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Title: McCance, John to Orr, William, 1858
CollectionOceans of Consolation [D. Fitzpatrick]
SenderMcCance, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationgold-digger
Sender Religionunknown
OriginVictoria, Australia
DestinationGrey Abbey, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientOrr, William
Recipient Gendermale
Relationshipold neighbour
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1397
Genrelife in the colonies, labour
TranscriptChewton Forest Creek
June 7th/58.
Dear Sir
I would wish to write a few more lines to you but realy I scarcely do
Know what to write to you as there is very little new here that I do Know
or remember as this does leave us in our useual health Praise the Lord for
His continued merceys to us as we are very unworthy of the least of His
notice yet still He spares our very unworthy lives and bestows on us a good
measure of hea[l]th and strength and a good many of His bountys and we
trust that this will find you all as a family in good health also and now
what shall I say.
If I was till you of our own township how it is growing as if it were
by m[a]gic and also our market town Castlemaine you would not feel much
intrest in them. But realy the astonish me. As to our digging there is little
new but likely I will send you a newspaper which will give you all the
information of these Things. I sent you one by the last mail of the 15th
may. I hope you may have got it. Our great railway is now all the talk but
is not begun yet. It was to have begun on the first of June but oweing to
the severe illness of a great ireish man a Mr Duffy it is put off till the tenth
of June. There is a great many goldmining compenys starting up about this
place I beleive five or six some of them so large as 2000 shares. It is causing
work to get more plenty for those who is willing to work for wages and if
our great railway was started I think there need not be many idle. But I
think that wages will never be high again as there is still a goodly number
waiting in hops of the same perhaps more Than will work when they get
the chance. But now what shall I say more.
I wish I could Know what you would wish to Know but I will begin
with our season. This is now the month of June and our white frosts are
now set in. I have washed my face in icey water this last week. We have it
nearly one eighth of an inch thick betimes but allways followed by a most
beautifull day. We have a good deal of our garden seed sowen and above
the ground such as the frost will not Kill. That is onions leeks parsnips
carrotts lettuces cress Redish parsley celery and peas which are fit for stakeing
at this time. Cabbage curley Kale culiflowers and all such like I have
had sowen and all grew very well even the seeds which I Kindly received
from you. But alas this blight with which we are so sorly perplexed pays
no respect to seeds or where the come from. As soon as the plant gets its
second or third leaf the blight lays hold on them and in spite of all our
care it has Killed the most of them but still I have preserved a few of all
sorts yet espeicly the curley Kale. I have also a little of all the flower seeds
sowen which you sent but the are not up yet. But I intend to protect them
from the frost by means of a square of calico and four posts which will
furle up every morning and spread out every eve[n]ing.

Now sir supose I would turn to nature a little but realy I scarsley
dare as I am no naturlist. But perhaps you might wounder what sort of
things we may have here and I think I have hinted at our trublesome things.
Our venomous Reptiles are very numerous. We have a great variety of birds
more than I could now inform you of and some of most beautifull plumbage.
If you would give me a hint of your desire to hear of them I would
take down a list of them. We have some very nice butterflys of almos every
hue except white as I have never saw a white one yet. I have seen no bees
as yet either tame or wild although I beleive that there is some in this colney
[colony]. Our bat is the very same as the are with you. They fly about very
thick every eveining. Our swallow is much the same also. They remain with us all winter but there is more in summer. Now I must tell you that we have lots of mice here although I think they are not natives and we have plenty of rats in severl places although I have not seen any on the diggings as yet. They have plenty in Castlemaine and they are awefull numerious in Melbourne a perfect plague. They are not natives either but indeed I could scarcely tell you what is natives. I have seen the Kangaroo and the opossum the Kangaroorat about the size of a rabbit. The native cat is a prety thing. It is not so large as our cat is all spotted like a laopord withe spots about the size of buttons. I have never saw a native dog but I beleive they are very pretty alaso rather like a fox. Now I have told you what I have seen & must refer you to natural history for the others. I have never seen a hare but there [are] plenty of tame Rabbits and I belive there is some wild ones which has been let loose. I have never seen either phcasent or patridge. We have plenty of Quales and native pidgeons. But perhaps this will wearie you but what shall I say next.
I would ask you a very important Questin and that is as I Know that
ray father is not very plenty of ready Change if you would be so Kind (as
I cannot doubt your Kindness) as to give him a half or whole Quire of
lettet paper ink pens Sec. and every letter that he would bring in to you if
you would back it and stamp it that is with postage stamps. By so doeing
you would certinly very much oblidge me and it may be that I may get an
oppettunity of some one returning home by which I may recomepence you.
If not sooner I shall have a chance when Thomas Brooks des go and if I
do not get any I shall not forget to pay you with intresst.
Now as I have named T. B. I must tell you that he is in good health
and I have heard good accounts of his hole by Mrs John McMillin who is
up with us at this time to stop a week or so. Thomas still lives with them.
John Regan is in good health also and works in the same hole with Thomas.
Mrs Boyce and all her family are well also. I supose you will have heard
that her doughter Eliza is got married since they came. Hamilton lives up
here now close to our garden fence. James McMillin still works at the work
with me as I still work at the companys work yet but we have had no word
from Nathaniel yet. Thomas & Alexander are still out in the bush at stations.
I have never had the chance of seeing any aquentance of yous and
may be I never shall unless they make themselves Known to me.
I still hold the Boomarang yet. I have just been showing it to Mrs
McMillin and another young woman a Mrs McAnally from BelIfast who
is up with her. She would wish that you would let her father & Morher
Know that they are all well also but there is nothing new with them. They
are still working at thair deep hole also that is Mrs John McMillin.
Now I do not Know what news to ask of you but you may let me
Know of any deaths that may occour in the old neighbourhood with any
perticular news that you may think right. When you write you may direct
to myself John McCance Chewton forest Creek by Castlemaine Victoria
Australia. So I conclude with your friend & wellwisher
John McCance