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Letter from George Ferris to his mother describing his voyage to Australia and life in Sydney

Date: November 13 1864
Dimensions:
Overall: 317 x 195 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Letter
Object No: 00033000
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    Two page letter by George Ferris to his mother, describing his voyage out to Australia, and life in Sydney. Ferris describes weather and crew onboard the bark WESTWARD HO while voyaging to Australia. There were sixteen people on board including two passengers, a boy cabin passenger and an old Irish man who lived forward. Ferris describes the size and appearance of Sydney Harbour and notes that "Sidney Harbour is called the finest in the world. It is indeed splendid". He informs his mother of the botanical gardens and states "What a beautiful place it is. I never saw anything equal to it" and describes it as having an example of every imaginable plant from around the world, with aviaries full of unusual birds, and cages with various animals. George Street, he describes, has stone buildings and "Is a very fine street". Despite these assets he tells his mother, Australia is not a desirable place to live, as it is so hot and the land is so barren. He informs that a farmer must work very hard to survive, as many things are very expensive in particular alcohol.
    SignificanceGeorge Ferris's letter is a first person account of a growing Sydney in the mid-19th century. His description of the Botanical Gardens and George Street is an interesting comparison for the Sydney of today.
    HistoryGeorge Ferris was a sailor on board the bark, WESTWARD HO. His mother lived in Buffalo, New York. The WESTWARD HO arrived in Sydney from New York after a passage of 143 days.
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