Ten page, handwritten letter, written by John Hollway on 22 October, 1852, four days after his arrival in Melbourne from England on 18 October 1852 on board the 'Panama'. The letter is signed by John on behalf of George, Sarah Ann and Mary. The letter contains a description of the family's initial settlement as well as the ship voyage from Plymouth to Hobson's Bay. This includes reports of births on board ship, shipboard conditions, the Crossing the Equator celebrations, and arrival. He describes their struggles to find accommodation in Melbourne, types of housing, businesses and trades and a description of Emerald Hill where the family settled. John gained employment at Hyam's store and his early impressions of Melbourne are favourable.

Physical Description

Letter, 10 pages plus cover bound by loose black thread stitching at spine. The letter has been folded vertically, front cover blank but with handwritten title on back cover (when folded appears on front of document). Pages are written on front side of pages only, each hand numbered commencing from '1' on first written page (10 in all). First page dated Sunday Oct 22/52.


This letter provides valuable insights into mid-nineteenth century migrant voyage and settlement experiences. Its early descriptions of Melbourne are evocative of the early period of Melbourne's development, particularly in the immediate gold rush years.

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