* An excerpt from a letter written by Oz from the trenches
"Dear Myrtle, I received your letter the day I was leaving Egypt for the front & must say I never enjoyed reading a letter so much before. It was so nice of you to write so soon dear especially as you did not know my address. It is a week ago today since we landed, & seems like a month. I suppose you are wondering how I am getting on. Well I am (A.I). Before we landed here I was wondering what kind of country we would be fighting in, I knew it was pretty hilly, but never imagined it half as rough as it is. I am in the trenches now trying to get Mr Turk to give me a shot at him, but he is pretty cunning and does not show himself too often. We are only about 200 yds from their trenches....."
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.
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.