Wednesday 21 April 2021

Letters from Thomas

We have written previously about Thomas Gamble, prominent shopkeeper and mayor of Campbelltown. Thomas wrote many letters home to his family, and we are lucky enough to have facsimiles of many of these. They start with his departure from Ireland, and continue until the early 1900s.
His first letter is reproduced here – I have illustrated it with images from that time, which gives a fascinating insight into his early observations. 

Bulls Hotel
Dale Street
July 22nd 1872

Dear Dada
I left Dublin Friday evening at 10 O.C. by the “Longford Steamship”. We got safe here on Saturday morning about 9 O.C.. We had a very fine night and I was not at all sick. I remained on deck until about 12 O.C. While on board I made enquiries about where I could leave my luggage on getting to Liverpool. I found I could leave it at the parcel office of the Princes Landing by paying 1 (sic) on each parcel or box. I thought it better to do that than to be taking them to my hotel and taking them back again. It is from the Princes Landing we will start.

Princes Landing-stage, Liverpool

You will be surprised to here (sic) that we will not leave Liverpool until Friday next, we are to go on board on Wednesday. Had I known that she would not sail until then I wouldn’t have come here until tomorrow however I am getting 3/- for the delay of course that will not pay me but still it is something. I feel very lonely here by myself. Now I know what it is to be away from ones friends. Now I know what it is to be without father or mother.
What most reminded me that I am in England is the absence of priests. I only saw two of them since I came here. Right opposite to where I took my dinner or yesterday I saw about 6 or 7 men preaching in the streets and a crowd listening very attentively to them. I went to church twice on yesterday but I do not like the way they conduct the services here. I went to St John’s church in the morning and to St Nicholles? (sic) in the evening.

St Nicholas, Liverpool

Two very fine old churches they both chanted the services which sounded very strange in my ear. The buildings here are splendid, the corn exchange is the finest I ever saw, also the North Western Hotel in Lime Street, I counted 50 windows in the front alone. I also went to see the Compton House it is much larger than Todd and Davies but unfortunately it is now closed.

The Corn Exchange
North Western Hotel

Compton House

I went to Berkenhead (sic) on yesterday by one of the ferry steamers which ply every 5 minutes for 1 penny. The agents are very nice people (I mean the agents of the Great Britain) they recommended me to this house which I like very much and is not at all expensive. I gave my money to the agents and got a receipt of it from them. The purser of the vessel will give it to me when I land at Melbourne.

The "Great Britain" a 3 masted steamer on which 
Thomas came to Australia

Tell Mama that it’s not that I forget her that I didn’t mention her name before this as she is not a moment out of my mind nor any of you for that matter. I shall always have a letter written on the voyage so that you will have one from me every opportunity I can
With love to Mama George Susan and all at home and accept the same
 from your affectionate son Thomas.

Written by Claire Lynch
Sources - Pamphlet Files Campbelltown City Library

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