I haven't written this myself. The letter was written by my great-uncle Arthur Fisher to his mother Mary Ann Porch back in England. It tells of his trip from Brisbane to Tenterfield with his older brother George in 1863. I have copied it as exactly as I could, with the same spelling, grammar and punctuation as in the original.
[Editorial note: The original letter is much longer – over 3,000 words – and space did not allow for publication in its entirety. The following is an abridged version.]
Dear Mother I now take the Opportunity of writing these few lines to you hoping to find you in good health as it leaves all of us at present thank god for it … we had a very slow passage it was 17 weeks from the time I left home till we landed Brother George was down waiting the steamer down Brisbane … George and me to was kind of over Joyed … Dear Mother we thought it a happy meeting for two Brothers to meet so many Thousands a miles from our native place … George and me stoped in Brisbane to the next Tuesday to give me a little rest … Dear Mother I spose you would like to know how any one travels in the bush I thought it a very curious way myself when we started from Brisbane to see George with a red pair of blankets straped on his back and a Black tin cup buckled on the other side of it and we had to take tea and sugar and flour and a box of matches and then we was prepared pretty well for out Jurney and about every 2 hours if we did come to any water we did and make a tin cup of tea … when George began to maker bread first of all he made a good fire with wood and let the ashes burn pretty fine and then he went and got a piece of bark of one the trees and empty some of the flour on the smooth side of the bark and get some water and mix the flour up vewrry stiff and spread it out thin and then open the ashes and throw it in the fire and cover it over with the ashes and in about half an hour it was done … this bread and cheese I liked verry well for the bread was nice and heavy … Dear Mother it is 200 miles from Brisbane to tenterfield and we have to travel all the way through the bush it is verry bad traveling in this country it is not like tis in England a good turnpike road but all through the bush nothing but trees and when we was traveling there had been a good deal of rain just before so that made it all the worse for us sometimes we had to walk through mud and water up to our knees … the weather is very hot in Queensland I don't believe I could live there … we did travel about 20 miles a day that is called verry good travelling for any one who is Just come into the country … Just before dark we did spread open our blankets and make up a good fire to keep of the snakes and other things away from us … we travelled verry well to the next Thursday week and the last town we come to … was 80 miles to Tenterfield … [editor’s note: the two brothers become lost] … we did hardly know what to do were we had better go back or go on so after a few minutes both of us a greeded to go on but there was no track way so we did not know where we was going the right way or not … this was 6 of March then next day come which was Saturday … then Sunday we felt verry hungry and could not see any thing to eat except grass so we began to eat some….we began to feel verry weak so we then began to pray … [editor’s note: they struggle on until …] … a man happen to see me as he was riding along … he said [we were] 40 miles from Tenterfield this man lived 12 miles from Tenterfield … the next morning the man came out to us and brought us some food [and] brought us in to a plain road … so we walk pretty well that day and only had about 25 mikes to go a Friday morning we walk agane that day … and we got home just at dark on Friday 27 of march we was lost 17 days and we was verry weak and Bad and George was worse than me his bones was ready to pop through his skin but we have nurse our selves up and have 2 bottles of rum and some port wine and ham getting pretty well now thank God and ham able to do a little work …