Autograph letter from Mr. H. Easton, Billa Billa, near Callandoon to Robert Andrew Macfie, discussing Darling Downs gold discoveries and importance of the aboriginal work force. Queensland, Aborigines.
Autograph letter from Mr. H. Easton, Billa Billa, near Callandoon to Robert Andrew Macfie, discussing Darling Downs gold discoveries and importance of the aboriginal work force.

Autograph letter from Mr. H. Easton, Billa Billa, near Callandoon to Robert Andrew Macfie, discussing Darling Downs gold discoveries and importance of the aboriginal work force.

New South Wales / Queensland border: 1st March 1852. Autograph letter from Mr. H. Easton, Billa Billa, near Callandoon, now Queensland but then NSW, written from an early Darling Downs station. The letter is written to his brother-in-law Robert A. Macfie, Parliament St., Liverpool, England, dated 1st March 1852. Easton is revealed in his letter as a warm and schooled man with a gentle turn of phrase. His letter to his brother-in-law is full of news of Australia "You must have heard --- Gold Discoveries..." "I am uncertain of what will be the effect of this (gold) discovery, there appears however two things pretty certain, that we will have a very great addition to our population, and as a necessary consequence, the live stock of the colony will receive a great impetus in value..." He credits the aborigines help as being instrumental in saving his station. "Stations are at present hardly saleable and I cannot wonder at it for this is a very critical time with us all, labour being so very scarce and the quality so very indifferent." His 8000 sheep were entirely shepherded by aborigines, the very same aborigines who in the past had terrorized the neighborhood, killing cattle and men. Since he took up the station, Easton had not lost a single man, a success he attributed to paying the aborigines- "I never asked them to do the most trifling thing without giving them some trifling remuneration." He questions whether there is sufficient local police force to put down a riot. "It is a great blessing to be living under a good government." "I would say that the Merchants here are the people that are making the first Golden Harvest." Gold digging is a "gambler's life" and very hard work. "Good order has been preserved- not a single disturbance having taken place since they (the gold miners) commenced which sufficiently proves that we are not deserving of the bitter calumny that has been heaped upon us by the Californians..." "Every man pays his license willingly." "Our sister colony (Victoria) is not getting on quite so well in this respect- there has been several murders committed there and I believe Lynch law is resorted to..."

Henry Edward Easton (1822 York, England - 1903 Queensland) is listed as an MD on Ancestry.com. He married Helen Curr in 1859 in Sydney, and died intestate in 1903, the legal notice appearing in Queensland Government Gazette for Toowoomba 30th May, 1903 (p. 1493). He refers to his brother "Fred" who would be Frederick Charles Easton (1820 Bolton, Lancs - 1900, Allora Colony Queensland). Fred married Mary Agnew, and their station was called Turawinaba. Their son Edward John Loftus Easton was a J.P. in Queensland, grazier, owner and trainer of racehorses in Ipswich, as well as a past president of the Queensland Pastoral & Agricultural Society. (Who's Who in Australia, 1929 on Ancestry.com). Easton's sister Isabella (1826, York, England - d. unknown) is also mentioned.

Ancestry.com also refers to a brother Loftus Otway Easton (1831 South Leith - 1854 Billa Billa, Darling Downs), but who oddly is not mentioned in this letter. Robert Andrew Macfie (1811 Leith- 1893 Liverpool) was a Scottish businessman and in later life, a Member of the British Parliament. He married Caroline Eliza Easton (1813 Bombay India - 1896, Edinburgh).

Apparently, the station "Billa Billa" is near Callandoon, just west of Goondiwindi, Darling Downs. It is near the Macintyre River, S. Queensland, approx. 150 degrees long. and 28.5 degrees lat. Two postal cancellations, one a Sydney Mail Ship. 4 pp approx. A4 size, approx. 8 1/2 x 11". Old folds, a bit dusty bottom of first page. Item #530

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