Lake Macquarie History

Fragments of a letter from Tom Fennell to his brother William May 4th 1848

Tom Postmarked May 4 1848,

to the dogs; I myself only the other day helped to kill as good a beast as you could wish to [behold]. [It] was purposely killed to feed the sheep and watch dogs. Such is the abundance in this colony at the time that numbers are starving at home and the chief cry of this country is for more labourers. And yet the government at home thinks more of making laws to punish crime than of endeavouring to remedy the evil of which is the cause of this crime, but as usual I am rambling from my subject. We have to look forward to a very trying winter. We have had no rain and as a result we have no grass, cattle are already beginning to die of starvation although winter has not yet begun to set in. In [Newcastle?] one gentleman has lost 16 mares and foals, another owning 5,000 head of cattle can only brand 400 calves for the years increase, and another a Mr. Boyd of Boydtown has lost 10,000 sheep.

Mr. Guise another about 6,000, so you can well imagine that we all look forward with dread to the approach of winter. In fact little is now to be done in this place except by the store or innkeeper [unreadable]. It was [damaged paper] scene that I have looked on since I left my native land. We found plenty of fish of which we caught a few [and] threw them on the fire. When cooked through, took them off and ate them. They sometimes weigh as much as 80 lbs. Thank my own little Hity for her kind and good letter. Tell her I write to Bill and her next. Tell her that I have got a little smutty dog about 4 inches high and as large as it ever will be. Also remember me to Mr. Tait, Rafferty, Cresswell, Tolson, John and everyone else not forgetting Aunt Mary and good Mrs. Burrell, also to the Skeltons; when you write tell John the tools are invaluable. You must tell me if you have got the greenhouse at Tolsons and also the garden. I think I have not told you that we are all our own butchers. We kill, cut up, salt and do everything for ourselves. I need not tell you dear Brother that I am frequently with you in my thoughts particularly [on] a Sunday, but I trust with God's blessing once more to be allowed with you in person, kindest love to my Bill and humble beseech God to protect you all in these trying times make you all happy.

Nathaniel Thos Fennell.

P.S. You all appear to be making yourselves more uneasy about Dick. Believe me there is not so much occasion for you to do so as you think there is.

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

If you experience any issues with the website or its content please contact us [email protected]