Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 7 May 1885

My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled on holiday to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting remaining members of his family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the date they were written.

European Hotel
90 Castlereagh Street
the 7 May 1885

My Dear Wife and Children
I am glad that I feel in good health and believe far better than in New England. My knees do not trouble me at all since I left home and neither do I feel anything in my inside since I left but my new boots give me a good deal of trouble so I bought a pair of shoes as well as my other clothes. My passage I paid for yesterday and have seen the vessel I am going in it is a grand ship when I was in it I found scarce my way out of it again. Yesterday there came two German warships into the Harbour so is also the English warship Nelson and they are anchored side by side there is very little difference between the English and the German ships. I have seen today William the Mekleburger your must remember him when we were yet on the Rocky he had his right arm taken off since so have I also seen Ferdinand who was once living with Shuman and was working with us on Mount Welsh Gully and a few more Germans besides but they did not know me until I told them who I was I believe Sydney has almost doubled the population as it had two years ago they people are almost in every street as thick as they were in George street at the time I was here before and the noise from 4 o'clock in the morning until twelve o'clock at night is impossible to describe.
If you cannot get your letter to me posted before 9 o'clock on Monday morning at Armidale you may send it to Melbourne and write the address as follows

J. F. Scheef
on board the John Elder
Orient Line Main Steamer

We are going to start on the 12 of May so you must send the letter away from Armidale at least on Thursday morning with the Railway. You may send the letter to Adelaide if you come too late for Melbourne. Hoping you are in good health the same as it leaves me and keep so till we meet again

Your affectionate Husband and Father
Jacob F Scheef


  1. Fascinating! I was given a copy of a letter that my great-grandfather (who emigrated to Queensland in the 1880s) wrote to a relative in the UK. It was so interesting to read what he thought about life in the new country.

  2. Thanks for the comment Judy. We (the family) also have letters written in German from the 1850s until the 1890s. I would love to get them transcribed and translated. The letters waned before Jacob went back to Germany but there are quite a few after his trip home. These documents are now stored at the UNE Archive in Armidale.


Post a Comment