Descendants of Andrew Gawn, Halftown, Co. Antrim:
Born 1777


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Letter from David Bell, at that time living in New Zealand  to his brother John Bell in Ireland.

Duntroon, November 15th, 1886

Dear Brother,

It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are all well in this place, thank God for it, and I hope that this will find you and Sarah in good health. I have been working pretty constant since I came here, in fact I get as much work as I want. There is a good many idle people knocking about here, and can get nothing to do whatsoever, and a good many that wants nothing to do if they could get their tucker. A sort of lazy good for nothing fellows and a nuisance to the country, but taking everything in particular. This country is very dull and will continue to be so until they we some sort of agitation such as was at home and make the big sheep farmers break up their big lots of land or Stations as they call them here. All the good available land in the district is taken up in big blocks of from 2 to 3 thousand acres up to as much as one hundred thousand acres and all the men that will be employed on one of them big places will be only a few shepherds, where if it was broken up in farms from 200 to 500 acres it would form one of the best places in the world for a farmer to speculate upon, for it is splendid land, almost all the farming land having limestone bottom. The present landholders hold nearly all the land for about 30 or 40 miles inland and anyone wanting to take up a farm would have to go back amongst the mountains, which to get their produce to market it would cost them more that it was worth. At the present time a working man in a good situation is better off than any of the small farmers are, the most of the farming class here are pretty flash livers, and if you seen them going about you would think they were Lords and Squires, and at the same time they are not worth a shilling. Their land is mortgaged for as much as it is worth and some of them has stock and furniture mortgaged for twice as much as it is worth, and with a few exceptions it is the same all over New Zealand. It is not what it is represented to the people at home, and then they will stand up and tell you about the poverty that the people at home have to suffer. I tell you the people at home may eat less mutton and pies, and earn less wages than they do here but if they only thought it they have a lot more comfort than is to be found in this country unless you have plenty of money. If it was not that I think that it will do me good I would not be long in it and even so you need not be surprised if you see me home in about this time next year.

If Andy and Bob thought that this was my opinion about N. Z. they would be pretty mad at me. But then you see Andy has as about as comfortable a home as you would find in this country. In fact he is a lot better and contenter than when he had his pockets overflowing before his losses. He has more than a good many of his friends in this country have after all and better, still he is respected by all who know him and that is something that cannot be said about everyone in this country. Bob has got as good a job as in the country nearly. Ploughing all the year round, 8 hours each day and plenty to eat an drink and he has got a good wage, and he is a steady strong young fellow. There is every prospect of his coming to something by and by. He is better and contenter than ever he would be at home. Billy is as content as you please, nothing to trouble him. He is making plenty of money, altogether they are three brothers to be proud of. Andy's missus and family are well and doing well.







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