Alfred Walder Letters

Transcripts of letters by and about Alfred Walder sent from Queensland to Horsham, England between 1909 and 1916. (Kindly supplied by Kay McGarry of New York)

Letter partially torn, no date:

I am living in a house or humpy made of reeds and I can't put a fire in it so have to suffer it ...[torn]... low country is under water and we have to stop on the mountains and occasionally the wind blows off the roofs of the houses and the hair off our heads. I will fetch you enough gold to ...[torn]... I have not seen Coomber {Coonber?} since I left Tas. 6 years ago. It's 2000 miles from here. Heard from Maggie ... [torn] ...I don't know when I shall come home. I want some astonishing luck.

Letter partially torn, no date:

....[torn]... I mean to stick here a good bit longer yet, then I might afford a trip home bout two years time. Am in the best mine now in Tabletop but it's slow work developing it. When I can get a good figure I mean to sell out and give the tropics a wide berth. There (sic) too unhealthy for whites. I sleep and live in the open air altogether lately its been so hot. Some have no tent or house to live in. Just make a shade of leafy boughs ..[torn]... Thanks for the photos. I could not make them out at first till I read your letter. Am sorry I have not one of my own to send you. I am not married yet. What makes you anxious to know? White women are scarce here.

The winter is coming on now. Been a very long hot summer. A lot of people have died from heat apoplexy. Am in good health myself now glad to say...[torn}... End of letter

From Golden Gate, Croydon, North Queensland, November 3, 1909

Dear Sister,

I am sorry for neglecting to write you for so long. The longer one is away from Home the less he thinks about it. I must tell you I have never done much good here. Would have been just as well off at home only life is a bit free'r. I have no one to boss me. Have a gold claim, 4 acres between two of us. Make about 2-1/2 per week. It cost that to live here. There is a chance of making a rise in it but it's a long time coming. I have been among the unlucky ones so far. I have never married, have a three room cottage of my own to live in. The two of us cook for ourselves and we are pretty comfortable. I am strong and healthy yet I would like to have a look at you at home but don't know when I will get the cash to do it. Sorry to hear so many of you are gone poor. Maggie was the last to write to me and I neglected to answer her letter. My love and best wishes to you all.

Remember me to old friends and the Coonber, wishing you all a happy Christmas, from your affectionate bro, A. Walder

From Golden Gate, Croydon North Queensland, Australia, November 14, 1912

Dear Sister,

Just a line to let you know I am still in the land of the living and to wish you all a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. I have just heard from Nance. She tell's me she has had a hard struggle with her large family and you have been good to her. I have had bad health myself. I got pneumonia after getting over the {dingue?} fever. Starting work too soon it took me 12 months to get properly over it. I am working for wages now and up to my old weight. I was only {9 stone?} for a long time. Things are very quiet here in this part of Queensland although good everywhere else. The mines are getting worked out and abandoned in the next field to this. About 150 miles away there is plenty of work. They are leaving Croydon for there very fast and I may have to go myself before long. I am working for a Company that's not very strong. Might last another 6 months. Tom Batchelor that was home to see you once is Manager of the Content mine, the best mine here. I am right for a job with him at times, but it's a mile of a walk to work and I don't care about it. We are in the hot weather now. I have a five room cottage to live in all to myself and I get my meals at the pub, the only place now. Five hotels have been closed up in the last two years and cottages can be bought for a few pounds that cost hundreds. I hope, hope, dear Alice, this will find you all in good health. My love and best wishes for a happy New Year to you all at home. A. Walder.

[After Alfred died there were many letters back and forth between NYC and England and Australia to find out what happened to him and if he had left any property.

Here are two that sum them up:]

To A.H. Bancker, Esq, NYC

From Tom Batchelor, Manager of the Content mine.


With reference to your inquiries about the late Alfred Walder, I am sorry to say I cannot give you any particulars about his death. About two years ago I left Croydon where I had known the deceased for years. At that time he was in poor health and had been very unlucky in his mining ventures. From inquiries I made it appears he left off working at mining and went into the battle country working at fencing and other bush work, and while at that work he died. I do not think he had any property of any value at his death as for years he had only been making a bare living at mining and the other work he was employed in afterwards would have not helped him much in money matters.

Please tell Mrs. Doran that the cause of her brother's death was miner's consumption and that he was respected by all those that knew him. Yours truly, Batchelor.

To A. H. Bancker, NYC

From T.J. Quilty, Euroka Springs [note: Mr. Quilty and a Mr. Ogilvie buried Alfred Walder]

Dear Sir,

Your letter of December 17, 1915 to hand. Mr. Walder died on the 25th of January 1915 at Euroka Springs Station, Cloncurry, Queensland.

The cause of death was Miner's phthisis from which had been suffering for a few years. He came to Euroka Springs with a fencer called Triffett I think some time about September 1914. He left no property that I know of. The only things in his possession at the time of death was a breech loading gun, two blankets, and a few clothes. He came from Golden Gate to Euroka Springs.

I do not know what his business was about Golden Gate. Yours faithfully,

T.J. Quilty

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