At Christmas in 1895 there was discussion in the media about the merits of Christmas – many young people wrote letters to the Sunday Times.
Among the contributors was a girl from a St Patrick’s Mortlake family, published in the Sunday Times, 22 December 1895, page 15. Her letter is indicative of the poverty of the district at that time and the 1890s economic depression.
”I think everyone ought to keep up Christmas because it is Christ’s birthday. All children like their birthday kept up, so we ought to keep Christ’s, because it is the greatest birthday of all. I am 9 years old. I do not remember any Christmas, only last Christmas. My brother, my two little sisters, and myself hung our Blockings up, but Santa Claus did not put anything in them, because mother was sick in bed and father had no work. We got no Christmas boxes, only a little baby brother, and no Christmas pudding, because mother had nothing to make it with. I hope we will have a better Christmas this year. Father has gone away to the goldfields. He may find some gold, and send mother some to buy us good things for this Christmas. — Maud Mosley, Major Bay-road, Concord. (St. Patrick’s School, Mortlake).
* Thanks to Damian Gleeson for providing this information.