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National Museum of Australia

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Letter from William Mussen to Alexander Mussen, September 1864

2006.0085.0007

Letter from William Mussen to Alexander Mussen, September 1864

Object information

Physical description

A letter on three sheets of blue paper, folded to make 12 pages (handwritten in black ink across 11 of these pages), Dated in the top right hand corner of the first page "Montreal, September 13th, 1864". It begins "Dear Brother, / Nothing affords me / more pleasure ...", and closes "I remain your ever affectionate / Brother / Willie". The letter concerns news from Montreal. Each page of the letter is torn and feature holes in places.

Statement of significance

The Alexander Mussen Collection consists of 3 sketches, one ambrotype portrait, newspaper clippings, 13 letters and a death certificate relating to Alexander Mussen, his time on the NSW goldfields and his death, in 1864, at the hand of bushrangers. Alexander Mussen was a young Canadian, the son of a well known merchant in Montreal. It seems he fell into some disrepute and debt in Canada and travelled to the NSW goldfields to both try his luck and redeem the family name.

The gold rush in Australia had a major impact on society, culture, the environment and politics. The population increased dramatically, society became more diversified, colonial governments had to respond to the changes and the rest of the world became increasingly aware of Australia's wealth. The Mussen collection provides a personal and intimate insight into the practical workings of some New South Wales diggings, society more generally, law and order on the goldfields and the continuing connection between those who came to Australia and family left behind.

Object information

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