From Darnick to Australia - Letters from George and Elizabeth Broomfield of Darnick in 1838
The Broomfield Letters
A collection of References, Letters and Documents
Dating from 1838
Relating to the history of George and Elizabeth Broomfield and family, who arrived in Australia in 1839, from Darnick in Scotland.
Transcribed from the original letters by Ruth Woodward
Dedicated to George and Elizabeth Broomfield,
The first settlers of “Bow Hill”, Dingo Creek, Manning River, Who with their children, Margaret, Thomas and Robert
arrived in Sydney, from Darnick, Scotland on the “Formosa” in May 1839 also remembering their daughters, Mary and Alice who died in Scotland and son Alexander who did not survive the voyage.
This collection of letters and documents relating to the early Australian history of George and Elizabeth Broomfield and their family came into my hands through my late father, Eldon Yarrington. Eldon was a Great Grandson of George and Elizabeth, a descendant of their son, Robert Broomfield, whose daughter Ethel, married Henry Yarrington. We can probably thank Robert’s wife, Nancy and later, her daughters for preserving these letters for future generations. Eldon farmed all his life at “Lower Bow Hill”, the farm where Robert and Nancy made their home. This land adjoined the original selection, “Bow Hill”, on the Dingo Creek, taken up by George Broomfield in 1852 when the family relocated from the Hunter.
As a six year old, Robert Broomfield, together with his older siblings, Margaret and Thomas survived the voyage of 120 days to Australia, which, sadly, took the life of their baby brother Alexander, who was buried at sea. Two sisters, Alice and Mary had previously died in Scotland, so this additional grief was not auspicious to a new beginning in a new country. Alexander’s death was due to an epidemic of whooping cough, which swept through the sailing ship, the “Formosa”, resulting in the loss of 15 children and 1 sailor. Another passenger was lost after falling overboard.
George and Elizabeth, of Darnick, near Melrose in the Scottish Lowlands, were free settlers, seemingly, assisted under the Bounty Scheme, to be described in a later chapter. Official records show that the “Formosa” arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney, on 20 May 1839. The voyage is said to have taken 120 days, so we can presume that the ship departed from the port of Liverpool in England on approximately 20 January, 1839. Prior to that time, as part of the preparations for life on the other side of the world, George acquired references which would be useful when seeking employment in a new country.
After arrival in Sydney, George Broomfield and his family, in common with many other Scottish immigrants, took up the offer of employment in the Hunter Valley, in particular, in the Paterson River area. One can imagine that in the confines of a sailing vessel of that era, while some lasting friendships may have been formed, there were many times of tension, directly related to the cramped and unhygienic conditions. Culminating with the stress caused by the loss of so many young lives and worries about their future, on landfall at Port Jackson, the new settlers must have felt that their great expectations were tinged with nervous apprehension.
Also on board the “Formosa”, were Robert and Hellen Wallace, of Melrose, Scotland, accompanied by their three children, William, Ferguson and Nancy aged 2 years. The Wallace’s also journeyed to the Hunter, being employed by Andrew Lang at “Dunmore”, near Paterson. We have no way of knowing if these two families were acquainted with each other before the voyage, but, by the time they arrived in Australia they must certainly have known each other quite well. At “Dunmore”, Hellen Wallace gave birth to two Australian daughters, or currency lasses, Margaret and Helen (Ellen) before her premature death in 1842. The Wallace family was, soon after, separated when the children were fostered out to five different families with father, Robert Wallace, departing for Victoria. Eventually he returned to take his two sons to Victoria, while the girls remained with their foster families. Nancy was taken into the family of Robert and Katherine Herkes, who, in the early 1850’s, together with George and Elizabeth Broomfield, took up land on selections at Dingo Creek, Manning River.
Here, I can only speculate on the family legend concerning the Broomfield and Herkes families. This was first related to me by the late Geoff Herkes some years ago, in the presence of my father’s cousin, the late Nessie Gibson. Nessie, with a wide knowledge of family history, did not contradict Geoff and in view of the names on those original early selections on old maps, I can only conclude that there is, at least, some truth in this story. Anyway, it is too good a tale to be forgotten and gives us a realisation that our ancestors were actually real people with human failings. Nevertheless, the legacy of their strong Presbyterian faith and work ethic, which was the cornerstone of that early Dingo Creek, Ashlea community, is perhaps, still deep within us all.
It would seem, that in the early 1850’s a company of men rode on horseback, from the Hunter Valley to Dingo Creek on the Manning River., intent on taking up some of the land recently opened for selection. For years, these men, with their families, had been working hard in the Hunter Valley saving every penny for the day when they could become landowners, the ambition which had seen them leave their native country. It is difficult to imagine, just how they could have made their selection, considering that the land that we, in our lifetime, have always known as beautiful, productive, creek flats, sown to pasture, was then covered with dense rainforest brush, similar to the now preserved, Wingham Brush. Undaunted by the task of clearing all this land to establish a farm, they each selected the fifty acres of their choice and set off on horseback, to Port Macquarie, via the Bulga, to register their claim. Port Macquarie, was, by then, a thriving township, so here, there were probably several venues where the prospective landowners could celebrate their expected acquisitions with a dram or two of Scotch whisky. After the celebratory evening, with some heavy heads the next morning, there was, apparently, some confusion when George Broomfield and Robert Herkes went to register their selections.
Somehow or other, a clerical error occurred during the transactions which saw their names being wrongly recorded, each on the land the other had chosen. When this mistake was discovered, an amicable agreement was reached, whereby, regardless of official documentation, each party settled on the land of their first choice. It would seem, from some of the old surviving documents that the resulting paper work took a lot longer to sort out than that a friendly handshake agreement!
In 1852, George and Elizabeth Broomfield, accompanied by their now adult sons, Thomas and Robert, departed from the property they were renting on the Allyn River, near Gresford, to make the journey to the Manning River area. Daughter, Margaret, had married James Lyon and by then, had begun her own family.
The arduous trip, by bullock wagon, via Gloucester and Krambach, bringing 80 head of cattle and a small flock of sheep would take several weeks. The assistance of a policeman and six black trackers was necessary in order to negotiate the rough and dangerous track through the bush. Nostalgically, the name “Bow Hill” was chosen for the property, “Bowhill” being a Scottish Estate owned by the Duke of Buccleuch near their former home in Scotland. A lot of hard work was involved in establishing themselves on this land, which over the years, gradually increased in size as they were able to acquire adjoining selections.
In due course, both sons married, Thomas to Annie Cameron and Robert to Nancy Wallace, foster daughter of their near neighbours, the Herkes family. After some years in the North West of N.S.W., Margaret (nee Broomfield) and her husband James Lyon returned to the Allyn River area before making a final move to a property, “Walton”, at Marlee, also on Dingo Creek. In 1858, Elizabeth’s brother, Thomas Jackson, with his wife and family, arrived from Scotland to settle on the Manning River.
At irregular intervals, over the years, letters arrived from Scotland, keeping alive a tenuous link with home. Other letters from within Australia were also valued, this being the only means of contact with distant family and friends. Although literate, it is clear, that in a time when only a very basic education was available, letter writing was not an easy task for most of the correspondents. As well as excitement on the arrival of long awaited mail, there must also have been some disappointment because of an absence of more substantial news of loved ones.
The Letter Writers
As far as can be ascertained, the letter writers and their relationship to George and Elizabeth Broomfield and family members are as follows:
1. George Scott (reference) appears to have been in charge of George
Broomfield on the farm of West Morrison, Scotland, where George had
been employed as a shepherd.
2. Francis Blaikie (reference) of St. Helens, near Melrose, employed
George, with his horses and carts, on various occasions.
3. John and Thomas Smith (reference) Builders, Darnick, by Melrose,
were proprietors of a reputable business which was operating in that town
at that time, being mentioned in a present day Melrose Historical Society
booklet titled “Melrose 1826”.
4. Alexander Davidson and his wife Isabell (Bell). Bell, nee Jackson, is
a sister to Elizabeth, her husband may be a lay preacher or church Elder .
5. Wm. (William) Geddes is a fellow passenger who arrived on the
6. Robert Wilson, a very pious and loquacious Scottish minister, who
wrote advising of the death of Alexander Davidson.
7. Robert Smith of Swinside, who signs himself as uncle. This connection
is through his late wife Mary, who was a Hay and a sister to George Broomfield’s mother.
8. Adam Smith, a cousin and son of the above Robert Smith. Adam writes
from Australia, having arrived in present day Victoria in 1839.
9. Robert Smith (Jnr.) a cousin, is a son of the above Robert and brother of
Adam, he is also in Australia, but dies after visiting the goldfields.
10. Robert Hogg, a nephew of Elizabeth Broomfield, son of her sister Nelly.
11. James Hogg, is another nephew and son of *Nelly Hogg (nee Jackson).
12. Robert Herkes, a fellow settler and friend on Dingo Creek.
13. Margaret and James Lyon, daughter and son-in-law of George and
14. Catherine Laing, family friend and daughter of a Presbyterian minister.
15. Mr. Clerehew, apparently an acquaintance of the family.
16. Henry Flett, member of Legislative Assembly and M.V. landowner.
17. Edith and Ethel Broomfield, daughters of Robert and Nancy Broomfield.
Copies of these letters were received from Therese Standem in the 1980’s.
18. Various documents and legal agreements of interest.
Thomas Jackson, Elizabeth Broomfield’s brother, must have been responsible for returning two letters to Australia after his immigration, with his family, to the Manning River area in 1858. These two letters give us much information about the conditions of that time. Prior to coming to Australia, Thomas Jackson was living in Helmsdale, Scotland. Thomas Jackson kept a diary during his voyage to Australia with his family in 1858. This is held in the Tinonee Historical Museum in the Middlemiss File, Jan Dyson is a descendant.
Generally, I have attempted to transcribe the letters as written, without altering the original spelling or adding punctuation, which in most cases, was completely absent. However, for a clearer understanding, it has often been necessary to add, in brackets, the spelling that I feel is correct. In one early reference, as with the letters from Robert Smith, it was particularly hard to decipher spelling and writing. I found myself having to attempt to pronounce many words with a broad Scottish accent before the meaning became clear. I trust that anyone wishing to read these letters to my ancestors will agree with my interpretation.
Earlstown 12th November 1838
I the undersigned hearby sertify that George Brumfield (Broomfield) was engaged by me as shipard (shepherd) on the farm of West Morristown Parish of Legerwood Shier (Shire) of Berwick Scottland for the last two years that I passed at that farm from Whitsunday 1823 to Whitsunday 1825 and managed my stock of sheap (sheep) which extended to upwards of seven hundred young and old at sertan (certain) seasons of the year – which he managed with great cair (care)and atenchion (attention) with the assistance of a boy for a few days in the throng of the lambing season he contended (continued) on the farm when I left with my sucksesor (successor) as shipard (shepherd) for years and left that Parish with a good moral carater (character) and in full comanion (communion) with the established Church he has bean (been) resident in the Parish of Melros(e) Roxburgh Shier (Shire) since and hes caried (carried) on the business of dealing a little in cattle and sheap (sheep) and ocationly (occasionally) trying the *flecher business and was sumtimes employed by Gentelmen in the neighbourhood for sorting ther (their) stock and from the practice hes hed (had) from his youth of manigin (managing) and sorting stock – I consider him a first reat (rate) hand to send to a new colenay. (colony) for aney (any) Gentelmen with a large stock who engage a man unexperienced to tak(e) charge of it may run a great risk of losing mor(e) in wan (one) year then culd (could) pay duble (double) and treple (treble) his wages
I have no hesitation in saying that the main motive of his leving (leaving) his native hom(e) is by the great encurigment (encouragement) now held forth and the reasonable charge now mead (made) for transporting emigrat (emigrants) to such a distant colony and by persyvering (persevering) in honesty and diligent in business that he will be enabled by the greace (grace) of God assisting him that he will acquier (acquire) a mor(e) ample livelihood than he hes (has) hitherto dun (done) for himself and yung (young) family and that he may do justly love mercy and walk humbly with his God is the arnest (earnest) wish of his old master
*Probably flesher, a Scottish word for butcher.
St Helens near Melrose
Nov 12th 1838
I do hereby certify that I have known George Broomfield of Darnick from the time I came to reside in this country six years ago. I have employed him, with his horses and carts, on several occasions; and to my entire satisfaction.
In this last six years I have had constant opportunities of witnessing the moral conduct of George Broomfield and his family. I consider them patterns of Honesty, Sobriety, Industry and Integrity. And they are much respected by all residents in this neighbourhood.
Written on side flap of letter is: Character of George Broomfield by Francis Blaikie
Darnick 13 Nov 1838
We hereby certify that George Broomfield has resided in this village for the last ten years during which time he has always conducted himself as a sober steady active and industrious man He has a thorough knowledge of stock farming having been trained to it in his youth but he can apply himself to any thing in the farming way & has also a mechanical turn indeed we would consider him an acquisition to any new Colony.
John & Thomas Smith
Builders Darnick by Melrose
After receipt of news of the arrival of the Broomfield family in Australia, Alexander Davidson wrote to Thomas Jackson, in Scotland to pass on the news. We are fortunate, that we have these details of the early situation in Australia. Thomas must have retained the letter and given it back to the Broomfield’s, years later when he immigrated in 1858.
Letter addressed to: Thos. Jackson
Shepherd Cain Helmsdale (Sutherlandshire)
Woodside 17 Dec
The other night I received a letter from Geo Broomfield dated 14 June & posted at Sidney on the 5th Augt - They are all well but Alexander their youngest boy died on the voyage of hooping cough 15 children & a sailor died of the same malady & one man a passenger fell overboard & was drowned - They had a fine voyage three weeks brought them across the line they stopped 12 days at the Cape of Good Hope but did not land as measles & small pocks prevailed there - they were only 120 days on board – they would land of course at Sidney on the 19 of May all well – They were only 8 days at Sidney George could have been hired immediately to go up the country to herd but he would not go he was offered 39 pound & two rations (or victuals for two) for one year – but he engaged for a year with George Townsend Esqu. Of Travellny which is not far from Sidney – He gets 20 pounds for himself 10 pounds for Margaret & 10 pounds for Thomas they are all in the house together there are no apartments in it they get everything that they need as much as they can use from the store flour butchers meat tea & sugar snuff & tobacco soap etc. They are very comfortable and well satisfied with the place – Thomas is learning to make up tobacco Margaret is keeping clean a room making meat & washing cloaths for a young gentleman – Betty I suppose has nothing to do but make their own meat as he speaks of her and Margaret being in the kitchen & the natives often being there & very kind & serviceable to them & quite harmless – He says the soil is very good they get two crops in the year ½ a bushel of wheat sows an acre which gives 30 bushels or 60 fold return – but they are not content with that the only thing there is tobacco it is cultivated without plowing the ground it is planted in small pits like young larch trees here
Mr Townsend has about 30 miles of land on the river which he lets to settlers besides a large tract of Government land up the country on which he keeps 18000 sheep & cattle George says there is a settler beside him of the name of McPherson from the north of Scotland who is doing well – he was only 9 months there he took some land & only got one crop but this year he will get two of tobacco off 8 acres which he has now cleared of wood which will bring 5 or 600 pound he pays no rent for the first two years & only 1 pound an acre for 3 years of a 5 years lease – George intends to take a piece of land at Whitsunday & wishes any of his acquaintances at Darnick to come over he says there is plenty for them all & they can do very well without money when they get there Mr. Townsend gives them all they need from his stores till the land produce a return –
Nelly & her family are well but she is very poorly off now her only support William died up in England in March last she came here with Nelly her youngest girl & stopped all summer I will send over a ball of meal to help her through the winter – I was in Perthshire in July last I was a night with James they are all well- I am going to write to George & Betty next week if you write to me as soon as you get this I will send them word how you are getting on – Janet Robson was here two or three days at the term she has gone to Edinburgh to her sister all winter – Bell joins me in sending our love to Katrene
I am yours very truly
The book “Hunters River” by Cecily Joan Mitchell makes mention of “Trevallyn” built by George Townshend on the Paterson River, Gresford as being similar to the “Tocal” homestead. Perhaps we can presume that this is the Mr. Townsend and his property mentioned in the above letter.
Another book “Maitland on the Hunter” by Brian Walsh and Cameron Archer suggests that men, such as Townsend, who had obtained large grants of land in the Hunter area, placed Scottish immigrants on clearing leases, on small sections of their land, as a tenant farmer. It would seem that McPherson, mentioned in the letter may have been in this type of situation. This probably was advantageous to both parties, whereby the landowner had his land cleared cheaply, while the newly arrived settler, who probably had little money, took the opportunity to get a start in his new country. However, no doubt, there were risks for the tenant if the landowner was unscrupulous; also, many large landowners became bankrupt during a Depression in the 1840’s. One letter of 1840 indicates that George Broomfield may have taken a tenant farmer option with Mr. Townsend after that first year of ‘hiring out’. Unfortunately, at some stage, he does seem to have suffered because of a bankruptcy, during those early years, according to an account written by Auntie Mag (his granddaughter and my Great Aunt, Margaret Broomfield) in 1939. She states ‘he bought bullocks and dray and hired with a Mr. Fenwicke on the Upper Hunter, the Allyn River to look after his sheep, he was to shepherd and get half the wool, but Fenwicke took the wool to Sydney, sold, got money and went insolvent and all their years work was lost.’
Post Mark: General Post Office Sydney DE 28 1839
Letter addressed to: George Broomfield
At George Townsend Esq
Green Hills By Maitland
Pittown Manse 25 Dec 1839
My Dear Sir
I wrote to from this place early in August and am truly astonished there is no return. I am now inclined to suppose my letter must have been miscarried as I sent it by a bearer to the Sydney Post Office to save postage, on that supposition, I must again give you my history since we parted.
A few days after you left Sydney I went up the country as far as Windsor and owing to the death of the Presbyterian Minister the Manse and Glebe had become vacant of this place, so I just settled therewith for 18 months from 1st July last.
The season being fair gone, I hired plough and turned over about 10 acres, 3 I sowed with wheat which is now secured in the barn an excellent crop 2 I sowed with cape barley but owing to the hot winds at the beginning of September, it is not the quantity I expected, the balance being sowen with Oats, is made into hay, and built in a stack I suppose there may be say, - 5 Tons. I also prepared about to (two) acres for maize, which I put in about the beginning of October and is now in blossom mostly a healthy looking crop, we have also an excellent Garden which has been very servisible in this deer (dear) season.
When I wrote you before my whole stock then consisted of 3 swine and a half a dozen of poultry, since, they have more than doubled their numbers and we have 3 cows with their calves which all happens to be Bulls yet with much trouble we have got them brock (broke) in very quiet being their first calves, we do not allow the calves to suck but hand feeds them. The catterpiller did much distruction in this district, cut off almost entirely the whole maize crops injured the green wheat and also Oaten hay, yet providence so favoured me that I may say I sustained no injury thereby – Indeed in suming up the whole, providence has been very kind by fixing my lott here for a time amongst a very industrious but independent people, everyone being his own Landlord, the farms all along the banks of the Hawksbury are 30 acres with an extensive common. It is likely a minister may soon fill this vacancy at any rate I must if spared look for a farm at 1841. I wish you saw one to suit me upon the Hunter river. I suppose it may be difficult to obtain a comfortable place, with a good cattle run attached. I think I would not be inclined to cultivate more than from 30 to 40 Acres considering the fluctuation of seasons, the land here rents at 20/- per acre so my rent is just 30 pounds. The river is close at our door. When I wrote you before I insisted you would give me information respecting the growth and management of Tobacco which I am very anxious to obtain. I have about 500 plants well grown in the garden, my information respecting them I derived chiefly from Teggs Alminic published yearly in Sydney – We are quiet (quite) close to the schoole and to the English Chapple the Minister is a godly man and preaches the gospel with great faithfulness and Zeale and has been to me a great friend and Kind neighbour he calls upon us every other day besides is (his) Mrs keeps a sabbath evening school where our children attend, and is very liberal by teaching our own church catichisim I esteem this a great privilege. Now write me when you receive this and give me all your news and how you are situated for the gospel, how you like your Master, as also if Mrs. Broomfield and the family be happy, blessed god my wife and family has enjoyed good *…………… quiet happy. I could have had no idea we could *………… been at all so comfortable in so short a time yet *………. Coast (cost) a far greater sum to keep the family *…………. I could have supposed yet blessed be god we have now plenty of all we could wish for of our own production and our harvest secure about 14 days ago.
If you have found your situation to your *…......... well for you to be provided for in a season like last *………….. anyone com*………… especially strangers *………… a yeare is no light *…………, (matter?) yet I suppose you would incline to be on your own account after this yeare I wish we could sett down beside one another, I am shure, we could be of service to one another in many aspects. I regret that in one sheet I cannot convey my ideas, the country has answered, yea, far exceeded all my expectations, we cannot expect that without some outlay care and activity to do much in a short period. Homes are very high in price I cannot get one to suit me here under from 70 pounds to 80 stg. So I think I had not *………….. as I get my ground laboured for 12/- per acre and without putting them on the common I would prevent my cows of some of their feed – I get a horse to ride when ever I want one from my next neighbour Remember me my wife and family to Mrs. Broomfield and your family and that the god of Jacob may keep you and bless you and prosper you is the sincere desire of yours faithfully,
P.S. We have laboured more since we came here than we have done for years with our own hands, thank god the weather has not been oppressive hot. Thomas Kirkpatrick is quiet near to me he carries on his business here and is doing quiet well he keeps a blacksmith, he stoped with me a short time till he got a shop that happened to be vacant.
I know little of any of our passengers save Baxter he is a farm manager a few miles from here, James Brand was in this district at a brewery some months ago but has since left I think he is on your quarter, Jas. Legget and his son was here with me for two months, he has left the wife as you might suppose I hear March is in Jaile in Sydney, and I believe many others are just answering the purposes they seemed to pursue
Side notes in margins: I am told that Yates *………… was drowned in this river bathing some * ………… ago, on a Sabbath
P.S. Shurely I cannot forgive you if you do not write on receipt I am so anxious to heare of you
Direct Wm Geddes, Pittown by Windsor Farmer
* Pages damaged and unreadable in these places.
This lengthy reply from Alexander Davidson, after receipt of news of the arrival of the Broomfield family in Australia was very difficult to decipher. Postage must have been costly and to cram as much information as possible into a few pages, the normal horizontal writing on the pages was then re-crossed in a vertical manner, using a different shade of ink. Perhaps, even then, this led to confusion, but as both inks have now faded the task of transcription was very time consuming. I am aware these were very God fearing times, but even so, how could anyone write all this pious, self righteous preaching to a couple in an alien land, who were grieving the loss of a son, far from the support of their loved ones? I know it all happened a long time ago, but I still felt very angry with this writer for his lack of sensitivity. I am sure they yearned to hear real news from home and this prolonged sermon was very inappropriate.
Clear Postmarks on the letter are,
‘Hawick 31 De 1839’ and ‘Central Post Office Sydney
Ju 17 1840’, showing that it took approximately 6 ½ half months for the letter to arrive.
Letter addressed to:
Servt to George Townsend Esq
New South Wales
Woodside 27 Dec 1839
Dear Brother & Sister
We received your long looked for & most welcome letter – we were truly sorry to hear of the severe trial with which it pleased God to try you in the loss of your dear boy your loss however was his unspeakable gain – Have you any doubt of this – I have none & all I see in the bible confirms me in this belief – God is love, He has sent this affliction in mercy to your souls – See that you improve it – read Hebrews 12 prayerfully – If we be God’s people he must have our hearts – whatever we love more than him is an idol & that idol must be removed from God’s throne if it is to be a dear child God will take it to himself in great mercy to us & to it – He will keep the immortal spirit safe from the corruption that is in the world being taken away from the evil to come & the vacant space in your affections being given to God & filled with his Spirit He will fill you with all the fruits of righteousness But you may doubt that you are God’s People – Have you come to Christ & taken him as your Saviour – ‘No man can come to God but through him’ – Do you believe God’s word – John 111. 14-17. 36 – 1st John v.9 -13 v.11-2 God here says that he gave his son to save all in he world who will believe & take him for their saviour – This record is that he has given us eternal life with his son if we take the son we have the life – Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ & though shalt be saved - He that believeth in the son of God hath everlasting life – Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ & we can say ‘ our Father which art in Heaven’ which we cannot say if we do not believe that we are his children – all the instructions of the gospel encourage us to look to God as our Father – if he is not our Father we are of our Father the Devil for all are of the one or the other – We must be the children of God if we are not the Children of the Devil – all them who have believed in Christ as their Saviour are the people of God He gave them his spirit & every needed blessing when they ask him (Luke 11 chap) & we withhold no good thing from him (Psalm 84) they are thus preserved from sin conformed to the Divine will & prepared for Heaven. My Dear friends let us take but hold of Jesus Christ as our Saviour if we have not already done so & see that your children do the same & then when the sea shall give up the dead which are in it we shall all meet before the Great White Throne to part no more for ever when you will be able to say Lord here are we & the children whom thou hast given us –
I sent your letter over to Darnick it put the whole village in an uproar almost all the people either read it or heard it read & most of them showed the respect they have for you by the deep interest they take in your welfare – They had heard bad news respecting Australia as well as ourselves that there had been no rain for 12 months all the rivers were dry the crops burnt up cattle & sheep dying or dead 2/6 paid for a pail of water for a horse etc etc which I believe was partly true in some parts of the country – This made us all more anxious about you – I got your letter back from Darnick pasted together it told itself that it had been well perused I got 3 others with it sending compliments love & best wishes to Betty & you & even to myself on your account – The three letters were from Walter Tuit, Capt. Stewart & Mary Tuit who lived in the other end of your house & she writes very feelingly & sensibly her son George is still spared & well for which she appears to be grateful to God she simpathises much with Betty & says God can be better to her than ten sons she could not sleep all that night after she heard your letter read for thinking of you she kindly asks me to call on her the first time I am at Darnick & stop all night if I can – I will call on her *………… be in Darnick but I go to Edinburgh by *………… - Capt. Stewart sends you his kind compliments he says that four deaths have happened since you left the names are George Stodhurst William Nicol John Fletcher & Nelly Balantyne he says there is no other news but what Walter Tuit will send whose letter I intend to enclose as it is very light & will not add to the price of this as both will be under ½ an oz which is the weight allowed now without increase of postage – William Hogg died in March last up in England & Nelly only got 3 pounds after the Doctors personal expenses were paid – she brought Nelly over here with her & they stopped till harvest – Robt. & John are at Lantons learning to be Joiners Thos. is a **hind at Hasendean Bank he would go to New South Wales if he could get away Robt. will be out of his apprenticeship at the firm in May – I was north in July last & was two nights at James’s they were all well I wrote to Thos. when I got your letter & told him the contents of your letter I said I would write to you last week & asked him to write immediately if he wished to send any word to you but nothing has come to hand – Bell will go to the Post office before I close this & any word comes I will write across this letter. (The following news is written across the above letter in a different coloured ink)
Monday 30 Dec
I wrote you in July last from a family that went from Hawick taking a number of servants with them I had little hopes of your getting it but there was no harm done if you did not get it – Now I will write you again before you get this I will write in March it takes a year for a letter to go & another to return we might have 4 in a year if we wrote every 3 months which I intend to do & I hope you will do the same & if one of them should be lost we will not feel the loss of it so much. Send them all by the regular post as I will also & if any person be going from this I will write by them also but I will not count that in the number of the 4 regular yearly letters – There is no news here but of a religious kind which I will afterwards state. The harvest was a average one rather above than below & the market are high for all kinds of provisions – oatmeal is 2 pounds per load the potatoes was a heavy crop but it had no effect on lowering the price they are higher than they were last year I sold mine at 6/6 per load of 5 bushels. We have a light storm on the ground the frost is hard the rhyme (rime) is heavy & the cold is intense – I suppose you will be rather too warm – Getting your breakfast when we are going to bed what became of the people who went from Darnick with you. If you have any pretty birds which you could shoot & take off the skins very cautiously leaving on the heads & feet blowing out the brains with a small quill & effectively preserving them from putrification in any way you think best so as to get them stuffed when they come here so as I could present them to Mr James Douglas just if they are completely dry they might be packed in a small box of some of your fine wood & directed to me as your letter was & it would come to hand – I have heard no word from the Tofts since you left – If you wish me to write to any of your friends I will do it – There has been a great stir in the religious world here some remarkable revivals have taken place – We began at Denholm in the end of March to hold meetings every day for 9 or ten days a number of ministers from different places attended who addressed the people on the concerns of their souls many pious persons belonging to all the different Denominations of Christians in Jedburgh Hawick & other places attended and assisted with their prayers – many were awakened and were made to cry what shall we do to be saved it spread to Jedburgh Hawick and other places Mr Wilson & other ministers held meetings at Ancrum in July when a number of persons who were very careless & regardless were brought to the saviour who got up prayer meetings which gone on increasingly ever since there are now 9 prayer meeting in the week – The Parish Minister has now begun to hold meetings as the people will give him no rest they are so anxious about their souls – at Jedburgh also more are turning to the lord Mr. Purves & Mr. Porteous are holding meetings almost every night in the week – at Hawick also & many other places revivals have taken place at Glasgow Paisley Dumfries Edinburgh Dundee Blairgowrie and many other places – But none so great as at Kilsyth which began in July at a sacrament there in the Parish kirk another sacrament was held in September & upwards of 1500 people assembled & parish ministers from all parts of Scotland hundreds were converted to the Lord – This was a wicked place & now it is like the Garden of the Lord - The case of Ancrum is also very remarkable. It is entirely changed – These revivals are only beginning – nothing has been done by the session & the sinod (synod) has taken it up and recommended all to hold meetings – The Church of Scotland, Relief and Independents are going on & we have received about 70 members within last 7 months – The most devoutly pious persons we have – They have clear views of the Gospel & like the first Christians they believe what God says & act on their belief they do much good to others & believing that Lord Jesus gave himself for them love him much in return and are the means of bringing athiss (atheists) to the Saviour I see more of the necessity of getting our minds brot (brought) to this view we cannot love Christ if we do not believe he laid down his life for us - all of them believe this & rejoice in Christ Jesus as their Saviour let us do the same & we will be happy
No word has come from Thos. I must therefore close Bell joins me in intreating you both to make sure of Christ for your Saviour & she says although we may never meet in this world we shall meet at a throne of grace.
Remember us to Margaret & Thomas & Believe us to be ever yours most truly & affectionately
Alex & Isabell Davidson
Postmark: General Post Office, My 18 1840, Sydney
Letter Addressed to: Mr. George Broomfield
At George Townsend’s Esq.
Paterson post office
Pittown 15 May 1840
My Dear Sir
I received your favour of the 21 January last upon the 22nd February - As also yours of the 25 April upon the 10 current and am extreamly happy to heare of your welfare.
I have written an answer to your first letter more than six weeks ago, but a Gentleman in this neighbourhood who intends going home to Scotland upon a visite, having offered me a handsom sallery to take charge of his property and Estate in this quarter I delayed writing until I knew whether or not we could come to an agreement, having now almost finally accepted his offer to undertake the verry heavy responsibility that will be incumbent on me to perform If I be enabled to do the same with faithfulness which I would desire to do, I of course cannot think of enquiring after any place until his return which he supposes may be two years. His house property and tennantsy come under my management without controle – he cultivates upwards of 400 acres of land here besides a large tennantsy to collect rents from, as also extensive out stations – Five per cent per annum is my sallery – but the good wife has to see that dairy produce and everything else be turned to account as if our own – the production of the farm last year exceeded 4000 pounds Four thousand pounds alone, and indeed a percentage of that alone is of some value, but he only agrees to keep my present stock of cattle which is only what I wrote you before – I wish you would let me know after the new year if it would be convenient for you to take under your management for me from 12 to 20 cows and let me know if you are to have anything to do with sheep . I have a thirst after stock and am satisfied if god had pleased to fix us neare one another it would have been to our mutual advantage, trust worthy men are not easily found here, yet we are placed amongst the best of neighbours, I cannot express their kindness we are only at a loss for want of time to visite our neighbours so often as requested – we were at a wedding last week that lasted for several days but 2 was enough for us. Mr Baxter our fellow passenger was there he is a farm manager about 8 miles down the river. My intention has been fixed upon the Hunter River these 9 months, not that I believe it to be any better as an agricultural district than here but I believe grass and opening for stock far better. I sincerely wish that your present undertaking may be crowned with aboundand (abundant) success, that you may be blessed with the increase of your flocks and of your hearts and that your land may yield her increase and let an alter (altar) be built in your dwelling to the mighty God of Jacob, who can send the early and the latter rain to renew the parched land, and satisfy the longing soul. Blessed be god we are situated in a district near the preached gospel. There is a young man from Edinburgh the name of Purdie to be settled here next week.
I have heard him preach twice he will come into this house so soon as I leave it which if spared will be at Christmas. But it is likely I will have to be at Mr. McDonalds before then – in that case I will have to employ hands to reap my owen (own) crop, which I put in upon the 12 and 14 of April and as we have had plenty rain this last week it begins to look well. I have put the whole in with wheat save about 2 acres which I think I will so with wheat also, the Farmers here are about half sowen their wheat, but those of them who cultivate any thing largely have don (done) well this season having sold non (none) under 17/- per busshle (bushel) and some at 20/-
If you had only given it a thought you might have had Robert here at school since, I have been here, we have lately got a young man to assist the old teacher, and thou (though) this school be under the supperiententance of the Church of England yet he agreed to teach my children the principals of our owen (own) church which is perhaps more liberal than we would have been to them. He is a good Christian man. I have been one of the committee to examine the school, which we do in our turn weekly for some time our children has attended closely since we came here. I would have so much to say to you that I know not where to begin. If I had an eagles wings I would light at your dwelling and spend a night with you with great pleasure, perhaps you may have heard of the death of Edward Palmer at Sydney about 3 months ago – of dycentry (dysentery) his wife I have heard is coming to live with a Scotch man in Windsor, her brother is up the Hunter Mr. Dyle. I see Kirkpatrick and his wife every other day they are well. His wifes father and mother has come here a few months ago they had been a short time in South Australia and gives a very bad account of it, he is engaged in the neighbourhood as a gardener at 50 pounds a year and is a fine hearty – man. I am sorry for poor Wallace – but I would suppose by this time that perhaps plain country cheer would not have been thrown away by many of our (would be) Lady passengers. Tell Mrs.Broomfield our good wife longs to see her, and if god spare us perhaps we may yet – indeed if it were not for the present arriangement (arrangement) I intended to have seen your quarter by this time.
I am glad your farm is fenced in and that you have a house built. (Indeed I may be wrong) but I have almost made up my mind that if possible, I will not take an uncleared farm on account I am utterly averce in a new country to clear (page damaged but may be ‘bush and fell) and break up land without a very remunerating lease and indeed if you have your barn and offices to build, I would surely think that a person of your qualifications should have more reduction than one years rent, and more particularly when your cattle is limited and your rent extended to the average of old stumped arable land – however when I say so I am only as it were giving a hasty opinion of what I do not know. I regret you do not mention the length of your leace (lease) nor the extent of your land, but this you will do in your next. Write me soon and long.
And with best wishes from me my wife and family for you and yours spiritual and temperal welfare.
I am My Dear Sir
Yours very truly
Postmarks on this letter show: Hawick 29 JA 1841, Paid Ships Letter London FE 1 1841 and General Post Office Sydney JU 19 1841. There is another unclear postmark below.
Letter addressed to:
Mr. George Broomfield
New South Sidney
Denholm 26th January 1841
Mrs Davidson received last week your welcome letter of the 8th July. She was glad to hear that you & your family were all in the enjoyment of good health and that God continued to smile on your worldly undertakings. When you took your departure for the far distant land where you now reside – the separation to her was very painful. Yet it is a separation which avails of correspondence & that in some measure mitigates its sorrows. Since that period she has been called upon in the inscrutable providence of God to submit to a still more painful separation. “How unsearchable are God’s judgements and his ways past finding out.” She has sustained a heavy loss in the breavement of her dear partner Mr. Davidson. He has gone to his rest & is now alas numbered with the dead. This painful event happened on Sabbath morning 6th Sept. For some weeks previous Mrs. Davidson had been very ill & no life was expected for her either by the Doctor or her friends. She herself gave up all hope of recovery & was calmly waiting the approach of the last enemy. Her mind was wonderfully composed & was so fixed on the Saviour & the bright inheritance above that she had little or no desire to remain longer in this vale of tears. I believe the only thing which weighed with her as a reason for remaining a little longer was the laudable desire of attending to the comforts of her dear Husband in his declining years. It pleased the Lord however to bless means for her restoration. She was slowly recovering when Mr. Davidson was seized with his illness. He was in the chapel in Denholm on the Sabbath before his death. At the close of the public services he spoke for a short time at a private meeting of the church members & engaged in prayer with great fervency. On Monday he was in his usual health & appeared to be in good spirits. While his mind had been brought to a perfect submission to the will of God as regarded Mrs. Davidson he was led to thank God on her recovery. On Tuesday morning – he took breakfast and went out & wrought at the Hay. About 12 0’clock he felt rather fatigued & warm & went into the cottage for a draught of water. He had only been there a few minutes when he fell on the floor under the power of a paralytic stroke. I happened in the providence of God just to make a call at the very instant. On entering I beheld a spectacle which will never be effaced from my memory. I soon saw what was the matter & I instantly ran to the village for the Doctor. He was from home & it was after three before we got one down from Hawick. Mr. Davidson was bled, blistered etc., but all the means proved unavailing. The power of his right side was wholly gone & he appeared to suffer much in his head. He lay in a kind of stupor till the Friday evening when he appeared to be much brighter & answered very correctly several questions which I put to him. Our hopes were raised, but alas! During the night he became worse. On Saturday he was in a complete stupor & I believe wholly insensible to his trouble. In this state he continued till Sabbath morning about 2 o’clock – when his ransomed spirit took its flight to the eternal world. From the nature of his trouble he was not able to say much upon his dying bed, but the little which he did say fully accorded with the tenor of his life. I asked him on the Friday evening – if he felt Christ the Saviour the same to him then as ever. Three times he repeated with great emphasis. “Oh yes, the same yesterday today & for ever.” These were amongst the last words he uttered. We are not in his love left to sorrow as those who have no hope. I have no doubt he is now “with Christ which is far better.” Oh! That you may be “followers of them who through faith & patience are now inheriting the promises.” He was buried the same week & was followed to the “narrow house appointed for all living” by a large body of mourners. He lies in Cawes (?) old church yard – besides Mrs. Davidson’s relatives. The Teachers and Scholars of the Denholm Sabbath School (which he long superintended) have collected money for erecting a tomb stone to his memory. “The righteous shall be held in everlasting remembrance.”
I am happy to say that Mrs. Davidson stood the trial much better than could have been anticipated. At the time she was very very weak & we all had our fears that the shock would prove too much for her delicate frame. You will be comforted to know that her sister from Newcastle has been with her. Mr. Davidson had sent for her a short time before to come to Denholm without loss of time as she might not have an opportunity of seeing her sister in life. Alas! Little did he think when writing that letter that she was to come & witness his own departure. Let us be ready for in such an hour as we think not the Son of Man Commeth. Her sister remained here about two months after his death. During that time Mrs. Davidson was very poorly & of course much cast down in mind. She felt much the want of her dear sister who is now on the other side of the globe. She often speaks about you but desolate as her situation now is – she can hardly dare to cherish the hope of ever seeing you again in this world. A temporary separation is painful but an eternal one would be more. Do then, dear friends, attend to the “one thing needful,” that you all may enjoy a happy meeting above where separations are unknown and where there are “pleasures for evermore.”
Mrs. Davidson’s health is now so far recovered that she is able to go about and attend to her domestic affairs. She still continues to reside in Woodside Cottage, but whether she will remain there long or short is at present altogether uncertain. Mr. Douglas has said nothing to her about the matter & none of us can tell how he means to act. God has promised to be a “Husband to the widow in his holy habitation,”(?) and on that promise she desires to rest – feeling sure he will make “darkness light” before her and lead her in the way that is right. Oh it is a blessed thing when we are brought to cast all our burdens on the Lord –knowing that he will sustain us. Her sister’s little daughter is the only person residing with her at present. Since Mr. Davidson’s death Mrs. D has received letters from her two brothers & her brother in law & at the time they wrote they were in possession of good health.
You will hardly expect me to write you anything in the shape of general news. We had a very abundant harvest this last season and in this God has been merciful as the winter has proved a very severe one. We had a very heavy fall of snow & during the last month there have been many lives lost both on land and at sea owing to the heavy gales etc.
You appear to be enjoying your New Country pretty well but there is one thing mentioned in your letter which gave me much pain. Your want of religious privilege . Ah! It will avail you nothing at last though you have gain the whole world if your souls are lost. First see to it that you yourselves are safe & then rest not till your children are the children of God. Although you had no preachers – you have your bibles & awful will be your eternal lives if you live & die in unbelief. The intelligence communicated in this sheet carries with it a voice – which is the voice of God to you. “Prepare to meet thy God.” Oh it is a blessed thing to have God for our Father – Christ for our Saviour – The Holy Spirits for our Comforter, and Heaven as our eternal Home. You are of course to look upon this sheet as from Mrs. Davidson herself. The duty I have had to perform is a painful one. Mr. D.’s death has been a sad sad loss to me & the church over which I am placed.
I had almost forgot to mention that there has been a considerable revival of religion in Melrose. I along with two young men held a series of meeting there last summer similar to those that were held in Denholm & of which Mr. Davidson gave you an account. A number of persons in Melrose, Darnick etc. gave very decided evidence of having undergone a change of heart & a number of prayer meetings have been begun.
Mrs. Davidson stands in need of your sympathy & while she desires to be much affectionately remembered to you all, she earnestly begs that you will not forget to write. Do not neglect to comply with her request.
I am yours very Truly
Letter Addressed to:
Mr. George Broomfield
New South Sidney
Woodside, November 18th 1841
Dear Brother and Sister
I see by your letter of 15th June which I received about a month ago that you have not got the last letter that I sent you, and if it has not reached you yet, you will not have heard of what has taken place with me.
I must therefore convey to you the mournful tidings of the death of my husband, which took place on the 6th September last year – if you have got the last letter you will have learnt every particular connected with his illness and death. I have some hope that you will have got it by this time. It was sent away about the end of January – If you have never got it will you let me know as soon as this reaches you and I will write more particularly. I may only say in this that he was struck with a paralytick stroke on the Tuesday and died on the Sabbath morning – It was a very severe trial, yet it is the doing of the Lord and he doeth all things well – and we ought at all times be submissive to his will.
Severe as the trial is I have many things to comfort me – How comfortable to think that he has left this world for one of endless bliss.
I was unwell before he died and was confined to bed all the time of his illness – I continued very poorly for a long time, and although I am now a good deal better, I am far from being stout yet I am able to go about and attend to the things about the house and the cow.
Mr. Douglas has been very kind to me and above all amidst all the changes that take place our Heavenly Father still remains the same. He has said “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will answer thee” – Be sure to let me know if you have got the other letter and if not I will write you if spared
Our friends in this country are all about their ordinary so far as I know –
Over at Darnick very much good has been done this summer and last – a great many have been awakened and a good number brought to Christ Jesus. Among the rest are Mrs. Tait – a Mrs. Barrie – Mr. and Mrs. Pair, the three Misses Howdars and a good many others – also a good number at Melrose and the surrounding villages –
We have also had revival meetings here this summer and a good deal of good has been done a good number have been added to the church but those are mostly people from a distance
My sister has been stopping with me a good deal since his death – she is away now but her daughter Helen is still with me – and a young man employed by Mr. Douglas has been stopping with me for about nine months – He is employed in holding meetings in the neighbourhood.
………(damaged line)……... I hear if you have got the last letter which was sent Be sure to write as soon as this reaches you and let me know how you are doing and whether you are liking the country well enough yet or not
Your affectionate sister
Postmark: Central Post Office JA 4 1844
Letter addressed to:
Mr. George Broomfield
Care of G T Fenwick Esq
Upper Paterson Brink Burn
New South Wales
Denholm June 21 1843
My Dear Sister
I received your anxiously desired letter only last month dated August 25 and was very glad that you and your dear partner and family was well, I embrace this opportunity of writing you by Ann Mitchelhill. Janet’s sister that was long in the Dean cottage, who is going out with her son, to a son she has near Sidney I thought it a good chance to let you know how I am coming on I have great reason for thankfulness I have no want of any thing in this world but my dear departed husband and that is a want that all the world cannot make up, but I have no doubt my loss is his eternal gain, and therefore I have no reason to complain the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away blessed be the name of the Lord, I left Woodside last Whitsunday and have a very comfortable room in Denholm. Mr. Douglas has been very kind to me it was not his desire for me to leave Woodside but I thought I could not stay for I was in the way of usefulness and prevent another from coming to Woodside to fill the situation of my dear husband, and I have not charge of a cow I was often unwell and it was a great burden to me to keep things in order. My health is but middling but still I have reason for thankfulness. I have as I said before no want of worldly nature and how many have all my afflictions to complain of and poverty to encounter with, Sister Helen and family are all well Robert is at Borthick brae working and has very good wages and is very kind to his mother and John is at Lanton and is out of his prenticeship at this time he is also a joiner and Thomas is at Hasindean (Hassendean) bank a *hind and has a very nice woman for a wife and two stout children a son and daughter his wife is very kind and friendly to me, and James & Helen is at home with their mother. I was away at Helens a long time last summer and was much the better of the change and I think I will go a while this summer also my health was greatly improved last time and I hope I will receive a benefit this season likewise. I have not heard from my Brothers for sometime but they were all well. William Reeve family his two older daughters Margaret and Bell are both well …..damaged….. I think your Margaret has begun in the world early enough give her and her husband my compliments and let me know whether he is a farmer or a laird when you write you did not say what situation he was in when you wrote write me when ever you receive this. I very much wish to hear from you I miss you very much I often wish you had been still at Darnick send me all particulars.
Your affectionate Sister
*Hind – Farm workman (Collins dictionary)
Letter addressed to:
Mr George Broomfield
Care of G.T. Fenwick Esq
Brinkburn Upper Patterson
New South Wales
Swinside the 2 of August 1843
I received your leter dated the 24 of March 1843 on the 27 of July just four months and three days and I do ashure you with greate pleasure and verry hapy to hear of your wellfair in New South Wales you wrote befor but I neiver received aney neither did I know wher to write to or I could have writen long ago to you but long looked for cums at last I am sorry to tel you my Daughter Jane Smith is lying a corp (corpse) in the house just now after a long weasting a consumption in the blood which she bor with great patience and I hope has mad(e) a hapy change your Ant (Aunt) Mary my wife died the 29 of October 1839 after a long illness which she bor with great fortitude the rest of us all well at present both hear (here) and the tofts Cirsty is married to Walter Rutherford Whitlie has the herding there is doing very well has a young son and havey (heavy) footed again Margit and Robert is just with me John is at the Lamler knows now herding
Adam got married and went to Australia just that spring after you he left home on the 19 of Aprile 1839 is in South Australia on the river Yara Yara forty mils up from Melbourn with a gentleman has not commenced yet for himself like you is doing well his Direction is Adam Smith with Mr. Ryrie Esquier Porte Philipe New South Wales I have given him your Direction which I hope you and him will find other out
I hard (heard) from America last summer by a minister – James Goodfalls is one of his elders your mother was alive when he left and all the family a sort of them married he left me their Direction but stupidly I have lost it they are in Uper Canada near Toronto James has never wrote to me we have hard (heard) from your unkel (Uncle) Lot and your ant (Aunt) Joan they are well in the state of Ilanois (Illinois) doing well the Repaths is their (there) to (too) Robert is doing well a sort of them dead We have your unkel Robert Hay hear (here) just now is wonderfull fresh but still the ould man as keen of the world as iver (ever) and will talk about nothing els (else) America is in a very bad state just now all over the whol (whole) countri (country) very many who went out a year ago is returning hom (home) again this Countrie is in a bad state now to tread (trade) is so very dul (dull) and things is so very low all but land it is not much fallen (fallen) yet but will fal (fall) in a litel (little) or people can not live indeed all Countries is alike for a stagnation is in ivery (every) part you can read of I will give you a small acount of the market this year
Wool from twenty to twenty tow (two) with a dul (dull) seal (sale) lambs is low to (too) Chevit (cheviot?) lambs this year is about six and sixpence the top lots and small ones is as low as three shillings half bred eight and nine shillings top lots and small ones as low as four and five full breed lambs is as heigh (high) as fifteen a head and inferior as low as nine Catel (cattle) in all descriptions is about the half lower since you left hom (home) Corn has been very moderat(e) this last year was an arly (early) crop but this year will be leat (late) it is a could (cold) season this and very litel sun the thing you have over much of but it is pleasant to have it I think be (by) the time your term is out you will be abel (able) to commence a setelment (settlement) of a large stock of your oun (own)
But I can not advise you ar(e) eabel (able) as well as you ar(e) for you get all your victuals found to you But you can cultivate yourself and we will be glad to hear of you geting on well if you get low prices you have as litel to pay for land so I think you will be best on your oun land and can do as you pleas(e) you must not feal (fail) to writ(e) tow (two) times a year now and I will now do the sam(e) as I have your Direction now and send me word if Adam and you has found other out by letters (letters) or any other way we wad (would) be glad to hear you have I have litel mor(e) that I can mind at present
All our kirk Ministers in Scotland is fallen (fallen) out among themselves they wil not alow (allow) the Queen to have any pour (power) over the church Christ to be head of the church and paternage (patronage?) dun (done) away and they aplyed (applied) to government to that affect (affect) but did not get their wish so their (there) is about four hundred and sixty has left their kirks the very best hands is all out and they ar(e) building new kirks for them by superscription (subscription) all their hearers is gon(e) with them they call it the free presbetrion (Presbyterian) Church they have large funds collected for building and for the keep of the Minister so hou (how) they get on we can not tell just now but I will can give you sum (some) account afterward about them and hou (how) they ar(e) geting on for the whol(e) Countri is an uproar (uproar) about them just nou (now) you will be sure when you writ(e) to tel(l) us what sort of society (society) you have and what sort of Ministers you have or what distance you ar(e) from sermon
Adam is forty mils (miles) from any he has to go that far to get his children baptised but you have the bible (bible) the word of God and be sure to mak(e) a good use of it No mor(e) at present but I remain your unkel (uncle) and well wisher
It is stated, in a Lyon family history, that George Broomfield’s parents died of the black death and that he was brought up by an uncle. However, it seems his mother survived, remarried and moved to Canada. Is Robert Smith the uncle who brought him up?
An indistinct postmark which may be Port Phillip Melbourne Au
Postmark: General Post Office Sydney Au 10 1844
Letter addressed to:
Mr. George Broomfield
Care of G. T. Fenwick Esq
Bankvale July 27th 1844
I received your letter on the 20 May and was very happy to hear from you and that you were all well I have often been going to write before this and always put off to some other day you wish to know our history once we came out to this country I hired to a Mr Ryrie when we came into Sydney and came overland with him with cattle and we was with him four years I got 40 pounds the first year I was with him and 50 pounds the other three years you wish to know my wifes name her name is Jane Armstrong daughter of Thomas Armstrong Schoolmaster Chesters Jed Water we have three children living two sons and one daughter living and Jane was brought to bed of a daughter about a fortnight ago but alas it only opened its eyes on this sublanary scene to shut them again for ever but Jane is doing well the oldest sons name is Robert for my Father the others Thomas and Sarah for her Father & Mother we like the country very well both of us we left Mr Ryries when we bought this place there were 1344 sheep on it when we bought it and we have better than 500 lambs there is other two men with us as partners from our own part of the county I knew them both at home we gave 300 pound for the sheep and station but it is a small run but very good sheep Dear George there has been a deal of changes in my Fathers house since we left home there is only my brother Robert & my sister Margaret with my Father now I got a letter from my Father the same day I received yours they were all well my Aunt Christian has left my Brother Gideon at the Tofts now and is gone to live at Whitelee with my sister Christian if you have not heard she is married to Walter Rutherford he was shepherd in Whitlee when you were at the Tofts
I saw John Davidson in town his Brother John Davidson asks and all their friends was well the last time he heard from home we have a good deal of rain here just now we have almost always too much rain in the winter here I suppose a thing you are not often troubled with I have about thirty head of cattle they are running at Mr Ryries yet but I am going to sell them as this is not a good place for cattle I have a mare and a year old filly I gave 25 pound for them last year I hope you will write to me soon we are all well at present hopping (hoping) this will find you all in the same no more at present but remains your affectionate cousin
Swinside the 18 of August 1845
I received your letter dated the 11 of March 1845 on the thirty first of July and was very happy to hear from you and was glad to hear you wer(e) all well and in a fair way of doing I think likely better then (than) you could have been in this countrie we had a letter from Adams wife leatly (lately) to my Daughter Marget they wer(e) all well and has got all the run at Bankvail to themselves I think he has made a good speculation and will likely in a short time do well they sould (sold) their Woll (wool) at Bankvale for 214 pounds this year it is likly to be a very good place you will tel(l) us in your nixt (next) how fare Adam and you is sindry (from Sydney?) but I am very glad that I have made you and him find each other out by writing and I hope you and Adam will keep a corospondance in writing to other Land in this Countri is still as heigh if not heigher than when you left home but this is a good year for the stock farmer for the wool is seling well about 9 pounds and sum one pound ten the ston Lambs has been heigh this year bread lambs about one pound to one pound two a head half bread lambs from fifteen to eighteen shillings a head chevit lambs from ten to thirteen a head and a good demand for them the corn markets has been moderate this last year and plenty of employment for the poor people
There is a great demand for laberours (labourers) to work at making rail rods (roads) for going by steem this countri will soon be all rail roods (roads) over driven by steem travelling at the reate (rate) of forty miles an our (hour) so you see it is not as long between London and Edinbrough we had your unkel (uncle) the ould Lard (Laird) of Yetholm hear (here) when I got your leter he thinks you will do well now he is very much falen of (fallen off) but as fond of talking about the money as iver (ever) yet your uncle Lot Douglas is now dead in America but you Ant (Aunt) Jo is very well and all the family they have been verry fortunate has all a bit land of their oun (own) and all married but their youngest son he is with his mother I am sorey to say I once had your mothers direction but sum way or other have lost it they ar(e) liveing in Uper Cannada (Upper Canada) in America near the fals (falls) of Niagara have a bit of land and doing verry well this is like to be a verry leate harvest this year it has been very wet a could (cold) summer litel sun the wheat will not be good this year we have had a great disrupshon (disruption) with the kirk Ministers in Scotland there is a great maney (many) of them has left the isteblishment (establishment) they call themselves free kirk men and is supported by a fund and the all get a like stipend sum way near one hundred pound a year But in my opinion they are all Descenters and the good ones will have the largest stipend
If you will be so good in your nixt you must send us what your sheep and cattel are like to the sheep and cattel in this countrie and you will say what the Countrie is like in general as you must have seen a good bit of it now and how you think the people lives in general and what you think is most profitable to folow and if their be maney natives in your district or if they be troubelsum as we see in our papers how the New Zealendars is going on they are very numberous they are said to be a hundred and twenty thousand of them wild savages they ar(e) most caled (called) Canabels (cannibals) they eat peopel (people) when they fall into their hands but it is said to be a very fine Cuntrie (country) if it wer(e) sevileased (civilised) but it is likly that will be a long time if iver but non(e) knows what providence can do it may be that the time may soon cum there is a great deal of alterations by death in this neighberhood sinc(e) you left Mr Douglas Plenderlieth and the mistres(s) and both Robert and Nancy is all dead there is still sum people going to America sum dos well and others not so well your Ant Cirsty of the tofts is now of (off) to Cirsty in the Whitlie Gideon just stops himself at the tofts he has just a hierd (hired) servant for keeping his house Robert and Margret stops with me at Swinside and John and his family is at the Lamblar knows now keeping the herding the tofts dos better now than when you left as yon tow (two) fields above the rod (road) as you go to the rink through to the far side of the burn which is a great advantadge to the tofts as you know very well the Lamblar is new built this year it was a verry ould bad house and needed verry much to be rebuilt and there is two new *coathouses built to the tofts they are just set at the very head of the under park clos(e) to the rod side they are verry usefull for a **hind and a coter (cotter?) for work as they have a good deal of mor corn at tofts now and turnips both so that they help the sheep in winter the thing you know litel about in New South Wales as I sepos (suppose) you have no snow Adam has seen patches of snow in a distant mountain that is all where he is I think I mind little mor(e) at present but you must not feal (fail) to writ(e) when you receive this and we will be all alike happy to hear from you and all your family but I must conclude
But remains your unkel and well wisher
*Though slightly damaged, this word definitely looks like coathouses, perhaps it could be interpreted as cottages or cothouses, (perhaps a cotter lives in a cothouse?) or even coachhouses?
**Hind is a skilled farm worker and a Cotter is a tenant farmer, according to my dictionary.
Swinside the 13 of December 1848
I received your letter deated (dated) June the 9 day 1848 on the 28 of November and was very happy to hear from you again as it is so long since we had a leter from you but long looked for cums at last we are all well at present hoping this will find you all the same to give you a sceatch (sketch) of our Countrie now since you left wad (would) be very tedisum but shal tel you of your ould quarters Darnick and Gallowshields there is a rail rod (road) from Gallowshiels to Edinbrough which is driven by steem which gos (goes) at the reat (rate) of from 25 to 30 mils (miles) an our (hour) so that coatch (coach) and cariors (carriers) is all dun (done) and laid a side the whol(e) Cuntry is running with steam and railrods but whither they will do good or not remains to be tried yet things in this countrie is very dul (dull) at present in particular the Woling (Woollen) manufactories
Wool is very low now and ill to sell and not lik(e) to improve the wooll this last year sould (sold) as low as seventeen and eighteen shillings the ston it dos not pay well at that your wool is far finer and you get mor(e) for it our fat markets is good and very steedy (steady) about six and seven shillings the ston there is no market in morpath (Morpeth?)now all Newcastel now for fat and lean your uncle the ould laird as we called him and Anty Cirsty is both well living in the ould house at Yetholm they are both much fallen of (fallen off) now but he is as fond as iver he was in making money hir (her) and him finds both their oun meat and lives by themselves Adam wrot(e) me he had lost you in the same countrie but I will give him your address again so that you will find other out he is now in the Adiled (Adelaide?) destrict now about 280 miles from Melbourn he cals (calls) his run Broadmeadows his adres is Adam Smith Broadmeadows Port Philop (Phillip) New South Wales it is a flat countri wher(e) he is he does not make mention of any great drougt with hime this last year I had a letter from your Ant Joan and unkel Lot is dead two or three years sinc(e) hir family is all maried but one and hes with hir they are all in a way doing to make their bread but it is a very unhealthy place the Illonsis always fiver (fever) and eague (ague) or sumthing els(e) it is so flat I would be very hapy if you could find out Peter Blair he has niver writn (written) one and we do not now where to writ for to find him my son Gideon is married now they cal his wife Mary Andison her father is stuart of Edgerston they have two children both daughters my youngest daughter Marget is married to and is of to Jebrough (Jedburgh?) hir husband is a book selor (seller) ould Walter Eastons oldest son
So I am just left alon Robert and me we have Johns eldest daughter for hous(e) keeper Marget Smith the corn markets is low this year it is very good barley that maks ( makes) a pound and oats fourteen and fifteen the bol and not much demand for it the land in this countrie still keeps heigh reither (rather?) above its valou (value) the whole cry out is to drain land up and down ivery other far(m) and is mostly dun with tils (tills? tiles?) in steed (stead) of stons (stones?) the drain is mostly cut three feet deep and as narro (narrow) as they can make them it has a great affect for drying the land but is very expescive non lower then sixpence the rood and sum mor(e) we have niver hard (heard) from James Goodfells and your mother they are in Uper Canada sum way near the fals of Niagara but can give you no direction as we niver got any from him I think I mind litel mor(e) at present I am now getting ould and by the cours(e) of nater (nature) can not last long I am now seventy one years ould and a good bit falen of this last year but we can not live always but may we improve (improve) the time that remains so that we may be fit for the great change
No more at present but I remain your friend and well wisher
As can be seen in Robert Smith’s interesting and chatty letters, punctuation is non existent. I have made some spelling corrections but in other places where the meaning is quite clear, I have left it unchanged. Some words were difficult to decipher, so if readers think I have made the wrong choice, please make your own interpretation. For example the word ‘stons’ appears in several places. I thought perhaps it meant a pre-metric weight, as in 14 lb to the stone, however, he also writes of land being drained with tils instead of stons. How I wish we knew how George had replied to the many questions asked about life in N.S.W.!
Postmarks: Hawick FE 1 1849
Carlisle FE 1 1849
Ship Letter London FE 2 1849
Indistinct postmark indicates arrival in Sydney JU 8 1849
Letter Addressed to:
Mr George Broomfield
Roberton Woodfoot Jan 30th 1849
Dear Uncle and Aunt
We received your letter of the 6th June 1848 which is the first we have got this 4 years and we were wearing verry sore to hear from you – As this is the first letter I have wrote you I must give you a little Account of myself as the last conversation we had was at Darnic (Darnick) so I will suppose myself in Australia just at Allyn Vale – you will remember I was an apprentice at Lanton after my time was out I came to Woodfoot where I am now then I was three years joiner with a Gentleman about a mile from this
Afterwards I went to Edinburgh and wrought there a summer then I went to Glasgow nixt (nest) to a seaport town in the Highlands called Dunoon where I wrought in all about 2 years when I came out to Ettrick and took myself a wife and commenced business for myself here – you will have herd (heard) that John learned the joiner trade too he was in Glasgow and Dunoon with me and he came out when I start here and he have been with me since which is 3 years past at the New Year – I have him and a Prentice the Prentice (apprentice) hase been 2 years with me and I have another man at times I am doing verry well but I would like better to be in Australia I was at Denholm a short time since Aunt was well and she is as young like and farr fater (fatter) than she was when you saw her she hase a room of Mrs Douglas Cavers free of rent and she is very comfortable we had her up with us a short time we are 10 miles from Denholm. Thomas is at Teviot Bank about a mile from Denholm they have 4 children the 2 oldest is often at Aunts you said in your letter that you was astonished that he had never wrote you but I would been more if he had for he would rather travel the 9 miles betwist us than write to me he hase to come to see us since Aprile last but I am this far with the leter and he is not here yet
You said that you thought mother was no more but John is just come from there today and she is as well as she hase been this 3 years but I am sorey to say that she hase never been out of bed for that time and if you saw her you would think she was quite well to look at the face but I believe you never saw any person more spent in the body after I was out of my Prenticeship till I was married I give them always about 10 pounds a year and John assists them since I always give them something as I can spair it – but Thomas never gives them anything nor scarsley writes them a letter he hase a wife as hard as flint as the saying is. James and Hellen is still at home with her and she is always content – I and the wife was over seeing them the winter after we were married I have not been over since Aprile last but I am for over soon I may mention that the wifes name is Joan Scott we have 2 children both sons the oldest James and the other Thomas – I had a letter from Aunt Flora a short time since and she gave me her sons address which is George Jackson Black Smith Melbourne by Port Philip he has a fine trade employing 14 men so if you chance to be there you will easely find him
There is great altrations (alterations) in this place since you left us there is a Railway between Edinburgh and Hawick it is nearly finished to St Boswells it has been opened to Bow shank above Gallashiels this good while it goes past Darnic(k) by Melros(e) St Boswells etc we have very dull trade in this country just now a great many out of work of all trades work has been very plenty this 2 years back and wages good labours (labourers) had 16 shillings a week but they cannot get work now at 10 shillings our wages ……… (damaged) 17 to 18 shillings but I expect them down too the markets is …… (damaged)
Barley mead (made) 1/1 per stone oat meal 1/4 per st 2 years back it was as high as 3/4 per st you must write as soon as you receive this and let me know all particulars what place it is for Joiners and all other things as you give us none in your last let me know how all your family is and what they are doing I have a thought of coming over to see you in the course of a year or 2 if you can give me any encouragement if there is any thing that I have omitted you may let me know and I will send it next time the cholare (cholera?) has been in this country this long time it is verry near us now there has been several cases at Melros(e) Selkirk Edinburgh & Kelso it is not come to Hawick yet there has been a great many deaths in all the towns round us I have ………(damaged) particulars that I mind but remains you ………(damaged)
This letter must have been passed on to someone else as on the back the following note is written in a different handwriting ‘I send you back this letter of Robert Hoggs as you might like to have it – these are a few good needles they came from England’
This letter from Robert Smith Jnr. is written in Australia after his arrival from Scotland. Half of the first page is taken up with a printed sketch of Jedburgh Abbey.
Broadmeadows Dec 17th 1850
Your much esteemed letter reached Broadmeadows a few days before I did & for which kind offer I thank you. Adam thinks it would be as well for me not to hurry into any kind of business until I get colonized a little – write me what sheep would be worth per head in the Sidney side that is to say for wool & what a wedder (wether?) might be worth fat – is there anything to be had in the Sidney side the runs in the Port Philip side are all taken up some of the squaters (squatters) are letting their runs for a limited number of years for fifty pounds per thousand sheep – which I think is rather a high rent but it enables a man to do with a smaller capital – I was left so as I could have continued in Swinside town foot (?) but it was rather dear which made one think of coming out here it was rather high for the last twenty years there was two years of a new lease run which made me lose by the improvements such as lime and draining the land – the landlord would not allow me to subset (sublet?) or I could have saved any outlay that we had been at. they let it at our rent after all the improvements we had made on it. Uncle Robert was very ill satisfied with me giving up the farm indeed I thought he would go crankie he would rise cursing me every morning. The last time I saw him he said that he would make money as fast as any of us yet – two of Mary’s family are come up to Adam the boy to shepherd and the girl to assist in the house & another of the girls is hired in Melbourne I took a room for her and the youngest she means to try for sowing (sewing) & washing she might make a living by washing if she falls in to any work in Melbourne – Adam would have written you before now but you neglected to give him your address in your last letters Write me what your sheep will clip per head and what numbers you run in one flock – I think that Adam told me he runs from eighteen 100 to twenty five hundred in one flock but I suppose the country is thinner wooded hereabouts then it is with you – I have not decided what to try yet I would not have you miss a chance of selling your run but on the other hand you can write me a few more particulars about the expenses of such a run as yours is.
Adam says he will write you soon
I remain dear cousin
In trying to make out the connections in these Smith letters, I believe that Robert Smith Snr., the writer of several earlier letters from Scotland, may have died and his son Robert has come out to his brother Adam in Australia, giving up the Swinside farm. The Uncle Robert mentioned as being very cranky about this is probably Robert Hay, spoken of as the ‘ould laird’ in earlier letters. We are unaware as to what the offer is that George Broomfield has made, but perhaps this was about the time the Broomfield family was making plans to take up land in the Manning. Maybe he was offering Robert Smith an opportunity to take over his lease at Gresford? We can only speculate. Sadly, as the following letter reveals, Robert Smith’s life in Australia was cut short.
The date on the following letter appears to be wrong, historically and I wonder if Adam means 1852. The discovery of gold in Victoria was announced 28 June 1851 but this letter dated 15 June 1851 indicates that Robert has been to the goldfields earlier. Also the Broomfields moved to the Manning in 1852 and their ‘new abode’ is mentioned.
Broadmeadows June 15th 1851(1852?)
My dear Cousin
I received yours of the 15th April on the 4th of this month and would have answered it immediately had not been that I was busy lambing and rather short of hands, my eldest son Robert has the flock of 1400 that we are lambing at the home station, he is now 13 years old and his two younger brothers has the ewes and lambs, but we are nearly through with it had has had a very good lambing You ask whether my brother Robert has entered into any business yet but I am very sorry indeed to have to record that he is now no more he left this for the Diggings about the beginning of February and had been there about 7 weeks, but owing to the insufferable behaviour of one of the party they all broke up selling their hole for 1 lb of gold from which the purchasers in two days extracted 19 lb weight they, Roberts party realised about 115 pounds each in the 7 weeks he left in the company of one of the party a very respectable gentleman intending to commence business together perhaps as storekeepers at the Diggings as they felt the Diggings very hard work and my brother was by no means strong his constitution was much shattered from the effects of a severe fever he had at home, the day after landing in town he complained of headache but was comparatively well the next day but got worse in the evening and lost his senses which he never recovered till his death which was only three days after. I assure you it is the greatest trial I have yet experienced had it been the Lords will that he should have breathed his last in my house I should have been satisfied but it has been otherwise ordered. Robert Rutherford left this last week for the Diggings also his mother and family are all well. Did my brother ever mention to you in his letters that my niece Mary Rutherford was married 10 months since to my partner Mr. Oliver We had two men from Roxburghshire William Turnbull from Harden Mains and Thomas Rutherford a son of Mr. Rutherford merchant Jedburgh we heard from them about three months after leaving us Rutherford had made 240 pounds and Turnbull 140 pounds I don’t think your Diggings are anything in comparison to the Victoria ones. The Government Escort brought down above 81,000 oz last week beside the large quantity carried down by private individuals I saw in the newspapers last week of a young mans being drowned in a flooded creek with 800 pounds worth of gold on him. There has been a great fall of rain and we are likely to have a very wet winter the roads are very bad especially the roads from the ports to the Diggings they are now giving as much as 120 pounds per ton for carriage to them and likely to run short of rations immediately we hear there is as many as 100 drays stuck between Melbourne and the Diggings the distance is about 80 or 100 miles
I am not sure this letter will reach you as you as usual have forgot to give your address to your new place but I will put on your old address it is the only way I can do. Should you receive this I hope you will answer it sooner than you did the last and let us know how you like your new abode.
With best regards to yourself and family
Letter addressed to:
Mr George Broomfield
Uper Alyan River
March 8 1852
Mr Bloofield (Broomfield)
I received a copy of your letter from Mr Herkes last night in which you wish to know what is to bee doon about the mistake in the land that wee bought on the Dingo Creek
I am exceedingly sorrow that such mistake has ocured my wish in the matter is this that I am very anxious to keep my first selection of course I am completely in you power in this matter however I am not afraid of you taking the lest advantage of that power to bring the thing to finell decision I will pay the conveyance of both of the deeds which I think I can get don some cheeper then they say with respect to the sections for grasing you aplyed for when in Sydney you must araing it yourself as I am out of the way at present should you think of coming up this way I shall bee happy to see you they ar doing very well hear on the *Moroo Creek I hoop you …….(will?) damaged let me know if you receiv this leter it will very much disappoint me if you intend to keep the land as I took a fancy to the place not that I think the land is any beeter then yours but just that I liked the situation of the place being retired I must leave my case with you entirely I canot conceive how the mistake has ocured at all however I can not do nothing more than what I have said on the subject hoping this finds you and family well
I remains yours Truly
This letter, together with the purchasers’ names that appear on old maps, gives some confirmation that, at least, there is some substance in the old tale, as mentioned earlier, in regard to a clerical error occurring when the original Broomfield and Herkes selections were registered. I will leave readers to draw their own conclusion as to whether the mistake was due to the carelessness of a Government official or if it came about because the ‘soon to be landowners’ had celebrated their good fortune the evening prior to the event. There is a strong likelihood that either, or both explanations could be, in some way, correct. It must have been a momentous occasion for these Scots when they were about to realise the dream of owning their own land which had brought them so far from their homeland. A later document will reveal that it may have taken many years before the resultant problem was officially solved. In the meantime, each family just got on with life on the selection of their first choice. Needless to say, at that time, there were then, no local government officials rigidly enforcing development applications and building permit rules. The *Moroo, may well be the Meroo, as mentioned in “A Branch of the Johnston Clan”, a Mudgee gold mining area. Settlers, it seems, took a chance on making some money. George Broomfield and some neighbours went to the Turon for a month to try their luck, netting twenty five pounds each.
There is really no way that we can presume to know what this letter is all about. There has been no other correspondence preserved from Mr. Clerehew. However, it is evident that the David Irvin referred to must be the ancestor of the Irvine family, still established in the Dingo Creek area, just a few miles distant from the Broomfield’s original holding.
Singleton Oct 3rd 1852
My Dear Broomfield
I received your letter and am very sorry to hear that Mrs. Broomfield and Robert has been so very poorely but hopes they may soon get better and you are thinking of coming down the country I should be very glad to see you at Singleton and so would Mrs Clerehews for she often speakes of Mrs Broomfield and if you could make it in your way nothing would give me more pleasure now to se you here, I am very sorey to have to announce the death of Mrs Clerehews brother George Ross (?) who departed this life on the 22 Sept last and was the youngest of the family may the Lord always keep us in mind of death for we do not know the day nor the hour when the son of man cometh & may we prepare for our later end
I see by your letter that you called on John Stewart and he still persists that there is none of the timber of which I mentioned in his house or shop I earnestly desire you to inquire of David Irvin wither he cut the sawed timber in that shop and who payed for it I am aware that the timber was never put i(n) mine and Irvin wrote to me and I still have his letter when I complained to him that the measurements must be wrong he in reply and not in very measured terms told me I had no cause to complain as I had too good houses built on Wingham as to Thos.(?) letter that the timber was all settled there would never have bee(n) no aft of any wert (word) from either him nor Stewart if I had not received it from another quarter and all the timber accounted for was 300 ft of battans he sold to weeks but that is little to the quantity yused or that I payed for and that would never have been done if I had not received information that such had been done and for fear I should take another course they …….. to that and payed for them and that was all the …….. what ever Thoms or him may say I am a great looser on my ground or the place I shoed (showed) him the pins are there to be seen I did not think I was to let him build on my lands and then make him a present of that next he can only take it off again as I want nothing belongs to him but if such is the case I cannot see what that has gotter to do with the money I lent him why does he not send my money at once and then take his houses of my land it only shoes (shows) what is in the man so to do but if he does not send it soon I shall take other steps to get it which will cost him more
I hope you will excuse my troubling you but it was at Stewarts request and to settle and have no more to do with him I did as he directed and now he finds fauld (fault) because his house is not right but if he had not sent the amount of my money lent with fourteen days from this I shall institute proceedings against him and I hope to save farther (further) trouble he may …….
Mrs Clerehew joins me in kindest love to you all and I remain your ever loving friend
G M Clerehew
Hill Back March 12th 1853
I now take my pen to write you a few lines as it is so long since we had any word from you we are wearing to hear how you are coming on it is above two years since any of us had a letter from the last one you sent was to my brother Robert when you sent us five pounds which we were much oblidged to you for being so kind Mother is still but very poorly but she has been a good deal better this winter than what she has been for a long time back she is still confined to bed – we had a letter from Denholm about a month ago she was well then and she is very anxious to hear from you she is still very fatt. She is much fatter than ever you saw her – My brother Thomas is still a ploughman he is near Ancrum at a place called Herriots field Robert and John is both in America it is nearly two years since they went away we had a letter from Robert last week they were all well then and they are liking America very well they have good wages and plenty of work they have 1 pound per week and their meat which is a good deal better than what they could get in Scotland and provisions is cheaper with them than with us Markets is getting up in this part there has been many left this country for America and Australia this two years back and there is a great many going this year to both places the gold of Australia is tempting many to go there there is some of our neighbours preparing for Australia some has given up their farms and going off with their familys there is such flattering accounts given of it in this country that many of them think they will make a fortune in a few weeks – but if immigration continue for a few years as at present this country will get better
Labourers and tradesmens wages is getting up and work is more plenty than what it was a year or two back you must write as soon as you get this and give us all particulars how you are coming on and all the news you can get as we are all wearring to hear from you I would have wrote you long before this but I did not know your address until Aunt sent it to me I have nothing more at this time if I be spared to get one from you I will write more next time
[b]Hill Back Feb 4th 1854
I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we got your letter on the 10th of last month and was happy to hear that you was all well and a very welcome letter it was we were all beginning to think that we were not going to hear from you again you must not be so long in writing again as you was last time and if spared I will answer all you write to me I am not a good writer but I am very willing to do as I can we have not had a letter from America this good while back we are expecting one soon they were all well the last letter we got and liking the place well John had bought some land but they do not say what stock he has but as Robert was speaking of writing to you you will perhaps have got all the particulars from them before now but if he has not written to you before I write to him I will send him your address and tell him to write to you and give you all the particulars we had a visit of Aunt Bell last summer she is got very fat she is so very fleshy that is very bad at walking any distance but she has been very healthy this good while back we had a letter from her after we got yours she was well then I wrote to her and gave her all the particulars of your letter she will be very glad to hear (when) she gets it we all heard such bad accounts about murders and robberys being commited in Australia we were afraid that something was wrong with you there has been many gone from this place to Australia but they mostly all went to Adelaid and Port Philip I did not hear of any that went to Sydney but there has a great deal more gone to America last year and there is a great deal speaking of going this spring but there is still plenty left wages is still but small but they are rather higher than what they were this country is not in a good state at present provisions has got very high in prices and stock of all kinds is dear
Markets has not been so high this many years sheep and wool was never so high at last year wool sold as high as 34 shillings per stone most of it sold between 30 and 34 shillings it has been a good year or two for farmers but best for stock farmers but it is not so good for the labouring class there is a war commenced between the Russians and turks and it is likely to involve all Europe in war the British and French is sending men to back the turks there is great preparations going on in Britain they have commenced with the militia they are going to raise about 60 or one hundred thousand men it is making a great stir in this country
I believe there is a great deal more going to America on account of the militia and the unsettled state of Europe than what would have gone if there had been no word of it but it is very hard time with the working classes and there is many who would leave this place if they could raise as much as to take them to America or Australia – Aunt Bell got a letter from Uncle Thomas last spring they were all well he wants your address he said he was going to write to you but if he write no longer letter to you than what he did to her you will not get many news in it he said very little and she had wrote him two or three before he wrote
Mother is still confined to bed she has been a good deal easier this last year than she has been for a long time before it is now about nine year since she got any out of bed for a long time at first she was sore pained at times but she is nothing like so bad now but she is very frail she can make very little help for herself there has always one of us has to be in the house with her there has been a great deal of trouble in this part some has been a long while bad and very many more deaths my brother Thomas has been off health a long time but the last word we got from him he was a good deal better he was working again he is still trying the hynding he is near Ancrum you wished to know our difficulties we have had a very hard struggle this long while back since ever Robert and John went to America they have had little to spare it is three years since they went away and we have just 3 pounds from them you perhaps thought when I wrote you that we wanted money from you but I had no thought of nothing what you sent is more than what we have got sent from any since we tooke it very kind of you to be so mindful of us if we had all been in health things would have been different than what they are but we have all our troubles and difficulties there none free some has more than others but we must submit to our fate
I must now draw this to a close as I hope to hear from you oftener than what we done you must write us all particulars Mother and Helen sends you their kind complements and you have to let us know how Thomas and Robert is and if they are with you and I will give all the particulars of the place next time I write
I will now give you Roberts address before I finish I think I can say little more at present you must not forget to write address to me as before
St New York
From your Friend & well wisher
Postmark: A small blue envelope must relate to this letter, Canonbie is stamped on the front, on the back there are postmarks which appear to read Carlisle JY 30 1854, another indistinct one shows 31 JY 1854 and finally, one which might be Stroud Oct 25 1854.
Letter addressed to:
Mr George Broomfield
New S. Wales
Hill Back July 28th 1854
I now take my pen to write you a few lines to let you know that we got your letter in due time and we are much obliged to you for your kindness in sending us the five pounds which we got safe it came in very good stead for we were very scarce provisions has been very dear but they are rather cheaper now
Markets is coming down sheep and wool is a great deal cheaper wool is a bout 18 shillings lambs about 10 and 11 shillings for tope cheviots but I have not heard the exact prices yet old sheep is a bout 8 shillings a head down
We had a letter from Aunt Bell she was well when the letter was wrote she was glad to hear that you was well she had a letter from Uncle Thomas he wrote to her to see if she could get his age out of the registar but she could not his name was not in the cavers registar he said he was for going out to you but he did not think he would get away this year but he had not got your letter when he wrote he never writes to us so I don’t know wither he will be a way or not as I have not had any more word a bout him but you must write and let us know wither he is away or not and all other particulars we have not had a letter from America this good while back they were all well when they wrote they are liking the place very well they get good wages but money is scarce it is three years past at Whitsunday since they left they are still in the same place Roberts address is the same that I sent you but in case you have not got my last letter write it down here it is, Robert Hogg Brushland Bovina, Delawar County New York North America you can write them at pleasure we have had very wet weather this summer until a bout 8 days ago it began to clear and it is now very dry and warm and crops is looking well potatoes is not going to stand good they are diseased the same as usual other crops likely to be heavy I have nothing more of importance at this time but I will perhaps have more next time I write mother is rather better this summer than what she has been for a long time but she is not able to get out of bed any yet she sends her kind love to you all and her gratfull thanks to you for your kindness Brother Thomas is got quite stout again he is stopping on at Herriotsfield I have been in very middling health this long time I have been bad with a pain in my back and side Helen is very healthy but I must stop as my paper is gone
From your well wisher
This much travelled letter was written from Dingo Creek, Australia, to Elizabeth Broomfield’s brother, Thomas Jackson who was a shepherd at Helmsdale, Scotland. At that time, Thomas was, apparently, was considering immigrating to Australia. The Jackson family eventually arrived in 1858, returning this letter to the original sender at “Bow Hill”.
Bow Hill Janry 16th 1855
My Dear friends
I got a letter from you dated July 13 & was glad to hear that you got the money safe & that your all in good health I got a letter from James Hogg the same post that we got yours his money went safe too Aunt Nelly is still alive but confined to bed Aunt Bell is in good health. We have 3 children alive Margret Tom & Bob. Margret has 6 children & Tom was married last month they are stopping with us he has a fine farm of his own but they are not thinking leaving us Mr Lyon & his eldest daughter was over at the wedding their was a *Land Sale at the time he bought a fine farm ajoining mine he thinks of selling his property on the Patterson River & coming to the Manning We have our land purchased near the head of navigation it is all sold near us now but there is plenty a few miles from hear yet I hope you will be out before the sale so as you may get a farm near us the Land is very good I will grow 2 crops a year a crop of wheat & then a crop of maize Betty says you have to bring all your beding and any wearing appearl (apparel) that you have to buy have it light we all wear cambric shirts in this country for working it has been a very dry season this. When you cross the line you need very light clothing it is very hot & such tools of any kind you can buy them as cheap at Sydney as in Scotland if your wife has woole cards bring a pair I think you have all your directions right in your last letter our Agents has shifted their place in Sydney Rowley & McLean N10 Bridge Street
There is no place in the Coloney going a head like the Manning they are mostly free hold properties they are mostly Scots I think thee Scotch has done better than any other & they are singling out from a great many parts & coming to the Manning it is a noble river it is nevigabel (navigable) 30 miles & a great many islands on it some of them 10 to 15 miles round them We have 2 ministers on the M free kirk & established kirk write us before you leave so we may have horses gathered in to carry you up I think by your last letter that you have wrote 3 & I have only got 2 you ought to bring with you for the voyage 2 or 3 gallons good whisky you will find a mouth full at a time to help you I think the women need it more than the men
We are all in good health at present my wife if in first rate health I think she is as healthy as she has been for a long time
Give our respects to your Wife & all the family
& I remain yours Truly
*Old maps show the name J.G. Lyon on portions totalling approximately 153 acres at Doolee Flat on Dingo Creek near the Broomfield property. Today this area is known as Dolly’s Flat and has been owned by the Muldoon family for generations. The Lyon family were at “Bow Hill” in 1861 according to an old newspaper article, as it was here that Edmund Lyon was born. The same report states that the family settled at “Walton”, Marlee in 1862, so for some unknown reason, the Doolee Flat land seems to have passed out of their hands at an early date.
The following incomplete and undated letters all appear to have been written by James Hogg.
We had a letter from Robert last month they are all in good health when he wrote we had likewise a letter from Aunt Bell yesterday She is well and very anxious to hear from you She was over seeing mother last summer she was very healthy and in good spirits when she was here she was saying in her letter that she had Thomas’s wife and daughter before she wrote they were all well but they did not know whether they would be stopping on where they are or not he is still a ploughman or hynd as they are called in that part of the country he is at a place called Muirhouse law near St Boswell’s perhaps you will know where abouts it is for I do not as I never was there but if I be in health so as I can go I intend to go and see them before the term Thomas has long been talking about going to America or Australia but I think he has never set about leaving yet there has very many gone for Australia this winter by Government ships and there is a good deal more speaking of going this spring but I hear of none going to your part yet, there is a good deal going to America there is some farmers going from this part
there has not been very many left this country for Australia this year there is still some going when you write again you must write us all the particulars about your country and if there is any people from this part near you I was for sending you a paper with this but I have not got one yet but I will send you one as soon as get one the *war is still going on and no signs of peace yet I think I have not much more than I can inform you of at this time when I write you again I will perhaps have more
Mother is still about her usual state of health she is still confined to bed I think it is about 10 years that she has been confined to bed since that time she has not been 2 hours out of it she is full as well now as ever she has been since took bad Helen is well and mother and her joins with me in thanking you for your kindness so I will draw to a close by wishing you all good health so I add not more at present but remain
*I feel this must be the Crimean War which was from 1853 to 1856; the war was first mentioned in James Hogg’s letter of February 1854. A settlement for peace was concluded on 30 March 1856, so this letter can be dated within that period, perhaps early 1856, as Robert Hogg’s letter of 1849 says his mother had been confined to bed for three years.
Hill Back August 1st 1855
Dear Uncle I now take my pen to write you a few lines to let you know that we got your letter in due time and was happy to hear from you and that you were all well hoping this will find you all well you said that you were going to send 5 pound which is very kind of you to be so mindfull of us there is none to send us any but you Robert and John has often promised to send us some but we have not got none yet Robert sent us 3 pound after he went to America that is all we have got but what we have got from you we have not had any letter from America this good while I put off writing to you as we were expecting word from them but we have got none the last letter we got from them they were all well they had a great drought last year and the crops were very light provisions was got very high flour was as dear in America as what it is in Brittain we had a very frosty winter and a very heavy snow in the hilly countries they had to fodder the sheep about 13 weeks and some had to drive them down the country when their hay was done meadow hay was 1/s (one shilling) per stone the spring was cold and barran we had both frost and snow till about the middle of May but after that the weather became more mild the heat commenced about the latter end of June and we have had very warm and growing weather and crops of all kinds is coming on very fast and they are looking very well the potatoes is looking well this far if the disease keep off them but meal is still high in price but markets is rather lower in prices but not much yet
Aunt Bell has been over seeing us she stoped 5 weeks she went away on Monday she is well and she is very fat she was very glad to hear from you she spoke of writing to you a few lines in this but I could not get her to begin she had a letter from Uncle Thomas since she came here they are stopping on where they were all well when the letter came away his son Robert had been very bad of inflammation but he was better he said they heard such bad accounts from Australia he thought it best to stop another year until they saw ………………..(the following page of the letter is missing)
Hill Back Feb 14th 1856
I now write you a few lines to let you know that we got both your letters safe and we are much obliged to you for your kindness in sending us the five pounds which came in good time as times has been very hard in this part especially with us Mother is still confined to bed she is not getting any stronger yet although she has been a good deal easier this while back than what she was once we have not had a letter from Robert or John for a long time back they have often promised to send us some money but there is none come yet if it had not been (for) you I don’t know what we would have done as provisions has been very high they are rather coming down in prices now and it is thought that they will still be lower as there is some word of peace but there is still preparations for war going on yet I was for sending you a paper but there has been nothing of importance in them this while back but if I be spared I will send you on the first chance I don’t get any but there is plenty to be got in this part I have not heard any word from Uncle Thomas since I wrote you last but perhaps he has wrote to you since I heard from him he never writes to us we have not had any word Aunt Bell this while back she was in good health when she wrote I was for being over to she befor this time but the weather has been very wet and great storms of wind we had a great hurricane of wind a fortnight ago but it was nothing with us to what it was in other parts about Glassgow and round that coast their has not been such a wind in the memory of the oldest person but we have had a very open winter this far we have had no snow but a good deal of frost but it has been a good winter we had a fine summer last year and good crops and if the war is got settled meal will be a good deal cheaper yet I think I have not very much of importance this time but I will write you before long if I be spared and perhaps I will have more Mother & Helen sends their kind love to you all so I will stop as my pen is very bad so a happy new year to you all
Denholm August 24 1858
Dear Brother and Sister
I now writ you a few lines to let you know that I am still the spard (spared) moment of the lords mercy but I fell (feel) the fraties (frailties) of auld age coming on I hope this wil find you all wel it very long since you wrote me but I am verey glade (glad) that you write to our sister and son and I wil thank you for being so good as given the money to helpe then (them) we may thank God fore putting it into your hart I may say it is a god send I hope the lord wil reward you for it it is a greate help to them and they are very thankful for your great kindness I was seeing her this summer and she is very porly never wins over the bede (bed) I hope our brother and family is all safe landed I hope Thomas will not forget to write he was very kind he wrote often to me give my love to my dear sister and all the rest of your family I would tak it verey kind if you would write me and let me kno how you are all I wil ad no more as James is to write
Your effect sister
This is another incomplete letter from James Hogg which seems to have been sent to a member of the Jackson family who arrived in Australia in 1858
I have not seen Dr Macauly this long time he is always kept very throng I think he is making money fast he had a brother seeing him last month from your old country but none of us has seen him since Helen took your letter to him he wanted to see it he is always asking after you when ever I see him you must write soon after you get this and I will try and do better next time I get one from you give our best respects to your father and mother and all your brothers and sisters and the same to Uncle George and Aunt and all there family and if he has not written before I get this I hope he will write soon after Aunt Isabell has written often since I told her about yours to see if we have got any letter from Uncle George she is always wearing to hear from you or America but it is long now since I could send her any news from either I have nothing more worth writing at this time but I will perhaps have more next time I write so I will add no more at present hoping this will find you all in good health so I remain yours
Affect cousin James Hogg
Hill Back Decm 10th 1860
Dear Uncle I now write you a few lines to let you know that mother died on the 17 of October last she took bad last March with influenza she had been in a weak way before then but after that was very bad at times until the time of her death she was very sore spent she could scarcly move sometime before she died it took one of us and sometimes both to lift her she did not want any other to do any thing to her she had a long ly in bed it was 15 years last month since ever she was an hour out of bed and she was poorly 2 years before but she could make a little stir
She is a great mis to us Helen thought she could not stop hear any longer but if we are spared we will stop until Whitsunday next and we will know better then but you must write as soon as you get this and let us know how you are all getting on as it is nearly two years since we got a letter from you we had one from Thomas Jackson last year he spock (spoke) of you being going to write soon after him but we have never got any yet but you must not forget us yet we like to hear from you all I had a letter (from) Aunt Bell she is in her usual health then but getting very stiff and bad at walking she has not been here for two years she was all ready to come over this summer but she took bad with the toothach so she did not come we have not had a letter from America since a bout Whitsunday they were all well when they wrote I expect we will be getting a letter from Robert soon if all is well Aunt Bell had a letter from the Highlands a short while ago she had wrote a letter to Aunt Flora to let them know of mothers death. She got an answer from a cousins daughter telling her that Aunt Flora died two years ago and none of her family had thought of writing to let her know a bout her death
We had a very stormy winter last year and spring there has been nothing like it for many years the sheep died very sore and lambs worse there was scarcly any hay to be got at any price and both sheep and cattle died with hunger but we had a very wet summer this and heavy crops of hay and grain both but badly got I hear of some corn out yet and potatoes is not all up yet but we have had very little frost to do any harm but plenty of rain I have little more at present but you must write and give us all particulars and I will perhaps have more next time I write I add no more at present but remains
Your Affectionate nephew
No further correspondence from Scotland has been saved after this date. We are unaware of what became of any of the Hogg family members. There is an indication that one member of the family was in Melbourne in approximately 1859. As Robert and John had gone to America and James was still writing from Scotland in December 1860, could this have been the other brother Thomas? In my earlier “Letters to Nancy” transcription, after returning to Victoria from Nancy’s 1859 marriage to Robert Broomfield, her father, Robert Wallace writes: “Tell Mr. & Mrs. Broomfield I see Hogg in Melbourne when I come back from the Manning he desired me to give his respects to them and tell them he was worse off now he lost the second wife he had two teams of horses carrying on the roads he sent me all my papers.” One of the earlier undated letters from James Hogg stated that ‘Thomas is thinking of going to America or Australia.’
Aunt Bell was still alive when the 1860 letter was written. By the time this last letter from James arrived, it would seem likely that Elizabeth Broomfield was, by then, very ill with the cancer that claimed her life in November 1861. After helping out their distant family for so long, the Broomfield’s were now faced with their own troubles so perhaps the correspondence did not continue.