Saturday, May 16, 2009

Letter from Mulwala School headmaster, 1923.

Norman Oakley's Youth

Above: Norman Oakley.

Norman's initial schooling was done at Mulwala Public School. He finished there in 1922 when he had just turned 13, and then was awarded a bursary to study at Albury High School in 1923. Whilst away he boarded with a lady named Mrs. Coglan, returning home to Mulwala for school holidays.
Of the two brothers, Norman was the more outgoing one, and the one most likley to find himself in scraps.During his holidays he would trap and skin rabbits for pocket money, and spent a huge amount of time swimming in the Murray River that seperated the two towns of Mulwala and Yarrawonga.
There were also tales of stolen watermelons being swum back across the Murray, and the gong being stolen from the bell in the Scared Heart Catholic Church in Yarrawonga.
After his schooling was completed, Norman followed in his brother's footsteps and joined the building industry.

Norman's birth certificate.

2. Norman Meabry Oakley, Harry's & Olive's second son.

Above: The top photo shows 41 year old Olive Oakley with her baby son Norman, 1910.
The middle two photos are of Norman as a little lad, c. 1912-13.

My maternal Grandfather, Norman Meabry Oakley, was born on November 15, 1909, at Mulwala, NSW, the second son of 46 year old Harry Meabry Oakley and his 40 year old wife Olive Jessie Bishop. His only sibling, Harry Gordon Oakley, was 20 months old at the time of Norman's birth.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gordon Oakley-A Wonderful Life

In the late 1990s, I was asked to compile a history of Gordon's life for submission to an awards comittee of some description.I can't remember quite what it was after ten years, but Uncle Gordon was being secretly nominated for an award to recognise all of the amazing work he had done for Rotary, in particular. I have just found the resulting pages amongst my records, and rather than re-type them into my blog I have just scanned the pages in question directly into the blog.
Sadly, Uncle Gordon died before he could receive any official recognition for his work....not that it would have bothered such a modest man at all.

Gordon Goes to War

Above: Harry Gordon Oakley and his bride Evelyn Margaret Robley on their wedding day, October 28, 1950, St. Martin's Church of England, Hawkesburne, Victoria.

Children of Harry Oakley & Olive Bishop.1. Harry Gordon Oakley

Harry Gordon Oakley, known always as 'Gordon', was born on March 16, 1908, in Prahran,Victoria,the first of two sons born to Harry Meabry Oakley and Olive Jessie Bishop.
As a young boy, Gordon attended school in Mulwala, and his secondary education was completed at Yarrawonga High School across the Murray River.After obtaining his Intermediate Certificate,he entered the building trade, spending six years with Yarrawonga builder and joiner W.F nelson, six years with builder H.C Hallet of Yarrawonga and two years with W. Keir, a builder from Wangaratta.
When World War 2 began in 1939 and the first call for volunteers went up, Gordon enlisted straight away. His service number was VX1257, and from 1939 until 1945 he served his country in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Greece, Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and New Guinea.
Upon his return to civilian life, Gordon joined forces with his brother Norman to form the business partnership "H.G & N.M Oakley, Builders". Their business operated from 1946 until both brothers retired in 1979.
Gordon Oakley was married a few years after his return from the war. He married Evelyn Robley on October 28, 1950, at St. Martin's Church of England, Hawkesburne.
Gordon and Evelyn were second cousins, their grandmothers being sisters Bertha Hughan Bishop and Jessie Hughan McCallum. In a letter to me written in the 1980s, Gordon expressed the following about his marriage:
" Eve and I knew each other from childhood. Friendship to romance developed during the War and after. Eve's mother and my mother were first cousins. After 36 years together I have no desire to trade her in on an earlier model."
Eve was unable to have children, and she and Gordon adopted a son.Named 'Hughan' in honour of the ancestry of both of his adopted parents,he was born on July 18, 1954.Hughan married Maryanne Pavloski, and they had a family of two sons, Shane and Christopher, and a daughter.
After their marriage Gordon and Evelyn Oakley lived with Gordon's father Harry in his Melbourne Street home in Mulwala. Harry died in 1953, and Gordon and his wife remained in the house until about 1963 when Gordon built a home at 10A Orr Street, Yarrawonga.
Many trips to their Yarrawonga home formed the basis of my love for family history, and it is from Gordon that I was fortunate enough to inherit so much of the Hughan, Bishop and Oakley family treasures.

Harry and Friends

Above: A group of old gentlemen enjoying an earnest discussion. Harry Oakley is on the left.

Harry's 90th birthday, 1953.

Harry's later years.

Harry Oakley was 78 years old when he retired as a wool buyer in 1941. An article published in the Yarrawonga Chronicle in 1953 when Harry was celebrating his 90th birthday stated that he had retired ten years previously when he was 80 years old. I have used a letter written to Harry by his employer 'Farmers & Graziers, Albury', in 1941 referring to his retirement and a pension awarded to him for his service as my source for his year of retirement.
In his later years Harry suffered with arthritis in his legs, but he lived to see his 90th birthday in 1953. The newspaper article referred to in the previous paragraph quoted Harry as attributing his long life to the years spent out of doors, combined with him being a moderate drinker and smoker and living and keeping to a regular life.
Harry's wife Olive died in 1948 in her 80th year. Harry lived for another five years. He died on June 26, 1953, at Mulwala, and was buried with Olive and his father-in-law Henry Bishop in the Mulwala Cemetery.

The Oakley Home, Melbourne Street, Mulwala.

Above: The former bank building in Melbourne Street, Mulwala, that was the Oakley home for many decades.Gordon and Norman Oakley kept the home in the family long after the deaths of their parents. Gordon and his wife Evelyn lived there after their marriage, and then they rented the house out after Gordon built a new home across the river in Yarrawonga.
They sold the house in the 1980s, and it has since been demolished and a new home built on the same site.

Harry and Olive Oakley in the 1940s, Mulwala, NSW

Top: Olive Jessie Bishop Oakley, wife of Harry Oakley.

Bottom: Harry and Olive Oakley

Harry and Olive Oakley with soldier son, Gordon.

Harry & Olive with Norman & Ivy.

Norman Oakley, younger son of Harry and Olive Oakley, with his parents and young wife Ivy Ellen Brown.

Harry's Life away From Work

Harry loved dogs all of his long life, both as pets and for sporting pursuits.His love of coursing had started in his youth back in Shropshire and Wales, and continued when he emigrated to Australia.He was a keen follower of both open and closed coursing, and owned some of the finest coursing dogs in NSW and Victoria at one time, the most notable being a dog by the name of 'Black Star'. Harry formed a partnership with a man named Walter Smart, and the pair owned and raced some very good dogs, but without overall profit.
Although Harry and Olive were older parents, they raised both of their sons to be fine young men and saw their younger son married and the birth of their first grandchild before their deaths.My mother Margaret Oakley was born in 1942, the daughter of Norman Oakley, and she had fond memories as a little girl of her Oakley grandparents who lived across the River in Mulwala.
Harry and Olive also lived through the worry of their eldest son Gordon joining the Army and fighting overseas during World War 2.Olive and Gordon were excellent corrrespondents during the war years, and Gordon saved all of his mother's letters. It is a tragedy that for some unknown reason, his wife Evelyn burned all of Olive's letters some time after her death. Thankfully,Gordon's letters to his mother still survive.

Letters from Farmers & Graziers, Albury

After Harry sold his drapery business, he obtained a job with 'Sammons & Edwards' of Corowa, again travelling around the district selling items from his wagon. This time, however, he was selling farm supplies, Massy Harris machinery and insurance.
In 1906 the local Corowa Oddfellows hall was sold to Mr Sammons, a local timber merchant who, with his partner Mr Edwards, added a new section to the front of the building in 1912 and used it for many years as a hardware store and timber sales yard. This was Harry Oakley's new business headquarters for the next four years, until he again changed employers.
Harry accepted another travelling position, this time as a wool buyer for Farmers & Graziers of Albury NSW. His district extended from Savernake to the upper Murray regions.Initially his means of transport was a Model T Ford car, but he loathed this form of transport and soon switched back to his beloved horses and a sulky (see above).
When visiting the upper Murray districts, Harry would be away from home for six weeks or more.It was a lifestyle he loved, and he remained with the job until ill health forced his retirement in 1941, aged 78 years. Although retired, he still maintained a keen interest in the wool industry and rural Australia.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Harry Oakley's sons- Gordon and Norman

Top: Olive Jessie Bishop Oakley with her two boys. She is holding baby Norman, with Gordon by her side. This photo was taken in 1910 when Olive was 41 years old, Gordon two and Norman not yet one.

Middle and Bottom: Brothers Gordon and Norman Oakley.

Harry and Olive at Mulwala

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Harry & Olive continued

After their marriage in Toorak, Harry returned with his bride to Mulwala.Prior to his marriage he had surrendered his open-air 'office' and purchased the premises of the old Commercial Bank building in Melbourne Street, Mulwala.The front room acted as his stock room, and the rest of the building was used as the Oakley home.
Olive did not fall pregnant for over three years after her marriage, which is not really surprising considering her age. She was 35 when she married and 38 when she fell pregnant with the first of her two children.
Harry Gordon Oakley was born on March 16, 1908, at 27 Murray Street, Prahran. His father, Harry Meabry Oakley, was noted on his birth certificate as being a 45 year old commercial traveller born Shropshire, England, and his mother Olive was aged 39 and born Ballarat.
Olive would have given birth in Prahran both to be close to her family and to take advantage of expert medical care to be found in the city...she was an older first time mother, and it was quite possible that complications during labour may have occurred. Her husband Harry was away for long periods at a time with his work, so Olive would have been comforted with family around her.
In late Summer of the following year, 40 year old Olive Oakley fell pregnant again, and my grandfather, Norman Meabry Oakley, was born on November 15, 1909,in the Oakley home at Mulwala.
The two little boys completed Harry's and Olive's family, and with Olive's father Henry Bishop, who had moved from Melbourne to live with them in the early years of their marriage, the Oakleys lived a happy life in their Melbourne Street home.
Harry continued to be away for long periods with his business, and it was mainly his wife who saw to the running of the household and raising of Gordon and Norman.
Harry's travelling drapery business proved to be very prosperous, but finally extended droughts, floods and economic depression after the Great War combined to cause the collapse of the business,and it was sold to pay Harry's creditors.
Although Harry's prolonged absences from his family would have been hard for both himself and his wife and sons, he obviously loved the lifestyle.One story of an encounter that Harry had with a black and white ringed snake near Corowa, NSW, came to me from Mrs Judith Laging, a daughter of Olive Oakley's cousin Ivy McCallum Robley.
Harry was driving his horses and wagon near Corowa when the horses shied at a snake on the road before them. Upon investigation Harry discovered that it was a reptile with very unusual markings-black and white rings as opposed to the usual brown snakes which were run of the mill in the area. He looked around and found an empty bottle in a nearby drain on the side of the road, and tried to coax the snake into the bottle. This dangerous feat was accomplished with the help of a stick, and with the snake in the bottle Harry then had to turn his attention to a method of preserving the creature.Luckily a bottle of metholated spirits was in the wagon, so he started to tip the liquid into the bottle, an action which was not appreciated by the increasingly angry snake. It propelled itself up and out of the bottle to escape its firey liquid grave, just missing Harry's face as it thrashed around for relief and freedom. The bottle was put to another use and smashed across the snake's back to put an end to its Harry-inflicted misery. The act of securing another bottle and preserving the snake in metho was easier on the second attenpt, and the prized specimen continued with Harry on his journey. Ivy Robley recommended a scientific home for the rare beastie, and it was donated to the National Museum in Melbourne. The following letter acknowledges the receipt of the doomed snake.

Harry and Olive Oakley

Harry's Marriage, 1904.

Reference from Kirkby & Co., 1892

Harry arrives in Melbourne

As told by his letter/journal, Harry Oakley and his sister Amy Jane arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday, December 6, 1887. Harry had written in his last entry that George Rees had been there to meet them on their arrival... George Rees(above) was Harry Oakley’s friend in Newtown, Wales, who also immigrated to Australia. This photograph was in the large photo album that Harry carried with him to Melbourne, and was identified on its reverse as “George Rees, Harry’s partner”. It was written by Harry’s elder son, Gordon Oakley, and I do not know what the ‘partner’ refers to in terms of business dealings.
George was born George Frederick Rees in c. 1865, the son of John Rees, farmer, and his wife Sarah. He first appears in a census return in 1871:
Castleydail, Newtown.
John Rees/head/45/farmer of 195 acres/ b Montgomeryshire
Sarah Rees/wife/42/ b Montgomeryshire
Thomas Rees/son/18/b Montgomeryshire
John Rees/son/16/scholar/ b Montgomeryshire
Henry Edward/son/14/scholar/b Montgomeryshire
Ann Elizabeth/daughter/12/scholar/b Montgomeryshire
George Frederick/son/5/ scholar/ b Montgomeryshire
Plus five servants.

By the 1881 census, John Rees, George’s father, had died:
Castledail, Newtown
Sarah Rees/head/widow/50/ farmer_____/ b Montgomeryshire
Charles Rees/son/30/farmer’s son/b Montgomeryshire
Thomas Rees/son/28/farmer’s son/ “
Annie E. Rees/daughter/21/ “
George F. Rees/son/15/farmer’s son/ “
Newton Bradley/nephew/10/b London
Mary Bradley/niece/ 8/ b London
Darille Bradley/niece/6/b London
Cristopher Bradley/nephew/4/b London
Plus six servants

Like Harry Oakley, we know that George Rees was in Newtown in the 1881, but in Melbourne by 1887 because he was there to meet Harry when he got off the ship. The Vic unassisted shipping records has only one possible entry that could be George:
“ Mr. Rees arrived November 1887 aged 22 per ‘Manapouri’.”
If this is George Rees,which I believe it is, there presents the possibility that he and Harry back in Newtown made the decision together to travel out to Australia to further their prospects.
According to his son Gordon Oakley, Harry was employed initially by Kirkby & Co, a firm of Wine and Spirit Merchants Located at 300-302 Flinders Street, Melbourne. He worked there as a cellar man for five years, until November of 1892.
Back in Newtown, Harry had been the youngest ever Lodge Master of the Oddfellows Lodge in the town. He had carried with him to Australia splendid references from fellow Lodge members, and was bitterly disappointed upon his arrival that Melbourne Lodge members did not use their influences to assist him.
Harry's first trip to Mulwala, his future home, came during his first few years in the colony when he went with friends to the Murray River town on a shooting expedition. Mulwala is on the NSW side of the Murray River, with Yarrawonga being its 'twin' on the Victorian side.
Harry fell in love with Mulwala and the local area, and decided to make it his home base.With a partner named Faulding, he set up a travelling drapery business which was conducted from two large covered wagons. Initially, Harry made his business headquarters under a large box tree close to Smart's Blacksmith Shop.Harry was mainly on the road with his wares, visiting settlements- farms and stations - from Mulwala to beyond Deniliquin and throughout the Riverina.
Roads at this time were little more than rough dirt tracks so keeping to a regular timetable was a formidable task, but when shearing began at a shed on his route, Harry and his teams would turn up. An article published in the local Yarrawonga newspaper when Harry turned ninety stated:
" After working in Melbourne for five years, he came to Mulwala in 1892, and with a partner by the name of Faulding,established a prosperous business as travelling drapers.They began their business with a small cart and horse,but business improved so much that in later years they used a big cart drawn by five horses.The roads in those days were terrible, and Mr. Oakley has many stories to tell of difficulties encountered in taking their wares to settlers."
During these early years in Mulwala, Harry still made the occasional trip to Melbourne where his sister Amy Jane was residing and earning her living as a teacher of piano.She had made numerous friends,including the Bishop family of Oakleigh. Bertha Bishop, the mother of a family of two sons and four daughters, had contacted Amy after seeing her advertisement for piano lessons in a local paper. Bertha's mother's name had been Hannah Oakley, and she was curious to see if any family relationship existed between the young Englishwoman and herself. There wasn't a family tie, but a very close friendship developed between Amy and the Bishops, and in particular between Amy and eldest daughter Olive Jessie Bishop, who was four years Amy's junior.
Harry Oakley in turn was introduced into the Bishop family circle, and friendship grew between he and Olive, encouraged no doubt by his sister. Still, it was some years before friendship blossomed into love...Harry was 41 years old and Olive 35 when they finally married in 1904.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Transcription of H.M. Oakley's Voyage on the 'Orient', 1887

Royal Mail
“S.S Orient”
Harry M. Oakley, 2nd Saloon Passenger to Melbourne.

A personal journal, in the form of a letter written to an unnamed friend in Newtown, Wales, by Englishman Harry Meabry Oakley, passenger on board the steamship S.S Orient.
Harry recorded daily events from the day he first boarded the Orient on Thursday, October 27, 1887, through to the time of his arrival in Melbourne, Victoria, on Tuesday, December 6, 1887.

"Royal mail- S.S Orient.
Harry M. Oakley, 2nd Saloon, Passenger to Melbourne

Left Fishwick Street Station 2 p.m. Got on board Orient about 4 o’clock. Put luggage in cabin which is occupied by two other very nice fellows- W.H France and F.G Laurie, both get off at Melbourne. We expect another to join us at Plymouth. Our cabin will then be full, but we are hoping he will not turn up, the spare bunk being very useful for our spare luggage. I have a top outside berth No. 105 with porthole which will open. I am sure it will be a real advantage when we get into the hot weather.
5.30 sat down to a very good feed which consisted of hot roast beef and mutton, hot potatoes, sardines etc which was served up well and thoroughly enjoyed by the writer, not having had a feed since breakfast.
About 6 o’clock we made up a party of four (finding our ship would not leave until early the next morning). France, Laurie, Finley and your humble servant engaged a small boat and went to Gravesend which appeared to be a very dull place. The streets are very narrow, but it being dark we could not form a fair idea of the place. We went to the Clarindon Hotel, which I think is one of the principal. They have a billiard table. France and Laurie had a game (they pay per hour instead of for the game).
We then went to the theatre, the performance was rather poor. Afterwards we went to a very decent pub close by and remained there until we were disturbed by a Gent rigged out in blue with bright buttons. He at first appeared rather savage but we soon squared him with a glass of paddy’s rye water and a bob. I must not forget to mention that there were two very good looking barmaids at this place which we had some fine fun with.
We stopped there as long as we could. They are supposed to close at eleven but we cleared out at 12 with a bottle of fine old Scotch and two gallons of Bitter.
We walked down the street to our boat singing Old Lang Syne. Got back to the Orient at about 12:30. Had a little trouble to pass the watchman. They do not allow passengers to take drinkables on board. Anyway, we gave him a drink and 1/-. He was then squared.
Then we crept off very quietly to our cabin which we found in darkness. It is lit up by electric light but is turned off every night at 11. Anyhow, we had a good supply of matches which we took in turns to light and soon fell asleep.
The Orient is a very fair ship and is lighted up all through with electric light. She is 6,000 horse power and carries about 450 steerage plus third class, 140 second and 90 first class passengers. Also about 200 crew including Captain, Doctor and Purser. The latter has about eighty stewards under him.

Got up at 7:30. Found we had started about an hour. Went on deck. Rather a dull morning but sea calm. Had breakfast at 8 which consisted of beef steak, cold meat, sausages, porridge, bacon etc, all good with the exception of the coffee which is bad.
Afterwards went on deck. During the morning passed Coast of Dover. About 10 o’clock saw a wreck on Goodwin Sands. She looked like a small steamer. Had dinner at 1:30 which was very good and served up well, consisting of roast beef and mutton, kidney pie, potatoes, cabbage, apple tart and rice pudding. During the afternoon we saw land at a distance of perhaps 6 miles.
Had tea at 5:30 consisting of cold meat, salad, pickles, bread and butter, marmalade etc. After tea went on board where I met Mr. Hilby, who asked me to call at his cabin about 8 o’clock. Of course I gladly accepted the invitation and went up on time. Found him busy writing. We spent an hour together very pleasantly, during which time Captain Story, who pilots all the Orient steamers to Plymouth and returns per rail, came in. He is a very jolly old fellow. I should think he would be about 60.
Got back to Saloon about 9:15. Had some supper which consisted of bread, cheese and butter. Got to roost at 10:45.

Got up at 7:45. Went on deck. Just getting to Plymouth. Splendid morning. Several small boats along side of our ship with oranges, knives, deck chairs etc for sale.
A few passengers gone on shore. We shall only have a very short time here so it is hardly worthwhile going. Mail landed 9:30. Had a letter from Stokes, Newtown.
Some passengers joined us here about 11 o’clock. Started again down the Channel at 1 o’clock. At 2:30 passed Eddystone Lighthouse.
3 o’clock sea getting rough. I got to my bunk feeling rather giddy. Got up to tea 5:30. Returned to the roost soon after. It is getting awfully rough. 9 o’clock wind high, sea washing our deck. I got a dose of brandy. Feeling bad and am off to my bunk for the night. The sea is coming in close to my bunk although they are trying to keep it out. We cannot possibly stand without holding something firm. Only 5 in Saloon out of 140. The two fellows in my cabin are just getting rid of their suppers.
We are now getting into the Bay of Biscay.
Mileage: 228

8 o’clock got up to breakfast. Only 14 including staff in saloon. Have had a very rough night of it. Slept very little but managed to keep in my bunk.
When we got up this morning we found our things floating in about 6 inches of water. Spent morning on deck. Very rough. Only 20 to dinner. Some are awfully bad.
Afternoon had a sleep to make up for last night. Had tea 5:30, about 40 up. Spent a few hours on deck. Had supper at 9 and got to roost.
Mileage: 324

Spent the morning on deck. Passed several ships and Cape Finisterre. In the afternoon read on deck. It is getting warmer already. Nothing of interest.
Mileage: 310

Fine morning. Spent all day on deck. Had some ship games, my side winning 3 games out of 4. Had a jumping competition between Laurie and Finley, the latter winning easily.
Mileage: 323

Got up to breakfast and found we had passed Gibraltar during the night. A nice breeze blowing. The sailors are busy putting up sails for the first time.
9 o’clock passing the Snowy Mountains which look splendid. I must tell you that these mountains are on the frontier of Spain.
One of the steerage passengers- an old man- tried to cut his throat today but he did not make a good job of it and I hear he is likely to recover. Should not be surprised to hear of a few more down in that quarter following his example.
We went through the Steerage on Monday- it must be complete misery. The open berths are like a lot of orange boxes piled up one on top of the other with just room to crawl in between. Their tables are very narrow in some compartments where they both eat and sleep. They certainly seem to amuse themselves very well on deck( which is under ours). Some of them play a fiddle, and they dance and sing every evening.
A meeting of the 2nd class was called yesterday and a committee formed for setting up some sports on deck and a concert. The first takes place on Monday next.
Sea very calm. Warmer again today. We stayed on deck until 1 a.m. Splendid night. One of our party, Finley (‘Lively Flea’), has won a lot of prizes running and jumping.

Got off my perch at 7:15. Had a salt water bath which I enjoyed. It is a fine morning but rather dull. Sea very calm. Today is the day we can get at our boxes. They only allow us to take a small box in our cabin. The others are put down below and any that are wanted are bought on deck every Thursday.
We have amongst 2nd Class an old boy (who wears a long sleever) who says he is about 75 years of age. Today he opened his box which was about ¼ full, the contents of which was 1 suit of clothes, the remnants of an old bible and a piece of wood which he called a boot jack made by himself; this caused a lot of amusement- what do you think?
Another Steerage passenger has gone wrong. He tried to throw himself overboard today. Two of the crew are now looking after him.
7 o’clock passed the S.S Oragaba homeward bound. She looked like the Royal Welsh House afloat. She is well lighted up with electric light. A committee meeting held today about the concert and sports.

Chill morning, raining, nearly all the passengers in the saloon reading and writing. We expect to get to Naples early tomorrow morning where we expect to have a few hours. Afternoon still raining hard. Plenty of music in Saloon. The people are practicing, getting ready for the concert.
We expect to get to Adelaide 4 weeks from next Monday and Melbourne 2 days later.

I am just getting to Naples. It looks a very pretty place built on the slope. I will try to give a description of the town in my next entry.
We were not allowed to go on shore until the Doctor (Naples’) came on board and found no cases of fever or other diseases reported by our ship doctor.
Got on shore at 10 o’clock and we engaged a guide. We first had a drink at a settlement near King’s Palace where we went to next. It is a splendid place, but could not stay there long, our time being limited.
The marble staircase and walls are really splendid as are the paintings and tapestry. On the balcony outside a lot of oranges were growing, some quite ripe and looking very tempting. On the balcony we had a splendid view of the principle entrance.
Our guide ( who was- at least he appeared to be- a very decent fellow and spoke English very fairly) got us through the King’s private apartments. They are fitted up very well but small. In fact, you could put the lot inside of the ballroom or private theatre.
We then hired two conveyances and went to the Museum which was very interesting but not to be put in the same street as any good English one, the principle attractions being relicts from Pompeii, a very large marble statue representing 2 men tying a woman to the horns of a bull, and 4 real mummies, horrid looking things.
After leaving the Museum we went to a _______ and had dinner which consisted of soup, beef cutlets, grapes, pears and a claret- for which we paid 2/6 each ( which included the wine). The ladies then went to see the Cathedral which they said was very fine. We, the Jovial Crew, stuck well together and went in another direction through the market. The streets are paved, or rather flagged, with black marble, and the houses built of stone which is very soft. In fact, they cut it to the right size with a tool something like a Cooper’s axe.
The buildings are rather fine, but most of the streets are very narrow. We could not walk 20 yards without being asked to buy something, including sticks, fruit, watches etc.
They are a very funny looking people; any amount of priests walking about. I was very much amused with the way they carry their goods about. They use a sort of ______ , nearly all of which are drawn by three mules abreast, one in the shaft and one on each side in chains. One get up consists of a horse, mule and donkey, and another drawn by three bulls. The horses are a very poor lot and are very small, few over 14.2.
The trams are something like English but much smaller. They are drawn by 2 horses or mules. The latter are very fine, also the donkeys.
We got back to the ship at 3 o’clock and started off about 4. A lot of Italians were around the ship all day, selling fruit, straw hats etc, and some diving for money, which they were very clever at.
I was very disappointed at not receiving either a letter or paper from Newtown.

Got up at 6 o’clock. Passing through the Strait of Messina which looks very fine. Can see several small boats near shore and a good sized vessel.
10:40 Service held in 1st saloon, 7 o’clock service held in 2nd Saloon, about 300 present. The prayers were read by the purser and lessons by one of the Officers. The singing was very good. Two pounds forty was collected for the Seamen’s Hospital.

Passed Islands of Crete which as far as we could see do not appear to be cultivated (they look something like the islands in St. Tudwal’s Bay (Pwllheli) only larger and the only inhabitants visible being a lighthouse on one of them.

Splendid day. Getting hot. Neither land or ships to be seen. There is a difference of 2 hours between land’s time and the ship’s so fancy us going to bed at 9 o’clock, breakfast at 6. But of course in Australia we shall be up when you are on the roost.
It is a splendid sight to see the sun setting. It goes down all at once. The moon looks very funny, like the bottom half of a letter O instead of a capital letter D. We hope to get to Port Said tomorrow where we shall take on coal, which I suppose makes a lot of mess on deck. We hope to be able to go on shore but shall not know until we get there. It is such an unhealthy place.

7 a.m got to Port Said. Have to take 300 tons of coal in here so the officers have arranged for us to have breakfast at 7:30 to enable us to get on shore before the dusty performance commences.
Some of the boys went before breakfast, but I made sure of mine first. A good job, too, for they could not get anything to eat. Just before we went on shore the coal was bought to the sides of the ship in flat boats and about 200 black men- nearly all Africans; they did not forget to let us know they had arrived. They put planks up to the ship then commenced carrying coal up on their shoulders in baskets. They get 10 d per ton and it is very hard earned.
We saw several large ships in the Harbour including one English Man O’ War and a large English steamer “_____”. It is now Winter here but is quite as hot as any day in England last Summer. This is a very dirty place. Nearly all of the houses are built of wood and roofed with tiles. We saw a good number of goats and fowls about the houses. In fact, they seem to form part of the families.
Had a look in at two schools. The master sits down on the ground with a small charcoal fire before him on which he has a small pot of coffee. The children all sit around him and the noise they make is something dreadful.
The inhabitants are a mixed lot, including Greeks, Turks, Africans, French, Arabians and a very few English. Their business depends on passing ships. Some things are very dear here. They charged 2/- per box for beer. Oranges are cheap. You can buy about 80 for 1/-.
They have to carry their food and water for very long distances. They carry it on donkeys’ backs in goatskins.
All the married women have their faces covered up. You can only see their eyes. They have a round affair about 4 inches long which is fixed on the forehead and nose. The poorer classes wear one of brass and the rich one of gold. When a man marries he has to stain (???) his fingernails.
Got back to the ship at 11 but didn’t leave until about 1. Got into the Suez Canal very slowly, which is 93 miles long. We cannot see anything but the sandy desert. In places the Arabs are making the Canal wider. They carry the sand away on camels. Two boxes are fixed on the poor beasts who lie down while the boxes are being filled. One man drives three which are tied together with ropes. When they have got far enough away the boxes are opened at the bottom and the sand falls out.
We are going very slowly. The Canal is so narrow- only about 70 yards wide nearly all the way. Any ship we meet, our ship is made fast to the side to enable the other to pass. This takes up a lot of time. We have passed several this way, including a French Man O’ War. We are not allowed to go through the Canal after sunset so we make fast at 5 o’clock for the night.
7 o’clock have dancing on deck. My sister and two young ladies are playing piano and two pro’s out of 3rd class are playing clarinet and other cornet.

4 a.m start off again. Had 25 shillings stolen from my pocket last night but I was not the only victim. One of my pals, ‘The Doctor’, lost £2-10 and a lady £1. There will be some bones broken if we can catch the thief.
During the morning a lot of Arabs run by the side of the ship. Some passengers throw them oranges, bread, coppers etc, all of which they stuff inside their dress (they have a rope tied around their waist). One fellow has had a good share and has a corporation something fine. This is grand sport- some of them follow us quite 4 miles.

Soon get to Ismalia where we land. Mr. T.R ____ who is M.P for Glamorganshire is going to Cairo for some time for his health. ____on will not be troublesome with one of the grand old Meddlers follow___ for some time.
Ismalia looks very pretty from the Canal. This is the place where our troops landed during the Egyptian War and they camped on the side of the Canal. The Khedive’s Palace is a very pretty place and was used as our hospital during the war..
During the afternoon we passed through the Bitter lakes. They are very fine. We saw a lot more Arabs at work on the side of the Canal. Have passed several ships during the day. Amongst other ships we passed an English Man O’ War. Mr. Hilby told us she had about 1,000 on board.
At 5 o’clock we made fast for the night, although we are only 10 miles from Suez.
6:30 4 of our party- Doctor, Frog, Plunger and Lively Flea- gone on shore to engage donkeys and a guide and go off to Suez. 7:30 have concert and dancing on deck.

Got to Suez 8 o’clock. 200 tons of coal to be put on board here same way as at Port Said. We are close to the shore but the town is about 3 miles away. As we start off again at 11 have not got time to go there. But we go on shore to get out of the dust.
We hired three donkeys for the girls- my sister, Miss Evans and Miss Baker. The latter is about 16 stone so the poor donkey does not have a very easy time of it. It is very amusing to see the 3 with an Arab running after each donkey with a big stick which he makes good use of. We paid 1/- for each donkey for about half an hour. The next thing we saw was our 4 lively boys coming towards us at full speed on donkeys. The 4 were rigged out in Arab dress which they had purchased in the town. The dress consists of a yellow waist coat without sleeves, a long blue shirt and a red cap. They paid 5/- for each rig out.
It was getting time for us to get on board so we made towards the boat ( 12 of us). Nearly all had got in besides Tim Whiskers, my sister and self when an Arab came up, laid hold of my sister and demanded another 1/-. There were about 60 Arabs around us- this looked ___- we refused, of course, to pay. One of our boys got my sister in the boat. The Arab then got hold of me. I landed him a good one in the eye. Tim Whiskers landed another. We jumped into the boat and were safe. The girls were very much frightened.
We started off again about 12 o’clock. It is getting very hot. We are all rigged out in our white flannels. 7:30 have dancing and singing on deck.

We are now in the Red Sea. Warmer again today and I am told it will get worse. I think I shall melt away. Nothing to be seen but the open sea. One of the stewards cut his hand very badly this morning. He was unpacking some wines. Singing and dancing on deck at night.

Service in 1st Class at 10:40. Splendid day. Tim Whiskers left his purse under his pillow and during the time we were at breakfast £7-10 was taken out. We are in hope of catching the thief before the end of the voyage.
Had a shower of rain this afternoon. Wind getting high. Too hot to hold service in Saloon and too windy on deck. Some of the passengers are singing hymns. A lot are going to sleep on deck tonight.

Did not sleep but very little last night. A hot wind blowing. Nothing in particular on today. Sports are to be held on deck on Wednesday evening. I think our boys can win all. We have entered for everything but shall arrange which to start in. All events are confined to 2nd Class passengers.
About 4 o’clock we passed some islands which are called the Twelve Apostles and at 6 saw two others which are called The Brothers.
We expect to get to Aden about 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. We take about 1,000 tons of coal in there so we shall have plenty of time to see the town. It will take us about 18 days to get to Adelaide, our next stop, and another two to get to Melbourne. I shall be very glad when the journey is over. This hot weather makes us feel awfully lazy.
I do not think that I mentioned before that 8 of us stick well together and have all fancy names viz
A. Finley “The Lively Flea”
W.H. France “ Froggie”
F.A Laurie “ Tim Whiskers”
J. McIntyre “Scottie” The Jovial Crew
F. Myers “Doctor”
A. Thomas “ The Major”
B.H Birchall “The Plunger”
H.M Oakley “Fox”

Amongst other things we had for dinner today was old ewe dressed lamb fashion, of course they called it lamb and it was served out with mint sauce( tell Lewis Jones this).

Got up 7:50. Were almost smothered during the night. It was rather rough going through Hell’s Gates which we passed sometime during the night. Can see a lot of islands this morning at a distance.
Some of the boys who slept on deck last night had some grand fun. Amongst other games, one poor fellow wound up on deck (being roasted out) with his rug and pillow, intending to sleep. The boys told him he must get an order from the Purser so at 12 o’clock the poor fellow went to Mr. Hilby’s cabin, who was not in a very good temper at being disturbed , so he told him to go to the Devil and sleep where he liked. This is another of the good ___ seen- he does not seem to relish the “Jovial Crew”.
A little brat out of Steerage was very badly scalded this morning, and a gent who had too much company had his bed consigned to the deep.
10 o’clock passed one of the P & O Boats which left Suez 13 hours before us. We are getting along well but are later than we thought getting to Aden.
12 o’clock we anchor about 2 miles from Aden. Hundreds of black men and boys around the ship diving for coppers and a lot in boats selling oranges etc. After dinner we go on shore.
5 of us stick together viz Lively Flea, Froggie, Plunger, The Major and Self. The town of Aden is about 3 miles from shore so we hired a 4 wheeled conveyance which was driven by a black. Four of us rode in the conveyance and the ‘Lively Flea’ followed on a donkey. We drove straight up to the water tanks which are in a very deep cutting. _____ something like “Talarddy”, they can keep enough water in them to last for seven years, but it does not look very good and a quantity of ducks were swimming in the tanks. They have not had a spit of rain for 7 months.
It is awfully hot although it is winter here now. 1,200 soldiers are stationed in the town which is a very poor specimen. The houses are nearly all very low and small. The poor classes feed on Indian Corn. We saw one lot feeding in the street around a charcoal fire in which they were roasting the corn.
We nearly all got into a row. One of the fellows- ‘Froggie’- took two oranges for a lark but the native did not believe in being done. He followed us for about ½ a mile and every few yards the crowd was getting larger. They numbered quite 400. Fancy that number to 5! Anyway, at last we gave up the oranges and they turned back without any bother.
We then met with three English soldiers- 1 Sergeant and 2 Corporals. They were very pleased to see us and took us all around but we had not time to go to the Barracks.
They were holding a fair here. We saw lots of goats, donkeys and camels for sale. All the conveyances are drawn by ponies about 14 hands. They appear to be very hardy and get along at a good pace. The carts are drawn by oxen, donkeys and camels. The latter look very curious in harness.
They charged us 1/- per bottle for Bass’s beer and 4d per bottle lemonade. This we considered cheap. I need not tell you that we did not drink much lemonade.
We had a lot of fun in different ways and I cannot write all here but will bet I make you laugh if ever we meet again. To finish up we had a lark at a ____ and we 4 ___ a lot of Police ___ ____. It was getting warm so we cleared out and were not long before we got back to our ship.
One of the passengers got very tight on shore and has no idea of how he got back to ship. Anyhow, when he got on board he found that someone had very kindly relieved him of his purse and a gold ring. Luckily for him he only had about 25/- in his pocket but the ring he said was worth £5.
One of the natives did a very good trick with a good young man who did not come on shore. Anyhow he paid for it while we were enjoying ourselves. This is the tale he tells. The native offered to give him 21/= in silver ( English money) for a sovereign ( gold is worth this here). He counted out the silver in his hand, collared the gold and jumped overboard. Some of the passengers say this good young man did really swear, bad boy.
The coal was put on here in bags and emptied on deck. This has been the most dusty performance. Everything is covered with coal dust and it will be some days before we shall get the place clean. They could not put all the coal down so there is about 200 tons on deck.

Slept all night on deck. Got up at 5:30. We left Aden about 4 a.m. Afternoon 3 o’clock Athletic Sports. Our boys came in fairly.
Flat race 20 lengths (nearly ½ a mile): 1st: Tim Whiskers, 2nd: Fox. This was a warm job but we had it all our way. Ten entries.
Walking Race: 1st: Fox 2nd: Adell. I beat the gent easily, much to the delight of the Jovial Crew. (Adell is a water drinker but I saw him enjoying a bottle of bass at Aden which he got on the cheap). 8 entries, walked in trials.
Sack Race: 1st: The Doctor 2nd: Fox. 6 entries.
I also competed in the Potato Race and Obstacle but was beaten in each. During the evening we spent we spent the _____ amongst the Crew. 20/-, it did not last long. 6d for drinks.

Slept on deck last night. Splendid morning. We see a lot of flying fish and passed African Coast at a distance of about 3 miles. This is rather a dangerous part to land. About 8 years ago one of the Orient steamers struck against a rock. The natives killed 2 sailors and a passenger and devoured them in sight of the rest on board.
I feel awfully stiff today. Very quiet all day. One of the First Class passengers is showing a magic ____ on 2nd Class deck tonight.

Splendid day. Any amount of flying fish to be seen. Nothing of interest.

Tim Whiskers says he has had stolen £55 from his portmanteau. Concert on deck tonight. We had a Calcutta Sweep _____ it is worked like an ordinary sweep and the numbers are afterwards put up by auction and ½ the number realised is added to the prizes and the other ½ returned to the holders of tickets. My number took 2ns prize 10/- but it did not ____ it in.
Mileage: 345

Fine day, rather cooler. Service 1st Saloon at 10:40. Prayers read by Captain and lessons by Purser. Service 2nd Saloon 7 o’clock which was read by Purser. Singing very good. No collection. Crossed Equator about 8 o’clock this morning.
Mileage: 368

Splendid morning, heavy showers and wind in afternoon. Port holes have to be closed in case of rough weather. We are almost _____ in Saloon.
Mileage: 328

Fine morning but very rough in afternoon. Spent nearly all evening in ____ Room. I managed to nearly cut the end off one of my fingers opening the window, the cord being broken. 3 of our party are sleeping in S___ Room tonight. It is so awfully hot in bunks.
Mileage: 307

Sports held this afternoon. Our crew did their share but it was not my day out for winning. In the wheelbarrow race in which I was a wheelbarrow, my partner was rather too anxious (Plunger) so he pushed me on my head and I have a splendid gravel rash which fairly covers one side of my face.
The cock fight was interesting and was won by Plunger, Tim Whiskers being second.
Mileage: 322

Fine day. Sports this afternoon including three-legged race, cock fight, ladies’ egg and spoon race, ladies’ tug of war, gents’ tug of war and girls’ race. I did not compete, only in tug of war, our side winning 2 out of 3. We have not seen land or ships for some days.

Commenced whist tournament. I won my first round, have a bye in the second. 32 entries. We are rigged out in our ordinary clothes today. This is a most agreeable change- I hope it will continue so.
We have amongst 2nd Class an old boy who is about 20 stone. He is about as nimble on his feet as Charles Owen ___ ___ but not nearly as good looking. This old buggar is a perfect nuisance. He is a member of the Blue Ribbon, most strongly objects to smoking, card playing, athletic sports, singing and music. In addition to this he is most disgusting at the table. He puts the blade of his knife about half way down his throat and then helps himself to pudding with the same knife. I can assure you he does not have a very happy time of it amongst us. Two of our boys stayed up until 1 o’clock last night to cut his whiskers off (the old buggar sleeps in Saloon)but they were unable to perform the deed. The old buggar would not go to sleep. I expect he got wind of it somehow, but he will be dropped on later on.
Froggie and Lively Flea rigged themselves out in 2 of the ladies’ dresses and came on deck this way. This caused a lot of amusement. They really made up well, so well the stewardess went up to them at 10:45 and told them it was time they went to bed.
Mileage: 332

Fine but rather windy. The wind has been very much against us for the past week. Won third round at whist. I am one of the last 6 left in. There are several tournaments going on including chess, crib, dumps, quoits,____-. Magic lanterns in 2nd Saloon tonight, 7 to 8. Very fair. The boys rigged out again same as last night but the Purser caught them and gave them a good lecture. I am told they will have to go before the Captain on Monday which means another good dressing.
Mileage: 331
Service 1st Saloon 10:40. A good many present Service 2nd Saloon 7 o’clock which was conducted by 3 passengers, dissenters. This was a very poor affair.
Mileage: 322

Lively Flea and Froggie have had a good lecture from captain and Purser. I have won whist tournament right out but the prize is only 5/- each. I have entered for another co___ in our saloon tonight. A lot of 1st class passengers present.

Miss Baker lost her gold watch today. Quiet day.

An old lady out of 1st class was found dead in bed this morning and was consigned to the deep at 8 o’clock this evening. The captain read the burial service. The body was sewn up in canvas with some five bars at the feet, placed on a plank and let down feet first. The steam was off for a few minutes during time the burial service was being read.
Sports were to have been today but they are put off until tomorrow. Five of us went down to see the machinery this evening. It is really fine.

8:30 a.m. Just sighted land- a very welcome sight. Sports in afternoon. I got 2nd ( 2 photos of New Zealand) in the Potato Race.
Mileage: 341

Splendid day. Sea very calm. We finished off sports in the afternoon. I got 3rd in cock fight. At 7:30 we had a breach of promise case played in saloon. The get up of some of them is good. The Major is one of the Judges. He wears a wig made from rope untwisted. We also have Jury etc etc, not forgetting a Policeman. Some part was very amusing. The court adjourned at 9:15.

Quiet day. Had a row with Tim Whiskers re. the money which he said he had lost. He refused to tell us who had cashed his £10 so we told him we did not believe that he had lost a penny and shall not speak to him for the rest of the voyage. I was for giving him a good thrashing ( at least trying) but the others fellows stopped me.

Got to Adelaide about 2:30. We anchored 3 miles from shore. We went on shore per tr___ 3/- return. The town is 6 miles away but the train runs and stops on a wooden bridge just where we landed. They charged us 10d second class return.
The town is very clean and pretty. The streets are wide and some of the buildings are fine. The Botanical gardens are the principle attraction. They are really very good. All the flowers are in full bloom. Tell Squire Hatherill the roses do not some up to his show. Amongst other things in the gardens we saw ducks, swans, tame sea gulls, pea fowl, 2 of which were pure white, 2 crossed between white and the ordinary. They were the finest birds. I ___ saw the plumage splendid. There was also a plentiful supply of sparrows.
After going all around the town we had a good feed at the Southern Cross Hotel, King William Street. This is the principle street. The feed over, we advanced to the Snooker Room. One of our party, Plunger, played piano and sang for about an hour.
We then adjourned to the bar (they close the pubs here all day on Sunday) where we met a few very nice people. After sampling Scotch, English and Colonial beer- the latter I rather like but they charge 6d per pint- we made a move towards the station but called at Grisham Hotel on the way. The Lark is the principle hotel but they know how to charge- 1/- per pint of Colonial beer. What do you think of this, boys? A rare opening for one of the Newtown breweries.
After enjoying a very pleasant evening, we got back to the Orient at 10:45. Upon my arrival, I was very pleased to receive a letter from George Rees. I had written to him from Adelaide that we expected to get to Melbourne on Wednesday but now we expect to get there on Tuesday.

Nearly all the passengers busy packing up. A great number get off at Melbourne.

Landed at Williamstown, 6 miles from Melbourne at 2 o’clock. Go on to Melbourne per rail.
Melbourne is a fine city. Mr. Stephens met us at the boat and I saw George Rees who is quite well, and got into a very fair suit. They were very pleased to see me. I hope to fit in soon. Will write you per next mail. Please address letters to Mr Stephens’ place.
Masons and bricklayers are in great demand here. They get 12/- per day 8 hours. Women servants get from £40 to £50 per year.
Sorry I have not time to write any more. Hoping all are well. Please ask Thistle to enclose me a few lines per next mail.

Yours Faithfully,
Harry M. Oakley."