Friday, October 28, 2016

Walter McKenzie to Colin McKenzie 15th August 1920

If you've just tuned in to the McKenzie story, you may want to read the introductory post here.

Worker's dwelling at Banyo, Brisbane. Banyo is the name of an eastern suburb of Brisbane and a railway station on the Sandgate line. The name is an aboriginal word meaning 'a small hill' and was probably so called from the hill on which now stands Pope Pius XII Seminary. The railway station was originally called Clapton Junction, however the name was changed to Banyo in 1897 when it was intended to make it the junction for the North Coast line - this junction was subsequently made at Northgate. Image from John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Negative number: 147209  Out of copyright

28 Comely Bank Place, 

15th August 1920

My Dear Colin,

We received a letter from you written on 27th June and addressed to Alex on Wednesday last and see that you are getting on all right. I have now got a job as a clerk at £2-10-0 per week at Bonnyrigg in Henry Widnell & Co wholesale carpet manufacturing firm.  So it is a start made and I will try and get a rise as soon as I can,. I see from the papers in London that there are more jobs in England and better paid ones. I could easily have got £3 or over in London or Manchester but as I wanted to be a at home I decided to take this one in Bonnyrigg. I have to start on Monday which is the same time as John starts in Glasgow.

Up to now we have not got fixed in a house yet. John & I have been round looking at ever so many different ones and also enquiring of an architect to see if we could build one but as things are so bad just now in the building line no one can give us an exact estimate as to the cost. At the present moment it would cost well over £1000 then there would be a fence to put round it and drain pipes to be connected up and in the event of a strike we would need to pay, above the estimated price the increase in wages or the increase in material if it should go up. So at present we have given up the idea of building one. We also enquired into the price of an army hut but that is even worse. The hut would cost about £150 and then £300 to erect it which would be value for £450 when it was up. 

I am enclosing two photos of Mr Gibbs which you might give him. I would have sent them out with my last letter but I must have forgotten. 

Next time you see Miss J Campbell tell her mamma wrote to her when on her voyage home and that she will be writing again soon. So will I.

Hoping you keep well

Your loving brother


P.S. How are the people paying up my land at Banyo also you can let us know how Haynes pays up the Petrie land and anything else you think I will be interested in. WMcK

Note from Alex: This blog also provides some great background reading on Henry Widnell & Co and carpet manufacturing in West Scotland.  Do watch the video - it gladdens a librarian's heart - a design library - who knew?  Also the photo chosen to go with this blog post was chosen as a point of comparison between Edinburgh and Brisbane and what it cost to build houses in each place at the time.  To my knowledge there is no connection between the dwelling at Banyo in the picture and the McKenzie family.


diane b said...

Interesting stuff you found in that box.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Diane - I'll say! So much detail huh? A real social history.