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Darry Fraser
Darry Fraser

What a sight to behold…

Echuca wharf. Arrived, finally, and slept the sleep of the dead at the Pastoral Hotel. An interesting business, the hotel. I must look into it on my return.

Will venture downstream tomorrow to Swan Hill, cadge a passage, put my shoulder to the grind on board and get back into hard work. Haven’t worked the boats for an age. Hope I’m not too soft now.

Won’t mind paying the fare, of course - at least these days, I can pay it.

There is much robust business at the wharf. I’m surprised. After so much talk about trade slowing up, and that the railways are killing river freight, it certainly doesn’t look like it from where I’m standing.

Well, not long to go to the old place now. I can feel the allure of home. It beckons, beguiles, as ceaselessly as the tide on this, my mighty river.

Can’t get Pa’s last letter out of my head. I wonder about the urgency, and what crisis is he so reluctant to tell by post? Hope Ma’s all right. I haven’t heard from her for a while, and Pa doesn’t mention her.

My sister only writes about her upset with this step-cousin we’ve acquired in recent years. Some nonsense about having to share her dresses, some disregard for manners …

I’ll be home in a few days. Whatever the problem, it’ll have to wait till then.