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Lot 7
AUSTRALIA. Letters home by John Neal, an immigrant to Australia [on the Utopia], 1862-1868
£600 - 800
US$ 1,000 - 1,300
Lot Details
Letters home by John Neal, an immigrant to Australia [on the Utopia] ("...we shall have about 3 hundred on board irish Scotch and all sorts..."), the first letter written from Plymouth before sailing, 19 July 1862, the remainder from Rockhampton, running from 4 January 1863 to 4 July 1868 (" cultured land here nothing growing here but trees and a bit of ruf grass in the low places we live in calico houses most of us here i got a few things such as nails & and nocked up one for myself about a mile from the town close to a swamp of fresh water the dray man charges a ½ crown a hogshead to take it to town all kinds of labour goin on here gets good wages but severel out of employ i have no regluer yet but there but there [sic] is some digging started some time back 260 miles up and turned out well till they was drove out for the want of rain they begin to flock up to it again now so things will go better here you may praps think i might go as well but i cannot shift that distance for a trifle i have some funny work since i have been here i have nocking stone a bit..."); with notes and addresses on end-papers ("John Neal/ Miner/ Hunters Gully/ Mornish Digging/ Nr Rockhampton/ Queensland"), nearly 80 pages, written in several of semi-literate hands, diced calf, clasp, ticket of Newcomb, Boston [Lincs], 8vo, 1862-1868


  • An early record of life in Rockhampton, Queensland, officially proclaimed as a town in 1858 after having been visited by the Archer brothers in 1853, with immigration from Britain beginning the following decade following the discovery of gold at nearby Canoona in 1859; or, as John Neal tells his parents and siblings back in England on 4 January 1863, "this is entire a new place 4 years ago since there was no one there except blacks there is plenty of them now i think they expect to make somethink of this place for the streets are quite as wide as in London". From the variety of hands and the duplication of one letter (announcing the death of his wife), it is clear that this volume comprises transcripts made by his family as his letters came in from Australia – and as such it represents a side of the migrant's story that is often ignored.

Saleroom notices

  • This lot has been withdrawn.
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  1. Luke Batterham
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3879
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