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4-340 (Raw)

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author,male,Maxwell, Hugh,38 addressee,male
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
O'Farrell, 1984
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4-340-raw.txt — 3 KB

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 [...] You will be pleased to learn that we bought 200 four tooth merino ewes from about 10 miles above Ensay. They cost 6s. 0d. and as sheep are not dear at present you may conclude they are a fairly good class. There are two Lincoln rams with them at present. I hope the lambing may turn out well for we will need it much. It was a struggle to keep money enough together to pay for them, but they are paid for at any rate. The Lands Department noticed for two years rent in February but did not get it; they must wait and the store keeper is also a bit troublesome for his account. However I can give him some soon for I expect the half year's rent for front paddock soon. Had I squared off these I could not have bought the sheep. But the sheep will increase and I may be able to bridge the grocer and the Lands over for a little bit but it is uphill, very uphill. 
Now we have the sheep I feel that we have something. If I can manage to finance the other things for a little the sheep, with good luck, will steadily grow into a larger flock. [204] They will have plenty of feed as the paddock (back block) is much under stocked with that number and the few head of cattle. Besides, the severest drought (for the time it lasted) that has been for a long time, broke up in February and now the hills are green, where every blade was bleached or trodden out of the ground. There is now the prospect of a good autumn and winter. I am also careful to keep them constantly supplied with salt, so they seem to be doing very well so far. 
I have not heard from Bendigo for about 4 or 5 weeks. Maggie has not been very well and had gone to Melbourne. Of course James would be busy stocktaking lately. 
The wheat harvest was very poor in Victoria, averaging only about or slightly over 4 bushels. The price is at present about 5s. 1d. per bushel. Flour is more than double what it was a year ago being now in Bruthen 27s. 6d. a bag. This is stiff when one has to buy. Many farmers and storers are holding but if they are not careful they will hold too long. Should the season keep good there will be, I think, a fall about October to much lower prices. By the way wool is expected to be a good price next season. About nine millions of sheep died during the late drought in New South Wales. 
The garden potato crop is next thing to a failure, being merely a small potato, fit only for the fowls and those are very second growth. In this district potatoes are worth about 8s. 0d. We won't have to buy but don't expect to be able to sell. Warrnambools are quoted about 70s. 0d. to 80s. 0d. per ton. 
The fruit was fairly good but owing to the dry season vermin was more destructive than usual. I poisoned many opposums but still they came so we got very little fruit as our share. [205] Grasshoppers were also very bad, eating the parsnips and carrots and cabbage as soon as they were fairly above ground so we have had little vegetables this summer, but we have now a few turnips, carrots, parsnips, cabbage sown since the rain which are coming on grand.