Your dear old letter arrived yesterday it was a lovely old letter full of cheer. Just the kind of tonic I was in need of. You are just the dearest & sweetest girl in the world sharing my worries & troubles. I also wish with all my heart that you were here with me, then all the big worries would be as nothing compared with the joy of having you always near to comfort me.
This batching life is rotten to say the least of it. I often dream of our future home with all its comforts and you darl.
Just the biggest part of all. Its horrible to have to break my thoughts & look round in an 8 x 10 tent with flies buzzing round & everything untidy “ugh”. [xxx] is still away. I have hired a house for a few days to finish the sledging off. A man named Walsh is coming next Monday to do the plowing. I will be glad when everything is ready for planting. There are still a lot of channels to be made. I don’t think we will get water till somewhere the end of next month. Some of the fellows are planting after the recent heavy rains. They say there is enough moisture in the ground to carry them until they get the water. [xxx] has gone to Crouch’s for chaff it costs about 12/ a week to feed a horse. Well enough about my affairs, how are all the folks down your way.
You are ardently determined on challenging me to a singles being that you have such a flash racquet. I am glad you got such a good one & so cheaply, as you say it must have been in good order if it belonged to a [xxx] . I am going to research a piece of ground for a tennis court & later on might concrete it. You are like me darl. I paid a subscription 30% to the tennis club here & haven’t played there much. How is Lil. I hope she is better again. Yesterday evening I rode into the township for some groceries. I saw Alan Crouch, he & his wife want me to come over one evening. Mrs Crouch’s father & mother are coming up so they said they would like me to meet them. It is getting Summery here now I cannot say I am sorry although the Winter is beautiful up these parts. My next door neighbor has started to build a two room house which will be like [xxx] over in the Summer. With my very best I am about dry for rest so will say goodbye for a little while. Give my love to your mother. Accept heaps for yourself. From yours ever. Oz.
Kind regards to your Dad.
Dearest Old Girl,
I am lying under a tree trying to keep cool. I received your dear old letter yesterday & feel a real culprit at not being able to write before but I know you will understand. Last Sunday Allan & I rode in before tea to post our letters thinking we would be able to get back before it was dark but misfortune overtook us , I got two punctures in my bike & had to mend them consequently we had to ride back in the dark. While we were in there Allan bought a new billy also a dozen eggs which we packed carefully in the billy after my slow riding and a few spills we managed to reach the hometown & we were priding ourselves on our ability as night riders when all of a sudden I crashed into a big pine tree & came right over the handles of the bike, luckily I did not hurt myself very much. Allan came back & took the billy of eggs from me & we started off again. He had not gone more than fifty yards when he shot clean over his bike. When we got home we pulled the lid off the billy & alas there were only two sound eggs, the other were all mixed up in the bottom of the billy so we had scrambled eggs for tea. Eggs are very scarce up here & we were looking forward to a luxurious tea. Proverb never count your chickens before they are hatched.
Friday evening I rode in to send the wires. I also wired Ben. I hope things are fixed up alright. So far things are going alright, the only thing is when you come home tired at night you have to turn round & cook meals but nevertheless the food is good & that alone compensates us for our bother. Allan washes up & does handy jobs. We are troubled very much with flies & ants & if you don’t cover up everything they simply swarm it, not the little ants you get down there but great big ones. We are both priding ourselves on being able to stick the heavy work even big chaps who have been used to hard graft all their lives find it very hard at first in fact dozens cannot stick it longer than a few days. So we are not on contract work dear; those on contract work have to provide all their own implements. The other day we struck a very big mallee. Which took us the rest of the best part of two days to get out, we broke three cables & in the end had to dig it out & chop the roots from underneath; In trying to mend the cable a chap hit me on the back of my hand with an axe. It is very stiff & sore & a lot of proud flesh is forming on the surface. Today I bathed it with water as hot as I could bear & put [xx] powder on & bound it up. So you see dear I am writing under difficulties. Any flesh wound does not heal too well. I will have to be careful or it will turn into septic poisoning.
Yesterday afternoon Allan and I went to the river fishing, we caught nothing but snags. We enjoyed ourselves nevertheless & had a real good swim. It was simply beautiful in the water. We got home about nine at night. This morning we did not get up till about 10am, had breakfast & I put on the dinner a roast of beef, baked potatoes & onions. I cooked it in a camp oven & it turned out beautiful. Allan thinks I am a bit of a wonder at cooking he doesn’t know how to cook a potato. If at any time you think of some nice little recipes within our reach don’t forget to send them along. I have not come across that fellow the Blairs are enquiring about but if I do I will let you know.
This is all up to the present sweetheartmine. I hope you can understand the scrawl. Give my love to your mother & accept the love of the one who is always thinking & longing for you. Yours ever. Kind regards to your dad and family.
Letters shared here were written by Private Ozbert Edwards of the 21st Australian Infantry Battalion to Miss Myrtle McCoughtry his future wife. They were written before, during and then after WWI while establishing his settler block at Red Cliffs VIC. Myrtle remained in Melbourne until their house was built. Letters shared here are part of a larger private collection generously shared with permission by Pam Shugg (granddaughter of Oz and Myrtle) and her family.