Arrived at our destination safely & am feeling well. We are situated about 6 miles from Cairo at Heliopolis Camp. Heliopolis is a very fine town where the higher class people live, some of the buildings are beautiful in fact everything is up to date electric trams run into Cairo every few minutes. Cairo is a very large city with a population of ¾ of a million people; in parks it is very nice but you have not to go very far before you come to the slums & real slums at that. We have been all over the place since we came; we went to the pyramids last Sunday & spent a real real interesting time. The pyramids are marvellous structures all built by hand some of the huge blocks of stone being over 5 tons in weight of course we had to have a camel ride & although it was rather rough we enjoyed the novelty. Our next trip was to the Mosque; we had a guide to take us over this & he explained everything it was well worth seeing & is very beautiful inside, the large dome being 250ft high. The dark race are very funny here the place is full of hawkers & there is no way of getting rid of them except by using expressive language. There are hundreds of kiddies anything from about 6 to 20, boot cleaners, awful pests. As soon as you get off the tram about a dozen or more are after you fighting to see who will clean your boots. If ever I come back I will be able to keep you going for a week telling you all I have seen. We expect to get away from here very shortly. I will write again soon dearest so goodbye for present. Fond Love. Yours lovingly Ozzie.
Kind regards to your mother & sister.
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.
I have just received your letter dated 19/1/16 & am sorry you have not had a letter for such a long time as I am sure you should have some by now, of course we could not send any letters for some time & I hope you have them by now.
I would like to let you know just where we are but I suppose you can guess somewhere. Well we have got our billies at last and they were very nice we all had quite a birthday for that day. My billy was sent from a Mrs I.M. Turner of Alma Road, Camberwell. You may know her, she wrote a very nice letter & offered to send me socks or anything I would ask for, but I refused as I have plenty of socks & all these things make your pack heavier when you have to march a long way.
I see by your letter the Germans are having a bad time. Of course they make it a bit hot on them but they should not be allowed to carry on business at all & we are only getting a bit back on them. I am sorry to hear that you nearly melted away with the hot weather you are having lately. I could *imagine what it would be at 104 home. Still that is nothing to what we have here in Summer in the glaring hot sand. I had a letter from Harold & he was telling me what a good time he had at Mooroolbark & I felt quite jealous.
I am glad you have gone in for bookkeeping but hope you don’t get as tired of it as I used to get I can fancy you are going to class, mind you don’t get the strap. You say that Mother Goose is on again you should go & see it I only wish I was home & I would take you but never mind dearie. I hope to be able to do so some day & I only hope it is very soon. You tell me that you are longing for a good old talk well when I get back I will talk that much you will be glad when I run dry. I must close now dearest as I am run dry of news so with fond love,
I remain yours ever xxxxxx Ozzie
Prisoner of War Kriegsgefangen
It is not your turn for a letter but I will just have to miss writing to someone as I got a letter dated 3 Sept & a card some date in August which was very pretty indeed. I get your letters more regularly than any others so I think you deserve most of mine in return. I have got an album & I want some old home scenes to fill it. There are evidently some letters missing between the card in August & the letter 3rd Sept. You mention about your mother going out to see Hilda & the new baby. This is a pleasant surprise to me as I have not heard before of the new baby. You do not say whether it is a boy or a girl. I was very pleased to hear that you took your part at the concert so well. You say you felt very nervous; well I know that feeling I remember the first time I sang at South Street before an audience of about 4 thousand. I could have dropped through the floor but once you get started you feel alright. You say you often sit & wonder what I am doing & wonder if I have changed. Well all I can say as far as getting old I am not looking a day older although I feel it. I had a photo taken but tore it up as it might frighten you but I intend to have it taken again. How I long to be with you again dearest, it is the hardest part of the lot being so long away from you, but I have consolation of knowing you are true blue & I just love you for it & all your sweet letters bring us very close together. I must close now sweetheart with fondest love.
xxxxxx Yours ever xxxxxxx Ozzie
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.