|Burke, Biddy to parents, 1884
|Oceans of Consolation [D. Fitzpatrick]
|Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Balrobuck Beg, Co. Galway, Ireland
May the 5: 1884
My Dearest father & mother
I for once in 12 mounths sit to have a few words of conversation
with you by a message which I must say is my hardest Job to get through.
I got Your letter about 10 days ago which I often wanderd ware You dead
or what became of You. As for my Brother & sisters I Quite forgive them
as they have got children of their owne to [?look two] & me a child or a
lost lam far away from home & nation. To think my father & mother at
the end of a long year could cast a thout on me & wright me a letter.
Wasent it a cheating present to a true hart from the Dearest frind.
Well now I must thank god for his kindness to spare you they health
to do so & also for my own health which I am enjoying grand. I would
like to know what did do to my Brother Jack & Winney. One of those fine
days I shall encourage some of those girls away from them as I intend to
live an old maid. John I heare they ar growing up fine girls like their Aunt
Biddy as Mary A used to say when she used to call me they Black Top &
denie her father & mother & tell her mother Winney to go home to Clude
& take Dinea & leave Vronkey [?pet names for Mary Ann's sisters Delia
and Bridget] with her. Dont I often wish I could see them now & that
strange girl Keattey. I hope she is lik her ant Biddy as well.
I suppose my Sister Mary hasent got a Bit of paper to soil on a sister.
I shanent write again untill I write to my boy Martin. I am glad to here what a fine stout woman Mary became & also I am sorrow for her sister in law Mrs Sulvan of Galway for they wreched life her Mother in law is given her. I here she abuses her fine. I hope M. Walsh is well & as for his sones I supose they ar fine men now. I am comming home one of those days to have a look & a fine old talk to they lot of Yea & father. You never told anny thing about my uncle Larrance [Laurence] what became of him & family. I supose M. A. is a grown up woman & Mick [?] a big man now. Also my uncle Ml how ever is he. I supose Bridget & Henery ar grown up as well also Young William. I dare say I would see a change their now & not forgeting Dear old Mrs Goley which I must call her. How is she & has she got onely one boy & the Dear little soul I expect she has onely 2 girls. How ar they all & not forgetting Aunt Biddy or Aunt Peg also all my cousins & friends & not forgeting the old neighbours of sweet Balrobuck beg. I supose it as green & as wet as ever.
I am glad that stock is standing a good price but I am sorrow for the
corn & & things to get to such a loe price. I supose the potatoes ar still
getting Black. Theire is no such a thing as a black potae in Queensland &
they native potates we can plant the stalks like gerreamen [? geranium] slips
at home in pots. They plant them the same here in the fields & potatoes
grows as large as turnips at home. These ar Called sweet potatoes. We have
the English potates the same as the home potatoes & turnips & all sorte
of vegetables the same as home & anny amount of Beef & mutton & also
of meat. Beef is 31/2 a lb mutton the same veal & pork from 4d to 6 pence
a pound tea 1s. 10d a pound sugar 3 a lb. potatoes ar 1s. a scone to 1s. 6
flour 11/2 a pound fowles 5s a pair geese 14s a pair turkeys pound to 25s
a pair & every thing is much dear this year than ever fore [for] the summer
been so hot.
It was the hotest summer in Queensland with the last 20 years. You
must think it was hot when the plaits on the dresser should be handled
with a cloth. I dont think we had a wet day with the last 12 mounths. We
might have a storm or 3 since but not a wet day. Altogether they men
cannot sit Idle in this country from wet weather. Now the summer is over
& the winter comming on I am so glad. I did feel the heat so much boath
night & day we could not sleep. It was Quite enough for us to keep the
the sweet of our facess [sweat off our faces].
I supose Yea had a cold winter of it home & I dare say father &
Mother you had a lonely Christmas of it, & so had I. My brother Patt is
out the Bush with the last 14 Mounths. I expected him in at Christmas
time & his Job was not finished & did not come. He is comming into town
in 3 mounth time but I here from everry week. Dont think for a moment
its for anny gammling he is in the Bush. No he is a good boy & works 10
hours a day for 12s & is saving a lot of money. There ar young fellows in
this town with they last 10 years & they ar not worth a penney & that is not like poor Patt. He works hard for it & knows how to save it. A lot of
[?them] Camps in the Bush in tents & feels as happy as the day is long &
each man takes it in turn a week cooking & dont they have nice tea.
Now I must tell you some about my uncle. He came to pay me a visit
about 2 mounths ago. He feel alright & also all they family. He was saying
something about gone home in a year or 2 if he would be spared. I might
goe that is if Patt comes well [we'll] all goe & see the old sod once more.
But I dont supose I could live there now altho its the deepest thought in
my heart does the water still come into the Yard in winter times & I supose
all the Visstoers [visitors] they same as ever. Dont I often think of them
Well now about my owne self I am in grand health & is enjoying
Queensland verry much. I am sorrow that I hadent come 5 years before I
did come I would have a lot of money now. That is when my mother used
call me a foulish girl & now every body tell me I have got too much sence
but it dosent matter. When I grow older & save some more money I can
live Quite happy then. I am sending you one [on] three pounds for to drink
my health & once more. Well now my Dearest father & Mother I hope
your are well & also My Dear old Brother John & Winney. I am making
none difference nor never will for I know that Winney will be as kind to
You father & Mother as if she was a daughter of Your owne.
And does my poor Mother get as bad a head ache as ever. My head
gets verry bad sometimes eather they heat or the cold does not agree with
it. I have to nearly always keep a hat one in the house & its makes me
often thmk of my poor Mothers head. They Docters say its from the cold
in the feet. I wore cloth boots & I got a wetting from Getting cought in
thunder Storm & got my feet wett & a dreadfull bad cold in the head &
eever since then my head is tender but now I am carefull. Thunder storms
is verry dangese [dangerous] in this countrey they come in less than a minnits
notice. So Mind You Mother be sure & keep warm boots one & the
Feaver is vetry bad in this climat & there is a lot of people dinen [?dying]
Some days ther is from 2 to 3 deaths in the Hospital thoes that has no
home to go to & a lot more from they homes as well. If you neglect Yourself
in this country Your as soon Done for.
Now I Must talk to the Girls which I am glad to here that they filling
up My old home. Try & bring them up well John & dond keep them at
home from School & Winny mind & give a Mothers advise to each of
them for you know that it takes a girl all her time to keep her place. I often
think of My Mother now how she used to talk to me. This is the place
that foolish girls ar knowing. & dont forget to get them boots. Well now
I suppose you will be tirde of reading my letter. I must conclud with fond
Love & remaining your daughter & a loving sister & a sincere Aunt untill
To her father & mother M. & P. Burke. + + + + +
Wright soone & send me all the Nuse. You never tell me a thing
about any body. Let me Now about every body. + + + + + Good by all
Kisses + + + +
How is Clude & J. & P.