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Thurnscoe Emigrant to New Zealand

April 1932

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 01 April 1932 (Page 12)

Mr. J. Ashwood.

We have interesting news of a Thurnscoe resident, Mr. J. Ashwood, who with Mr. H. Potter, emigrated to Australia in September, 1928. On arrival in Australia, Mr. Potter decided to go further and went to New Zealand for luck and fortune.

Mr. Ashwood’s first job was assisting in the clearing of bush around Perth. He later moved on to Sydney and got employment in a brick works. Pay was good and prospects so excellent that he sent for his wife family. His visions of a sound position. however quickly faded. Slack time came; employment followed for a long period and then work was offered in a coal mine.

This is how Mr. Ashwood describes the later job:    “I was told to start work at a small mine at Lithgow that was worked on cooperative lines. The seam was only 2ft. 9ins. thick, all firing, and, I seemed out of place in it. There was only one way in (but an old tunnel running parallel with the new entrance provided a safety way). They were 36 feet apart. The boss asked me to make some connection between them at I0s a yard – all pick and shovel work – and I jumped at the chance. After that I was offered a. place of my own at 5s a ton which included buying powder, detonators, tools. fuses, and other things. Naked lights were used and there was water galore in the mines. A little river flowed along the face.” Conditions in the pit compelled Mr. Ashwood to leave. Later the mine closed.

In all his letters home, Mr. Ashwood remarks on the difficulty met in obtaining work.  “The country is feeling the depression badly. I am allowed 15s 8d. a week from the Government. which rises to 16s. during the winter months. I reckon Australia will get over the depression, owing to her vast resources which only need money to develop.” High rents, says Mr. Ashwood, are a difficulty for everyone, but he has overcome this by building a two-roomed house. He has also acquired some poultry and hopes in time to have a cow or two. But Mr. Ashwood does not recommend anyone to try to make a fortune in Australia at the present time.