ALS, recent Adelaide immigrant encourages plumber sister to emigrate & work on city water supply. S. A. Adelaide, Women in the trades.

ALS, recent Adelaide immigrant encourages plumber sister to emigrate & work on city water supply.

Adelaide: July 29, 1850. A remarkable letter from Adelaide, signed "E. Marsh", a recent settler, addressed to "Dear Sister", in which the author encourages her sister to emigrate, saying "Bring your tools with you by all means..."

This remarkable letter is written by "Mrs. Marsh" who is herself recorded as a "plasterer" in the South Australian Almanac and Directory (Murray) 1847, as "Marsh, Mrs. E., plasterer, Grey st."* She encourages her sister and fellow trades person by describing Adelaide's plan to lay city water pipes, saying, "I would have wrote before for I should like for you to come if you could do well. The Pluming (sic) trade has not been much here, it is better now - I have no doubt but you would do very well here things is getting more like home. I think in about twelve months Pluming will be as good a trade as any other. Their (sic) is a water company proposed to carry the water all over the town in pipes, it will not take place for twelve month at least, wages is from 6 to 7 shillings per day."

The commencement of colonial Government in South Australia was only declared in December 1836. By 1838, the second Governor, Colonel George Gawler, arrived in October 1838 "to a situation of almost no public finances, underpaid officials and 4,000 immigrants still living in makeshift accommodation." (Wikipedia) By 1843, South Australia was growing a huge amount of wheat. "From a low point in 1842 when 642 out of 1,915 houses were abandoned and there was talk of abandoning the settlement, Adelaide was a bustling city when Grey left to govern New Zealand in 1845... "

Adelaide in fact did not complete its city water supply (directed by Colonel Freeling, the colonial engineer in charge of the project) until about 1860! Residents rejoiced at the life changing improvement, and drank from water fountains on the main streets, while the city council made a demonstration of the fire hydrants by spraying an office building.

The author also offers her sister advice on what to bring on the passage over, and detailed news of family members (father ("poor old man, I wish he was here with us"), William, Sarah ("keeping a public house"), and Brother John ("arrived here in November 1848, they lost one child coming over by the name of Walter") and Sam ("living with a spirit merchant"). She also promises to send her sister newspapers to show prices and "the state of things here".

Bifolium, 7 x 9", 4 pages. Written in ink on pale blue paper with circular embossed stamp upper left corner. Period folds flattened.

* "Marsh, Mrs. E., plasterer, Grey st.", Australia City Directories, South Australian Almanac and Directory (Murray) 1847 on Ancestry.com. Most likely, this is now Gray St., parallel to West Terrace in Adelaide.

A remarkable letter between women trades people, within the first 16 years of Adelaide's settlement. Very good condition. Item #25927

Price: $475.00

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