This paper is concerned to publish a letter sent from a railway survey camp at Warrenheip in April 1857 by an assistant surveyor named John C Macdonald to his sister in Scotland. The letter was sent on an issue of the News Letter of Australasia. The letter provides insights into the living conditions of survey camps; the perils of travelling in the bush; nascent goldfields tourism, with its practice of taking visitors down into mines to see how they operated; and the difficulty of maintaining communication between families at home and their kin who had migrated to Australia. The letter was found in a suitcase of miscellaneous papers in an auction in Scotland in October 2012 and is published here for the first time.
In February 1840, Assistant Protector Charles Sievwright investigated the murder of a hutkeeper- a ticket of leave man (a parolee restricted to a particular geographical location) named Michael 'Micky' Wilson - at an outlying hut on the Derwent Company's Weatherboard Station near Geelong. Four years later, murder was included in an official return sent from Superindent La Trobe's office of the number of European settlers killed by the Aborigibes in the Port Phillip district since its occupation. The death received little attention in historical studies until it was listed in a 1974 publication of a table of suspected deaths of Europeans at the hands of Aborigines. This case study highlights the often discontinuous chain of evidence underpinning historical interpretations and demonstrates how earlier conflation of cultural collisions and frontier violence - in explorations of the nature of murder in Victoria's early colonial history - may be overcome.