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Drury Samuel Henry

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth
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Place of birth Chipping-Campden
Date of arrival
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Principal occupation Farmer
Date of death
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Place of decease Houghton S.A.

It had been a cold & wet winter on the Grace Plains in the year 1875. Harry Drury finished his evening meal & drew closer to the fire & on his single sheet of paper, finally wrote his long-overdue letter to his dear sister Pollie back in their home village of Chipping-Campden in Gloucestershire.

                                                                                                Grace Plains


                                                                                               South Australia

                                                                                              July 9th. 75

My dear Sister Pollie

it is sometime now since I wrote to you last. I expect you think that I am forgetting my native home and kindred far away, but there is not one day passes but I am thinking of you all and wondering if I shall ever see you all again. I often dream that I have been home for a month or two and leaving England again I have seen you as plain coming with me to the Docks and wishing me goodbye dear Pollie

there has a great many changes taken place since I left home what a sad blow it was to poor James losing his wife I little thought I had seen her for the last time How does he manage now how is the children going on. dear Pollie you see I am still in the same place I have been here now twelve months. I was near leaving a short time back I should have been in Queensland now if I had left. there was some gold diggings broke out there, so me and three more were going but the ship left two days before we were to go to the Port so then I would not go and I am glad I did not for there is five or six thousand Chinese come there and there is fearful work between them and the Blacks the Blacks go about in tribes and when they come on a diggers tent they take all his things and spear him to death cut him in pieces and roast him and eat him so I am sure you will not envy a poor australian diggers life. My three have gone since but I have never heard anything of them since. they is many a poor fellow comes out here has no friends, is taken ill and dies and nobody knows nothing of him. I saw a sad case a short time back of a man working on a place close to here he went to Mallala one day and was taken ill and dropped down dead in the street. his body lay there for nearly two days when they nailed a few rough boards together [a coffin as they called it] and put him in with his clothes and all on just as he fell and buried him. no one to read a funeral note over him. he was a stranger here I thought how his friends in England would wonder what had become of him perhaps hoping to see him come home again. I thought see how that should be my fate some of you would never know what had become of me such is Bush life in Australia. I can tell you dear Pollie since I left England I have seen more than I could ever tell but still I make myself contented whatever may be my lot but I think of the song [theres no place like home] I think I shall come if it is only for a month dear Pollie.

we are just in the middle of another winter we have had a lot of rain more than last winter there has been sheets of water on the road for four or five miles the roads in the valleys are in an awful state they are not quite so bad on the plains because it ismostly sandy in Queensland the floods were so bad that the people had to get up in the trees or where they could shelter for three or four days

dear Pollie now the winter has come on I feel the cold more than I did at home I expect it is through the intense heat of the summer I have to wrap up in flanels I dont enjoy near such good health. I never had my hands in such a state before they are that sore sometimes I can scarcely wash them if I only knock a little skin off it is two or three months healing up

dear Pollie has Mr Smith heard anything of Alfred lately I have not heard of him for nearly twelve months how is Agness and her child remember me to her when you write home and Bessie Hancock is she still at Shipton where is Steve to now has his mother the cows and grounds Now what is Emma doing I could fill a whole paper with questions but it would be to much. how does Keyte get on with the Mail now and how is Poor Mother getting along with her land give my love to her I often wish I was at home and had the land and two horses same as before I can see now how I ought to have done it I could make it pay nearly double now if I had that and the Mail one twelve months out here has given as much experience as twelve years at home

Dear Pollie I must now conclude hoping if please God we shall meet again with fondest love

I remain your affectionate and loving Brother

Harry Drury.

Kind love to all There is a young fellow living in the store at Mallala a shopman comes from by Bristol His name is Harry Gumming he knows Hugh Littleton well when I go to the township we always have a yarn about Bristol Baths the bridge Gloucester and all them places

Tell Mother I forgot it before.

Samuel Henry Drury was born in Chipping-Campden, Gloucestershire, U.K. on 15th. September 1852. He was the 5th. child of Samuel & Grace [nee Slade]. Samuel had earlier married Ann Martin & had James [the James mentioned in Harry’s letter to his sister Pollie] & Ellen. Ann died in 1834 & Samuel married Grace in 1841 with their children being Anne, Elizabeth, Jane, [Pollie] Mary & Samuel Henry [quickly nick-named Harry.]

Samuel & Grace were listed in the 1851 census as farmers, owning 18 acres. Samuel died in 1868 & the 1871 census showed Grace still farming & son Samuel Henry as Royal Mail driver.

In 1874 Samuel Henry decided to emigrate to Australia. The reason for this is unknown, with the most likely answer being a sense of adventure. He said goodbye to his sister Jane [Pollie] at the Plymouth docks & sailed in the “Hesperus”, a full-rigged three-masted iron sailing ship on her maiden voyage from England to Australia. This ship is not to be confused with the original “Hesperus”, wrecked off the coast of Massachusetts U.S. in 1839.

He arrived in Port Adelaide on 10th. May 1874 & travelled to Mallala to work on a farm at Grace Plains, 5km.north of the town, & it was from here that he wrote the letter to his sister Pollie back in Chipping-Campden & this letter gives an interesting insight into life in Mallala in 1875.

Samuel Henry purchased land & shifted to Wild Horse Plains in 1879, where he met Elizabeth Jane Cox who was working in a hotel in the district. Elizabeth was born at Houghton in the Adelaide Hills on 3rd. May 1862 & her father Frederick & grandfather Sylvester were pioneers of that district. .Samuel Henry & Elizabeth were married at Trinity Church, Adelaide on 3rd. March 1881 & set up house at Wild Horse Plains. Elizabeth soon became pregnant with their 1st. child & on Christmas Eve 1881, with the birth imminent, she sent Samuel Henry off to Port Wakefield to bring the midwife with all haste. He duly set off but when he finally arrived back at the house with the midwife, Elizabeth had given birth to Catherine Grace on the kitchen table, with mother & daughter both doing well.

While at Wild Horse Plains, Samuel Henry donated a block of land [Block no. 50] in 1882 for the construction of a church known as The Christian Chapel. In 1906 it was purchased by the Australian Christian Commonwealth & became part of the Mallala Methodist circuit. Services continued intermittently until 1961 & the church was demolished in 1964, - the rubble from this can still be seen on the land now owned by Trevor Schultz.

The family moved to Salem in 1883 where Robert was born, then to Tickera where Charles, Alfred & Frederick were born, & then returned to Elizabeth’s home town of Houghton, where William & Mary were born.

Catherine Grace married local orchardist George Percival Verrall of Upper Hermitage on 17th. February 1910 & had children Grace, Kenneth & Olive. Kenneth married Rita Smith on 23rd. December 1933 & had children Lois, Brian, Leigh, Glen & Graham.

Samuel Henry had some heart problems in later life & died at Inglewood on 2nd. February 1922, aged 69 years, while his wife Elizabeth lived on for another 34 years & died on 13th. July 1956 – both being buried at Houghton Cemetery.

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