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Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, Ellen, 1882
CollectionPatrick McMahon Glynn_Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]
SenderMcMahon Glynn, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationtravel agent
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBallarat, Victoria, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, Ellen
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count864
Genrenew job, change of residence, account of Ballarat
March 13th 1882.

My dear Mother
Since I last wrote to you I have been travelling for Life Assurance
and Sewing Machines in the bush. I delayed writing in order that I might form some idea of how it will pay, but by waiting any
longer I can get little more information. The first place I went to
was Egerton, a mining township, situate on the top of a small
mountain and commanding a beautiful prospect of the surrounding
country. From an elevation the country underneath being all covered
with trees looks like a sea—nothing but Australian gums everywhere
—some without bark or leaves in consequence of having been ring
barked or having had the bark cut near the roots which brings on
Decay and consequent clearing of the land. But in another letter I
will describe the country—I have to be off to travel again in half an
I canvassed from house to house at Egerton for three weeks but
had bad luck. Several promised to insure, and began preliminaries,
but when things went on pleasantly] a strike was declared in the
Mines, so that they could not complete. My time there was therefore
gone for nothing. I several times went down the mines. McLoughlin,
my friend, was there as chemist, but has since lost his situation and is
almost a beggar again.
From Egerton we went to travel amongst the farmers in a
district where they are all Irish. I did better there, and have made
about £7 since, which is about my expenses. For a man travelling
by himself a decent income might be realised. He must stick to it, as
the business he does one week does not begin to be remunerative for
a month or two. As I am simply helping an agent—he gets all the
commission on his own cases, and half that on mine. But the horses
and trap are his. If I have a few pounds together in a month or so I
will go to New South Wales, get called to the bar, and if possible get
[employed] as travelling agent for some Life Office until I put some
money together. It is hard work, requires great tact, and talking
power, and entails a lot of expense in travelling. I never sleep in the
same bed more than two nights in succession. Today I might be
here, tonight 30 miles off. The roads are simply desperate. The
metal roads are not as bad, but the wide lanes which lead off from
them are simply marked out tracks thro' the bush, with feet of red
dust on them, monstrous trees growing in the middle, huge ones fallen
across everywhere, stumps sticking up here and there, deep ruts. In
order to dodge trees etc. etc. the paths are serpentine. One place we
drove to right in the heart of the bush is in general accessible only to timber waggons drawn by teams of 16 or 20 bullocks, or 8 or 10
horses. The ruts are yards deep. Once we had the buggy smashed,
another time a machine wagon smashed, my friend pitched out—the
wheels rolled over his head, the horse upset, and traces broken. I
rode one dark night on a borrowed horse—a racer about 30 miles
through the bush lanes and had to walk sometimes for an hour
together for fearing of breaking the horse's legs over some tree etc.
and missed the way eventually. Another night we drove 13 miles to
get a bed—on another had to sleep under a stack of corn for want of
a bed. But the air was beautiful and balmy, the moonlight lovely, so
that I would just as soon sleep out. The climate however is very
treacherous—changes come on in a minute. This produces English
cholera, which is very bad all around here just now. Almost every
third family I visited was afflicted with an infectious form of ophthalmia
or had the blight. I have been lucky enough to escape it—but
often am abominably annoyed with real Victorian diarroehea.
Some other time I will endeavour to write a proper account of
the country and what I think of it At present I send you Lizzy's and
her daughter Eva's, as well as her nephew's photographs. McL. and
myself are the other. Travelling has shown me what Australian bush
life is—so that I can speak from experience. I only met one snake.
Now as to yourselves I hope you have been all well since. Tell
James I will soon write to him. If you have OT can get from the
Freeman office a copy or two of the edition with my letter I would be
much obliged for it, as the others never reached me. You can direct
[it] to the General Post Office Melbourne. This Ballarat is a lovely
city of about 35,000 inhabitants. It is a mining place. As far as I
have seen of both country and town people here, they are far more
civilized on the whole than the same classes at home.
With love to all for the present

Your affect. Son
P. McM. Glynn