Correspondence from Rev E.C.King to Mary Elliott & May Street

Correspondence from Rev E.C.King to Mary Elliott & May Street

102 Vincent St,

Mt Lawley,

Western Australia

(undated, but posted 15 November 1963)

Dear Miss Elliott,

I apologise most sincerely for not writing to you before now. I have been hoping to find a clear way in which we could fit you and you friend into our missionary work for the natives of our land.  Our Mission works through welfare teams (usually a man and wife) living near the place where the natives live, called a Native Reserve, endeavouring to lift their standard of living in order to make them acceptable in the white community.  The natives are degraded, irresponsible and outcast, and need a lot of teaching in the rudiments of cleanliness, hygiene, and normal standards of white living. Most of them have a slight Christian background, because, as children, they attended the ordinary schools, but their home environment is such that they are unable to rise above it unless helped and encouraged.  Their housing conditions have been greatly improved during the last few years, owing to the efforts of the Government and ourselves, but many of them still live in shacks not fit for animals.

It is probable that we would be able to fit you both into our mission as such a welfare team in about six months time.  I don’t know about the Church Workers Pension Scheme: as far as I know, there is no such scheme operating in Australia, but I expect you could still pay into it in England, even if living in Australia, and thus have the benefit of it when you retire.  Perhaps you could make some enquiries in this regard if you are still interested in the work.

Up till now the man of the team has been the builder, building new houses and improving old, but the Government is not playing a much larger part in this and I feel that the welfare work could be done admirably by two ladies such as yourselves.  We have one reserve working in this way now, and, if it proves a success, the way will be open for further such teams.

I will send, by surface mail, a screed I wrote about the Mission some two years ago, which will tell you a bit more of what we are trying to do. Please write to me and let me know what you think about it.

Yours sincerely

E.C. King

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January 31st 1964

Dear Miss Elliott,

Your letter of the 3rd has been on my desk waiting to be answered since the first week in January! I don’t seem able to get to my correspondence.

In regard to our finances, we get a grant from the government towards our running expenses, an organisation which makes grants towards charitable concerns helped us to buy our vehicles and gives a grant towards the running, and the rest comes from Church Missionary giving.

Did you find out anything about your superannuation? I find that there is a reciprocal arrangement for old age pensions for people coming from England.  As for the house, would you want to dispose of it? Perhaps you could go on paying the mortgage and thus have a house to return to if you went back to England.  If you did feel that you could come out to this work, would you be prepared to live in a caravan (well equipped with gas stove and refrigerator), until a house was available?

I think it would be quite a good idea if you had a talk with my father, who, although nearly eighty, is very active, knows a lot about the conditions of the natives and the work we are doing, and would be pleased to meet you in London.  I will write to him and ask him to get in touch with you.  His address is: Canon H.E. King, Caston Rectory, Attleborough, Norfolk. If then you still feel that you can come and work with us we will make the arrangements for you to come.  Of course you would have as much time as required to settle all your business in England.

Please excuse mistakes in typing: I’m not very expert!

Yours very sincerely,

E.C. King

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March 11 1964

Dear Miss Elliott,

Was delighted to have your letter of March 1st, and to learn that you have seen father and decided to come.

I have had discussions with the Immigration authorities and feel fairy certain that we can get you an assisted passage.  Can you delay a few days longer your final notice until I have everything definite?  I will try and arrange for you to leave England on or about June 30th.  I don’t think I can promise to pay you before you arrive in Australia, but you will certainly be on our pay-role as from the day of your arrival. Your pay will be about 11.10.0 (pounds) Australian per week, each. If there is any great delay in your date of sailing we could make some adjustment.  In a way it would be better if we could know the sailing date before you give final notice in your present work.  But that must wait for the slow grinding of the Governmental wheels on Immigration!

The Immigration authorities asked me if I had warned you of the high temperatures during summer in the country districts! If I tell you that we just had four days with the temperature over 100% will that deter you?! And this at the end of the Summer!  I don’t think it will somehow. Please excuse great haste and scribble, I’m off to Mt Barker 220 miles south to visit one of our team.

Yours sincerely

E.C. King

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April 29th 1964

Dear Miss Elliott,

I have delayed writing to you in the hope that I would be able to give you some definite news. Alas, I have not had any information from the Immigration Department since I sent in your nomination , two months ago.

Having written that much, I went to the telephone and rang the Department, and was informed that your nomination had been forwarded to London, marked “Urgent”!  Your nomination numbers are: Miss Elliott, No. W.A. 16071: Miss Street, No. W.A. 16072.  My friend in the department suggests that you contact the authorities in Australia House in London, and at least get the preliminaries, such as medical, papers signed etc. Over and done, so that, as soon as a sailing date is confirmed, there will be no delay.  Perhaps you have already heard from Australia House?

Anyway, things seem to be in train for you and I hope that you get going before long.

I am sending under separate cover, a film-strip of the Mission, and a tape-recording to go with it. It tells the story of the beginning of the work, and will show you the conditions under which we began.  The “bell” in the recording tells you when to move the film.  We have other film-strips, but I think this will give you the best idea.  It will also let you know what I look like and sound like!

With every good wish for a quick reply from London and a good trip out.  We haven’t paid your nomination fee yet: if you are asked for it, please refer them back to us.

Yours sincerely,

E.C. King

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July29th 1964

Dear both of you,

I was most relieved to have your letter of July 19th: I was beginning to wonder what had happened.  But I know how dilatory and annoying the Immigration Department is!  Of course, of course I would like to have you working with us as soon as possible, but if you can get a sea passage in reasonable time, I’m sure it would be preferable to flying. On the other hand, if you have to fly, and would like to have a few weeks here to see your relatives, I would be quite happy for you to do that.

I am not quite sure at the moment where you will be working.  I have just placed a team at Mt Barker, near Albany, where I had intended you to go: but there are many other places, and there is an urgent need for workers here in Perth, among the many natives who live in the slum areas. Rest assured, there will be plenty of work for you!

For the moment, you had better use the office address for consignment, letters, etc.: “c/o South West Native Mission, Anglican Missionary Council, Cathedral Avenue, Perth, Western Australia.”

You will notice from my address that I have recently moved to a new home.  This is merely for my own convenience: the house I had before, was rented: this one is my own.

Having read through my first paragraph again, it has occurred to me that you would like to spend some time with your relatives, whether you come by sea or air. Please feel free to do so: in any case it would probably be more convenient for you to stay with one of them immediately on arrival than to go to an hotel.  You can let me know what you would like to do, but I will be there to meet you however you come, or whatever you decide to do. Let’s hope it won’t be long now before you are on your way.

Yours very sincerely,

E.C. King

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August 30th 1964

Dear Miss Elliott and Miss Street

I should have answered your letter of August 4th, long ago: there is no excuse except the many little problems which crop up to prevent me coping with correspondence!

First of all, by all means pass on the strip and tape to your brother; I have a few spares of that one, which is now a bit out of date, but gives a good idea of what we are trying to do. If you think you could place some more in strategic places in England, I’ll send them (if you haven’t already left).

Your boxes etc have not yet arrived but we will cope with them when they do. I expect Mrs Thorn will meet you on arrival, but if not, it will be easy enough to get you to Rockingham.  Albany and Yandanooka are a bit further away, both being 200 or more miles from Perth.  However, you will certainly be free to visit them before you start your work with us.

We are as eager as you are for you to arrive.  There is much to be done and we are really only touching the fringe of it: money and good personnel are our main shortages!

Please excuse the type-written letter: I always think such letters a bit impersonal, but my hand writing is so bad that I use the typewriter, even if somewhat badly!

We are really looking forward to seeing you: if, before you leave you could give my father a ring at Caston Rectory, he would be most thrilled.  He did enjoy so much, the visit you made to him.  And it would make him feel in closer touch with his “boys” out here.

Yours very sincerely,

E.C. King

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(All mail was addressed to:

Miss M. Elliott,

“Twitten Bend”, 10a Dunns Bank,

Quarry Bank, Brierly Hill,

STAFFS. ENGLAND)

 

Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall
Lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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