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from the author of this website

Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds

together with beautiful paintings by local artist Judy Kurtz


Portrait of Mudgee and District

by Judy Kurtz,

with historical notes by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds.

A quality coffee table book of 30 colour prints and 6 sepia drawings by renown artist, Judy Kurtz, with historical notes by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds, all of the Mudgee region, Gulgong, Rylstone, Kandos, Goolma, Wollar, Capertee, Hill End, Hargraves and more.


Price: $39.95

plus postage and handling.

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1860 Letter from Oakfield, near Mudgee

This letter is sent to us by Eileen Savage. Thank you Eileen.

Oakfield, near Mudgee

June 30, 1860.



Dear Parents,

                I have been waiting a long time expecting a letter from you without success. I have written twice since I received your last letter. I hope nothing has happened to you. I am very sorry to inform you my little son is dead, but I thank God my wife and I are quite well. I have moved from Cooyal. I had very bad luck there. I got little or nothing by the farm but I hope to make up for it this year. I have thirty acres of first rate land second to none in the colony. If it is a good season I think I shall do some ...............


Last summer was very dry and the ground was very poor. I have just finished sowing ten acres of wheat. Farming was very strange to me at first but I am getting into it now. It is very hard work in this country. I still convey the mail and I have had the misfortune to lose a very good horse. I had bad eyes one week, not able to take the mail. I sent it on by a young man that lived on the road and by some means or other he broke his leg, which made him completely useless. I am sorry to say I am very unfortunate. It takes a man a long time to get on in this country. When I came on the farm I have now I had to build a house and clear the ground of trees, which is not easy work and cost a good sum of money, more than I can spare at present, but if I reap a good harvest, it makes for lost time.


The Snowy River diggings is all the talk now. The press gives a good account of it, but you cannot believe the papers. There is thousands going to make a start in the spring. I do not think it at all likely that I shall go. Times is very bad now. It is hard work for any poor family to get a living. I believe there are many unemployed in Sydney as there is in any town in England. I believe they have stopped immigration. There is plenty wish themselves back again. There is plenty of respectable men come out here thinking of getting good situations, but are soon glad to get hold of anything.  I think in a short time this country will be quite as bad as England. When I first came to Mudgee any man could get from a pound to five and twenty shillings a week and now they cannot get more than fifteen. Everything is very dear. I am sorry I have not been able to assist you since I have been here, but I have not been able. There is nothing would give more pleasure. I do not spend a shilling wastefully. I had a bad beginning this year. First my loss of the house, then the loss of our dear little boy, and having to build a house altogether cost me sixty pounds. As soon as I can save a five pound note I will send it to you. You must think me very ungrateful indeed. I have not been able to purchase a plough or harrow yet. I have to pay for it being done for me.... That keeps me back, but while I have my health I am not at all frightened but what I will get on well. It takes time and perseverance. They say a bad beginning makes a good ending. I hope it will end so with us all.


I have taken the ground for fourteen years. I hope in that time to save sufficient money to come home to England. If possible I should very much like to see it once more. It is all work and no pleasure in Australia, but a man can live very comfortably on a farm when he is settled. It takes plenty of money to get everything you require. I do not know what we will do next summer if all the men leave to go to the Snowy River digging as they talk about doing so. There is verty good accounts from them at present but it is too cold to work now. It is about four hundred miles from here. I think it will do the district a deal of harm. There is plenty of gold about Mudgee only it wants looking for, and the diggings are too poor to prospect. They are obliged to stay where they can get a little digging is very....


I often wish I had been a mechanical tradesman. They can always get a good living and a shoe maker is a very good trade here. You have to pay a pound for a pair of blucker boots. You have to pay a taylor ten shillings for making a pair of trousers and find the stuff yourself. I think I have told you all the news I can and I hope I shall have better news to tell you in my next letter. This is Monday night after my day’s work at burning off timber and my wife is darning my sock. I have to start with the mail at five o’clock in the morning. Give my kind love to all and kiss tghem for me. I should very much like to hear from Arthur and Sarah. I think they might have written to me. I hope Mr. Protioskis health is better. Give my kind love to him. My love to all and remain your obedient son,


Edwin Greenwood.


For Steam Ship                               Mudgee, N.S.W.

                                                    July 3, 1860.



                                                       Sep. 9. 1860.


From the Editor: Thank you so much Eileen for sending us this letter. Thank you also for your intention of sending the original for our local museum/historical society. The Mudgee community will be so happy to receive an actual original letter written 'home' to London in the 1860s. I understand the fragility of it, so it will be all the more precious for our museum to have it to preserve such a letter.


About Eileen:

I have a letter that was written in by Edwin Greenwood in 1860 to his parents in England.   Edwin immigrated to Australia and settled in the Mudgee area.  He described his life and the economic conditions of the time.  ...
Edwin's parents were my great-great-great-grandparents.  I do not have any further correspondence and do not know if he stayed in Australia or returned to England.
Eileen Savage     

HI Diane
I  would like to send you the original letter if you email me your postal address.  The letter is beginning to deteriate as it was folded for many years.  It will have travelled round the world  from Australia to England and back to Australia via Canada.  The grandchildren of Edwin's sister immigrated to Canada.   The three grandsons came to Canada i n the early 1900's , and their sister and her husband (my parents)  came here after the war.
I Googled Mudgee and found it similar to the Niagara Peninsula where I live.  Wine making is important part of the economy,  and Niagara Falls  a famous tourist attraction.
Thank you for your interest in this letter.
Best wishes