Thursday, October 27, 2016

Walter McKenzie to Colin McKenzie 1st August 1920

The boy in this photograph has been identified as Edgar Tainton. (Description supplied with photograph.)This is an image of a horse drawn cart delivering bakery goods to suburban homes in Nundah district. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Negative number: 53417 
c/- Gillies
28 Comely Bank Place

1st August '20

My Dear Colin

I am now three weeks at home and have seen round Edinburgh a bit as I have got an idea of how things stand.  First of all prices of food are just we thought; not very bad except sugar which is 1/2 per lb. Rationed to ½ each person per week although there is also what they call free sugar at 1/7 ½ lb and can be bought in any quantity. Butter is 3/6 per lb. but we use margarine at 1/- per lb which works out at half the price we paid for butter in Northgate. Bread 6 ½ for 2lb loaf (same as in Qld) milk 8d per quart (1d cheaper than in Northgate. Meat is about 2/4 to 2/6 lb about double in  price of Qld meat. Then clothing is from 50% to 100% cheaper than Brisbane.  A good Blue serge suit to measure I could get at £6-2-6 and grey suit from £4-10-0 and looks perfect.  Shirts are about the same from 7/6 upwards boots the same as Brisbane.

Roughly things work out as follows.  Food each person per week 16/-. Clothing 5/- per week - £13 per year I think would keep you fairly decent.  

John wrote to you 3 weeks ago giving an account of himself so you will know he has got a job in Glasgow at £4-10-0 per week. He has to start on the 15th August so he left his work in time to meet me in London and come up to Edinburgh with me. Since then John and I have been hunting high and low for a house. It is absolutely impossible to rent one and so we have been trying to buy one.  John is going to buy one and the house will rent it from him.  Of course Alex is lending John some money to do so.  However we have been chasing round after different ones and find them absolute "take ins" not fit for pigs to live in or if they are respectable they go at a terrific price, beyond our means.  So the next thing we are trying is John will build one which will cost about £1050 for a brick building containing 3 bedrooms kitchen and scullery.  At present we are looking for a large piece of ground so as we can have poultry and market garden.  However until we can have something definite fixed we can't give you many particulars.  

The government is giving £260 towards the building of houses at present which is to encourage building so this would bring the price down to £800 for a house which is what we would need to pay for one if we were buying one that was built in pre-war times.  This £260 is entirely a gift and does not tie you to any rules as regards selling.  Builders can take advantage of it too but until the rents of house are put up to bring a decent return on their money they won't build.

So far I have been applying to a good many jobs in the papers but have not been successful yet.  

I hope you get the signed transfer which I posted to you from Adelaide.  You redirected a letter addressed to me which was from the Kedron Shire Council and containing the receipt of rates paid to end of 1920 which I am sending on to you in case you require it and as you have all the other papers in connection with my land.

How are you getting on with your business?  

I hope you are well

I am

Your loving brother

Walter McKenzie

Note from Alex, Colin wrote in top left hand corner of letter 11/9/20 Answered 12/9/20


Charlotte Sale said...

Hi Alex,
These letters are fascinating - such a window into the past. I love the comparison of prices between Glasgow and Brisbane.
So sad that there is no family for this treasure trove.

Alex Daw said...

Indeed Charlotte - very sad. I am glad you are enjoying reading the letters. I find them fascinating too.