South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
April 6th, 1891
Freemantle, Western Australia
My Beloved Angee,
Monday morning is just commencing another week's work and 2 or 3 more in this place will finish up my business in W.A. and I shall then be returning to Adelaide and Melbourne. It seems at times as though I shall never get through it but I plod on seeking fresh strength and grace from God even our Father who has hitherto helped me. I had thought of returning to S. Africa for a special visit to the ports before returning, but I can see this is out of the question and God willing I shall return home when I have finished Australia and New Zealand as to reach England if possible by not later than Sept. or perhaps August. I have tried your patience quite enough I am sure or shall have done by that time, as well as my own strength and in the mercy of God if it please Him shall indeed be thankful for a little quietness and rest with you and my dear children once more. I came here last Friday afternoon and on arrival at the station with my baggage found no carriage to take me to the hotel – a carrier's cart however was available so the show and the showman got upon this and drove through the town. But only to find the hotel full, not a bed unoccupied. I pleaded with the lady and her brother recently from Brighton who had compassion and shewed me a partly furnished parlour saying that was the only room they had and I saw very quickly it would be a splendid place for my samples and took it. They have put a sofa in it on which I sleep and with 2 chairs at the foot and 3 by the side and with my rug laid over the whole it makes a very comfortable bed, but the construction would make you smile and may call forth a sympathetic "poor fellow" from your lips. Rather a different style to our grand bed in Barnstaple.
Yesterday Lord's day we all went up to Perth for the breaking of bread leaving by 9 a.m. train – the heat was very great. We had a good time together in remembering the Lord – we often say it was the happiest time ever known and so we felt yesterday. All came together again in the afternoon for a reading altho' by that time the room was like an oven – we then returned to tea with Mr Rogers and his family and I was thankful to get under the shade of the verandah and one of the Miss Rogers kept a fan going the comfort of which soon put me to sleep and I was greatly refreshed with the little rest. They had announced the gospel at 7 and the Lord brought in a few strangers and we had a good time again – the saints had not heard the gospel preached for about 2 years, so you may suppose what a refreshment it was to them. We left again at 10pm and arrived at Fremantle a little before 11 – I had about ten minutes' walk to the hotel and was soon laying down upon my patent bed the clock just outside (the Town Hall) striking the three quarters at a quarter to 12 and I wondered if I would hear the four quarters and the 12 but the next I heard was the four quarters and 5. It seemed only a few minutes but the sleep had done its restoring and refreshing work in the mercy of God.
I will add a little more to my letter while waiting the call of a merchant but ‘tis the same old story but I must make it as varied as possible. Well Western Australia is a wonderful country and is evidently attracting great attention in many parts of the world and there is every prospect of what is called a "boom" in land. The public sales for which nearly every day are well attended and prices are made greatly in excess of what the Government call the "set-up" price. Every hotel that I have been in throughout the colony has been full and they are very numerous too. The land appears to be wonderfully fertile altho' much of it looks like white sand, but with a little manure the growth of all kinds of plants is prodigious – a brother told me he had grown cabbages weighing 20lbs and "marrows" and pumpkins over 100 pounds – this is a demonstration of the virtue of the soil. What is giving the whole country a start now is that they have a regular established government with a parliament and a Governor and are just raising a loan 1¼ million for public works – principally for railways and wherever the metals are laid a population soon springs up. The census was taken last Lord's day evening and it is thought that the entire population of W.A. is not more than 50,000 – who eats the biscuits is a puzzle. I have not heard of kangaroos and opossums eating them or any other of the peculiar "poached" tribes of this colony. The climate is very fine, only a little too hot just now through the day, but the nights are delightfully cool.
How strange it appears to us that both the vegetable and animal life of this vast colony should differ even from adjoining colonies and that the kangaroo and the flora and fauna of W.A. extend to Tasmania but are not found in New Zealand. The wonderful gum tree of its various kinds is very interesting all belonging to the Eucalyptus but differing in colour of the wood – white, yellow and red – the last is called the "Jarrah" and is a more beautiful wood than mahogany for polishing, but much heavier. The forests near here look of a primeval character such enormous height and girth. I hear it is coming prominently into the English market and that Shoolbreds are making some very fine furniture with it.
Have done a splendid business here and could do more but fear overdoing it – have just packed up and leaving for Albany in a few hours and then take steamer for Adelaide. Having a nice large room at the hotel I invited the brethren to tea last night and for a reading after – we had a company of 15 and spent a very happy evening and once more go on journey commended by the brethren whose love has been great. Mr & Mrs Rogers and 4 daughters drove down from Perth with a brother called Trigg an architect who is engaged to the eldest and nearly all residing here came. You must not be disappointed if you do not get a letter next week as I may not reach Adelaide in time for the next outward mail. Again commending you all to the care of our gracious God and with much love to your dear self, Arundel, Harry and Emma and all the darling children believe me my beloved Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband