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Port Adelaide, South Australia
November 1876? 

Dear Uncle and the other friends,

I have no doubt that as soon as the envelope enclosing this letter is put in your hands, and you observe the South Australian postmarks on it your mind will be much exercised, with mingled feelings of surprise, joy, anxious expectation, and perhaps on perusal of its contents, with disappointment. Surprise in as much as you have not had many, if any, letters from friends in this distant land and have sometimes thought that you were altogether forgotten and uncared for, and that in your case the old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” was being exemplified. This letter then, will doubtless be a surprise.

Joy will, I doubt not, rise into your heart from the evidence here afforded that your friends here have not altogether forgotten you and though separated by the mighty deep yet you are in remembrance. 

Anxious expectation will doubtless be experienced inasmuch as you will wonder and perhaps fear that what the contents may be. What its tidings, joy or sorrow, good news or ill. And what the reason is for writing now after so many long years of silence. Then you may perhaps feel somewhat disappointed upon perusal that the letter is not written by one of your sisters of their husbands, but by one of your nephews who possibly you have forgotten.

I was only very young when we left England and I confess I’ve no recollection of an Uncle Joseph Briggs, through can very well remember poor old Grandfather Briggs and Aunt Nancy and cousins George and John Butterworth. I well remember Potter Hill Sunday School and also going to Ecclesfield Church when Grandfather was buried. I remember distinctly Aunt Ellen living at Wadsley Bridge. I can also remember Grandfather and Grandmother Rose, Cousin Sam and Sarah Butterworth though I can’t call to mind any of the Briggs family except Grandfather and I believe it was walking to his funeral as I did that caused the lameness from which I have ever since suffered. I remember that day as well as if it were only yesterday. There are many other little circumstances and places that I can just call to mind. I remember the old school I used to attend at High Green, the house where I used to live. I remember Father selling the donkey he used to have and his giving me a halfpenny to go to Jim Sellars and buy treaklesticks while the man took the donkey away. I remember going to Wharncliffe once and seeing a poor boy, silly I think he was, and made queer noises so that I was afraid of him.

I well remember the first night we stayed at Southampton depot. I can also remember what a big fellow Jim Kilney or Kinley or some such name, the butcher a chap that used to surprise me by eating raw meat. I also remember my cousin George Butterworth and I hiding the apples, windfalls of course at any rate some were if they all were not in the thatch roof of Grandfather Rose’s stable or rather the shed adjoining his house, where the chaffcutter was kept. However I was too young when we left England to remember very much.

The reason which actuated me in writing this letter was simply this. I went up to Kapunda the other day and whilst there went to see Aunt Ellen and Uncle Graves, they told me they had received a letter from England from my Uncle Joseph Briggs and that they had sent it on to Aunt Ann and Uncle Ino Rowe. They were both going to write and will doubtless do so yet, but Aunt Ellen said she would like me to send Uncle Joseph some newspapers and she would gladly forward your address to me if I would send you a few lines and was sure you would be pleased to hear from me. I felt the difficulty of writing to friends whom I could not remember but I thought that in writing to the brother of my loving though long lost mother, I was writing to one who would only be too glad to hear even from me.

Now having explained matters I suppose I must tell you a little news about everybody you know on this side of the world. First Aunt Ellen and Uncle Graves are still living close to Kapunda. Uncle is farming in a small way about two miles out of the town. Aunt and family are well in health with the exception of Uncle Graves he suffers a little from Rheumatism in his hip which causes him to walk lame. Their two eldest boys, John Henry and Willie are quite men in stature and I suppose almost so in age. They are great musicians Ino Henry plays the clarionette and Willie the Cornopian and a few months ago they, with three of their fellow tourismen formed themselves into a Band and accepted an engagement for twelve months to travel round the colonies with a circus company and as they have only to play at night when the performances are going on I should think they will have a merry time of it. They will see all the colonies and the change will doubtless be beneficial to their health. Sydney is growing a fine big boy and is useful on the farm. Eva and Margaret are growing into fine young girls whilst Master Tommy is about to be weaned they are all well and desire me to send you their best love.

Aunt Ann and Uncle Ino Rose reside at Gawler seventyfive miles from Adelaide and midway between Kapunda and Adelaide. He is working manager there for the South Australian Gas Company. George Henry their eldest son (I send portrait) is nearly twentyone years old and is working at a large bookselling establishment in Adelaide and goes home on Saturdays by rail. Louise, two years younger is quite a nice young woman and a great help to her mother. Kate, Annie, Albert and baby make up the list of their family and with the exception of slight colds they are all well and wish me to send their kind love. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Williams are living in Kapunda. They have taken a shop and set up in business as bakers. They have got a nice little trade and seem to be getting on first rate. You are perhaps aware that Aunt Margaret is about big enough for four women. I fancy she is dropsical but she enjoys pretty good health all things considered and her looks never pity her. Uncle Tommy that is Father’s brother does not enjoy very good health but Aunt Bessy his wife keeps pretty well. Aunt Mary, that is Father’s sister is well. Mr Greenaugh however has been dead something like five years I think. Allen your late Yorkshire friend is married again to a Miss Dawson a very respectable girl of about 35 summers.

Now I will refer to my own family. My mother (Sarah) as you are aware died some twentytwo years ago. I was only a youngster then but I remember her distinctly. Father married again in ten or a dozen years after and doubtless the lady he married makes him a good wife.


~ courtesy of Chris Hale ~


{This transcript of a letter received from members of the family who emigrated to Australia – whilst the family information won’t be of interest, there are some general observations which make very interesting reading. Sadly the final page is missing so we have no firm evidence of who the writer is. However, I eventually found the last descendent of the family who emigrated to Australia and she deduced that it was written by Arthur or Horace Rose. There is no date on the later but I managed to date it to around 1876 using information in the letter about the date of emigration. The family sailed on the ship “The Navarino” in 1856.}


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