THE EADIE FAMILY OF SUNBURY NEAR MELBOURNE, VIC., AUST.
See the EADIE entry in my journal DICTIONARY HISTORY OF BULLA. Combined with information from Ian William Symonds' BULLA BULLA, it will provide much information about this fascinating family that has been associated with the Healesville Sanctuary,South Africa and New Zealand as well as Sunbury.
The following is posted here so I won't have to spend precious time trying to work out where to post it in the Eadie entry in the dictionary history without interrupting the flow of what I have written so far.The author of the letter was one of three sons of John Eadie senior of Ben Eadie, Sunbury. The (eldest?) John, would not have been allowed to enlist for the Boer War because of the fits he had suffered from boyhood. Platypus Bob, as I call him, went to South Africa in late 1896, to utilise his mining expertise and became an intelligence officer for the British in the Boer War,; the aforementioned expertise most likely being the reason that future prime minister, Winston Churchill,survived to make his famous WE SHALL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES etc. speech. William Aitken Eadie was the third son and according to evidence in the trial concerning Miss Davies' right to be the sole beneficiary of John junior's will in 1904, William, the writer of this letter, was a bit extravagant when it came to drink and his ponies. Peter Eadie,mentioned in the letter was the son of Peter Eadie senior, who retired from his hotel and store in 1893 to enjoy life in his beautiful DUNBLANE (38-40 Jackson St but originally fronting Brook St)which was designed by Robert Eadie (most likely the mining engineer, Platypus Bob,a few years before he left for South Africa.)
WITH THE COMMONWEALTH HORSE.
Mr. W. A. Eadie, formerly of Sunbury,
and who joined the second contingent of
Commonwealth Horse, writes under date
May 6th from Newcastle, S. Africa :
'We left Durban on Saturday week, and
travelling by train arrived here Sunday
night. It was a beautiful trip through
very mountainous country, the scenery
being grand. We stopped at Colenso,
and had explained to us the famous
battle in which Lord Roberts' son fell;
it is a very small place. Every Britisher
that fell has a cross or else a headstone.
In some places as many as twenty are
buried together. The stones are really
good, the one over Lieutenant Roberts'
grave being a beauty. We arrived at
Lrdysmith on Sunday morning, and I
was very much surprised to find it such
a small place, not half the size of Sun
bury. We watered our horses there, and
had a look all round, and saw the Boers'
positions. It seems marvellous how Sir
George White could have held it so long.
Of course if the Boers had got possession
railway communication further north
would have been stopped, which meant a
great deal. On arriving at Pietermar
itzburg we got our arms and ammunition.
It is a very nice little town ; the Cape
Parliament sits there. Newcastle is a
small town, with a very busy railway
station, where all the fodder and rations
for the forces and blockhouses for miles
round are loaded. The blockhouses are
small forts, generally manned by ten to
forty men, and there is always one near
a bridge. They will probably do more
than anything else to bring the war to a
successful termination. Botha was re
ported captured the other day with ten
men ; and the Boers are surrendering
every week, they are very short of food
and clothes, and in my opinion the end
will come before another six months. We
leave here on the conclusion of the arm
istice, and will go into the Transvaal
about 250 miles further. Peter Eadie
was camped within three miles of us last
week, and left last Tuesday for the
Transvaal. I was going across in the
afternoon, but they struck camp early,
and entrained at 9 am. We are having
a splendid time, and are treated right
royally. Tell- he made a big mistake
in not coming; it is a splendid place for
a young man to make money in. A
fellow with a little brains can easily, after
a month's experience, earn 5 to 6 per
week, and in some cases more. The cost
of living is very reasonable. I saw three
fellows the other day who had called on
Robert Eadie at Vereeniging, and they
spoke very highly of both him and Mrs.
Eadie, who treated them in great style,
being awfully anxious for news from
Victoria. I wrote to Bob last week, and
expect to, see him shortly if all goes well.
I am kept very busy, being on special
duty nearly every day, and am in tip-top
nick. If things keep on as they are at
present, it is more than likely that I will
remain in South Africa with the standing
army for a little longer than 12 months;
but I suppose by that time, and after a
trip to England, I shall be glad to settle
down in Sunbury. We had a football
match last Saturday, and I kicked the
only two goals on our side; we have
some smart fellows with us. Everything
is going on nicely, except that Captain
Mailer, the adjutant, who is well known
in Sunbury, is very unpopular with the
men, some of whom swear they will shoot
him on the firing line. I like him very
well, and we get on firstrate; he is, as
many of the Sunbury fellows know, a bit
of a bully, but a thoroughly practical
man, and a good one for the position.
There are lots of minerals in this country,
coal in abundance. The Kaffirs are very
numerous round here, and are very par
tial to the British, but hate the Boers.
They do all the convoy work, sometimes
leading and driving as many as twenty
bullocks, and often one man drives 12
mules, and never less than six. It is
nothing unusual to see a convoy a mile
and a half long going out or coming in.
Majuba Hill (20 miles away), Laing's
Nek, and Botha's Pass are all plainly to
be seen from here.' (P.2, Sunbury News, 14-6-1902.)
on 2013-12-10 17:34:33
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.