An Old Letter from a Scotsman at Kinleside’s “Uppingham”, Koorawatha, near Cowra

Uppingham Siding

Dear Alec,

I received your letter the other week and this is the first chance I have had of answering it. I am getting along A1 and like this life though it is rough.

There is plenty money to be made in the bush but you don’t have the comforts like you have at home. Mutton three times a day and every day. At Cowra we used to get pork on Sunday but out here you don’t. I have tasted beef once in eight weeks and that was when a calf was killed. However, now I have got used to it I think I would rather live on Mutton than Beef.

Tin Hut

I live with the boundary rider in a tin hut and had to make my own furniture. This consists of a washstand made from a Sunlight Soap box, a table made from a kerosene box, a seat made from a kerosene box, a book shelf made from a kerosene box and my bed, which is the only thing I have not made, rests on boxes for fear that some fine night when the moon shines bright it will fall to bits.

I have to do my own washing but that is not much as I have not had my good clothes on since I came out here. I have a certain amount of work to do on Sunday and I never get to church. The nearest town is Koorawatha and that is eight or nine miles away. Uppingham is a bush siding for loading wheat etc. Once a day a train comes up with the mail and shunts or picks up trucks at the different sidings up the line. Uppingham is not a town it is the name of the sheep and cattle station on which I work.

Station Horse

A lot of my time is spent in the saddle and I reckon my legs are like hoop iron. If they do not come up to that mark in strength, they do in shape. I was inclined to be bandy and I am getting worse with riding. However, that don’t matter as long as I enjoy the life. I don’t need a bicycle out here for the roads are just dirt tracks and are about six inches deep in dust. I am going to get a horse, which will be cheaper and of more use. Good riding horses can be bought for 7 to 10 pounds and each man is allowed a horse on a station. Of course you get feed etc for it. I an trying a horse just now but have not made up my mind to buy it yet.

You say Noel is thinking of coming out here. Well it might make a man of him or he may go west like so many other boys I know. You have to work to get a good job and when you get one you have to put your back into your work. I rather think he would go west but I don’t know.

I will close now.

Your old Pal,

George

Great, grandparents, Andrew and Alexa (nee Watson) Kinleside purchased “Uppingham” at Koorawatha, near Cowra, in 1882. Alexa’s step mother Constance (nee Armstrong) Watson wrote to her brother Charlie in August of that year:-


“…Mr Kinleside has bought a selection near Young 980 acres for I think 1,000 pounds, fenced in, a three roomed house and a garden well watered, some sheep, I forget how many on it, he will have to build some additions to the house before they go there…”

Andrew and Alexa owned “Uppingham” at the time this letter was written in the early 1920’s, by one of their workers, who had recently come to Australia and was writing to a friend back in Scotland. Andrew and Alexa’s daughter Edith had married Jack Blackmore from nearby “Landsdowne” at Wattamondara. Jack and Edith had one son Lew, born in 1917 and named after his uncle Lewis who was killed in action at Pozieres, France. Around 1929 they moved to “Mount View” Clandulla (near Rylstone /Kandos) to raise fine wool Merino sheep.

Uppingham mail box in later times

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