Received your letter dated 5th Saturday evening. In your last letter you mention not receiving one of my letters & how you felt a wee bit disappointed. Well dearest it is not any fault of mine as I have written regularly. I am not working at present we finished picking currants last Thursday & don’t expect to start on sultanas till next Monday. On Saturday we went fishing & shooting. Mr. Appleby took us in the car through the Red cliffs land, which is being opened up. It is nine or ten miles from here & is considered very fine land. Most people think it is the best land in the district. The river is very pretty about there & the cliffs are very high. We had a very enjoyable day & caught light fish I caught three; 2 brim & 1 perch. We took Bruce’s camera with us & took some snaps. I only hope they come out alright. I am sending them in today to be developed & printed, so may possibly be able to send them to you by the next post. I really don’t know how long it will be before they open up Red Cliffs for settlements but I was reading in the age the other day that it would not be ready for about 3 years. Of course they have to make the channels for irrigation & they are talking of locking the river. The people here don’t think it will be nearly that long. If it was 3 years before we came into possession it would mean another four years before we got any kind of return from the vines. When I come down I intend to have a real talk with Mr. Cattanach.
So Harold is coming down, I am very sorry I shall miss him, if he had only waited a little longer; I would have been able to come down. You ask me what Gordos are; well they are the raisin fruit.
I am sending you a photo of the house,we printed it yesterday. I sleep on the verandah on the opposite side, it is very nice and netted in with fine wire to keep the mosquitos out; otherwise they would eat you to death. I am writing to Hilda & if I feel like it will drop a line to Aunt so please excuse me now dearest. Give my love to Mother & accept best same yourself.
From Yours ever Ozzie xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Kind regards to your father & all the family.
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.
Hope you received my letter on Saturday but feel doubtful as the letter would not reach town until about 11 o’clock & that would be too late for the delivery. I told you in my last letter that I had started graft. I have been picking figs for a couple of days. I cannot say I like fig picking as the figs make your hands very sore. I had my first lesson in plowing yesterday & didn’t do too bad. It is rather hard at first but when you get into the knack it is easy.
We are making a tennis court up here, the next door neighbours are pretty keen so they come over & give us a hand. If you have my racquet you might send it along, that is if you are not going to use it. Last night we drove into the town Saturday night being the late night up here. All the people seem to come in from the surrounding districts & the town is just packed with people. It is rather a nice town; the streets are nice and wide & the main street has nice green lawns up the centre. The band generally plays on Sunday evening & a pretty good crowd congregates. The only drawback is that the roads are not metal but lately they have been putting limestone on. It would be simply awful if it rained much here as a few points of rain make it very muddy.
I met two 21st boys at the boarding house when I was there; they said they had been all over Victoria but couldn’t settle down to anything & when I went down there to see if there were any letters last night they had gone. Well dearest what have you been doing since I left. I can just imagine you dressing up in that pretty frock this morning & going off to church. The Applebys are Methodists so I suppose I will be the same for a while; the Presbyterian is the nicest church up here. I think it has only been built recently; your church is also represented but is rather small I think. I asked you in my last letter to send up my [xxx]. Take a tally of all it costs you, sending me stuff & I will fix up when I come down. Well dear old girl I have nothing more to tell you but long for you every day & only wish you were with me, never mind, we must take the good with the bad & hope for the future.
Au Revoir Sweetest & dearest. Write me a nice long letter like the last.
Fond love Ozzie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Love to Mother & Kind regards to your 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.