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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath family, 1862
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, Hamilton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationgold digger
Sender Religionunknown
OriginRangiora, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath family
Recipient Gendermale-female
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count526
Genrefamily, work, weather, acquaintances
TranscriptRangiora, August 12th 1862

Dear Father Mother and Brothers
I write these few lines to let you know that we are in good health at
present and hope you are in the enjoyment of the same. I had a slight
touch of fever before we left the diggings but I was alright in a week
or two, the hair nearly all came off my head but I've a fine head of
hair now. James got your letter of the 23rd March on the 25th May
and we were glad to hear that you were all well. I did not get the let letter from Harper, Kyneton so we never heard of Aunt
Sarah's death before but ever since I heard she was ill
I was expecting to hear of her death. I hope Uncle W.
and Aunt Jane is well they will be very lonely now.
We got on pretty fair at the digging for the time we
stopped but when winter set in it was getting rather
cold for a canvas tent and little fire so we thought we
would hook it in time. We like this place very much
only we had a very severe winter it was every bit as
cold as home. The snow does not lie as long but we have far more rain. The sun rises in the east and goes left about,
instead of right as at home which I thought rather curious at first. We
are all placed to our minds I think James is on a station where he says
he has got very little to do but ride out and run in wild heifers. He
tells me that he's growing stout he weighs 11 stones and a half without
his coat they count him a big fellow. I had a letter from W. James
Alexander yesterday he says he has got nothing to do for his £70 per annum but milk the cows and drink the milk.
I am with a wholesale wine and spirit merchant. I drive out grog
and beer and sometimes I plough I like my work first rate we intend
to commence farming but we thought we would make as much and be
easy this way. We intend to buy some land and let it lie it will be valuable some day. You can get as much as you like free of everything for
ever for £2 an acre we saw almost all the boys from Killinchy.
We wrought close by David Osborne and Nathanial Heron's three
sons on the diggings. William Gabbie he was there too we heard
him lecturing one Sunday evening. We saw Thomas Logan in
Christchurch he was well and Mary Ann I saw her she is married to
Johnny Skilling, Hamilton Adair sent me word he was coming up to
see me some of these days.
When you write to James you must direct James Logan Mcllrath as
there is another James Mcllrath on the same station that has got all
James's letters and opened them I know of no more.
But remains your very dutiful son,

Hamilton Mcllrath.
Canterbury Christchurch will do for either of us