66 feet) of the strongest, heaviest and very best kind with adjusting handles if not too expensive stout steel chains are
but no doubt best should wish that class of article if not too high a figure (say £2/ each)
(Good tools are very difficult to get the chain I have in present use has stretched about 6 inches
No. 2 Scales 40 Chains to 1 inch
No. 1 Scales 8 Chains to 1 inch
No. 1 Scales 1 Chains to 1 inch
No. 1 Scales 1 Chains to 1 inch
An offset scale 40 Chs. to 1 inch
Pair of Napier Compasses 1 white metal ( abt. [indecipherable] 30s/-)
Separate set best spring dividers in case
[A sketch mid-page].
Also one extra pair of spring dividers.
[A sketch on right side of page].
[A sketch on the left-hand side of the page].
Two strong stiff drawing pens
3 dozen good drawing pins [A sketch at the end of this line]
Two or 3 sticks of the very best indian Ink.
(never mind the squares)
My own Case of Instruments Colors lc.
Traverse Tables by Major J. T. Boileau
Mathematical Tables (good [indecipherable] out [indecipherable] figures)
(Signet (crest) Ring)
[The following text is written upside-down on the bottom half of the page].
I have communicated with my Agents R & P Turnbull & Co. and their advice on the subject is to address the package
Jno. H. W. Pettit
to the care of R. & P. Turnbull & Co.
Forward the Bill of Lading by the ship the package comes by to Turnbull & Co. also a duplicate by the next regular mail ship after shipment let me know also at the same time
Mitchell or Macarthur
My dr. Ablett,
For a long time I have been expecting to get a few lines from you but nothing as yet have reached me, so have taken up my pen to enquire the reason why you never condescend to write to the immigrant = can assure you I often and often think about, and wonder how you are getting on in the world
I heard from home that you & Saro were spliced, lc., lc., lc., lc., lc., lc. but have never received cards, a little bit of cake, or even a word from either of you [indecipherable] that you had been and gone and tied yourselves together
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
Since writing this I have recd a few lines from Saro pray thank and give my
and give my Kindest Love & a kiss to her and my little Nieces
Allow me to congratulate you both = Isnt it a wonderful
prodigy child a perfect prodigy of a Baby of course
have a very great mind to blow you up alltho you are a marrd. man I wont get spliced without letting you in to the secret
I received a letter from Dr. Fr. [indecipherable] time since in which he enlightened me upon this Merry interesting subject and gave me some idea what you were up to indeed I am truly glad your prospects are so good Well my boy if anyone wishes you succs. Im sure I do but give a [indecipherable] an occasional line I dont ask you to be continually writing because it would be tea-totally improbable for me to reply regularly
As for myself I have had my
hands more than full or you would have had a touch up before had commenced half a dozen times but could never get to a finish without the "dockeymt." coming to an untimely end
You are of course aware I am holding a Govt. situation I mean appointment (situation is so [indecipherable]) and it has been a very sharp fight for me to tug through all alone trust soon to be all square and hope to hold the Billet as long as I wish for it but Govt. is very unsettled just now, nothing is certain
[indecipherable] I am about 100 Miles up country in the Bush hard at work cutting up Land
at a great rate isnt it a jolly life "My word" am allowed £600 a yr. as Salary Equipment and forage and my men paid by Govt. Not so dusty is it
I like it particularly well Have a most decided affection for the Salary
Get plenty of riding about, all over the country quite a horseman rather different to the little jogs I used to get occasionally in Engd.
Werent you surprised to find yr. little Bro. had [indecipherable] out in this style to tell the truth it rather astonished myself
Have sent home for some instruments wh. I trust
dr. Father has been able to obtain them as I really want them very badly indeed
Nabs I am glad to find you have given up all idea of coming out to this Colony it might perhaps have done some time ago but it would not do for you now
How are all my old friends and chums suppose there is almost a fresh generation springing up since my departure My word how the time flies shall soon be getting quite an old man "Oh Scissors
Tell Saro there is great chance of my winning my little Bet with her Five years out of the Ten will soon have gone by
I suppose you and Missus have been conspiring to make an old Nuncle of me Oh! Ablett for shame pon my word can hardly fancy you a married man How do you look under the trying circumstances Think of the little Frocks and Shoes youll have to buy
Is my Old frd. Geo doing the polite & attentive yet?
I heard from Bob the other day he is rubbing along all serene, in the neighbd. of some of the Diggings, havnt seen him now for the best part of 3 years Well old fellow must begin to think of washg.
up ½ past 11 & a windy night.
Have a whole tribe of Blacks for neighbors just now = and there are about Fifty of em having what they call a Corrobberee suppose we should call it an apology for a dance the Devils are all naked, pipe clayed over in different patterns, jumping in all sorts of queer attitudes before fires I occasionally form one of an admiring audience have a trifling flirtation with some of the dark beauties at the same time
Ablett you never saw such an ugly stinking lot of wretches in yr. life I believe my sense of smell is good to detect a Black 40 or 50 yds off its not the essence
of Lavender Water & Eau de Cologne can assure you =
Should you be anxious for a little sport and would take a short trip over = I could manage to give you allays Kangaroog. Swan, Goose, Turkey, Duck, Quail, Pigeon or Wallaby shooting or should you prefer it an eveng. Possum or Wild Cat hunting just [indecipherable] you please my Nickle dear
Well now for a finish Remember me kindly to all old friends, who kindly enquire about me And give my Kind L to to to you know Nabs it is not necessary to mention a long string of names for I often think of all And wish you and Saro every success & happiness
Believe me for I remain dr Nab
Yr. truly affectionate Jno
January 7th, 1858
My dr. Father,
The Instruments have at last arrived all right I have rather a long story to tell about them and hardly time to tell it but will do my best to put you in possession of the facts first and foremost my dear Father accept my best & most sincere thanks for the great trouble you have taken to oblige me
With reference to the Theodolite, it is in principle without exception, in every respect, the instrument best suited for Bush-work that I have ever seen The workmanship is good, and well finished its only draw-back is it reads so small a vertical
angle had I seen it in the makers hand I could have suggested a slight a trifling alteration & addition or two that would have been improvement but altogether it is a far better instrument than I expected to receive, and I am most satisfied and pleased with it
Allie deserves to sell some few for the trouble he has taken, and could mine be seen by many of the Surveying Staff in this country he would I feel certain receive orders from some of them
My Chief (Mr. Dawson) approved of it highly, and said had he to take the field again, he would have one = this if not paying, is at least pleasing to a maker = The instrument is a very good recommendation = The only damage that occurred to it, was the microscope glass for the vertical limb was broken, but that is of but little conseqce. and can at any time be replaced =
The Sextant, lc., lc., lc. are of course all right I intended to have ordered legs for the Compass
The chains are a little to heavy (but not too strong) = are they steel? they appear very soft My impression was that steel chains might be made about the substance of stout chains in common use and so tempered as to be very tough and unyielding (but if steel they are to order and the fault my own)
I am using one of the new ones now it is stretching a little, this is in a great measure caused by its weight = You must know some of my work is over very rough broken country and at times it brings the man up all standing it bothers me too when I have to chain myself (as the pins are obliged to be larger to match) and what with the chain the pins
an book, lc. my hands are more than full
The Books are all right except Huttons Tables which work is imperfect one leaf pages 55 & 56 are not in at all the numbers between 3449 & 3550 are missing in Table of Logs which of course renders the workg. it totally useless as I am obliged to have a work of similar tables at hand to refer to in case the numbers on the missing might be required I cut the work myself so there can be no mistake = nor is there any appearance of having been removed after
the work was bound binding this deficiency the publisher ought to supply you with So it may be pasted into the book (pages 57 & 52 are in twice]
Now I will tell you the adventures of the case and why I delayed writing so long
I duly received yours containing Bill of Lading, lc., lc. which
Bill was immediately forwarded to my Agents at Port Albert In course of time the Vessel arrived (Sep 30th) I waited as patiently (as could be reasonably expected) for a Month thinking every week to get informatn. that the case was arrived at Port Albert, lc.
I wrote at last and secured answer that they had
received advice that it had not been landed at Melbourne up to a certain day but expected it would be down shortly and in all probability would come down by the return trip of the steamer
A week or two afterwards there came information that the ship was cleared out and no where could this aforesaid case be found it was feared it was lost and as I was so far removed & the ship about to sail they had put in a claim of £100 when I received this news I kicked up
great row and advised my Agents that if the case was not forthcoming I would not take one farthing less than £200 wh. was about their Value that I did not want a money equivalent but the goods I made up an invoice as well as I could from your letters which was also forwarded and altho in the bush and so situated that I could not leave, wrote to some friends who interested themselves & stirred well in the matter for me. I stuck most religiously to my text or intended to do so
Wall (as the Americans say) after a great bother and writing every opportunity myself, at the end of nr about 3 months after the ships arrival the case came to light having been stowed away in some out of the way place in some of the stores
At times business is done so hurriedly and in such a bustle in Melbourne that they hardly know what they are up to
I have little doubt in my own mind had the matter been allowed to go on & pass off quietly it would never have been found but they [indecipherable] allowed to rest and the compensation demanded made it matter of interest = I was very glad you followed out all the instructions and went into detail about the case, as it put me in such a good position =
You may imagine my delight when informed all was right, for I was working with a most miserable apology for a Theodolite an old rickety worn up article only fit to be made into Brass Candlesticks or something of that sort many and many a
time has it made me boil over with vexation and annoyance and often have I felt an almost irresistable inclinatn. to kick it over and
I would have felt the greatest pleasure in taking a waddy and knocking it to pieces = So soon as my own arrived I packed it off =
I really think it must have involved a loss of more than 25 pr. cent of my time I was obliged to work like a blessed nigger to keep my work up at all near the mark and it will take me at least 6 to 8 weeks now before I can get quite round = As you may suppose it was a source of so much anxiety & worry that I was really getting quite thin
Well as I said before the case came at last I was at the time employed cutting up Gp Land on a station belonging to a Mr. McLeod and while at work there was living with the family as a guest
My Chief (Mr Dawson) was up at the time on my return from work in the evening was informed a small parcel had been sent up and was in my Bed Room = thinking it might be some Official papers did not see after it at once when I did go into the room for the purpose of ascertaining what it was made of
and there upon the bed was what any individual might have taken for a Coffin, being covered up with a sheet it deceived me however for an instant only it was soon desecrated the sheet off the screws drawn and shavings on the floor to the great amusement of my friends = the (screws tried my patience greatly)
What a scene of unpacking there was but there is no need to explain the matter to you
Twas said I took the Theodolite to Bed but I assure you on my honor that is untrue
However my dr Father I thank you, and all my kind friends for their kind remembrances of me pray give them all my best thanks I will endeavour to do so shortly myself everything reminded me of home I got quite excited
The receipt of the likenesses gave me much pleasure I have several times thought to write and ask for them they are all good = With respect to yrself you are looking some what older but dr Mother younger than ever indeed had not the style of these been somewhat matronly it would have been questioned if it were not
intended for some one else instead of my mother As for Ablett he looks about the same with the exception of his [A small sketch inserted here] hardly like a married man, with a lovely wife and charming (altho small) family it gives me much pleasure to know his prospects are so good and I trust they may go on improving
You should have heard from me sooner but I was anxious to know something definite about the instruments, before I wrote not wishing to make you uneasy about them without cause
Now with respect to the cash it has been my wish to send it for sometime, but as I had some idea of transferring my acct. and being so far out of the way, the matter
[indecipherable] be attended with some little trouble, and knowing no one was inconvenienced I had not bother about it but
the it shall now be settled very shortly
I have again moved higher up country another Township (this the 4th) suburban allotments, lc. (my last survey comprised an extent of abt 5 or 6 thousand acres)
It is generally speakg. rough wild hilly densely timbered scrubby Country River Banks very rough & broken some places covered with a dense impenetrable scrub in others with a thick network of Fern Briars Nettles from 12 to 15 feet high and every now & again a man goes clean out of sight in a Wombat Hole this has all to be cut thro you my fancy it is rather warm sometimes in
[The following text is written along the right-hand side margin from bottom to top].
Im sure I have something more to say but cannot think of it.
these places a high wall of scrub close on each side (no fresh air) and the sun immediately over head the chain occasionally gets so heated that we cannot hold it it is however not always so
All the climate of Gipps Land altogether is very fine altho at times warm, there is a clearness of atmosphere that one does not feel the lassitude usually experienced in warm countries
I was completely done up the other day measuring a portion of the River being in one of these cleared cuttings sun very hot very slight air and the country on fire to windward it was a scorcher fancy the poor unfortunate dragging one of those chains thro the scrub we were obliged to give up at last
I am gradually working my way up to Omeo from all accounts I shall have some queer roads to travel the descriptns. of which would rather astonish any one accustomed to the tiny rises of Suffolk & Norfolk Youve seen illustrations in the London News of Bullocks taking loads up some most outrageously steep looking hills something between 45° and 90°
I believe we can match them on the present line of Road to Omeo both in steepness and length in the course of the next 12 mos. the pleasing occupation of selecting measuring and laying off a new and if possible a better line than the one in use will in all probability devolve upon poor me and a pretty job it will be the country through which it must pass is very hilly and mountainous covered with a thick dense scrub
and in places impenetrable a fellow must have a tolerable stock of confidence to tackle it but I suppose a little energy and perseverance will manage it, our wardrobes might be bought up cheap after the work is accomplished they will be of a ventilative character
The Government are still all sixes & sevens and they are making a horrid fist of their business the land question has been and is absorbing much attention = and of course we poor Surveyors come under notice and get our share of abuse I only wish I had some of these individuals who are always picking some hole with me in some of these scrubs for a month I would guarantee to quiet them down = but all Govt Officers are paid to be abused of course
Well my dr. Father I must be drawing to a close as I have some Official returns to make up for this post = it was with much pleasure I head you were all well I hope you enjoyed a Merry Xmas and that the New Year
has been and will be unusually happy and most sincerely and heartily thanking you and my dr friends again for their kindness and consideration with kindest love regards remembrances lc to all who kindly remember & give me a place in their thoughts believe me my dearest Father
Yr Truly Affec.
I will write again shortly but I thought you would be anxious to hear about the instruments
[The following text is written along the right-hand margin from top to bottom].
I wish to remain a member of the P. F. L.
My dearest Mother,
It is out of my power to write you a long letter nor do you Im sure
require wish it as you get all the news if news it may be called from other epistles home
The object of these few lines is to acknowledge the receipt of your communication and to express how delighted I am at all times to hear from you
Enclosed is a little note to Mary which please enclose in a cover and send her I suppose I am wrong in styling her little, but you must know I can only recollect an old fashioned interesting, busy, little girl her letter almost startled me at first it made me think I must have been away a long time all these young branches shooting up would no doubt astonish me as I only know things as they were
You cannot think how much I sometimes long to be amongst you all again but I fear it would be impolite to return yet being perhaps better fitted for the Colony than England Close confinement would not suit me now The absurd notion of making a fortune is a delusion which does not trouble me I would be perfectly satisfied to return had I equally good prospects or chances in the old Country
Inclination [indecipherable] lc., lc. would lead me home but I doubt I would do no so good, and am therefore tempted to remain a while longer There is much fear, there will be great alterations in the Survey Department I would of course by & bye like to be more stationery
for various reasons but must rest satisfied a while Time works wonders but it (very naturally) often causes me anxious thoughts
It is most gratifying to hear so good [indecipherable] of Nabs. and trust he may go on happily and prosperously he will have to send me Sarahs & the little ones likeness being of course very anxious to see wht. she is like
Relations appear to be greatly on the increase How does [indecipherable] look at the head of such a large establishment he must consider himself a most important individual He is of course the same dry old Customer Does he still recommend
the adoption of "Shoe Oil" for Fainting Fits
Can hardly imagine Nabs a Daddy He came out most extensively with his House warming business Should have liked to have dropped in upon the interesting occasion
It was with much sorrow I read your account of poor Grandfr N. [indecipherable] mention me most kindly to him
John appears to be doing well and become quite a family man What do you think of his returning home
Well my dearest mother I must wind up and wish my best and kindest love
believe me ever to be
Yr most Loving & Affect.
[The following text is written along the right-hand margin from bottom to top].
Do you ever hear any thing from [indecipherable]?
My dearest Mother,
It was my wish and intention to have enclosed a few lines to you in the last packet home but it was more than I was able to accomplish at the time have therefore taken this, the earliest opportunity to do so
I can hardly express how much pleasure I always experience in perusing your truly kind epistles, and only wish you could send one a little more frequently, but suppose I must not complain, particularly as my communications have of late been so few however my dear mother you must not judge me harshly in this matter I was for a long time so situated that it was a most difficult task to manufacture and get a letter to post (two or three too there is good reason to believe went astray)
As you are of course well aware my duties more than occupied my time Dont you think it was a most courageous thing for me to attempt having
never received any instruction whatever acquiring my knowledge and information as I went on it was a hard up hill fight for some long period as well as a most difficult part to perform being often brought in contact, and occasionally placed in opposition to, professional men it required my utmost endeavors, and I believe I am not wrong in saying I have come through well having obtained the confidence of my employers and the high opinion of my chief in my present service
I am now chosen for a most responsible and ardous task or duty Viz. selecting and laying off main lines of Road through the upper portions of this District some of which will tax my abilities to the utmost In consequence of being continually exploring and moving about it is the hardest, most expensive and necessarily the least best paying of all our work but it is certainly most excellent practice and if successfull will fully establish me a good name
The instruments came all right after, as you saw by my last, considerable delay but as you know all about it there is no necessity to go over
the matter again "Alls well that ends well"
I am indeed most pleased to know Ablett & Sarah are happy comfortable, lc. with a very good prospect of getting on in the world was very fearful he had been rather premature Do you think he was? I cannot help at times feeling a little anxious on his account but trust it is without a cause pray do let me hear again on this subject was at one time a little vexed he did not give me a few lines, but as I am fully understand how he must have been sitd. do not feel sorrow and I earnestly hope and trust he may fully realize all his best hopes and expectations
It also gave me much pleasure to hear so good an account of John N. was somewhat surprised to find he was married, lc., lc. he is evidently in a good situation with reference to his coming home, in my opinion my dear mother, it is about the worst step he can possibly take supposing him to be in a good
situation position where he is it would be a thousand pities to throw up his chance you know well it is no easy task for a young man to get on in the world, particularly in England and with
him it would be a yet harder one Poor fellow Im most sorry for him the past would have a very prejudicial influence over his prospects dont you think so yourselves? Pray consider well before you advise his return
It was with much sorrow I read so poor an account of Gdp N. but trust he is improving give him my best and kindest L., lc.
How are all the good people at St Lawrence ?? Rich the same as ever have they any more family? Aunt too how is she? Pray give my Love lc to them when you write
How is my old esteemed friend William Bird getting on, glad to know Aunt and family are all well Am almost afraid my apparent neglect leads my friends to imagine themselves forgotten if so they very much in the wrong & their inference most unjust How much I would like a few months spell to give you all a visit Relations appear to be increasg. most rapidly
I must say I consider it very wrong of you not to wear glasses now you are a Granny It is most decidedly a part of your duty to do so Judging from the photograph, you really look younger than when I left home, people will hardly
believe it is my Mothers portrait the time does certainly fly past at a great rate, fancy we have been in Australia over 5 Yrs it does not seem so long
The old Albatross appears to afford much pleasure to her passengers yet Is she still the fast little craft she was? wouldnt I enjoy a cruise
I get but very little boating now, being stowed away quite in the interior, its all Horses here but generally speaking have so much riding about that it ceases now to be a pleasure, during the last 2 or three weeks I must have gone over 400 Miles, altho travelling so much about at times it is very very seldom I patronize and stay at an Inn, always manage to make some friends establishment, which render it very pleasant the only difficulty is to get away again
Expect now to be in Camp for some time plenty of walking for a change Have just laid out another Township in this neighborhood, and am about commencing to mark off a few farms, lc., lc after which Im off about 40 to 60 Miles higher up all amongst the Mountains It is a jolly sort of life plenty of change am altogether tolerably happy and comfortable the Camp
pitched upon a very pretty bank, overlooking the River (lots of Fish bream & eels get both from 3 to 6 & 7 lbs each boomers )
The surrounding country is very hilly scrubby mountainous and thickly timbered Wish you could drop in & give me a look
Attended a Ball given by us Bachelors the last time I was down country, and a most spicy affair it was, every thing in style I understand the married fogies intend to return the compliment, but am afraid I will be too much out of the way, or too busy to be present
Hope you all enjoyed a Merry Xtmas A happy New Year, lc. Was knocking about the country at the time, and spent both Xtmas and new years day at a friends house, forming one of a large family party I wonder when I will have one at home I often hear of
all your little doings in certain interesting communications from St. Giles
I thanked you in my last to dear F. for your little present the Cake but do so again now pray give my congratulations
to Mr Stagg they ar
to Mr Stagg they are rather behind hand but of course had no chance to do so much earlier
It is getting rather late and I must begin to draw to a close as I have two or three official documents to prepare Reports Journal, lc Shall not have an opportunity to write to dr F. this time but suppose may consider this the same thing Pray accept and give him my best L. do lc., lc., lc. to all relatives regards Remembrances lc., lc., lc. to all friends not forgetting Mr.& Mrs. Barnes Townsend Dorling Mr. Head & others and in conclusion my dearest mother
believe me to remain
Your truly affectionate and loving
From all accounts of my little Niece she must be a perfect beauty and a prodigy I was prepared to believe ever thing that could be said of her Ablett will most assuredly have to send me her portrait when she gets a little older as I am most anxious to know what she is like Babies generally have a doughy appearance and (although of course it is very different with her)
have no individual characteristics, the portrait of one would in 9 cases out of 10 do for another, unless the dear infant has a squint or some other such charming little peculiarity =
You must form a very cosy looking family party now Father smoking his Hookah You nursing the Baby Ablett & Sarah looking profound and important
God bless you all
[The following text is written along the right-hand margin from bottom to top].
I have to thank someone for
my a [indecipherable] enclosed in the cash
little niece appears to be an immense favourite Ablett will have to send me her portrait for I am most anxious to see what she is like It is with great pleasure and satisfaction I hear of his just success and good prospects for the future and trust he will go on improving and realize his most sanguine expectations & hopes
That was a sad unfortunate affair of poor Georges but trust matters will work round all right eventually
You mention you have occasionally felt anxious on account of my long silences but you need not my dr. Father I assure you I am not to blame in the matter I wrote whenever it was possible to do so but there is little doubt some few of my communications never reached their intended destination but that I cannot help Being occasionally obliged to trust to very doubtful means of carriage or not send at all this may appear to you strange but it is nevertheless true
It is nothing uncommon for me not to get a letter for several months at a time and then perhaps two or three together it was and is still quite out of my power to make any arrangement being continually moving about I am situated in an out district and in a very out of the way part of that said district
My present employr. is exploring amongst immense Ridges
with a view to find an unbroken one running through the broken country along which a tolerable road may be formed
I am often away weeks from my Camp and then back perhaps only to survey another little piece and shift my party in some other direction one man is constantly away attending to the horses keeping them where there is feed and supplyg. us with Beef = Flour from some out station nobody knows where I am, and sometimes it would puzzle me to tell
This is all very well for one thing being left almost entirely to myself and little troubled by communications from head quarters As for Reports they are few and far between Am supposed to send up every month but thats entirely out of the question
I am now between 40 & 50 miles from the nearest Post Off. My plan is to send a man to watch for the Mailman coming up & down the road the time of his appearance is from various reasons very uncertain It is impossible to do this when miles off the track
The Post is now extended as far as Omeo but there is no Office between that place and the
low country but still it affords much greater facilities and opportunities for forwarding letters and I trust to be able to redeem my character in some measure but cannot promise long epistles
There is an immense Hill and Ridge immediately in front of my tent which it is my intention to climb to get a view of the country beyond it is named
the "Gilbruggan" it will occupy from one to three days I expect to get a good sight of the low country to the ocean My hopes of a Road lie in that direction if the prospect proves favorable Im off for a good long trip
This is a dreadful wild rough lookg. country Some greater portion is entirely useless and unavailable there are tracts lightly timbd. and well grassed and in these parts the scenery is most magnificent far beyond anything I ever saw in the whole course of my life
A few days since I was out about 36 miles to the Eastward in a country named Buchan in the neighborhd. of the Snowy River (occupied by some Gentn. named McLeod as Cattle and Sheep Runs) it was indeed a treat I remained days at the Station riding about examing. the neighborhood, lc. you cannot form an idea of the beauty of the scenery
The country is Limestone formation full of immense limestone Caves extending for considerable distances under ground
Some are so large that it is extremely dangerous to attempt to wander thu them without a guide or taking some precautions to ensure yr. return
I examined one a party of six of us started of on Horseback all provided with candles and lamps arriving at the Cave the horses were abandoned and we descended accessing thro a small narrow opening on the side of a large
sloping steep hill proceeding downward a few yards we lighted up and a it is quite impossible to describe the scene wh. met my view
We stood in a space say equal to 20 feet square and 30 feet high the whole of the Walls Ceiling Floor being composed of thousands of glistening Stalctites & Stalagmites many meeting and forming most perfect pillars
and Arches, lc., lc. the whole reflecting the light and sparkling as tho covered with the [indecipherable] of diamonds
This chamber was connected with dozens of others similarly decorated in fact
we were looking they appeared without end and we made our way out after being in some little time having seen comparatively a small portion In some places streams of water run through portions of these caves It is quite useless attempting to describe them to you they must be seen to be able to form an idea of their beauty
My present task is of a very ardous description but I do not despair yet Many a day have I spent scrambling almost on fours up and down these hills, it regularly "takes the change out of one" the tangled scrub is a great obstacle to progress it twines itself amongst fallen timber and forms an impenetrable barrier
Fancy having to climb up an almost perpendr. slope say only Ό mile in length under a boiling sun cloathes torn and scratched all over with thorns and when at the top see nothing but a lot more broken hills of the same description its a great job to get the men to keep up with me It would be little short of harder to leave some of them behind as its 10 to 1 if they ever found their way out again
The Road or Track now in use is for about 30 miles nothing but a succession of
large immense hills the easiest slopes up which vary from 10° to 25° elevation with lots of bad sideling and broken places Could you see them you would take your oath that no [indecipherable] could ever go up particularly with a load but they do somehow
Tis of course by [indecipherable] of great perseverance swearing & thrashing Good Bullocks will pull as often as you put them at it, perhaps a yard is gained both wheels immediately chocked the next attempt may be a stern board Coming down Hill large logs are lashed behind the Dray to act as a drag its nothing uncommon for half the team to
being down at one time
A Team on this road consists of from 7 to 10 Bullocks their average loads about a Ton
It will be a great feather in my Cap if I can find a good line The country is one confused mass of huge broken hills and mountains just as if the Old Gentleman had thrown them down in a hurry and never returned to put them right =
A paddy tramping along a little time since said "Good day Sur" Good day "Can you tell me please who made this Road" "Oh It was made a long time ago" Sure then the man that found it never [indecipherable] that hill (pointing to a huge broken range of a neighboring mountain) "How so? Why?" "Why hasnt he gone over all the big hills he could find and by [indecipherable] if he [indecipherable] that big hill hed have taken the Road over it too.
The Govt. of this country is managed very queerly The Ministry is continually changing and every thing else as well The Survey Deptt. is going to the Devil I have received intimation that the present appointments of Assistt. Surveyors are to be done away with and the work performed by Contract Vz a general fixed price will be allowed The amount wh. I heard was likely to be offered was ridiculously
small for general country, and particularly this it wouldnt anything like pay expences may be kept on the Roads for a time at a fixed salary but suppose a few months will show
This contract system was tried once before and found not to answer but its something fresh and thats enough
I am very sorry poor Rob has been so unfortunate hope to receive a a few lines from him shortly and trust to hear a better account of his doings Should like to see him in Gipps Land but there is little chance here from his last I imagine the prospects were brightening
Well my dear Father I must come to a close Remember me most kindly to Mr & Mrs Barnes Mrrs Head Townsend & others who kindly enquire after me
And with kindest love to Dr Mother & all relatives
believe me ever to be
Yr truly affect. Jno
My dear Father,
It is now some weeks since I heard from you, and having been previously quite out of the way, beyond the limits of civilization Your last did not come into my possession for some time after it was due
I have felt considerable anxiety on Abletts account But not having received any communication since I have argued that all was again going on well which I most earnestly
hope trust is the case and that next mail will bring the confirmation of my hopes
It afforded me much pleasure to know that in other respects you were all going on as usual
I thank you for your budget of News
Home Letters always possess the greatest amount of interest and the arrival of one is overhauled with delight
I thought of you all at Christmas, and wished much I could have made one of the party I expect many and great changes must have taken place during my long absence = I am getting some what reconciled to the Australian Christmas now the weather is rather different to what you experience at that time in England For instance try and imagine the Thermr. somewh. between 80 & 110 in the shade instead of freezing point
Not long since I spent an evening with Dr T. Peck (as he is called) who is very recently from NSW-market from him I obtained a little general news [indecipherable]
There has been no particular change in the Survey System Altho it was much expected They tried hard to carry their point We were
ordered to dismiss all our men (which we did) and prepare for the change But it was all of no use the opposition was too strong Matters remained in an uncertain state for about a month When as they could get no money voted and put on the estimates for staff for carryg. out the proposed scheme They were obliged to order us to put on our men again and go on with our work as usual It must have been a bitter pill to swallow I expect every week to hear the Ministry is kicked out It is really a regular farce the way some of the public business is executed out here
So as there has been no change I am still undergoing penance upon the Roads amongst the mountains I am just now located in the Valley of the Tanbo River at no very great distance from its source The scenery is magnificent immense hills but open timbered
and covered with fine grass
The Valley may be from about 6 to 8 miles wide from the main Mountain Ranges on each side which of course fall to the River in immense serrated steep broken spurs which of course break again into an endless number of branches with deep steep gullies to match there is no level country except an occasional patch of a few acres on the River It is necessary to see the country to understand and appreciate it
As far as myself is concerned I would like it far better if I had not to walk over quite so much it is fearful hard work and most tedious surveying = Altho accustomed to heavy walking it was at first most painful the strain on some of the muscles so great that I felt as tho I had been most severely beaten =
From some of the higher points the view is most magnificent and without limit Ranges of Mountains rising upon
mountains [indecipherable] as far as the eye can reach some in the
distance completely cloud capped, covered with snow
This portion of the country is really beautiful but I can assure you that during the last few months I have had to make my way through some that is perfectly fearful the roughness of would defy description and it would be quite impossible for you to form an
Imagine a large tract of country of huge
Ranges broken Mountain Ranges each Range throwing off an endless number of huge Ridges or spurs ( narrow on the top) rising and falling in steep pinnacles each main spur throwing off other huge Ridges in all directions The sides of each Ridge sloping down at an angle some where between 60° & 90° to an immense depth forming a huge gulley the whole covered with timber high dense tangled scrub fallen trees and many portions with large masses of Rock, and nothing in the shape of grass
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Tell Dr. M. The Cake was a little stale but I was equally obliged to her
It required a tolerable stout heart to tackle some of it And one must keep wide awake too The compass is of but little use only for general bearing being obliged always to follow the ridges as it is totally impossible to cross them It is most difficult to tell whether one is on a main spur or only a branch from it as many of the minor
ones are much higher than the principal one = to trace them all would take occupy a life time
It is most disheartening after clearing and fighting along for two or 3 days to find the spur terminating in a huge perpendicular Bluff I have often known myself to be within a ½ mile of a place I wanted to make could hear the water waring
a few amongst the Rocks but it has taken almost a day to reach reach it =
I had some great fun one of my trips I gammoned a very knowing young fellow who was boasting of his knowledge of the Country to take a cut across with me as he was going down country he thinking it would not take much longer agreed and told me if I would take him to a certain point he would have me through in no time (I doubted the fact immensely knowing that some portions of Country were
very fearfully rough) I took him to the point & off he started
One day passed no sign of getting out = The next he was getting into a regular fidget (for I know he had an appointment to meet his Lady Love for some pleasure excursion the second day after) and knowing the cause of his anxiety you may believe I was much amused
He got so excited at last that I was obliged to stop him as he was regularly abroad and knocking the horses up and continually coming back to the same neighborhood
At last He became frightened at last and asked me at last what on earth we should do that we were lost which was evident enough I stated [Note: Text from the last two lines on this page is continued at the bottom of the next page] you never saw a chap so crestfallen after [indecipherable] him out pretty considerably I took the lead
In consequence of the orders to dismiss men finish and send in plans, lc. at the end of the year I proceeded down country to deliver mine and receive fresh
Was down as far as the Port with my Govr. and present at a Grand Ball which happened to come off at the time rather a change to my previous employer it is the first time I have visited the Port since joining the Govt.
It takes 9 or 10 days to get there and back and from the time of leaving Camp until my return I must have ridden somewh. between 6 & 700 miles = I had Colonially speaking "a tremendous buster" during one part of
A friend lent me a magnificent horse (thorobred) I rode him for about a week and his behaviour was unexcept. When one morning upon mounting he bolted & before I could get my stirrup he commenced operations with his head down & his back up he bucked away at a great rate I managed to keep my seat all right for abt. ½ a minute altho I knew if he continued I must go coming
[The following text continues from the second last line on the previous page].
the Country was "[indecipherable]" to me but I thought he knew it well as he had said
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and we made out upon the road the next day to his entire delight = He has never boasted to me of his bush knowledge since
to the edge of a steep bank he gave one tremendous buck sideways and away I went flying
I had another trial this time he bolted and after that finding him uncertain with some little regret I declined the honor of his acquaintance = Not having the slightest ambition to ride Buck-Jumpers for it is most dangerous employment and takes the very best and most practised Riders to keep their seats I have often known send saddle Bridle & everything flying & occasionally
over balance themselves lose their legs from springing so sharp to one side
A most horrible murder occurred in this immediate neighborhood not long since Cornelius Green whose name I mentioned in a previous letter son of Mr. Green Surveyor Woodbridge was the unfortunate victim
He was bringing down some hundreds of ounces of Gold from Omeo there was a Storekeeper, a Policeman and a young woman travelling with him when nr here they were fired upon by 2 men in Ambush
Green & the store-keeper were knocked off their horses and while upon the ground the former was killed by driving a tomahawk several times into his head
The policeman & the other man were badly wounded
The woman was thrown a short distance from the scene of the murder The Policemans Horse bolted & threw him at the River The Horse with the Gold had been secured but the subsequent firing caused it to break its bridle and get away with the others
The storekeeper and woman escaped by a miracle as the wretches were seeking all round for them finding that had got away and fearing they had been identified they took to the ranges and were not captured for several days afterwards the police received some informatn. of their whereabout A Blackfellow tracked them to a tree up which they had attempted to conceal themselves
The perpetrators of the deed are perfectly well known to me both young men one was considered very respectable the other was a packman on the Road and from my being also employed on the same Road I have often travelled in his compy. and had all but made arrangements with him to take a trip across some Ranges which he professed to know and I wanted to examine
There are others implicated
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Another gentleman equally good hearing of the circumstance instantly offered himself as another You may imagine with what pleasure I sent these two up = I would like to see them refused If so I guess the reason would be asked in Parliament as seen the enclosed is a paragraph I cut from one of the papers =
Mr. Johnson is one of the members for Gipps Land = I had been very ill and sent a man down express to see the Doctor and report it to the District Surveyor = who of course wrote up to Head quarters upon the subject = The question was asked in the House why the land was not Surveyed near Omeo and my illness as you see given as the reason =
Now in the first place I was never ordered to lay any land out there = In the second place it would take say 6 months at least to do it and a fortnights illness
I met poor Green on his previous trip he was then taking down a large amount of Gold he travelled a great deal of the road alone = I have several times told him he was very wrong to run such risks as I knew well there were plenty who would not hesitate at anything to obtain such a prize but he thought no one would interfere with him = He was a very quiet respectable young man he was about to be married =
Coming up the other day I met all the parties implicated going down the country for Melbourne and to my astonishment a man who had recently been in my party (only 7 or 8 cases of Horse stealing against him)
Well my dear Father I must bring this to a conclusion as tomorrow I have to be out in the field at Sunrise to take a Meridian Line, lc. (as my Theodolite reads but a small Vertical Angle) and the next morning at Daybreak will find me travelling down country when I will in all probability have an opportunity of posting this
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could hardly begin as a Reason for not performing [indecipherable] work But they dont stick at trifles
Well my dear father I must wind up now and hoping soon to hear from you
Wish my best & kindest love to Dr. Mr. Ablett S. Gdfthrs and all Relations
Kind regards, lc., lc. to friends
Believe me yr.truly affect.
I am most pleased to hear my little Niece grows and improves so much I would like to see what she is like can hardly understand being an Uncle How are Mr & Mrs. Bird and their large collection of juveniles He is becoming quite a family man
It was rather a surprise to hear Geo. Farrow was married I trust they will succeed It is a source of the greatest gratification and pleasure to know that I am still remembered by a number of old friends some of whom you mention viz Messrs. Barnes Townsend Pitcher Cuckow Pray remember me most kindly to them and to all who kindly enquire after me = How is Mr Barnes getting on?
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I have recently received a Dumby Level and a Beautiful Theodolite from Troughton & Simms = It is of different construction to Adies but made with alterations & additions to suit my work = It was necessary if I remained in Govt. Service that I should have a second Instrument in case of accidents and a friend on his way
through to America called explained and gave them the order = I wanted him to call and see you but he could not manage the time
By the bye in sending out the pages missing in the Mathematical Tables those enclosed were wrong I think upon reference to my letter you will see that pages 55 & 56 of the Tables
that were out there by omitting all the numbers and their Logarithms between 3449 & 3550
(They should of course read 3449 3450 3451 lc. lc.) I dont care much about the Text so long as the Tables are complete
I have been perpetrating a little Official to my Govr. on the subject Bond To give you some idea of what coons we have to deal with I will just explain the circumstance
Some time since I received notice that Bond would be required of me to the tune of £500 This in the first place is a piece of [indecipherable] Bosh as my work has nothing to do with money transactions From the dictatorial stile of the letter it was evident they wanted to force me into the Guarantee Society = I saw their drift and put my hands down to the bottom of my pockets and said to myself that I would see em blowed fast
So I obtd. the names of two Gentlemen (one at a previous Govt. Sale had purchased land [indecipherable] some wh about £12,000 so I considered the security pretty good
After a while I get notice my securities were objected to requesting me to furnish names of pastoral tenants of the Crown This rather astonished my weak nerves As they are always mortal jealous lest we should show the Squatters any favor And yet at the same time were forcing me to be under an obligation to them
One of my previous sureties was rather indignant and gave me his Uncles name a Mr Thomson an Honorable a member of the Upper House
My dr. Father,
It is now some time since I heard from you In your last you made allusion to Abletts illness it was therefore with some little anxiety that I looked forward for further communications, but from your silence not having received any thing more on the subject combined with what Ive been enabled to gather from other correspondents there is I am most happy to know every reason to believe he has some time since quite recovered
But notwithstg. I would be much pleased to hear occasionally from some of you for as you may suppose Home letters are a source of much pleasure, if only to know you are well, lc. From all accounts my little niece is growing in every respect a very nice little child how much I would like to see her Tis said her Gdfr. will a most spoil her
A somewhat long period has elapsed since my departure I can of course remember things only as they were, many many changes must have occurred during such period and would
undoubtedly appear very strange to me Often & often do I wish it were possible to pay you all a visit it is a happiness I look forward to with a vast amount of pleasure it would even be a great satisfacn. even to know when it will be but suppose must rest satisfied until the period arrives =
I am still in the mountains as mentioned in previous letters any employ of late has been surveyg. and exploring with a view to discover if any
of portion of the intermediate unknown country was of a character to admit of the formation of an improved line of Road to [indecipherable] Diggings
Having after a considerable amount of labor and difficulty succeeded in my object, I had to take Road Engineer and afterwards the District Surveyor over the proposed route for their opinion the result of which is instructions to proceed at once with a detail examination simultaneous Survey and Marking which work as far as one can judge will occupy from abt. 3 to 4 months
These instructions are of course very satisfactory more respect but at the same time it involves the execution of a very rough piece of work as the
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I am sure dear mother would smile could she see some of my little schemes and inventions connected with my domestic accommodations and arrangements lc. nothing superfluous = Having experienced some little inconvenience from the bed cloathes which consist of a couple of rugs coming off at night = set to work and made them up into 2 large bags putting one inside the other in which I stow away completely out of sight defying wind & weather (it would be rather awkward if any one tide up the top while inside
greater portion of the distance is through a very wild, mountainous broken densely scrubby barren unknown country The Road no men use is a fearful one such hills which no amount of money could make good to stand at the foot of some of them and look up they appear almost perpendr. Horses are useless except for packing or ridg. for which purpose they are only used & principally in winter
During summer months Bullock teams are often employed A team usually consist of 8 or 10 Bullocks their load about one ton Two or three teams usually travel together to assist each other up the worst pinches in many cases but half the load is taken up at once
By dint of a vast amount of cursing swearing and thrashing the dray is worked up a few yards both wheels are immediately chocked a minute or two spell and the swearing and thrashing commence afresh and so on for all the worst of the hills Down hill a good sized tree is hooked on behind to act as a drag Good Bullocks will pull us often as they are put to it but it is most fearful work for them
they are unable to stand more than one journey without a rest To look at some portions of the Road
one a stranger would say it was impossible to get a vehicle up The proposed new line is a vast improvement as far as hills are concerned but it must be cleared before it can be used & provided Omeo is of sufficient importance it is certain to opened for traffic as I am perfectly satisfied from such examination & reconnaissance as I have been enabled to make it is quite impossible to discover any thing so good
My Camp is now about 10 miles in the country situate upon and near the head of scrubby creek, far enough from anything like a habitation = have
to keep one man to attend to the horses keeping them out in the good country & occasionally packing out provisions, lc.
Just now we are completely set fast from the continued heavy rains (being commencement of Winter) which of course renders it very miserable & wretched but would not withstanding much sooner undertake it in Winter than Summer as the heat and want of water and myriads of mosquitoes workg. through such scrub would render the work most distressing
During the past month April was employd. principally Surveying features [indecipherable] portions of Roads Rivers, lc., taking men and a pack horse with Blankets & about a weeks provisions camping out near the end of each days work chained and plotted about 60 miles
Sir Hy. Barkly Governor of Victoria visited Gipps Land recently Went down to Sale attended his [indecipherable] was introduced to & met him and his Aide Camp at private houses accompand. his Excellency with three or four Gentn. to Omeo and back He travelled about quite quietly attendd. only by his Aide C. & servant =
He assumed not the slightest authority but used to talk as famly. as possible we of course had a general invite to his table = He was delighted with some of the views well he might be for they are in places most magnifict. He made a most favorable impression and was evidently much pleased with his reception receiving attention without being bored
I am most pleased he came up to this part as it gave him an idea of what sort of country it is in wh. I am employed and although he has nothing to do with the working of the
department it can do no harm & it may do me some good for I know some of my friends alluded to me favorably = It was proposed by some that he should go over my new line of Road but I knew that would never do to give him several days in the scrubs =
We certainly made some long and rapid journeys But I enjoyed the trip much it was a great relief to my prest. monotonous life =
A short time since I received invite to the Govrs. Ball Melbourne given on the Queens Birthday It was of course known that I could not attend but sent as a mk of courtesy which of course is very pleasing
Last Year I remitted you Ninety £90 pounds = forwarding Bills of Ex. in separate enclosures at difft. periods the acknowledgement of the receipt of which I have have been hoping to receive = not that I entertain doubt on the subject of its safety but still it will be satisfactory to know you have obtained it all right
You have once or twice in previous Letters enqd. if it is my wish to continue a member of the P. F. L. There is no occasion to say anything on the subject here as I answered the question some time since as well as remitted cash to pay up the arrears Pray remember me to all members who kindly enqre. for me =
I must begin to think of coming to a close having nothing in the shape of news which could possess any interest to communicate =
Trust dear mother is quite well = Give her my best Love = Should be most pleased to get a few lines from her Ablett also Mr. Bird [indecipherable] he must not suppose that because I am unable to write as often as I could wish that I feel no interest in them or their welfare I would scribble more frequently if I could it is occasionally a matter of much greater difficulty for me to correspond with several than for them occasionally to give me a few lines =
The Albatross I find still continues to contribute to afford the same amount of pleasure and recreation to her crews it is an
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
called on in the same absurd way as formerly
amusement quite out of my line now = Suppose have hardly been on the water in a doz. times since coming to the Colony =
Have occasionally plenty of riding about but it is certainly not for pleasure 10 or 12 hrs a day in the sadde is far from pleasant = Being in a country were carts cannot be used I exchanged my Horse for another better suited for riding =
The first would Im sure have pleased mother for the rascal way as far as it was possible for a horse to be being Draught I used to ride him but little & he used to get (colonially speaking) so flash that there was no doing anything with him becoming quite roguish he would try every dodge he could to get me off but thats a job not so easily accomplished as in days of Yore =
I suppose Rodney forms part of the establishment yet he is becoming quite an ancient servant =
Hope you and Ablett have as much business as you wish Is trade generally speaking improving or is the Contract system
Timbarra Creek Numblamungie Range
May 31st, 1859.
My dear Father,
Having written you very recently I have of course but very little left to communicate but receiving in the interim a Lre from C.J.T. with reference to the Quarterages due to the P. F. L. I have enclosed a letter to him on the subject and would be glad if you would do the needful for me
As mentioned in my recent letter I last year remitted you the sum of Ninety pounds in Bills of Exchange which I trust have been received there can of course be no doubt of its safety beyond delay Yet one very naturally feels somewhat anxious after some little time has elapsed to know if all is right Am looking forward to and hoping every mail will bring the wished for notice
In the before mentioned amount was included I believe sufficient to cover the
amount arrears of Quarterages I see you have given up the Secy.p. suppose there are many changes amongst the members during the period of since my departure You of course still continue on the Books
Have never since had an opportunity of renewing my acquantce. with the subject by attending or joining any Lodge in this Colony Masonry is I believe gaining ground in Melbourne
By the bye I last post received a cover addressed to me "Assistant Surveyor Melb." inclosing a Bill of Lading of a package shipped on board the Blue Jacket at Liverpool but unaccompanied by any instruction or advice = Being so far removed the Vessel of course must have arrived before the Letter reached me I however immediately sent it off to an Agent to look after the matter and so it rests at present trust it is safe =
We are tasting the pleasures of Winter the Weather has of late been most stormy and wet the wind the other night ripped one of the Tents from end to end, it was notwithstanding somewhat ludicrous to see the unfortunate inhabitant scurriling about with his tails fluttering in the gale trying to secure his articles of attire, lc. while securing one three or four more would make about =
I sometimes think how horrified one from home would be if suddenly transported into situations in which I am often placed take for instance the present surrounded in every direction (and in some to an unlimited distance) by immense ridges Gullies, lc. densely covered with scrub and timber, lc. Get upon the summit of the highest eminence within a circuit of Miles and look around nothing meets the eye but Range upon Range of huge Ridges and
Blue lines of Mountains All apparently jumbled together in the most hopeless confusion some capped with snow others terminating in the Clouds
My employment during a portion of the last few months has been to endeavor to trace the course of some of the Ridges to ascertain if they could be made available for a line of Road To travel in a direct line across such country even on foot for any distance would I may say be impossible
Any poor New Chum without any idea of the Bush would be irretrievably lost and pretty sure never to get out No doubt many a poor wretch has ended his life in that miserable way if so far fortunate as to reach a stream to trace it down would be more than he could do from the great natural obstacles opposing his progress he would be exhausted long before he could reach any signs of civilization even supposing any existed on such stream
A weak minded individual soon gets completely confused amongst the interminable spurs lc. and eventually go crazy it is seldom they get far from the spot where lost, generally going round in circles (being under the impression all the time that they are keeping a straight course
I will never forget during the days of my early experiences how disgusted I have been after walking hard for several hours in my own opinion in the direction required and thinking I must be very near my destination to suddenly recognize some familiar mark and discover myself near where I started from
A New Chum cannot help being struck with the great sameness and painful stillness of the Australian Bush generally no Birds warbling or other cheering sound In some of the huge deep and comparatively narrow Gullies it is fearfully still solemn and sombre yourself apparantly the only living creature
We have of late been regaled at night with music (of anyg. but a melodious character) perpetrated by Native Dogs (Dingoes or Warraguls in Black-fellows lingo) who howl singly and in concert most hideously & discordantly They never Bark The wretched will sometimes station themselves about 100 yards or so distant and watch the camp and occasionally follow one on Horseback at night for miles regulating their movements by the horseman The thoro Dingo partakes somewhat of the nature of the Fox and Wolf cunning and cowardly
They play old Gooseberry amongst Sheep and unprotected Young Calves and in many parts poisoned baits (Strychnine) are hung up all about the Bush which settles a great many They are easily overhauled by Horsebk. and when done up will lie down when their restce. is generally put an end to by a Waddy or a heavy Stirrip Very [indecipherable] of life you may hammer away
until you imagine they must be "kilt entirely" and are to all appearance really and truly dead if so well & good if not they will gammon to be and when you are fairly off so are they = Have occasionally seen some of the half bred ones taken young but they are useless destructive cunning brutes
If the Weather permits I purpose moving camp tomorrow eight to 10 miles further on after which I will have but little opportunity of troubling the post again for a time as we will be located in the middle of a most horrid unaccessable piece of country
You at home undoubtedly think this sort of work of a most miserable character it certainly is not very cheerful, but one gradually becomes accustomed to and thinks but little of it =
I give myself credit for being now a very tolerable bushman am of course necessarily often in entirely new country and under circumstances in which a young hand would be tea totally lost but some how have always a good notion of working my way back or ferreting out the place I want to make altho it may take days to do so
If out of my reckoning without being in the least degree disturbed by acknowledge of the fact towards dusk endeavor to find grass & water, looking after the Horse if I have one nobbling him out with a Bell on I start a good fire lc. and endeavour to make myself comfortable for the night if the "Yarraman" is inclined to rumble notice which way he heads, drive him back to Camp last thing = wake up once or twice = & make up fire listen for the Bell & go off to sleep again =
Up at daylight track the horse bring him back = discuss a
portion piece of Damper & Beef make a little tea in a pannikin saddle up & start =
If out for only a short trip my eqipmt is light enough a small Blue Blanket with a hole on the Centre to poke my head thro = A small tomahawk & a pocket compass & some grub = (You would be astonished at the quantity of Rain a Blanket will keep off if lined a little on the shoulders = have been dry thro a days rain except just the lower part of my legs & feet =
When the trip promises to be long usually take a Packhorse with the provisions, lc. It is horrid work when out of grub for a day or two one does not feel hungry so much as faint & weak climbing these big hills under such circumstances is rather trying
When I have to go any distance to an unknown or comparatively unknown country my great aim is to gain some idea of the course of any streams
or water courses or sheds When in a fix and find myself at all inclined to get in the slightest degree annoyed or excited I usually sit down and do a small amount of smoking Take things cooly is my motto in the Bush
Since writing the
above foregoing have shifted my Camp to the River Timbarra a miserable damp cold spot being in a deep narrow Valley high steep ranges of mountains on each side The sun makes his appearance about 10 oclock =
Was out for 2 or 3 days finding and marking a way for the man to take the packhorses to obtain provisions grass, lc. during my absence a friend rode out to the Camp bringing me orders to proceed at once to Omeo to mark off a site for a Court House Having just performed that business sent off a Plan Report, lc. I am on my way back again intended to have gone out today but as the weather decided to be [indecipherable] rain hard I declined the honor of a walk of about
[The following address block is written across the middle of the page from bottom to top].
Jos. A. Pettit Esqe.
20 miles a great part of the distance through scrub but if fine will be off tomorrow
This country being very high [indecipherable] some few thousand feet above the level of the Sea is during the winter months altho very healthy unpleasantly cold
altho very healthy no end of sharp frosts biting winds there has already been heavy falls of snow to the Northwd. so much so as to render it a task of great difficulty to cross some of the "Big fellow" mountains =
Thinking it might interest you I have scribbled down a few words of Black fellows lingo * written the phonetic style
Time warns me to come to a close and with my best L. to Dr Mother & all friends Kind regards lc., lc. to all who [indecipherable] enquire for me
Believe me my Dr F. ever his most affect
My dr. Father,
The above is rather a strange and dismal place to date an epistle from, but do not suppose I am fixed here for a permancy, being only professionally employed, not as clerk or Sexton, but merely to lay out this resting-place for the weary in the ornamental style (the lines are all curves) giving each denomination a separate piece, that the notions of one individual may not be outraged by being stuck alongside one of another persuasion
It has been a tedious troublesome job, but thank goodness the lines are almost all trenched out now and the plan is on the board have yet to calculate the areas wh. promises some little bother have seen quite enough of such grave subjects for some time to come =
I am getting on tolerably well Have laid out a Township lc. the next job will be about 50 miles higher up country I like the situation uncommonly well, particularly the pay it is the very thing
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I am sorry I am unable to reply to the kind communications enclosed in yrs pray thank my correspondts. for me Well my dr. F. I must come to a close and with best regards rembcs. to all who remember poor me and with kindest Love to Dr. M. and all friends it is believe me my Dr. Father to remain Yr Truly Affec. Jno
Mr. Jos. A. Pettit
to suit me, plenty of exercise, almost too much sometimes and decidely better than other work Am located just now abt. between 50 & 60 miles from Port Albert and 2 miles from Sale The neighbg. country is fine, large level plains of vy rich soil intersperced with belts of timber, and bounded in the distance by forest and mountains
This is a jolly Gipsy life and have no fault to find with it Will just give you a description of the Camp wh. consists of 3 tents my own, the mens and one for the Cook, Store, lc.
Mine is abt. 10 ft x 10 ft walls 4 ft A loose lining of [indecipherable] is fixed inside thereby forming a double tent wh. renders it tolerably comfortable the ends are made to lace up wh. when necessary can be thrown open and a thoro draught obtained the furniture is not very costly or magnificent, consisting of a stretcher, a folding Camp table, a box (to sit upon lc) and an article of doubtful construction something between a linen horse and a model of a modern gallows, upon wh. the articles of any wardrobe are tastefully displayed upon the sideboard (the lid of an old box) the crockery is arranged 3 [indeciperable], 3 spoons, 3 knives, 3 forks,
3 tin plates, 3 pannikins, pepper box & salt pot = A portable Camp drawing table fitted up with Drawers, lc., for the arrangemt. of wh. I take some little credit to myself, complete the Catalogue of my furniture
Sometimes the situation is rather dull, but being always employed it does not appear so
Have once or twice lately taken a cantor across to a station named "Clyde Bank" abt. 9 miles distt., situate upon the River "Avon" spent a musical hour or two and back to breakfast the Govr. is a Member of the Legislative Council, his nephew and myself are very great chums, we occasionally do a little [indecipherable] together = They have an excellent LIbrary, piano, lc., have a general invite to stay there the family have over treated me with the greatest kindness
My work is rather hard at times, but it is notwithstanding a very jolly life Can hardly make it out it appears almost too good to last altho I most earnestly trust not should wish to hold the
it situation for some time to come however can only do my best, hope for the best and leave the rest
My birthday went over without being aware of it You will hardly believe me but I somehow have managed
to lose count, and forget my own age time does fly so fast
You may suppose how much pleased I am to hear Ablett was commencing life on his own acct under such favorable circumstcs. and I most sincerely trust they may answer his hopes and expectations
At one time he appeared to entertn. the idea of coming out to this colony with Saro Im very glad theyve given that notion up, it wd., to say the least, have been very gt. folly to throw away his prospects and come out here on chance Tis all very well for young fellows, having only themselves to look after, who can stand plenty of knocking about, wh. they are sure to get to their hearts content
As for myself I would not be a new chum in Australia with such a luxury as a wife, until I saw some little prospect of getting on A fellow had much better try a little prussic acid What on earth these poor devils do with their wives and families is more than I can tell it is easy enough to sit at home and picture a life out here and flatter themselves, while surrounded by every comfort that they could face and rough everything witht. minding it Almost persuading themselves that it borders quite on the romantic Very
No doubt it is a very great question if the romance of the thing doesnt soon vanish, for instance after grubbing trees and digging post holes for a month under a hot sun or the wife a months stiff washing or some other such light work
Do not suppose I am saying aught against Young Ladies Bless their dear little hearts, no! but I would cry down the folly of bringing out any well brot. up, out to this Colony to rough it, they may think they wouldnt mind it, and tht. they would be able to manage tis all nonsense the chances are they would mind it and very soon too and tht. they wouldnt be able to manage at all to their satisfaction
Love in a Cottage may read very well but Love in a Tent Hard up is not a very enviable situatn. if chaps without means and prospects or funds to push them on must get spliced before they come away, let them marry some strong strapping servant girl, one that can stand any amount of hard work, lc. and take a situation as well as her husband
People coming out here are little young [indecipherable] they
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
It is hardly necessary to mention how pleased I would be to get a few lines from Dr. M.
little know the little treats in store for them they may do tolerably well or they may not, thats their chance but rough it they must
As far as I can see the labg. class are most required (at least until the wants of the Colony increase) even they it appears are often in gt. distress, altho without doubt were matters judiciously managed means ought to be made out to employ many thousands more than find their way to this part of the world
This is yet a country for handy intelligent Subrs. to get on, but they can only expect to do so by industry and labor and then but gradually Most of them come out with wrong notions being under the impression that they are to be ladies and gentn. upon Landing and that money may be made without trouble, happy delusion, it is too almost invariable the case that those who have suffered the greatest hardship and want at home are out here the most indepdt. improvident & extravagant
Great numbers always hang about Melb. objecting to push into the country, being I suppose afraid they may be murdd. by the Aborigines, and served up as a dainty at one of their feasting jollifications
Good Common Labrs. are difficult to get in Gipps Land Wages run from 20s/ to 30s/ pr week found of course no doubt men with large families, and very little money, find it up hill work for some time, as people are not generally fond of having lots of juveniles to keep as well as their parents
There have been from abt. 200 to 300 Immigrant Girls, brot into this district during the last Year or so, and they have all gone off like smoke they engage as servants, and get spliced very soon afterwards
I know some few instances, where men have logged out in their best, walked in to the Depot and after looking round upon the fair damsels enquire, if "any of you young women want a husband and will any on you take me" The tender appeal was in every case responded to matters arranged & settled without delay, and the happy individual went on his way rejoicing with his lovely Bride
Others who have been unable to go down and select for themselves, occasionally depute employers to pick out Ladies and
bring them up for them
There are some very funny queer little tails connected with some of these marriages, generally neither Lady or Gentn. are at all fastidious or particr. After the Ceremony there is what is termed a good spree, wh. being interpreted means every one gets mortal or in other words groggy, after wh. there is no accountg. for what may take place
There is an immense quantity of spirits consumed in this country This drink is a frightful curse
I trust you received my Letter containing a list and description of some instruments wh. I very much require You will not consider me troublesome, but not having any other means of obtaining them I was obliged to have recource to you nothg. of the kind worth having can be procured in Melb.
The Theodolite I am now using is a most rickety affair, and which very often puts me very much out of Temper, as well as give great additional work I will take care to reimb as soon
As you communicate particulars
Thinking it might prove interesting I have written down and enclosed * a few native words and names wh. I have picked up at difft. times generally speaking the language is soft & musical The words do not all belong to the same tribe and there is of course as much diffce. amongst them as between [indecipherable]
It is a very common error amongst us to talk broke Engh. to all who speak another tongue that is the Case with the natives of this country, who not being over bright the result has been the most absurd mixture you can imagine
I am very much afraid you must think me most negligent & unkind not having received a letter for a very long period To my great annoyance I find one if not two of my letters went astray or rather were never posted at all Having for some time past been located in a very out of the way portion of the District
[The following text is written along the left-hand margin from bottom to top].
You see by refce. to the map that I have become a Landed "Proprietor"
a great many miles from an Office I trusted to others to get them forwarded, and most unfortunately they were mislaid and forgotten They certainly contained nothing of any importance, but still you must have wondered at my long silence
The first portion of this as you see [indecipherable] of one of the lost communications for the future the Letters shall be numbd. and as I really forget what this ought to be will commence afresh and make this No.1 and will take care to manage better for the future
I have received yrs. dated Mar. 11th. also a vy short
one note since, informing me the instruments were in progress wh. I can assure you is most welcome intelligce.
You ask one for a sketch of the little Tarra Church it is almost more than I can promise yet a while, being very much engaged but will some time or other try and give you some idea of its appearance
Was somewhat surprised to find you had turned smoker, as you say wonders will never cease
It gives me very gt pleasure to know you & dr M. are so well = Should like much to be amongst you if only for a short period but it is useless wishing, must therefore make up my mind to rest contented until that happiness is afforded No one could be more delighted at such prospect than myself but we cannot do as we would
It would be great folly to think of throwing away my present chance it may be rather uncertain, but trust & hope to hold the situation for some time to come the only thing against it is the shifting about plenty of changes It is very plest. when camped near any Station As at the present for being well known have a general welcome Am just not living as a Guest at one of these places
I must begin to draw to a close for having recd. advice of a govt. Land sale down country at wh. I shall be present have a ride tomorrow of between 60 & 70 miles straight out tolerable work for a grass fed horse isnt it? Will
be back again in less than a week and during that time shall have travelled a distce. of betn. 200 & 300 miles but not on the same horse tho
Enclosed is a rough lithograph * of the first township I laid out for Govt. it is but a slight sketch of the principal parts and features
of the work and skews but very little of the work executed
It looks very easy
and simple and straightforwd. on the paper but you would form a very diffg. opinion if upon the ground = The greater part of the country being thickly timbered Lots of heavy scrub & very high steep hills, Banks, and deep Gullies and to improve matters the whole morass 2 & 3 feet under water
It involves some little trouble to form a correct idea of the Country to be able to decide upon the best plan of laying out the ground, as well as the course to be adopted in carryg. out the Survey everythg. has to be measured lots of references taken reasons given for all that is done Town allots All trenched out Trees marked Posts fixed, lc., lc., lc., lc., lc., lc.
[The following text is written along the right-hand margin from top to bottom].
I heard from Robt. a few days ago he was all right and still in the neighbhd. of the Diggings
[The following text is written on the page bound in the hard cover book].
p.258 letter out of place, this is 1857 not 1859, p.268 and p.272 letters also out of place, should be after p.302.
August 16th, 1860
My dear Father,
I wrote you last month on a Copy of this publication Am still employed in this neighbhd. finishing up work
Should have been back again amongst the Ranges but for a Circular received from Head Quarters a few days since stating that it was settled to do away with the appointment of Assistant Surveyor and not keep any on as salaried officers after September 1st prox. but to perform all Surveys by Contract At the same time fixing the rates and offering the work at their own prices which being considerably below do value the chances are that very few if any of the old hands will accept
It wont answer my purpose It is a most unfair proceeding knocking us off in this Summary manner giving only about three weeks notice but it is nothing more than might be expected from such a Government
No doubt there will be some fools enough to make the attempt for instance New Chums poor Devils, they will soon discover this mistake and the chances are will get into a regular
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Sharp galloping from one to two miles at a stretch across Country some of it very rough and thickly covered with Wattles
We had a couple of splendid dogs with us when an animal was at at Bay it was difficult for him to watch the 2 dogs but one of
them the dogs closed awkwardly in one instance and had his throat opened in an instant
The sport is rather Cruel but the Kangaroos are getting so plentiful in some parts that they consume almost as much grass as the cattle and consequently the settlers are anxious to thin them a little
I read an account a short time since of something like a thousand head of Kangaroos being destroyed in one day A kind of lead was formed into of Ravine which was enclosed A great many horseman went out and drove them into the enclosure where they were all slaughtered = I often see great numbers They are
often frequently taken Young
fix even if up to Surveying they will be completely adrift not knowing where or how to begin or what to do as you may suppose it is no easy thing for a Green hand unused to the Bush to make the best of the country for it is very different to home they could do but little good even at high prices and I guess if we who are used to the work and know the District well would lose by it it is very doubtful if new hands can make it answer
The head of the Department may be working a dodge as it is well known they would like to get rid of the old Surveyors and put on their own men but they cannot pitch into us without good & sufficient causes as any gross act
of direct injustice to any one of us having friends it would be sure to be brought before the House by some of the Members (A Member of the Upper House is one of my sureties)
One great cause of congratulation on my part is that I am a long way behind with some of my plans of a large track of Country known only to myself as well as having one Survey in a very unfished state and Ill see em hanged before I give them the benefit of all I know if they get rid of me in this unceremonious manner It will cost them something to finish what I have begun
The Land Bill is the great topic just now the two Houses are
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
and brought up as pets but generally speaking they go off again in to the Bush or get killed by dogs = I think I have said enough on the subject and as before mentioned have but little to communicate this time will come to a close & with best wishes trustg. you all well at home give my kindest love to Dr. Mother & all relatives remember me most kindly to all friends And hoping to hear from some of you soon believe me My dear father
Ever Your Most affect. Son
at loggerheads on the subject the Upper wont pass the one submitted by the Lower objecting to many of the main features = it is very doubtful to me if they will be able to carry anything much different to the present regulations for the next three or four years there is always tremendous fighting about it some of the discussions are more than warm being almost abusive but this is of course the natural result of having such men (as some of them are) in Parliament
Things are so managed out here that very few of those individuals who are suited by position and education for representatives will have anything to do with the matter = There is one of the members a Stone-Mason (a Mr. Don who works at his trade by day and legislate for the Country at night but he is far from being the worst he was
of put in by his fellow workmen in Melbourne of course = As you may suppose some of them yabber the greatest nonsense imaginable =
I have very little to write about or tell you this month as nothing particular has occurred with the exception of the delivery of this blessed Contract Survey Circular
Was out with another or two yester afternoon in the forest Kangarg. We ran down five in the course of an hour or so had some seven gallops I have given you I think a description of the animal the sport, lc. in previous letters
They are strange looking creatures but youve no doubt seen a specimen like the Oppossums and many other animals belonging to this part of the world the female carries its young (in a kind of pouch) until
they are it is a good size = Upon any sign of danger the young one or "Joey" as it is called is popped deposited in the Pouch and carried off by the mother but when she is very hard pushed she takes out the little one and leaves it to its fate
The old men are the largest many standing considerably over 6 feet high The fastest
of these animals are much smaller Flying-Bucks & Does as they are called these travel at great speed and a horse must be able to gallop well to overhaul them
The old men seldom run far but will soon turn and face the dogs standing on their hind legs watching and turning as the dogs turn striking at them with their hind legs which are armed with immense claws and [indecipherable] the animal which comes within reach = They (the Kangaroos) are sharp enough too to get a tree behind them but if possible they will aways take to water and standing in about four feet they wait for the dog & try to drown them by
put holding them under water They would serve a man the same
The Dogs used are something of the Grey hound breed only larger and more powerful =
We had some very tolerable sport Two or three gave us some
My dr Father
I wrote you last month explaining the changes determined upon in the Survey Department viz. it was settled to have the work performed by Contract I have objected to try a Contract at the prices offered and consequently am no longer a Government Surveyor
There has been a change in the Roads and Bridges Department in this District
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
It is getting somewhat late & I have to start up towards Omeo again tomorrow having given you all the news I can in this short space must come to a close
Trust you & Dr. M. Ab [indecipherable] are all quite well Give my kindest love lc., lc., lc. And hoping to hear from you very shortly
believe me my dear F.
Ever Yr Most affect
Mr. Gibson having resigned a Mr. Rawlinson has been appointed in his stead He was formerly on the Conway Bridge having some time since as you are aware discovered a good line of Road over the mountains to Omeo He (Mr Rawlinson) wished to examine it so I took him through also over two other lines of Road which I have
also discovered through other portions of the District He expressed himself much pleased with all and congratulated me on my success with work He has decided to open them and has employed me temporarily as an assistant to take the sections for the Bridges on the Omeo Road
He is anxious to get Government to employ me again to find a new Line overland to Melbourne Am therefore almost hoping to
get obtain employnt in the Roads & Bridge Department for a time but knowing the uncertainty of these things It wont do to be too sanguine
Have had several long journeys lately which is the reason you have not heard earlier this month Am
becoming quite a public character My name has been continually in the papers Being amongst the Gold Fields in this part I have often had to report something about them lc.
These communications are always published and you may suppose as there is great difference of opinion in these matters there are many letters some backing me up others accusing me of mis-reporting the diggings, lc. but that is always the case Govt. Officers never being allowed to notice these things it saves them a world of trouble
Punch had a sharp go in at me lately about some of the work in this part Govt. having altered one of my plans in spite of all reports and made a fist of it there is certain to be a row about it and the whole of the correspondence sure to be published
[Illustrated cover page of "The News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 44, April, 1860. Opossum Shooting: Bealiba, Near Dunolly. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
My dear Father,
It is now a very long time since I heard from you such being the case I suppose everything is right and going on as usual but I begin to be most anxious to receive some tidings of your doings It is with much pleasure I hear occasionally that you are all well but it is of course very natural that I should wish to know that from yourselves as so many months have passed by (altho I have written two or three letters) without receiving a few lines that I begin to wonder what can be the cause of yr silences
I did not expect to obtain any communication while in the outland [indecipherable] part of the [indecipherable] in which I was for some time employed but I was some what disappointed at not finding a letter waiting for me after getting clear of the Ranges I had written you a long letter a short time ago which was deposited in my Pocket Book for posting but while riding through the bush the horse which was some what timid and fresh bolted and emptied my pockets at the same time
I am down here only for a short period laying out a Township portions of Main Road, lc. after which am going farther back than ever into the Ranges but trust only for a few months and indeed I will not be sorry for the change for it is most severe work climbing over Ranges of Mountains all day long
With reference to the package forwarded pr Blue Jacket it arrived quite safely but in consequence of being so far out of the way I obtained it only very recently Indeed my dear Father I am very much obliged to you for your kindness and the trouble you have taken The fruits, lc. I am sorry to say have all "gone bad" and stained the Books very much but I am equally obliged to you Dr. M. and other friends for their kind intentions Could just make out the epistles but illegible and [indecipherable] as they were I was most pleased to get them =
Glad the Bill of [indecipherable] arrived all right
There appears to have been a very great deal of business performed in the marriage and birth line it was the first intimation I had of it It is too late now to offer congratulations But Im sure I wish them all happiness and success Pray give them my kindest love regards, lc.
Ablett evidently becoming quite a family man I wish them all possible joy and happiness this too is of course a very wonderful child is it as great a prodigy as the first? Wished much to have written him a few lines but cannot do so this time & must beg you to communicate my good wishes, lc. trust his prospects are improving with his increasing family
Expect there are very many and great changes since my departure Yet it appears almost as the other day that I was among you all = How are Mr & Mrs Bird & family & other frds Are there any more cousins = The Albatross appears yet to afford [indecipherable] Johnson to her Crews
for I occasionally him of an excursion = Would often wish could make one of yr party Aquatic amusement is somewhat out out of my line now Have occasionally a little work in the neighborhood of the Lakes
As for riding have quite as much of that as I wish without resorting to it for amusement = Have several Horses the one reserved for my own special use and journeys is a first rate one excellent paces & good jumper not that I require him for the latter quality having too much respect for my neck
Thinking it might interest you The last time I was down Country I made arrangements a copy of this News Letter for every month which shall be forwarded as regularly as I can Sometimes they are tolerably good give some idea of what is going on this side of the water =
Am happy to say the New Road upon wh. I was for some time employed is completed it was about the most abominable piece of work I ever had to perform luckily the winter was very fine = It was a very expensive job for me having to employ so many horses riding and packing as it was two died it was a good job it was two worse = had often to bring provisions a great distance over the Ranges thro a barren strong scrubby country was necessarily occasionally is some very queer scrapes but as I have before given you sketches of my doings it is hardly necessary to repeat them as there is just sameness in all bush adventures and it is consequently difficult to make [indecipherable] interesting =
Have often wished to make a few illustrations but it is difficult to find time or opportunity to do anything of the sort while travelling about so much = From dr Mother account you are becoming quite ancient adapting spectacles it seems impossible that I can be so old as I am = but suppose one must make his mind that it is so
[indecipherable] Dr father I must come to a close as the post [indecipherable] down at day light tomorrow morning and as I would wish this to go down with it I must conclude this tonight it is a very [indecipherable] note as I only recd. this Lre a few hrs since so must beg you to take the will for the deed
Trusting you are all well with kindest love to yrself & Dr Mother & all frds believe me my Dr F Yr Ever Affec Jno.
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, April, 1860." p.1]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, April, 1860." p.2]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, April, 1860." p.3]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, April, 1860." p.4]
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 45, May, 1860. Kennedys Punt. Campaspe River. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
May 7 1860
My dear Father,
Last month I forwarded you a few lines and a copy of this publication with a promise that it should be sent as regularly as possible and as this number reached me this evening having taken up a pen
a little am close it for the Mailman who goes down at any day light tomorrow
Having written recently there is little or no news to communicate = that relating to the Colony generally you will gather from the accompanying sheet = Am still employed in this neighborhood =
Expect to be obliged to visit Melbourne some time in the course of this month to give evidence at the Supreme Court on a trial about some of the Cattle runs it is somewhat annoying but it cannot be helped It is now near about four years since I was there before I understand the plan is greatly altered & Suburbs are greatly improved and extended something in the London style =
Am some what anxious to receive a few lines from you hope to have that pleasure shortly not having received any communication for a very considerable period = Ablett is evidently becoming quite a family man = Hope the little ones are all right and that his prospects are improving with the increase of his family I hear both the little ones are stunners wonderful children from all accounts I have a large collection of juvenile relatives
A Ball was given last evening in this neighborhood as a proper conclusion to the performance of the Marriage Ceremony a sort of high life below stairs affair plenty of fun = was one of the guests Parties here are usually kept up morning so as to give people the benefit of day light to find their way home it was so in this case and being obliged to be at work today have had no opportunity to get a snooze yet Am
almost too sleepy to know what I am writing such being the state of of affairs & shall plead it as an excuse for closing this and with Kindest Love to dear M. All frds Kind regd rembces. lc. lc.
Believe me my dear Father
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, May, 1860." p.1]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, May, 1860." p.2]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, May, 1860." p.3]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, May, 1860." p.4]
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 46, June, 1860. View on the Yarra from Richmond Paddock Regatta Day. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
My dear Father
Last month I forwarded you a copy of this News-Letter accompanied by a few lines and having just received the no. for May have taken up a pen for the purpose of mentioning the incidents of the past month relating to myself
I received a subpoena to attend at the Supreme Court Melb. on the [indecipherable] to give evidence at a trial referring to some of the runs upon which I have been employed and as I was of course obliged under penalty lc. to be there I started from my Camp here about the for Port Albert to catch the steamer
For fear of accident led a spare Horse knowing no excuse would be taken for my non attendce. took down about 200 ounces of gold for a friend it was rather a risk to run but of course o one suspected the contents of my "swag" Reached the port all right experiencing only the ordinary adventures of Bush travelling
Took passage started on steamer it blowing "great guns" run along the Coast under the lee of the highland as far as Wilsons Promontory not daring to round the Point we were obliged to run back and take refuge in Waterloo Bay where we had the pleasure of remaining
from between 2 & 3 days and reached Melb. late on the Sunday night = We began to think we would have to return for provisions
Attended court on the day named Case postponed until the 20th. They had me about a couple of hours in the Box describing & giving sketches of the Country and the relative position of the various features, lc. The Trial lasted all day & late in the evening Verdict against the individual
that who subpoenaed me
Following day I went to the Crown Lands Office = reported myself saw the Surveyor General was with him for about an hour or so he was rather offhanded but I did not dislike him = he behaved very well told me not to put myself to unnecessary expence but to return as soon as possible as my party was unemployed =
The next day was Queens Birthday there is a Grand Review of the Volunteer Regiments but it came on wet so I did no honor them with my presence Had an invitation to the Govenors Ball but as that was not likely to come off for a week I knew it would not do think of it as it would have been difficult to obtain extension of leave under the circumstances and the chance was that it would be objected to and another thing stopping in Melbourne did not suit my pocket
I would have liked to have seen Robt. and had written him a fortnight or so [indecipherable] previously wishing him to write me Post Off. Melb. giving his
whereabout but suppose he did not get the Lre. as there was no communication from him
On the Friday I purchased a Horse and on Saturday started back overland for Sale (very tired of Town) = The journey over was something fearful I have seen some very bad roads in my time but this beats all I ever came across for mud
[The following text is written across the page from side to side].
find me something [indecipherable] to do in the Mountains than he imagines
Well my dear Father it is getting very late and I must come to a close Have nothing of interest to communicate my letter is necessarily all about myself for the country a place unknown to you local events would possess no interest
And trusting You and dr M. Ablett & family & all friends are well and doing well with my best love kind regards generally
Believe me Ever Your Most Affect Son
and water the greater part of the track is over low swampy ground the entire distce. about 200 Miles and I am not exceeding when I say that a hundred was under water
[indecipherable] a thousand head of Cattle had been taken thro to Market in the course of comparative short period previously and as the country is most of it densely scrubby everything is obliged to keep the track it was consequently ploughed and worked up into a regular puddle & rather quagmire and many many miles the horse was floundering through it nearly up to his body with lots of holes that would take him in altogether & if weak there he would stop this does occasionally happen as you may upon one portion of the way cross 5 or 6 huge Gullies each about a Mile wide and the ground being [indecipherable] it is in a frightful state
A road is cleared thro = the scrub on each side is impenetrable and full of most magnificent Ferntrees the track in this part has assumed a most extraordinary appearance = it is worked deep into high ridges running at right angles across the Road the gutters being from 18 ins to 2 feet deep caused by the Cattle all stepping in the same places
[A sketch of a Ferntree branch].
The gutters are all full of mud and water the Cattle only coming one way these steps are most awkward for a horse travels opposite direction he is straining stepping & floundering all the while some of the Ridges are broken away in places & deep holes formed =
I had to scramble up and lead the Horse the best way I could and a pretty picture I looked that night = it was necessary to wade into the River to get rid of some of the mud for from the ridges being so slippery I used to come down continually having arms in some holes & legs in others =
The journey took 4 days using daylight till dark and to render it worse it rained almost all the way Managed to get over tolerably well only 4 spills Once the horse went down between 2 logs thought he was settled but got it out some how = the next into a deep hole another his feet went from under & became on [indecipherable] side like a shot wringing & squeezing my leg against some timber was almost afraid it was broken for a short time
After that while cantering along being obliged to park every chance he put his feet into a Crab hole & head over cart he went (a crab hole is generally a very small opening just at the surface of the ground but large underneath & the earth of course breaks away when a weight comes on it
Notwithstanding these little incidents I reached Sale all right I had often wished to see what that road was like and my curiosity is most thoroughly gratified and I never wish to see it again The Horse of course suffered severely had to [indecipherable] & turn him out for a few months spell =
Melbourne is a large place now there are some very fine buildings erected since my last visit
Then I think I have given you a long true and faithful a set of my adventures during a portion of the past month Without it I think I would have had some difficulty to fill this sheet = Trust you are all well Hope soon to receive letters from you for it is an ago since the last
My work in this part of the world is now nearly completed and suppose I will have to go back into the Mountains again for a while =
Gipps Land is attracting a great deal of attraction just at this period our Government being most anxious to discover good payably Gold Fields down here to prevent people going into New South Wales [indecipherable] Diggings recently discovd. a the Snowy River are in that Colony every body is mad about them but from the severe winter & deep snow in that part they cannot be worked until Spring =
Consequently it is a great object to discover something in Victoria to detain the people this side the Boundary Two Govt. parties are sent down here to prospect one of them is going into the Country in wh. Ive been employed for some time past the leader was of course sent to me for information am almost afraid he will
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, June, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, June, 1860." p.2].
[Page 299] [Page 300] [Page 301] My dear Father, This appeared to me the best plan that could be adopted to give you some idea of what was going on in the Colony as well as to ensure your hearing from me more frequently without involving the necessity of writing long letters which it is often out of my power to do I will of course always add a few lines just to mention alls well but you must not generally speaking expect much more as in such case it must necessarily delay the letter and really from your knowg. nothing of this part of the world it is no easy task to set down and spin out an interesting yarn for after getting over the enquiries relating to friends one is at a loss to know what to write about This is often my case as there is so much sameness in my employment and you possess no knowledge of the inhabitants, lc. it is useless writing on those subjects = The last letter for June was some what behind time this consequently [Page 302] I am most glad to know you are all well, lc. lc. from all accounts my little Niece Lotty is improving very much give my love and tell her I am much obliged for her little message & sketching Ablett is becoming quite a family man I expect many changes have taken place during my absence I am very glad JW is getting so well but cannot help thinking that under [indecipherable] circumstances & [indecipherable] he would regret returning to England it is of course very natural he should wish to see his friends I have written two or three times but suppose he has not received the letters I heard from Robert the other day he mentions poor old Mrs Taylor is dead poor old Lady but really from what I had heard recently I was not surprised these changes must of course be expd. Yet one cannot hear of them without deep regret Well my dr. Father I must come to a close give my kindest L. to dr. M. Ab. & all frds rembce. regards, lc., lc. believe me ever yr. most affec. Jno. [Page 303] [Page 304] [Page 305] [Page 306] [Page 307] [Page 308] [Page 309] [Page 310] [Page 311] [Page 312] [Page 313] [Page 314] [Page 315] [Page 316] [Page 317] [Page 318] The Government has treated us in the most shabby manner I am getting quite a Public Character there are letters constantly in the papers about some of my work = some for & others against = I look upon them as a Capital advertisement = [indecipherable] had a long paragraph about me the other day = I almost imagine I must be an important individual to engage so much attention I think if it turns out that I am not likely to get my further employ under Governmt. I shall publish a letter or two on the subject and explain everything of course while paid for it Im bound to take the abuse but not otherwise = Well my dear Father I must be coming to a close trust you dr. M Ab. all friends are well give her & them my kindest love rembce. regards, lc. to all who kindly enquire for me I believe an English Mail is just in trust to hear from some of you this time Jos A Pettit Eqr. [Page 319] My dr. Father, I think I mentioned in my last that the Survey Department & I had parted company & that The Road Engineer for the District I obtd. this letter a day or so since and as I am going in to the bush this afternoon I thought it as well to I am not yet quite decided as to my future course & movements and not being very anxious to blunder into any thing until I have had a look round [indecipherable] unless anythg. [Page 320] [Page 321] [Page 322] [Page 323] [Page 324] [Page 325] My dear Father, As mentd. in my last I am no longer in Governmt. employ I have nothing particular in hand just now but am in hopes of obtaining [Page 326] I was recommended to visit Sydney being half promised a situation there but have not made up my mind yet I would rather remain in Victoria Give my kindest & best Love to all friends And believe me ever my dr. father Jos A Pettit Esq. [Page 327] [Page 328] [Page 329] [Page 330] [Page 331] [Page 332] [Page 333] [Page 334] [Page 335] [Page 336] My dr Father, Trust you are all well Having nothing of importance to communicate everything is very dull in this part of the world just now I have not yet been able to obtain any permanent situation Give my kindest & best Love to D. Mother Abs & all friends regards, lc. J. A. Pettit Esq. [Page 337] [Page 317] [The following text is written in the top right-hand corner of the page]. [Page 338] [Page 339] [Page 340] [Page 341] [Page 342] My dear Father, The Yearly races here are the great event of the District the galloping is often very good And during this period Sale is the Great Centre of attraction and people come from all parts Having a little job or two to do I am somewhat anxious to commence them being engaged again in another question of disputed Boundary and Impounding Cattle which is another Court affair and I would not be surprised if it takes me again to Melbourne to give evidence in the case = I have been employed lately in putting right a Survey of a private Township and making out descriptions of 200 or 300 Town Lots for the preparation of Deeds The Surveyor who commenced it worked it and his employers into a Mess and being involved in other wrongs he hooked it The wretch has [indecipherable] me in too good [indecipherable] He had sold me things and given me security for my debt having known him for some years as a steady young man I had not the slightest suspicion he was dishonest he had a good fair chance of getting on but it appears now that he did a little in the gambling line and suddenly while I was away he bolted = And none of the property transferred to me is forthcoming = He cooly rode off with a horse saddle and bridle belongong to me he was some few hundred miles away before it was known and from what I can learn he has sold the Horse Of course [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. I imagine they are somewhat in a fix at headquarters for they have been applying to the District Surveyor to know if he could find a competent man to lay off a Section or two & at what [indecipherable] I was the only one here who could apply to and you may be sure I put on a good paying price We shall see by [indecipherable] what will be the end of all this I dont intend to distress myself They no doubt think me a most independent individual = I Well my dear father I must come to a close and wish kindest Love to D Mother Abs and all friends Kind regard to all who kindly enquire for me not forgetting Mr & Mrs Barnes and others and believe me ever to be your most affect Jno. [Page 343] There is very little doing in the Colony just now everything is very dull the Land Bill has passed at last but it is a horrible abortion and can never work upon my word I dont know what we are coming to Govt. in a great measure as well as the larger portion of the Lower House are composed of a lot of fools and asses who know as much about legislating as the man in the moon Many of them cannot actually speak English and as for the unfortunate letter H. its Manhood suffrage elects them peoples men they are called and as soon as in they consider it a duty incumbent upon them to interfere with oppose and as far as they can upset everything and look out for themselves in the scrimmage Fancy their very coolly voting themselves pay and pensions if matters go on in this way much longer it will play the mischief with the Colony the are doing their utmost (and they almost admit it) to drive Capital out of the Country and if this sort of thing goes on why the population will consist principally of individuals but one step above paupers There is I believe an immense decrease in the Revenue thro bad management and to mend this they are reducing all salaries something about 30 per cent and curtailing immensely the yearly sums voted annually for improvement in the Colony (Roads, lc.) In fact their whole proceedings with but few exceptions are diametrically opposite to the known and fixed principles of political economy This reduction of Salaries is a piece of Gross folly & injustice every food efficient officer will endeavor to suit himself in some other position as soon as possible for in many cases the pay is hardly a living As for the Survey that remains in about the same state Some contracts are taken up on the Melbourne [indecipherable] but here altho' nearly 7 months are gone by since the change not a single one has been taken or [Page 344] My dear Father, I am now on the eve of another change in my occupation I before informed you that I had obtained Employment again under Govt. this time in the Roads & Bridges Departs. I am employed as an assistant to the Road Engineer of the District but the situation does not pay sufficiently well to induce me to continue in it nor is the employment to my taste for from my knowledge of surveying, lc. as well as of the District itself [Page 345] Accommodation and comfort for Travellers is quite a secondary consideration and some of [Page 346] Any one from Engd. to have to put up at these places would be miserable enough but in this respect I am becoming quite a Philosopher and make the best of it but were it not for my Horse I would often rather camp out, upon my word you could not help laughing at some of the scenes I have witnessed at some of these places and I am sorry to say have often been wicked enough to get up & establish a scene just for fun & mischief The worst with me is the bed accommodation for occasionally it is of a very lively character I said Bed but I hope I will be forgiven for calling things by I must say my experience of Australia has given me an insight into character I never saw before it far exceeds anything I ever read or imagined I am generally speaking a bit of a favorite with most of these people and I have been writing in one of these places [Page 347] She was attired certainly in female togs with a womans coat a round that and Wellington boots and spurs in her hands insted of a parasol reticule or muff was a long strand of green-hide and a stockwhip She was using a first rate Horse and had been escorting her drays to and from the Diggings She She has just been as I saw up to the Diggings with her produce and tells me she sold her "tattees" well Her account of the journey was rich [indecipherable] Oh mon it wur a sair trip" Her only [indecipherable] were a man and a boy (she is however quite equal to [Page 348] When she could not get her dray any further she packed her goods in disposed of them and returned safely She usually carries her gun shoots for her meals and thinks nothing of travelling hundreds of miles across country alone camping out at night with only a saddle for a pillow She started off on Horseback last night about ½ past 11 oclock on a mere bush track to catch up he drays which were about 10 miles ahead [indecipherable] to the individual who She told me she was "aboot opinin a Hoose" and hopeed I wud [indecipherable] to the wee bit o fun [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. [Page 349] This above is but one sample of character & you can imagine from this rough sketch that some very funny things happen amongst some of them I have known two or three bona fide sales or exchanges of wives either for themselves or for property all parties quite agreeable to the transaction (You see I am in good company sometimes) The life I have been leading of late is all very well for a time but it after a while gets very [indecipherable] and I altogether sick of it so I sent in my resignation a few days ago and expect soon to be free again when it is my intention to have a try at some of the Contract Surveys about to be let I have made arrangements to go into partners with a Young fellow (a Surveyor) and [Page 350] I think I should have had a go at them before if I could have found a good mate but it was no use under taking any thing of the sort without plenty of help at any rate this will suit better than my present employ and there is another thing there will be no master which is a far more agreeable arrangement My present Governor is a horrible fussy coon, as figidty as any old Hen who has lost her chickens and never knows his own mind an hour at a time he would have ridden the high horse "but that wouldnt wash" I never studied him except in matters connected with business he is too evidently very jealous of my position here and stupid enough to feel annoyed about it more fool he for it affects only himself I have been on intimate terms with most of the people here for years and it is hardly likely they will snub or throw me overboard for him just because he is cranky tempered and afraid of compromising his dignity as Road Engineer Consequently (and a great deal on my account too) very little notice [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. Do you know I would like to hear from some of you for it almost seems that I am forgotten but I do not think that I have told you all about myself (twaddle of some descripn. or other) and shall be very glad to hear about every one at home and what changes have taken place amongst you As for myself I believe I am about the same as ever (I hope to be busy for the next few mos. in my proposed employ) [Page 351] I am quite sure he wishes me out of the way but at the same time would wish me to remain for I believe he fully appreciates my services as I am about the only one of his subs. he can send away on work that he would otherwise have to go and do himself The real fact is I have to do assistant Engineers duty for Overseers pay then He will of course find the difference when I leave for all the other subs. are strangers and little better than copying clerks for there is not one who knows the right end of a Level, Theodolite or anything else Now this neighborhood is a specimen of the localities in which I have to spend some little portion of my time it is but a succession of Ranges Swamps broken Gullies without an acre of good or clear [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. How is every body at home? Give my kindest to dr. Mother do. all relatives collectively and individually Birds, in fact all [Page 352] I think I gave you a description of my first trip through this country coming from Town about two or three years ago It is so bad that even on the preferred cleared track it is an utter impossibility to take any kind of vehicle through in winter time I was sent out to explore for a new line and after considerable trouble and labor found a line of country principally a leading range avoiding all the great difficulties of the road but generally speaking dreadfully scrubby so much so that I had to cut my way through parts & at others we were obliged to abandon it for a distance by striking [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. How are you all my little Nieces & cousins flourishing there is apparantly quite a small Colony of them would like very much to see them all Do my Dearest Mother write me soon & believe me ever Your Affec Jno [Page 353] I have made up my mind that I am not going to have 6 mos. transportation in such a hole as this without gaining in some way This is just one of the many mistakes made by the Govt. I am the only one in their employ who knows the country I shall leave nobody will be able to run my tracks or know any thing about the country and everything will have to be gone over again when the information is required I am afraid my dear Father I have been led into yarns [Page 354] My dear Father, [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. [Page 355] Do you and dear Mother write me a long Letter giving me all the news, lc. for I almost feel that I must be forgotten amongst you I would write you a long Epistle this time but to tell [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. [Page 356] The long considered [The following text is written across the page from bottom to top]. Hope to hear from you soon [Page 357] I mentioned in a previous Letter that I was about leaving the Government I hear you are all well [indecipherable] of course I am much pleased to know but I should like to hear that from yourselves As I said before I will not attempt a long letter this time and even if I had time to do so it seems Give my kindest love M. dear [Page 358] [Page 359] My dear Father, [Page 360] I find I must finish [Page 361] [Page 362] [Page 363] [Page 364] [Page 365] [Page 366] [Page 367] [Page 368] [Page 369] [Page 370] My dear Father, It is now some time [Page 371] Give my best & kindest love to My dear Mother and all friends trusting to have a long letter from [Page 372] Kind regards to those to whom I am known to & enquire for me believe me my dear father [Page 373] [Page 374] achieve that point The Band consisted of about a doz. to 15 performers & some of them next to professionals The music was of a mixed character the principal portion being first class overtures which to an unpractised Amateur were very difficult and what with the (almost Solo rapid running passages and shifts it was altogether a stiff job I was rather nervous the first Evening, particularly as one who was to play with me and turn over the leaves was too ill to attend being deserted I had to tackle my parts and go through the whole alone [Page 374] [Page 376] Had I known I was coming out in this capacity I should most certainly have secured poor Bowles Violin as I find mine is very deficient in the first string for both Orchestra and Solo Can it be secured if I go in for music again? If so at what price? It is contemplated to start a Philharmonic here and if it is select render the direction of a really good Conductor and we have the benefit [Page 377] I suppose by this time you have heard the news of the attempt on the life of Prince Alfred at Sydney by a man named OFarrell It has no doubt caused much excitement at home = Thre was a tremendous aproar out here about it He was hung for it a day or Time warns me I must come to an end [indecipherable] has just come down with some letters for me to enclose and joins me in kindest love to You All Ab Sarah, lc. as well as Mr & Mrs Bird and other friends Remember me kindly to the Members of Lodge [Page 378] [Page 379] 1856 Nov 2 21 [A boat shaped outline is sketched on the page]. [Transcribed by Sandra Mutton for the State Library of New South Wales]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, June, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 47, July, 1860. View Point, Sandhurst [From a Photograph]. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
Having mentioned in my last two or three letters that I had made arrangemnts. to forward you a copy of this publication for every month and as I shall continue to do so with as much regularity as possible until further notice it is of course unnecessary to allude to the fact each time
follows it very closely I recently received yrs. dated January and was much pleased to hear from you as none had reached me for a long period before before going any further let me put you right with reference to my address it is J. H. W. P. Assistant Surveyor Sale
Victoria Gipps Land Victoria = and not South Australia
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, July, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, July, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, July, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, July, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 48, Aug. 1860. Bush Travelling : Crossing the Creek. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, August, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, August, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, August, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, August, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 49, Sep. 1860. Exploration Expedition : The Start from the Royal Park. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, September, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, September, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, September, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, September, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 50, Oct. 1860. Fyans Ford and Swan Hotel, Near Geelong. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
particular turns up I think I shall spend a month or so amongst my friends = I have determined to have nothing to say to the Surveyg. Contracts they wont answer my purpose From the communications sent down the Surveyor General seems determined we should go into them as we are advertised for certain work and the Agreement and Bond sent down for signature but I guess it will be a long time before they get my name to anything of the sort
the A private individual dare could dared not have acted in such a way without getting hauled over the coals but in this Case we cannot of course help ourselves = One thing is a source of [indecipherable] gratification to me I am the only Surveyor who knows anything of the upper Country and Ill see em hanged before I give any information about it =
Believe me my dr. Father
Ever yr most affec. son
Lower Orwell Strt
Octr. 19th, 1860
I wrote you veryr ecently the last no. of this publicationw as considerably out dated when it reached me and being employ in an out of the way part of the District at the time I carried the letter some while in my pocket having no chance of posting it which consequently brings this very close upon its heels
went has been over some of my proposed new lines of Road and approved of them very highly and employed me to take the section of some of the Rivers, Creeks & Gullies to be crossed for the purpose of bridging them I came down a few days since but having been in the saddle for the past month I was glad to get a couple of days rest here close & post them to you =
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, October, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, October, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, October, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, October, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 51, Oct. 1860. New Grand Stand, Melbourne Race-Course. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
I have just received this copy of the A. L. And being about to start down Country I have no time to write you now more than to mention that I am well & to express the hope that you all enjoying the same blessing
Yr. Affectionate son
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, November, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, November, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, November, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, November, 1860." p.4].
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 52, Dec. 1860. Quartz Mining, Ballarat. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1860." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, November, 1860." p.4].
January / 1860
I am just starting up country and have no opportunity to write you a long letter
And believe me ever my dear Father
Your Most Affect. son
[Illustrated cover page of "News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. No. 54.Feb. 1861. Dights Mills, on the Yarra, Near Melbourne. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the "Herald" Office, 9 Bourke Street East, Melbourne."]
Address J. H. W. Pettit
Archt & Surveyor
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, February, 1861." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, February, 1860." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, February, 1860." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, February, 1860." p.4].
March 5th 1861
As the News Letter for January only reached me very late last month and the one for February much earlier than usual a very short time has elapsed since last writing consequently there is very little in the shape of news for me to communicate for everything as far as myself is concerned remains about the same as when I last wrote you except that I was present at a Grand Wedding the other day and afterwards to a Ball in the Evening and managed to catch a sever cold which brought on my old enemy again and I have been kept in bed for about a week This too unfortunately happened during the Race Week and I have of course been out of all the fun
of the D of this Land in fact it is a general gathering there are also usually two or three Balls and private parties about that time and people are universally merry and supposed to give themselves up to enjoyment I have not been able to join in any of the fun this time Have been greatly stowed away at a friends house but thank goodness I am getting all right again =
signed nor does there appear to be much chance The heads are most anxious for us to try it but this "Ere Child" is not such a fool One of the old Surveyors
here tried some few miles of a Road he tells me he wishes he had taken my advice & followed my example As he has lost at least £100 by the job have left a large Survey incomplete also plan of features of a large tract of Country and I wont give the slightest information on the subject that if they do not employ me to complete what I have commenced they will have to go over the whole again =
colonially speaking I could Lag him but when fortunately the adaption of such course would involve me in very serious and heavy expences Giving me a trip or two to Melbourne, lc. and as it not likely I would get much, if any thing it would be only encreasing my loss most considerably Law in any form is an expensive Luxury at home And here it is ten times worse =
intended application is entirely reversed Many being originally petty tradesmen who had money thrust upon them during the Great Gold fever they of course fancy themselves most important individuals and are taken bad with extreme fits of politics They become stump orators promise everything and for men holding most responsible situations and with some they will be paying a bonus for the honor or serving such a Government It is offering a high premium for dishonesty as the result will show for unless you give a man enough to live upon you cannot expect your interest will trouble him much
15th May 1862
It is now a very long time since I received any communication from you or home so long indeed that I begin to wonder at your silence I would have been anxious had I not heard occasionally through Robert that you were all well, lc. I have written two or three times but I do not think I have received a line for the last twelve months Every mail I expect to get a communication but mail after mail goes by and I now almost cease to hope to expect to get any letters
generally I am of course stuck away in some outlandish part or other continually moving about and living at Bush Public Houses many of which are little better than mere Huts and the chief business or occupation of these places is to retail all sorts of the worst of poisonous compounds which they designate by the names of Wines and Spirits but in my opinion they are simply mixtures of the most villianous spirit with all kind of decoctions of acid Logwood, Vitrol, Tobacco-juice, Soap & Green Tea, lc. mixed in various proportions according to the liquor it is intended to represent It is the seasoning as does it
their the notions of comfort in these places is of a most original description Very few respectable people care to try these out of the way places and many of the Hosts and Hostesses are consequently of the lower orders who have scraped a little money together many Irish Catholics To these a Public House is a never failing resource The pigs do not it is true live in the House with the inmates but in some
cases they might as well
their wrong names I usually carry my own Blanket but not withstanding all precautions it is impossible sometimes avoiding taking away something of some description or another that an unambitious individual like myself would most willingly dispense with and for such accomn. one has to pay the highest price am consequently "thrated fus-thrate" inside this afternoon, and one
of my old friends in the public line came into wish me "th day" "an have a pitch (talk) or crack with th surveyor" She is a very old Colonist talks Broadscotch swears a little takes her nobblers and weighs about 18 or 20 stones
has been is a thorough horsewoman and has been a splendid rider and I have heard many say that at one time few of the best hands could beat her at at hard galloping after wild stock through the roughest timbered country for upon the least emergency she would at once adopt mans style at at it through thick and thin
3 ordinary men (she always drives herself when there is any difficulty)
She had & took up a Horse Team and a and Bullock Team crossed them herself with Ropes and chains over a barely fordable river took the teams up over a broken scrubby heavy timbered boggy country over Creeks Spurs & Ranges (no Road) ncountered all kinds of difficulties & troubles that ordinary people would jib at Wet through four days & nights lost her Bullocks & Horses one at night that dares insult her I remember one instance she raced him the fellow on horseback for at least a couple of miles and then stock whipped him severely
Give my [indecipherable] regards to the Brethrn. of the P. F. L. & tell them they are not forgotten by me
This is a genuine character and not one atom overdrawn
and there are others in many respects just as strange in the District but notwithstanding all this she has her good points she is an honest, persevering, hard-working woman with real good business notion Her husband is imbecile and she has worked hard for years to bring up her family (according to her position) respectably
hope to make a little that way if we are fortunate enough to obtain any at a good price =
I trust dear Mother Ablett wife & family as well as all friends are well
is taken of him by any of the old residents We often have a civil growl
having being up to Surveying, lc. and having a thorough knowledge of the bush and the District generally why as he is deficient of these matters I have him at my own price in all things connected therewith and this touches his dignity immensely consequently on the same account I am always away at work in some outlandish place (and of course at some little expence) Road and feature hunting, lc.
Robert is down in Gipps Land but I have not seen him for the last month he is not much altered
Kind regards to Friends who kindly remember me amongst others Mr & Mrs Barnes Mr Townsend Mr Head Mr & Mrs Dorling and [indecipherable]
And believe me my dear Father to be ever Yr Most Affec Jno
ground It is all a perfect bog in the wet weather from here towards Sale and from here to near Melbourne no grass nothing but dense scrub and timber
out away as it punished us so severely not being provided with sufficient means or labor to work through however having traced the falls of the water could of course judge correctly respecting the range, and in my report that I should be provided with means to cut a [indecipherable] track through with a view to examine it thoroughly since then the matter has only been played with & I am sent now to carry out works on the old Road which
My Dearest Mother,
Are you never going to give me a line again? I never hear of any of you now The last time I was in Town I had my likeness taken
and I have but left them out of away and have only recently obtained them will send one next time
must one day be abandoned as it is almost without exception the worst line that could possibly be found
And This Road has been a vexed question for years and there would be some credit attached to the discovery of a good available line I can assure you that there is in wet [indecipherable] from betn. 20 & 30 miles of the Road absolutely from 1 to 3 feet in mud and some many places soft patches that would take a horse over his back and there has been many a beast smothered and buried in the road about matters upon subjects that will not prove of the slightest interest to you but I hardly know what else to write about except those matters connected with myself in some shape or other
19th September, /62
Another English Mail has arrived but without bringg. any Letters from home for me If I did not hear occasionally through other channels I should really become very anxious for I have written continually and I am sure it must be considerably over Twelve months since I
Mother, all friends,
Kind regards, lc., lc.
And believe me my dear Father
Ever Your Most Affectionate
have received any communication whatever from you And as to Ablett I have not heard from him for years
A short time since I had almost thought of going a trip for north with a view to see what that part of the world was like I had an offer but have decided to have a little to
you the truth I am up to my elbows in business and have been so for some days past
Land Bill for the disposal of the Lands of the Colony has at last come into operation and some millions of acres are now open for selection at £1/-/- pr acre there is of course a regular scramble for the better portions and I hope to make a little out
do with this great Land Scheme It wont last long I expect
of the mania =
again I have done so and am on my own hook almost useless for I suppose if you do not get them and
[Illustrated cover page of "No. 75. Nov. 1862. News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. Mount Alexander, from Near the Railway. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the Herald Office, Melbourne."]
I having just returned again from up country the English Mail is about leaving I have not more than a few minutes to spare but thought I would just forward a copy of this letter
to you say all, well & that I I would be very glad to hear from some of you I have not heard for many-many months in fact I almost begin to think you are never going
to write again
My kindest Love to dr Mother & family
Regards, lc. to friends
And believe me my dr. Father
Ever your most affec.
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne. Victoria, February, 1862." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne. Victoria, February, 1862." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne. Victoria, February, 1862." p.3].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne. Victoria, February, 1862." p.4].
[A "Plan Shewing Entrance to Snowy River. Gipps Land" by Jno. H. W. Pettit, Surveyor, Sale.].
[A "Plan Shewing Entrance to Lakes, Gipps Land." by Jno. H. W. Pettit, Surveyor, Sale.]
[Illustrated cover page of "No. 76. Dec. 1862. News Letter of Australasia. A Narrative to Send to Friends. Pulpit Rock, Cape Schanck. Printed and published for the Proprietors, at the Herald Office, Melbourne."]
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1862." p.1].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1862." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1862." p.2].
["The News Letter of Australasia. Melbourne, Victoria, December, 1862." p.3].
April 20th 1863
I am it appears just in time to write you a few lines by this mail
and but I could not allow this opportunity to pass without doing so I hear through Robert that you are much better which I can assure you relieves my mind very much for I have been very anxious about you
since I heard from home I only returned here late and was not aware the mail was starting so soon so must postpone writing you at length until next month
some of you next time
Ever Yr Affec.
Jos. A. Pettit Esq.
all the overtures went off without a mishap, on both occasions but [indecipherable] the performance of some new Waltz is arranged for our band crack went my fist I picked up the second instrument and went at it again but the heat of the hall had put it out of tune = fancy the fix Improving it as much as one could as the piece went on and joining in was all that could be done However we managed it very well and our conductor was pleased to express himself as more than
pleased satisfied with me for the manner in which my party had been rendered and hoped that as
I had made the beginning that I would go on
A violin may do very well for amusing one self simply but it may not do for public and it is very trying when the playing is affected by the instrument
and of his instruction at practise and rehearsals I shall be
much tempted to join and go in with a will
two since His friends tried hard to get him off or rather his sentance commuted but the New South Wales Authority would not hear of it
And believe me my dr Father
Yr Affectionate Jno.
Mr J. A. Pettit
[Two dried fern leaves are also attached to the page].
Mr W. Laurence, Brickmaker
Post Office, Prahran
New South Wales
1856 Dec 19 22
1857 Feb 7 23
1857 Apl 9 24
1857 May 20 25
1857 June 10 26
1857 July 20 27
1857 Aug 31 28
1857 Nov 10 29
1858 Jan 18 31
1858 Mar 6 32
1858 June 6 33
1858 Sep 10 34
1858 Nov 15 35
1859 Apl 36
1859 Aug 37
1859 Dec 38
1860 Jan 39
1860 May 40
1860 Sep 8 41
1860 Nov 11 42
1861 Jan 13 43
My dear Father,
This appeared to me the best plan that could be adopted to give you some idea of what was going on in the Colony as well as to ensure your hearing from me more frequently without involving the necessity of writing long letters which it is often out of my power to do
I will of course always add a few lines just to mention alls well but you must not generally speaking expect much more as in such case it must necessarily delay the letter and really from your knowg. nothing of this part of the world it is no easy task to set down and spin out an interesting yarn for after getting over the enquiries relating to friends one is at a loss to know what to write about
This is often my case as there is so much sameness in my employment and you possess no knowledge of the inhabitants, lc. it is useless writing on those subjects = The last letter for June was some what behind time this consequently
I am most glad to know you are all well, lc. lc. from all accounts my little Niece Lotty is improving very much give my love and tell her I am much obliged for her little message & sketching Ablett is becoming quite a family man I expect many changes have taken place during my absence
I am very glad JW is getting so well but cannot help thinking that under [indecipherable] circumstances & [indecipherable] he would regret returning to England it is of course very natural he should wish to see his friends I have written two or three times but suppose he has not received the letters
I heard from Robert the other day he mentions poor old Mrs Taylor is dead poor old Lady but really from what I had heard recently I was not surprised these changes must of course be expd. Yet one cannot hear of them without deep regret
Well my dr. Father I must come to a close give my kindest L. to dr. M. Ab. & all frds rembce. regards, lc., lc. believe me ever yr. most affec. Jno.
The Government has treated us in the most shabby manner
I am getting quite a Public Character there are letters constantly in the papers about some of my work = some for & others against = I look upon them as a Capital advertisement = [indecipherable] had a long paragraph about me the other day = I almost imagine I must be an important individual to engage so much attention I think if it turns out that I am not likely to get my further employ under Governmt. I shall publish a letter or two on the subject and explain everything of course while paid for it Im bound to take the abuse but not otherwise =
Well my dear Father I must be coming to a close trust you dr. M Ab. all friends are well give her & them my kindest love rembce. regards, lc. to all who kindly enquire for me
I believe an English Mail is just in trust to hear from some of you this time
Jos A Pettit Eqr.
My dr. Father,
I think I mentioned in my last that the Survey Department & I had parted company & that The Road Engineer for the District
I obtd. this letter a day or so since and as I am going in to the bush this afternoon I thought it as well to
I am not yet quite decided as to my future course & movements and not being very anxious to blunder into any thing until I have had a look round [indecipherable] unless anythg.
My dear Father,
As mentd. in my last I am no longer in Governmt. employ I have nothing particular in hand just now but am in hopes of obtaining
I was recommended to visit Sydney being half promised a situation there but have not made up my mind yet I would rather remain in Victoria
Give my kindest & best Love to all friends And believe me ever my dr. father
Jos A Pettit Esq.
My dr Father,
Trust you are all well Having nothing of importance to communicate everything is very dull in this part of the world just now I have not yet been able to obtain any permanent situation
Give my kindest & best Love to D. Mother Abs & all friends regards, lc.
J. A. Pettit Esq.
[The following text is written in the top right-hand corner of the page].
My dear Father,
The Yearly races here are the great event of the District the galloping is often very good And during this period Sale is the Great Centre of attraction and people come from all parts
Having a little job or two to do I am somewhat anxious to commence them being engaged again in another question of disputed Boundary and Impounding Cattle which is another Court affair and I would not be surprised if it takes me again to Melbourne to give evidence in the case =
I have been employed lately in putting right a Survey of a private Township and making out descriptions of 200 or 300 Town Lots for the preparation of Deeds The Surveyor who commenced it worked it and his employers into a Mess and being involved in other wrongs he hooked it
The wretch has [indecipherable] me in too good [indecipherable] He had sold me things and given me security for my debt having known him for some years as a steady young man I had not the slightest suspicion he was dishonest he had a good fair chance of getting on but it appears now that he did a little in the gambling line and suddenly while I was away he bolted = And none of the property transferred to me is forthcoming =
He cooly rode off with a horse saddle and bridle belongong to me he was some few hundred miles away before it was known and from what I can learn he has sold the Horse Of course
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
I imagine they are somewhat in a fix at headquarters for they have been applying to the District Surveyor to know if he could find a competent man to lay off a Section or two & at what [indecipherable] I was the only one here who could apply to and you may be sure I put on a good paying price
We shall see by [indecipherable] what will be the end of all this I dont intend to distress myself They no doubt think me a most independent individual = I
Well my dear father I must come to a close and wish kindest Love to D Mother Abs and all friends Kind regard to all who kindly enquire for me not forgetting Mr & Mrs Barnes and others and believe me ever to be your most affect Jno.
There is very little doing in the Colony just now everything is very dull the Land Bill has passed at last but it is a horrible abortion and can never work upon my word I dont know what we are coming to
Govt. in a great measure as well as the larger portion of the Lower House are composed of a lot of fools and asses who know as much about legislating as the man in the moon Many of them cannot actually speak English and as for the unfortunate letter H. its
Manhood suffrage elects them peoples men they are called and as soon as in they consider it a duty incumbent upon them to interfere with oppose and as far as they can upset everything and look out for themselves in the scrimmage Fancy their very coolly voting themselves pay and pensions if matters go on in this way much longer it will play the mischief with the Colony the are doing their utmost (and they almost admit it) to drive Capital out of the Country and if this sort of thing goes on why the population will consist principally of individuals but one step above paupers
There is I believe an immense decrease in the Revenue thro bad management and to mend this they are reducing all salaries something about 30 per cent and curtailing immensely the yearly sums voted annually for improvement in the Colony (Roads, lc.) In fact their whole proceedings with but few exceptions are diametrically opposite to the known and fixed principles of political economy
This reduction of Salaries is a piece of Gross folly & injustice every food efficient officer will endeavor to suit himself in some other position as soon as possible for in many cases the pay is hardly a living
As for the Survey that remains in about the same state Some contracts are taken up on the Melbourne [indecipherable] but here altho' nearly 7 months are gone by since the change not a single one has been taken or
My dear Father,
I am now on the eve of another change in my occupation I before informed you that I had obtained Employment again under Govt. this time in the Roads & Bridges Departs. I am employed as an assistant to the Road Engineer of the District but the situation does not pay sufficiently well to induce me to continue in it nor is the employment to my taste for from my knowledge of surveying, lc. as well as of the District itself
Accommodation and comfort for Travellers is quite a secondary consideration and some of
Any one from Engd. to have to put up at these places would be miserable enough but in this respect I am becoming quite a Philosopher and make the best of it but were it not for my Horse I would often rather camp out, upon my word you could not help laughing at some of the scenes I have witnessed at some of these places and I am sorry to say have often been wicked enough to get up & establish a scene just for fun & mischief
The worst with me is the bed accommodation for occasionally it is of a very lively character I said Bed but I hope I will be forgiven for calling things by
I must say my experience of Australia has given me an insight into character I never saw before it far exceeds anything I ever read or imagined I am generally speaking a bit of a favorite with most of these people and
I have been writing in one of these places
She was attired certainly in female togs with a womans coat a round that and Wellington boots and spurs in her hands insted of a parasol reticule or muff was a long strand of green-hide and a stockwhip She was using a first rate Horse and had been escorting her drays to and from the Diggings
She has just been as I saw up to the Diggings with her produce and tells me she sold her "tattees" well Her account of the journey was rich [indecipherable] Oh mon it wur a sair trip" Her only [indecipherable] were a man and a boy (she is however quite equal to
When she could not get her dray any further she packed her goods in disposed of them and returned safely She usually carries her gun shoots for her meals and thinks nothing of travelling hundreds of miles across country alone camping out at night with only a saddle for a pillow She started off on Horseback last night about ½ past 11 oclock on a mere bush track to catch up he drays which were about 10 miles ahead
[indecipherable] to the individual who
She told me she was "aboot opinin a Hoose" and hopeed I wud [indecipherable] to the wee bit o fun
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
This above is but one sample of character & you can imagine from this rough sketch that some very funny things happen amongst some of them I have known two or three bona fide sales or exchanges of wives either for themselves or for property all parties quite agreeable to the transaction (You see I am in good company sometimes)
The life I have been leading of late is all very well for a time but it after a while gets very [indecipherable] and I altogether sick of it so I sent in my resignation a few days ago and expect soon to be free again when it is my intention to have a try at some of the Contract Surveys about to be let I have made arrangements to go into partners with a Young fellow (a Surveyor) and
I think I should have had a go at them before if I could have found a good mate but it was no use under taking any thing of the sort without plenty of help at any rate this will suit better than my present employ and there is another thing there will be no master which is a far more agreeable arrangement
My present Governor is a horrible fussy coon, as figidty as any old Hen who has lost her chickens and never knows his own mind an hour at a time he would have ridden the high horse "but that wouldnt wash" I never studied him except in matters connected with business he is too evidently very jealous of my position here and stupid enough to feel annoyed about it more fool he for it affects only himself
I have been on intimate terms with most of the people here for years and it is hardly likely they will snub or throw me overboard for him just because he is cranky tempered and afraid of compromising his dignity as Road Engineer Consequently (and a great deal on my account too) very little notice
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Do you know I would like to hear from some of you for it almost seems that I am forgotten but I do not think that
I have told you all about myself (twaddle of some descripn. or other) and shall be very glad to hear about every one at home and what changes have taken place amongst you As for myself I believe I am about the same as ever (I hope to be busy for the next few mos. in my proposed employ)
I am quite sure he wishes me out of the way but at the same time would wish me to remain for I believe he fully appreciates my services as I am about the only one of his subs. he can send away on work that he would otherwise have to go and do himself
The real fact is I have to do assistant Engineers duty for Overseers pay then
He will of course find the difference when I leave for all the other subs. are strangers and little better than copying clerks for there is not one who knows the right end of a Level, Theodolite or anything else
Now this neighborhood is a specimen of the localities in which I have to spend some little portion of my time it is but a succession of Ranges Swamps broken Gullies without an acre of good or clear
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
How is every body at home? Give my kindest to dr. Mother do. all relatives collectively and individually Birds, in fact all
I think I gave you a description of my first trip through this country coming from Town about two or three years ago It is so bad that even on the preferred cleared track it is an utter impossibility to take any kind of vehicle through in winter time
I was sent out to explore for a new line and after considerable trouble and labor found a line of country principally a leading range avoiding all the great difficulties of the road but generally speaking dreadfully scrubby so much so that I had to cut my way through parts & at others we were obliged to abandon it for a distance by striking
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
How are you all my little Nieces & cousins flourishing there is apparantly quite a small Colony of them would like very much to see them all
Do my Dearest Mother write me soon & believe me ever Your Affec Jno
I have made up my mind that I am not going to have 6 mos. transportation in such a hole as this without gaining in some way This is just one of the many mistakes made by the Govt. I am the only one in their employ who knows the country I shall leave nobody will be able to run my tracks or know any thing about the country and everything will have to be gone over again when the information is required
I am afraid my dear Father I have been led into yarns
My dear Father,
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Do you and dear Mother write me a long Letter giving me all the news, lc. for I almost feel that I must be forgotten amongst you
I would write you a long Epistle this time but to tell
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
The long considered
[The following text is written across the page from bottom to top].
Hope to hear from you soon
I mentioned in a previous Letter that I was about leaving the Government
I hear you are all well [indecipherable] of course I am much pleased to know but I should like to hear that from yourselves As I said before I will not attempt a long letter this time and even if I had time to do so it seems
Give my kindest love M. dear
My dear Father,
I find I must finish
My dear Father,
It is now some time
Give my best & kindest love to My dear Mother and all friends trusting to have a long letter from
Kind regards to those to whom I am known to & enquire for me believe me my dear father
achieve that point
The Band consisted of about a doz. to 15 performers & some of them next to professionals The music was of a mixed character the principal portion being first class overtures which to an unpractised Amateur were very difficult and what with the (almost Solo rapid running passages and shifts it was altogether a stiff job
I was rather nervous the first Evening, particularly as one who was to play with me and turn over the leaves was too ill to attend being deserted I had to tackle my parts and go through the whole alone
Had I known I was coming out in this capacity I should most certainly have secured poor Bowles Violin as I find mine is very deficient in the first string for both Orchestra and Solo Can it be secured if I go in for music again? If so at what price?
It is contemplated to start a Philharmonic here and if it is select render the direction of a really good Conductor and we have the benefit
I suppose by this time you have heard the news of the attempt on the life of Prince Alfred at Sydney by a man named OFarrell It has no doubt caused much excitement at home = Thre was a tremendous aproar out here about it He was hung for it a day or
Time warns me I must come to an end [indecipherable] has just come down with some letters for me to enclose and joins me in kindest love to You All Ab Sarah, lc. as well as Mr & Mrs Bird and other friends
Remember me kindly to the Members of Lodge
1856 Nov 2 21
[A boat shaped outline is sketched on the page].
[Transcribed by Sandra Mutton for the State Library of New South Wales]