Monday, June 20, 2011

Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 20 June 1885

My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled back to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the day they were written. These letters can be seen at the University of New England (UNE) Archive in Armidale, NSW, Australia. Biographical Entry


Ismalie 
John Elder
the 20 June 1885
My Dear Wife and Children
I am going to let you know how we are going on since I wrote first I must tell you that Aden is in Arabia and a more desolate country you can have no idea of nothing but high precipitous hills with not a vestige of vegetation neither trees grass or bushes could be seen anywhere only either bare rocky hills sand or black burnt soil it is impossible to describe it on paper it has to be seen to know what it is after we left we thought it would become better but it remained the same right through to Suez Suez you must know lies in the end of the Red Sea where the Suez Canal comes into the Red Sea here the first news we heard was that the canal was blocked up as one of the dredges that is a boat which keeps the canal in order by removing the sand which is continuously washed in was run down and sank so that the delay would be at least until this day and the report did not belie us as we are still here in the middle of the canal but we expect to leave here tomorrow and go to Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea from Suez to here is a Sandy Desert on both sides of the canal but there is a splendid Garden of the Kedives of Egypt here which is planted in raw sand and every variety of trees as well as fruit trees and vegetables grown side by side it is watered by a canal from the Nile our harbour is a lake of bitter water about two miles square and there are close on 40 steamships waiting here to get through and on the other side the report goes that there are over 100 steamers awaiting passage. I will post this letter tomorrow at Port Said if we get away. My health is splendid and I have a good appetite for better as when I left. it often surprises me what a quantity I can eat. My knee which I hurt last winter does not improve as I thought it would in Sydney I am longing to hear from you but I know it will be another week or perhaps a fortnight before I can do so because I must be in Germany before I can hear from you in the meantime I must only hope that you are all well as well as I  am myself
Your most affectionate
Husband and Father
Jacob F Scheef

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