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A young Isaac Edward Dyason


This site has been created to be an online repository for a trove of letters dating from 1847 to 1915.  The recipient of these letters was Isaac Edward Dyason, who was born in Ramsgate, Kent (United Kingdom) in 1832 (d.1915 in Melbourne Australia).  The eldest of a family of 9 surviving children, he was sent to live with relatives Uncle John and Aunt Julia Dyason, and their son (John) and daughter (Julia) in Cape Town (South Africa) at the age of approximately 9 1/2 to 10 years.  He stayed there until  1850 when he left in the company of a family friend, John Hare (see agreement dated April 26 1850).  They arrived at Port Adelaide (South Australia) in the Jack on 14th June 1850.  Isaac found employment and quite soon 

parted from Hare.  Isaac went to the Mt Alexander diggings in 1851 and then later dug at Bendigo where he 
was very successful, leaving with £1,200 in his pocket.  An uncle on his mother's side (Frederick Pearce) came out to join him on the Diggings in early 1853 and stayed in Australia for about 25 years, returning to England in 1878 at the end of his adventures.
 
Isaac never returned to see his family in England and he never returned to see his relatives in South Africa.  He finally became a successful business man and was the Manager for some of the wealthiest mines in Bendigo. Over the past 8 years, in stages,  my mother and I have transcribed about 350,000+ words from the letters.   In addition to the letters contained here, Isaac wrote daily (an estimated 4,000,000 words) in a series of journals spanning his time in Australia.  These journals have not been digitised but can be viewed by request at the  State Library of Victoria - the writing is difficult to read being angular, dense and small.  
 
The letters will be of interest to Local and Social Historians interested in the daily concerns of respectable but struggling middle class families in Victorian England (especially Ramsgate and Kent) and of Cape Town in South Africa.  I wanted to upload these original letters here, but the site only supports 100 megabytes  and the South African letters alone take up over 170 megabytes.  I am looking at other ways to share these files; and have contacted relevant regional libraries and historical societies which may have online space to make the documents more widely available. Given the cheap cost of USBs now, we  can post USBs with the complete files to interested organisations.

The task of transcribing the letters sent by Frederick Pearce (and others) to Isaac from within the Colonies of Australia has been completed.  These  mainly cover the geographic area of Victoria, and the main topics are of business issues related to mining, dealing with labour, supplies etc..
 
Family Historians who have an interest in the families of Dyason, Huggett and Pearce originating in Kent in the United Kingdom or their descendants will find these letters entertaining, and may help put some 'flesh on the dry bones' of the usual information available to us about our forebears.  Descendants of  John Dyason or Julia Honeyborne originating in South Africa,  and of  course any descendants of Isaac Edward Dyason himself will also find these letters interesting.  With  200,000 words of 'local news', even those who have ancestors from other families who lived in Cape Town and Ramsgate around this time might also find a forebear mentioned (some get glowing references, others... well, let's just say that these were personal letters in which honest opinions were sometimes shared!)
 
The letters are in 3 main 'collections' plus one diary:
  1. English Collection. Letters sent to Isaac Edward Dyason by his mother, father , one uncle and 8 living siblings.  The vast majority of these letters were sent to Isaac while he was in the Diggings in Australia, and contain details of family life, education, social expectations, business details (Isaac's father ran The Royal Clarence Baths in Ramsgate) etc...  all of the stuff of a family struggling to make do and remain respectable.  They run to just over 140,000 words and the transcriptions are up on this site and available for download. 
  2. South African Collection. Letters sent to Isaac by his Uncle and Aunt and two cousins from Cape Town.  This is a smaller collection but contains similar interests for the modern researcher as the 'English' letters.  These letters run to approximately 55,000 words.  Cousin Julia married John Alfred Honeyborne of Prince Albert / Beaufort West.  These letters have been edited and are now available.  We welcome contact from anyone who has images of people mentioned, or corrections for places and people's names. The transcriptions are complete and are on this site available for download.  The full files which have both copies of the original letters AND the transcriptions are available via USB to interested associations and libraries.
  3. Gold Diggings Collection.  Letters sent to Isaac by his Uncle Frederick Pearce and associates within Australia. 148,500 words have been transcribed.  They have been donated to the State Library of  Victoria.
  4. Gold Diggings Diary written by a very young Isaac in late 1851 to early 1852.  A rollicking tale!
If you would like to contribute to this site or if you have any questions please email anguspearson71@gmail.com.  I would like everybody who is interested to be able to make comments, and to contribute photos etc... but as far as I can gather you will not be able to do this unless given specific permission by the site administrator (see email address above). 


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