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Letters to Frank

February 15, 2011

I have a collection of letters that belonged to my Dad.  They were written to him by his grandmother and his great grandmother, mostly in the early 1950s.  It turns out my dad was curious about his family history when he was about 15 years old.

This is one of the letters.

51 Ward St


Dear Frank

Mine thinkit that if I don’t answer one letter you hope I will answer the second – so here goes, but if you write to Aunty- whom you should call Grandmother – she tells me the news & answers the letters – for altho you think I am a wonderful writer I sure don’t like the job –  I write 3 letters to Aunty Smith every week & sometimes it is hard work.  Aunty Joan just called in & she is  so very positive the Shop at Sly Corner is going to be a great success. She cries herself at some of the scenes. her leading man is just wonderful. So she is very hopeful. the booking is very good.  She has worked hard & so has Uncle John so we are all hoping they get repaid – I am glad your teacher thinks I am a wonder – I wonder am I?  Yes it was a bit of Australian history my father wrote – a pity he died so young – he left Mother with a 3 weeks baby – my youngest brother & don’t think I am romancing when I tell you that baby was born on Xmas day & in a stable.  Father was at the Hotel but Mother would not stay in the Hotel so they furnished what used to be a stable for her.  Mother had a dark nurse who lived with her for years – not an Australian but a french woman from Mauritius – her father was Chef at Government House & we learnt the history of those few years from her – we were friends with her till she died.  According to her our Father was a gentleman but we don’t remember him.  Good Night & love to all – Gran.

Aunty & me have been listening to a service about “The Wells Expedition” who went from Geraldton across the Nullabor & one of the Wells brothers was lost & died – Explorers take that chance.

Gran who wrote this letter was Emily Bertha Eliza Peck – the sixth child in a family of nine, born to  Mary Ann Malthouse and John Peck.  When her father died in March 1873, she would have been almost five years old, and Aunty Smith – her younger sister, Alice Maud Peck would have been just three years old.  The next child down, Francis George Peck was born in about August 1871, but died on 21 September the same year, only a few weeks old, from ‘convulsions’.  The youngest child, Thomas Groves Peck was indeed born on Christmas Day 1872, in Wellington NSW.

The child born before Emily, Margaret ‘Mary’ Peck was born in 1865 but died in 1867 in Middle River NSW from diptheria.

When John Peck died in the bush of ‘privation and intemperance’, he was 40 years old and left his wife with seven children to support.

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