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4-325 (Original)

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author,male,Maxwell, Hugh,37 addressee,family
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
O'Farrell, 1984
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4-325.txt — 3 KB

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[...] only she has to have Violet Grace and possibly John Hugh Lupon (which she has decided on as a name for our boy) vaccinated with calf lymph before leaving town. We, neither of us, believe in vaccination but it is against the law in Victoria not to have it done. Therefore their mother will get it done with calf lymph and may thus avoid many of the diseases consequent on the ordinary vaccine [...] 
In the course of 4 or 5 weeks I intend trying to get about 250 four or six tooth cross bred ewes and putting Lincoln rams with them, about 3 rams. I got one ram from Mr. P. Johnston. If they should do well on the back block (the only paddock in the district there is green feed at present owing to being lightly stocked lately) it is my present intention to try and sell again about July, then stock with wethers for shearing but should prices be dull at that time we will keep the ewes, take crop of lambs and shear. I hope to be able to buy the above number out of the money I got as surrender value of my life policy £57 12s. 8d. It went much against my inclination to surrender my policy but there was no help for it and I may be able to assure again some time. 
It is a matter of the utmost economy and a big effort to try and get a start with stock. Hitherto James Colven has been boarding with us and we took out the board as far as we could in work (after of course the days were I squared for that I worked on his block), one week's work squaring three of board but as we have no work to do now except extraordinary improvements we would be obliged to charge for board which we offer at 8s. 0d. per week. [203] I think however that he will try baching again and it is likely he will camp at the hut at our garden as being more convenient to possible work. An extra mouth to fill (a man's) in our present pinched circumstances means something and we cannot do it without some remuneration. I will therefore plod along doing what work I can by myself besides looking after stock, and what I can't do must stand. 
I have been many years together with the other boys scraping and saving what made the place what it is, with the help of your loan, and I must try hard not to let it slip out of our fingers even if the struggle, in hard times, be a big one. 
Produce with you is very low indeed but hope there may be an improvement in prices soon. Here, that is to say in Victoria generally, crops both of grain and hay will be very very poor. Prices have gone up, wheat 4s. 0d. bushel and so on, but the rise in price won't make up for falling off in yield. Wool as you no doubt know, is much better in price than last season, so that sheep is about as safe a thing as a man can go for. 
Flour is more than 50% higher than this time last year, an article which of course we have to buy. Unfortunately the rise does not go into the pocket of the producer but the middle man get it. However we cannot growl at the man who invests his money as a speculation in wheat for he keeps up the prices to some extent when they are at low level. 
The Bendigo folk are well. The bad season for the farmers of that district has had its effect on the town trade so James has had a pretty stiff pinch lately. However he writes me that it would have been worse in the old shop than in the new, as the old was more of a farmer's trade, while the new is more of a town trade. I have had to call on him twice for money to which he loyally responded but it went hard with me to ask it from him knowing how things stood. He like myself is hopeful and together with retrenching and frugality hope to pull through till better times come.
It is perhaps not surprising that you have not had many letters from him lately for a fellow has not much heart to write unless he has good news.