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2-273 (Text)

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author,male,Brown, Thomas,40 addressee,male
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Hasluck, 1977
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2-273-plain.txt — 5 KB

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March 4 1843
My Dear Sir
I have today received a letter from my brother enclosing an account from you up to the 5 of May last. I also received some time since your letter and account written about the previous Xmas and wrote to thank you most kindly, which I again do, for your great generosity and kindness as well as for the trouble you have taken in seeing matters arranged so correctly. I assure you I have much pleasure in seeing so good an account from Summertown.
Now for the Colony.
All is as yet hard work not only with me but with most of the settlers, there is at first so much to do in clearing land, providing provisions for men, building stock yards for horses and cows as well as hurdles and folds for the sheep that the poor pigs get forgotten altogether until by their sleek coat and plump appearance it becomes evident they are helping themselves to the best they can find, whether corn, potatoes or cabbage. The one given me by Mr. Shrubb had no young ones on board but has done well since, producing a very fine description, a cross by a Neapolitan Boar, I have now in all 60 very fine ones.
The price of bacon is still upwards of 1/- per lb. mutton is now as low as 7d. and beef about the same price. The weather is at present extremely hot and the greater part of the grass dried up, we generally get rain about the end of this month or beginning of April when we shall at once have plenty of grass for all descriptions of stock. My sheep are at present in the Bush, that is they are at a distance of 40 miles on government land for the benefit of a change of feed and plenty of water, for you must understand this country is in general badly watered, that is there are few rivers and those only run in winter and the settlers have, like myself, had so much to do that as yet they have scarcely dug a well, but those who have done so have nearly all succeeded in getting water and next year I shall most likely dig a well at two places on the back of my grant where there is plenty of feed but only one spring and that not yet made sufficiently large to water a flock of two thousand sheep which I now have belonging to myself and others.  I have 400 for which I receive £25 pr. hrd. pr. year and as many for which I get thirds of increase and wool, the rest are my own.
On the front of my grant is the River Avon in the bed of which are several pools, one large, at which the sheep water during the hot weather, say from the first of Nov. to the first of April, being five months. During this time they could be driven more than 3 or 4 miles from the water and as my grant runs back 6 miles I have some good stations there which are fed in the winter, or rainy season, as well as all the good government land which lies convenient, but with one or two good pumps and plenty of water troughs my back land would be more valuable than the front. My wool brought 120£ last year and this season I expect to have £200 worth.
Horses. On coming here I landed one mare out of four from England and bought two here, they have increased to 7 and have every appearance of again increasing their numbers to twelve this season. When not at work ploughing, drawing in timber for fencing, and many other matters they are turned into the bush and keep themselves in fine condition both summer and winter. The first year we came here I had no hay or corn (cut by seal) a very little at a high price, and every time they got loose they went away and sometimes I did not find them again for two months. Now I have plenty of hay and corn and when by accident any of them get away from me when 40 or 50 miles distant, they at once start for home, and generally get there the same day, passing through the Bush often quite new to them and seldom going a mile out of a straight course.
Sheep are at present selling at £1 each and wheat at 10/- pr. bushel. The loss of the fruit trees by shipwreck was a great disappointment to us as we relied much upon getting superior sorts to those usually grown here. I am however still persevering and have enclosed by a pail fence 61/2 acres of land which I have planted with such fruit trees and vines as I could get cheap.
Cows. We have 3 for our own use and being obliged to herd them for the sake of regularity I have taken in 50 more to keep on shares. Thirds of increase. 
A few respectable settlers came out lately and most of them are likely to settle in the York district. We are all anxious to see as many settlers come out as possible and think the advantages here are equal to any of the other colonies. Labour is still extremely high, I am obliged to give my shepherds £40 a year with board and lodging, and labourers £30 with board and lodging.
A comet has been seen here for the last 2 nights which excites the curiosity of every one. The tail is very long luminous and beautiful. Mrs. B is quite interested about it. She is still in good health and high spirits and the little fellows can run and walk over the roughest ploughed land we have and are all quite delighted to help me at the plough, amongst the sheep or cows, in the garden, and particularly to water and feed the horses. I think Vernon may now be said to have recovered from the inconvenience he suffered from on leaving England.
English goods are very high in price here, slop shoes £l-5-0 pr pair for the last 5 months, generally one pound pr. pair
Thos. Brown
I am at present building a dairy by the water side and under some large trees for the benefit of the shade where Mrs. Brown and myself are to churn and make butter at daylight in the morning.