Love Letters Down Under


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This unique correspondence was from Barbara Hamilton to her future husband, Andrew Dykes, during the years of World War I. Andrew, a member of a farming family whose farm was near Strathaven, in the Parish of Avondale, South Lanarkshire, had emigrated to New Zealand in 1909 to establish himself as a farmer in the south of South Island. Barbara, also from a local Avondale farming family, was unable to follow him as planned because of the war but they became engaged by post in 1916.

She wrote to him faithfully throughout the war years until she was able to sail out to join him in 1919. Barbara, who had trained as a schoolteacher, combined her duties teaching at Strathaven Academy, two miles away, with the hard manual work of the farm but also was able to enjoy the hectic social life of the farming community that continued despite the war. Her letters give a fascinating insight into her busy life and the effects of the war on the town and farming community as she recounts the growing number of friends and family members injured or killed during the hostilities.