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Envelope for Charles Scott from W S Rayment, Scottsdale, Binya

Date: 10 August 1926
Dimensions:
Overall: 89 x 146 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robin Scott
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Envelope
Object No: ANMS1338[006]

User Terms

    SignificanceThis envelope relates to a significant period in Australia's migration history, when thousands of children and youths emigrated from the UK through various church and philanthropic schemes as labour for rural Australia - all while bolstering the population with 'good British stock'.
    HistoryCharles Tempest Steward Scott was born on 13 July 1905 in York, England and grew up in the midst of World War I. In the aftermath of the war, there were few suitable jobs available, especially for boys, so he applied to migrate to Australia with the Dreadnought Scheme for British youth migrants. Charles selected Australia over other places as he was very fond of cricket. Unfortunately, as he recorded in his memoirs, "On arrival and afterwards I never saw a cricket ball."

    In 1923, just before Charles left for Australia, his mother Ethel Scott gave him a prayer book for Christmas. The handwritten inscription opposite the title page reads: 'To Charles with love from Mother Xmas 1923.'

    Charles sailed from London on the Aberdeen Line vessel TSS EURIPIDES on 4 January 1924. EURIPIDES was a 15,000 tonne ship built in 1914 by Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Launched on 29 January 1914, EURIPIDES was the Aberdeen Line's largest ship, with accommodation for 140 first, 334 second and 750 third class passengers. On 1 July 1914 EURIPIDES embarked on its maiden voyage from London to Brisbane, arriving on 24 August. Two days later it was requisitioned as a troopship, carrying the first convoy of Australian troops to the Dardanelles. EURIPIDES would carry over 38,000 troops during the First World War.

    In 1932 EURIPIDES was acquired by the Shaw Savill and Albion Line and renamed AKAROA. Following extensive alterations it entered the Southampton-Panama-Wellington service on 28 February 1933. AKAROA was scrapped at Antwerp, Belgium in 1954.

    Many migrants from Britain in the early 1920s would have sailed on Aberdeen Line ships to Australia. The ships were named after Greek heroes and travellers and carried both first class passengers and migrants on third class tickets. Charles Scott's passenger contract ticket, issued 11 December 1923, shows he paid 33 pounds for the third class passage on EURIPIDES. He was 18 years old at the time.

    On arrival in Sydney, Charles was shipped out to the Dreadnought Scheme's training farm Scheyville (near Windsor) with a group of "public school fellows who like myself could not get a job with prospects." Established in 1911, the Dreadnought Scheme, like the later Big Brother Movement, recruited British boys to be trained on Australian farms and also to populate Australia's wide open spaces with young people of white British stock. Between 1911 and 1939, 5,595 Dreadnought boys arrived in NSW. The boys were provided with six months farm training at Scheyville to adapt to Australian conditions.

    Charles' certificate of training from Scheyville states he completed a basic agricultural course in riding, driving, dressing sheep, single and double furrow ploughing and milking. Charles left Scheyville before the standard six month period - his certificate indicates he was only at Scheyville for two months - as he was given a train ticket to Warialda in north-western New South Wales and told to report to a Mr McInnes at Bingara. When he arrived Charles found he had not been expected there and contacted the Dreadnought office in Sydney, who in turn gave him another address for a Mr McDonald at Little Plain near Inverell. With Mr McDonald's son, Charles was required to run the farm - a very primitive affair. Charles writes, "My bed was a trestle camp bed affair in a dirt floor shed with a Hessian partition that made a pretence of some privacy. My wages were one pound per week and keep. I stayed there long enough to get my train fare somewhere."

    Charles wrote to one of the boys he had met onboard EURIPIDES, who eventually got him a job on a wheat and sheep farm near Binya, which "was heaven after Little Plain. Beds with sheets, a bath or a shower. Clothes washed by [owner Bill Rayment's] housekeeper and adequate food and the usual wage of two pounds per week to start."

    Charles worked various jobs in Queensland and New South Wales, including Bill Rayment's new farm Cooinoo at Kamarah, near Ardlethan in western NSW, until receiving word that his mother was ill at home in England. Charles writes, "The poor dear had written to me every week and sent to me the Weekly Sketch without fail all the time I was away. I could see that a depression was coming on, and having received (unusual) a letter from my father explaining all this and that he could have a little influence with Mr F Pick of London Transport he might be able to put in a word for me. Would I come home? I gave this some thought and could see no future for me here. I decided to do this, so on the 24th May, 1930 I sailed from Sydney to home."

    Charles returned to London via the Suez on the Orient liner SS ORSOVA. His Third Class passenger's contract ticket shows he paid 40 pounds for the voyage. ORSOVA was built specifically for the England to Australia mail service by John Brown & Co at Clydebank, Scotland. ORSOVA was the first of five new liners delivered to the Orient Steam Navigation Company in 1909. With accommodation for 287 first, 126 second and 660 third class passengers, ORSOVA departed London on its maiden voyage on 25 June 1909, arriving in Sydney on 7 August.

    ORSOVA was requisitioned as a troopship in April 1915, carrying troops to Malta and Alexandria. It was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel on 14 March 1917, killing eight people. Following repairs, ORSOVA resumed operational service in January 1919, repatriating troops to Australia. It returned to commercial service in November 1919. ORSOVA was converted to a tourist class only ship in 1933, before being broken up in 1936.

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