Lake Macquarie History

Letters of Nathaniel Thomas Fennell

This series of letters, written by Nathaniel Thomas (Tom) Fennell to his family back in England, provides graphic detail of Tom's experiences in the colonies.

Tom was born in london in February 1827, about six months before his father died.

photo: last will and testament of tom fennell

He followed his brother out to Australia arriving on the Agincourt in 1847, aged 20. The first letters in this series were written on the journey and give an indication of life on board ship.

As a single man, Tom was free to travel extensively. He lived and worked with his brother for a short time, tried his hand at farming on a rented property 'Maryland', worked as a clerk in Turner's Coal Mine at Hexham for a time and on Willie A. Sparke's property at Hexham. He travelled to the goldfields with Willie in 1851 and tried his hand at prospecting, and he mentions having a conversation with Edward Hargraves in his letter dated 25th of April 1852.

Sometime in the late 1850's he travelled to South Australia. In 1862 his address was listed as c/- Mr Gould at Macclesfield and in 1865 he could be contacted through Mr Holmes c/- PO Truro. He was working as a shepherd on Sandlewood Station when he became ill and had to move to Adelaide for treatment. He died in Adelaide in 1874, aged 47 years.

Sources and further information

Murray, Peter In these desert wilds, 2010

Hartley, Dulcie Richard Fennel - unpublished research papers

Fennell family archives