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Stories from old postcards: Part 1

Old postcards can be interesting for a variety of reasons. For a start, they are often interesting for the subject matter they depict. And sometimes they also carry interesting titbits of historical information in the messages written on their backs. I’ve picked a handful from my collection and transcribed the often hard-to-read inscriptions.


Your parcel is on its way . . .

This one is easy to read, at least, having been typed by a staff member of renowned Newcastle department store Winns. Mrs Lowrey, of Booral, has ordered a parcel from Winns, and Winns has written advising her that the store has shipped it aboard the river steamer SS Williams.


Fun times at Myuna Bay

Until it was controversially closed by the NSW Government last year, Myuna Bay camp was a popular place for school and other groups to spend a little quality time. The card shown below is of a type that young visitors were encouraged to send their families. Malcolm was obviously having a nice time.

Another lad named Noel sent a similar card to his parents at Northmead:

Dear Mum & Dad, I arrived safely and I are having a good time. We went to the lagoon and had a swim. Goodbye I’m running out of room. Love, Noel


Dear Miss shop girl, remember “T”

A young chap whose name began with “T” wrote this card to Miss Johnson, at Newcastle store Lusker Brothers.

Singleton, February 1911

Miss Johnson, C/- Lusker’s Bros, Hunter Street, New Castle

Dear Miss, It is very hot hear today but it makes no difference to me I am having a good time roaming nearly all over the place & every body I meet calls me a Playford. We had a hard old case in the train on S. I thought I would never get my face strate again. Love from T


Bread, cabbage and a pumpkin

Mrs W. Young, Buchanan Street, Hamilton, Newcastle.

Dear Mrs Young, Would you mind taking a loaf of bread for me & ask John to leave a small cabbage & a pumpkin. I’ll be home on Saturday, oh and I want some milk if you would ask Mr Miller to leave me some with you. I am feeling a lot stronger. M’brook is such a pretty place. Wishing you are all well, with love. Yours Truly, E.B.


This is where I work, future bride?

This is a poignant card. Jim isn’t a great wordsmith, but he was probably an excellent miner. I wonder if they ever did set up house together? Was Jess the woman he wanted to marry? Or was she a relative? Oh, and if you can correct errors in my transcription please feel free. There’s a couple of tough words in there to decipher.

Dear Jesse, I am send you the pit that I work at. I thought you wood like one. I have done well now; I have about 10 pound this time. I am go to try to get 100 pound this year. I will put 6 pound in the Bank this time. I could send for you now but I want to better of money before I think of sending for you for it will take about 30 pounds to set a home up for us and 80 pounds for your pass. Love from Jim


From Charlie, out on the track

The next two cards are from a young man named Charlie, writing home to his family at Booral as he brings a mob of horses down from Tamworth.

Dungowan, Friday

Dear Ada, As I am waiting about for my mate I thought I would let you know how we are getting on. We are 21 miles out of Tamworth and I thought that perhaps a mail coach would pass us when I would hand this to him. We had a couple of bad days from Nowendoc & Dungowan Creek on the Dividing Ranges, it was raining and cold. Hoping you are all well, I remain Your Charlie

Sunday, Breen’s Reserve

Dear Ada, We got away from Garrickmore on Saturday with 32 horses and reached Gloucester about dark, but as Frizell had to go back to Borhams I went and had tea at Reichert’s and then looked Bert Ellis up and stayed there all night. Today we came past the Barrington, Bowman and Little Manning (at Tibbuc) to the Barrington …….. We have had tea, made our bed which is on a riverbank under some oak trees and are just about to turn in. We have not pitched our tent but are camping in the open. So hoping you are all well, I remain yours faithfully, Charlie.

PS: Excuse writing as I am lying flat on my (not my back anyway) and using a [ruined black pencil?]


Morpeth tunnelling mystery

It seems that somebody has sent a message to somebody else. It’s got something to do with a pipeline tunnelling job, but it was evidently written in a rush.

Morpeth miners tunnelling pipeline. Would you take 2 men, go camp at river, tunnelling. Going soon as this tram leaves.


Not our house; it’s a butter factory

H. Mayo couldn’t find a view of his house, so sent Mrs Lowrey, of Booral, a nice real photo postcard of the butter factory at Aberdeen.

Mrs J. Lowrey, Booral, via Raymond Terrace

Dear Mrs Lowrey, You will see I have not forgotten my promise. Have been waiting for a view of our house to send you, but so far have not been able to procure one. Hope you are all well. We miss our drives down to Booral. Have not had a drive since we came here. Last week the Show was held. Some lovely stock was exhibited. This week the town is nearly deserted, most of the people gone to the Sydney Show. Kind Remembrances to Mr Lowrey. Love to the girls and yourself from Mother and self. Beginning to know our way about here. Yours Sincerely, H. Mayo

Stories from postcards to be continued . . .

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