thanks to all for the help with this! the consensus is that the mystery word in the previous post is 'batching' as in bachelor.
This is the relevant excerpt from the letter......(a Red Cliffs soldier settler writing to his future wife who was living in Melbourne, 15th Sept. 1921).
"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 8x10 tent with flies buzzing round & everything untidy “ugh”."
image: a piece of bracken fern found in a letter from the suitcase
Katy Mutton is a Canberra based, Australian Visual Artist whose practice is informed by an ongoing concern around trauma and warfare and how these relate to our cultural identity and history. For more information on her artwork visit www.katymutton.com