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Cost of Living in Sydney

1799 - 1800


Correspondence from the Caledonian Mercury (England) written by a passenger of the Hillsborough in Sydney in 1799.......

16 June 1800

We have seen a private letter from Sydney Cove, dated Nov., 25, 1799; the writer of which had gone over with a view to settle there. They had touched at the Cape on the passage, which greatly protracted their voyage; the direct passage might be finished in three or four months; but it was nine months and eleven days from their departure hence to their arrival at Sydney Cove.

Before they reached Botany Bay, they had buried 70 convicts; but the total loss amounted to 107. These unfortunate people, he says, have no reason to complain of ill usage; though provisions, and the restricted allowance, he confides, are far from being plentiful - bread, especially, has been very dear, a loaf of 3lb weight sells for 2s., mutton 2s. per lb., salt port (the produce of the country) 1s 8d, tea 5s an ounce, rum 1 l. per bottle, wine 12s., shoes 1l 5s per pair, stockings 15s and every necessary article dear in proportion.

Many persons who have gone over as settlers, have acquired considerable property; and several that had been transported for seven years, on the expiration of that time, by being enabled to take farms, have succeeded very well. The convicts, however, who are transported for life, unless their behaviour be uncommonly good, have to wade through oceans of trouble, before they can obtain emancipation. The country is stated by the writer of this letter to be extremely healthful.

The women, he says, having little or no Government work to do, are very neat and cleanly in their persons and houses, and very prolific. Their children are generally healthy and strong, and never deformed
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