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Email Link   Dear Museum - Write a letter

Tweed Regional Museum is actively collecting stories to record how the local community is living through the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of this, we’re asking local families and children to share their thoughts and feelings with us through a handwritten letter.

Photograph of children writing a letter

Be inspired by letters held in the Museum’s collection from children in the late 1800s, then send us your own letter.

Would you like a letter from your family to become part of the Tweed Regional Museum Collection, to be read 100 years in the future? Then write to us now!

You can tell us about:

Photograph of a child writing a letter
  • What you’ve been doing to stay in contact with other people.
  • How you’re keeping busy at home.
  • The things that you really miss and are looking forward to doing again.
  • How you’ve been celebrating special occasions, like Easter or Birthdays.
  • How it all feels!
  • You could even interview other members of your family and include their story in your letter.

You might like to model your letter on this template (499kB PDF).

Dear Museum - Child posting a letter
Mail your letter to:
Tweed Regional Museum
PO Box 816
Murwillumbah NSW 2484

Make sure you include your return address so we can write back to let you know if your letter will be added to the Collection.

Write to us anytime between now and 30 June 2020. We will choose a selection of letters to add to our ‘Letters from home COVID-19 collection’.

You might like to read about some of the Bray children and what their letters to Frank talked about; Dolly (3.55mB PDF), Winnie (4.4mB PDF) and Ethel (4.33mB PDF).

All of the Bray family letters in the Tweed Regional Museum collection are available online to read.

Letter from the past

Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Letter to Frank Bray from his sister, Dorothy (Dolly), 2 March 1895 (detail). In the letter, Dolly claims that her sister, Florence, is “a horrid old thing”, and has drawn a not-very-nice picture of her!

Before computers and emails and before Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, and BlueJeans, the only way that people could stay in touch with each other on a regular basis was by writing a letter and sending it via the post.

In many families, time was set aside each week to write to friends and family with news about what was happening at home and in the community. Sometimes letters included descriptions of daily routine, sometimes they described special occasions or events.

The Tweed Regional Museum collection includes numerous original letters which are a wonderful source of historical information about life in the Tweed.

One of the most precious collections provides us with a unique insight into the life of the Bray family, one of the earliest settler families on the Tweed.

The Museum is fortunate to have original letters written between the Bray children during the years 1895 to 1902, when the family lived at Kynnumboon on the Tweed River near Murwillumbah.

The letters recall everyday life at Kynnumboon and are almost all addressed to John Frank Russell Bray (known as Frank), who was away at school.

They are particularly valuable as they contain the ‘informal’, often uncensored, perspectives of children, rather than the more formal writing style that was typical of letter writing of the time.

“They are just talking about how badly you spell. Father said to tell you about it.” Letter from Winnie to Frank 17 Nov 1895.

“I went to the Heads [Fingal Head] on Saturday and came home last Wednesday I had a fair time – bathing and fishing..” Letter from Ethel to Frank 2 May 1897.

“Isn’t it great Father getting us a bicycle eh! It is a lovely one, and easy to ride, it is called an ‘Australian Rover’.” Letter from Dorothy to Frank 15 May 1897.

“Marjorie and Clive have just finished having a fight. I never saw such ones for fighting….” Letter from Dorothy to Frank, 22 Jul 1899.

“I am making myself a white silk dress to wear to the Wilsons dance – it is to be about the end of this month – hurrah!! What fun.” Letter from Shirley to Frank 10 Sept 1899.

“The show is going to be next Thursday and Friday, and I have done a map of Australia, and entered it. Mother is going to show some preserved fruits, and Ethel some pictures, and Ethel is going to show some scones. Rex is doing a drawing of an engine or something which he is going to show. I wonder how it will go off.” Letter from Dorothy to Frank, 20 Nov 1898 (this is the first year the Murwillumbah Show was held)

Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Letter from Marjorie to Frank, 15 Nov 1896 (excerpt). TRM Collection MUS2014.2.41.
Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Envelope for letter from Florence to Frank, 24 Feb 1895. TRM Collection MUS2014.2.42.
Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Kynnumboon homestead, C.1890. TRM Collection TH10-15.
 
Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Bray family on the banks of the river at Kynnumboon, C.1918. TRM Collection TH129-27.
Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Bray family members with their new bicycle, C.1897. TRM Collection TH130-04. [needs restoring]
Photograph of a letter to Frank Bray
Ethel Bray feeding the chickens at Kynnumboon, C.1900. TRM Collection TH130-05.

 

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