Handwritten postcard written by Lettie to her friends Nellie and Will in England, April 1913. The postcard features an image of the SS Port Macquarie. Lettie migrated to Australia on the SS Port Macquarie with her daughter Kit [Katie] in April 1913.

The postcard suggests a rough voyage from England to Australia. Lettie worked in domestic service in Kew, her letters comment on the expensive standard of living, missing the small bargain shops in England and the difficulty for male employment in Victoria except on the land and in the bush. It appears that Lettie was sponsored to come out to Australia, a common practice particularly as a way of encouraging domestic and agricultural workers of which there was a great shortage in Victoria. Her letter's also express her hopes to return to England after four years.

Physical Description

Postcard with sepia image of the ship SS. Port Macquarie on one side and a brief handwritten note on the other. There is a green halfpenny postage stamp and the card is stamped Stockwell 4.45pm April 13.


This small set of correspondence is significant as a representation of the life of an English domestic servant in Melbourne in the early 1900s. References to sponsorship, treatment, the price of goods, distance from home and urban employment opportunities offer a personal reflection on life in Melbourne, as well as touching on broader themes of migration and in particular the shortage of domestic and agricultural workers which resulted in large assisted migration schemes targeting British migrants for these types of employment.

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