Lake Macquarie History

Letter from Richard Fennell to his uncle, 21st July 1867

Lake MacQuarie
21st July 1867.

My Dearest Uncle,

I fear you will think me very neglectful for not writing for so long a time but I have been so occupied and bothered with one thing and another going [wrong] and requiring to be put straight again, that I have had neither time or heart to sit down to write you.

You will see by the papers I have sent you that we have just experienced the most dreadful visitation of flood and hurricane ever known since the colony has been formed. We have often experienced heavy floods but these all pale into insignificance before this last and the amount of destruction and wretchedness it will occasion is really frightful to contemplate, for the destruction is so widespread that there are so few able to assist their suffering fellows in comparison to what has been the case on previous occasions. I like all the rest have lost all that was in crop, but our hut fortunately is on high ground and escaped as regards water, but in the worst of the gale about nine in the evening a sudden squall took the roof off clean left nothing between us and the sky. Luckily I had an old tarpaulin which we all crept under and managed to keep the fire alight, but we were in an awful mess for some days, and all the young folks bad with whooping cough made it still worse, but what we have had to suffer is nothing in comparison to what hundreds are at this moment suffering from losing their homes entirely. Their residences and all they contained swept away, and in a great many instances the very land itself. How it is to be got over by us all I do not know; everything is gone for the present. Those who like myself have the land left unhurt may have a chance to try again if we can manage to live till another crop is grown and we can get seed etc., but hundreds are left without the most remote chance of ever recovering themselves. Every exertion is making throughout the country to assist as far as practicable, but I fear that the requirements will be greater than the means to meet them.

I do not know whether you have received my other letter or whether you get the newspapers I send when I have a chance, and much thank you for the magazines which came regularly except for the two last mails.

I am afraid you will find this an uninteresting letter, but in the midst of these trials a person can think of little else –

All join in affectionate solicitude for your health and believe me dear Uncle

Your loving nephew

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