Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 122, 1894

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Fairlight, New South Wales, Australia

December 13, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in 8MR 144-146.

Dear Children:

Here we are in a new, strange locality—Brother and Sister Rousseau, Brother McKenzie, May Lacey, Willie, and your mother. We came to this large farm to look at the land which had been represented as very grand and beautiful. I was not well and have not been able to eat much for several weeks, except rice flour porridge; but I am thinking to change the program and venturing to eat vegetables and fruit, which in about two or three weeks, we will have in abundance. 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 1

Willie has been having a long siege of council meetings and committee meetings. While pitching our tents, in driving a stake, he missed his stroke or his finger got in the way of the iron sledge, and he smashed his finger, splitting open the flesh to the bone in three places, but not breaking the bone. The nail had to be drawn out. This finger needed considerable care. Brother Simmons dressed it carefully every day, but as this finger difficulty was in a fair way of recovery, a small pimple appeared on his wrist which increased to great inflammation, and after more than one week of suffering, the core came out and the second gathering appeared. Hops and elder blow [poultices] soon brought that to a head, and he now has some peace. He concluded to take my span of horses and platform wagon, and Brother McKenzie and himself came to this place. 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 2

I was not strong enough to ride twenty miles to Fairlight, and still twelve miles to this farm. They wished to see Brother and Sister Rousseau, and your mother came on the cars, one hour’s ride, to the station at Fairlight. Here the horses and carriage met us, and another horse and carriage was hired. We took another passenger, a lady, who has been the housekeeper for the family living in Sydney, who comes to this place to spend several days each month. 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 3

We expected to camp out in my tent, but we learned that the house on the place would accommodate us. It is a very excellent cottage, and we found spring beds and everything, except food, and this we had brought with us in full supply. We did not arrive here until dark. Much of the road was up hill. I could but think of the inconvenience of locating a school eight or ten miles from railroad. We were all weary and were glad to lie down and rest. 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 4

We all slept well, and this morning we were privileged to look over the buildings. There has been much outlay of money. There are immense cisterns built underground for reservoirs for rain water, and a large number of tanks besides. These buildings could be utilized for a school, but other buildings would have to be erected with suitable accommodations for school purposes. This land, three thousand acres, is offered for four and five pounds per acre. 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 5

We see most serious objections in having to transport all provisions and goods eight miles over a very rough road, all up hill and down. Here are orange and lemon grove orchards and pear trees and that is about all in the line of fruit. [The] soil [is] not the best. This locality was [settled] when the convicts were exiled from England. We see the buildings they occupied, and expected we might have the privilege of occupying some one of the buildings for few nights. This three [thousand] acres of land will sell for the sum of $50,000 or $60,000 and where could we obtain so much money? 9LtMs, Lt 122, 1894, par. 6