Thursday, November 3, 2016

Walter McKenzie to Colin McKenzie May and June 1921

12 Marchmont Road

My Dear Colin

I think it is about time I was writing you again as it is some weeks since I did so. We have not had any word from you lately but we expect a few letters soon now.

I have now got clear of the Infirmary after eleven weeks.  In my last letter I told you that they had opened it up again & scraped it out well it did not heal up as quickly as they had expected so I got an xray plate taken, however the result was satisfactory so I was discharged although there is still a nasty mark left.

Since then I went to the dentist and got two teeth out and am now getting two more stopped. It is not a very nice job but it will save me a lot of trouble with them later on.

We got a note from the Military authorities in Brisbane saying that the War Gratuity had been paid into the Commonwealth Bank.

You will see from the papers that the coal miners are still out on strike.  It is causing a great deal of unemployment. Many factories have closed down and the railways have reduced their train service by 60%.

We are just going on with our work as usual at present as it is the only thing to do while this industrial unrest & trade depression lasts.  Hope you are well.

Yours & c


12 Marchmont Road
1st June 1921

My Dear Colin

We were glad to get two letters from you on Monday one to Mamma & one to Alex also one to John received today. We note what you say about conditions of trade in Australia.

You seem to be doing pretty well in your business.  In Mamma’s letter we received the bank Draft for £86-0-3 which we were very glad to see.  You did well in getting it attended to. Of course this money is Mamma's so she has banked it and will get herself attended to in regard to hearing, eyesight and dress & c.  You know Mamma’s eyesight is getting very bad; she cannot read now or thread a needle which is a great drawback to her as it was about the only little recreation she had.  However she went to an Eye Specialist a Mr Sym but got no more information from him than what she knew in Brisbane. He never mentioned Cataract so I don’t think she has that trouble. Yesterday she went to an Optitian (sic) but he could give her no glasses to help, he said it was just failing of the eyesight. I don’t think her hearing is any worse than when you saw her but she is going to get that attended to too; also her teeth are bothering her a little. So you see the money is very welcome to her. The firm I am with at Bonnyrigg is Henry Widnell and Stewart Ltd.  We have also a factory at Rosslyn and Eskbank. This is (I think) one of the largest carpet manufacturer in Scotland and is the only one working on full time just now. Every other one being closed down owing to the coal strike or rather for want of orders. We also make Velvet Table Covers and Furniture Moquette. Most of our trade is export a good per centage going to Australia. Nearly all the big firms we know in Brisbane buy from us either direct or through our agent.

Tomorrow is McDougall’s picnic so Alex will have a holiday. I hope he gets a good day. Alex also gets his summer holidays in a fortnight on Saturday. He is going to Balinluig again.
We have not yet started farming so are all in our respective jobs.

We are now into Summer and I must say that you can’t beat this country.  The trees with their big leaves (I had almost forgotten what they were like) are simply beautiful. Soo many different shapes and verities.

How is Mrs Reeve so slack in regard to boarders.

Hope you are keeping well as we are all here.

Your loving brother.


P.S. Postage after 12th June to Aust. Will be 3d per letter pretty stiff!! WMcK

Note from Alex

This will be the last of the letters because there is some great news to hand.  State Library of Queensland have accepted the donation from our library service so the items will be preserved properly.  Hoorah! I will miss the letters as I have grown quite attached to the correspondents but in my heart of hearts I am really relieved as they are very precious and old and need proper care.  

Also, because I promised Diane that I would reveal some news about Walter in a comment on a previous post, I feel obliged to finish the story somewhat.  Walter continued to stay in Scotland for a few years but then seemed to change his mind and returned to Australia in 1927.  However - most unfortunately - he contracted TB and succumbed very quickly.  He died at the Waterfall Sanitorium in New South Wales.  Colin was able to be with him when he died.  Weirdly I blogged about Waterfall before here.  


crgalvin said...

Thanks Alex for taking the trouble to transcribe these letters. Through them you have provided us with an interesting view of life now nearly 100 years ago. Glad to hear that they will be preserved.

Genie Jen said...

Sad to hear that's the last of the letters. But glad you've found a suitable and safe home for them. I've throughly enjoyed such a valuable insight into daily life.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Carmel and Jen - I'm glad the letters interested you too. I found them fascinating.

diane b said...

That is good news about the letters and artefacts will find a permanent home. Shame about Walter dying after returning. Waterfall Sanatarium pops up again. Remember my mum used to nurse there.

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