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Back to ‘Bonnie Kellswater’

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 05, 1989


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by Eull Dunlop

Some centenary comment on James Foster's 'few lines' (1889), from Mitta Mitta, Victoria, Australia, to a brother Orangeman back in Mid-Antrim

Here's a health unto ye, Bonnie Kellswater,

For it's there you'll find the pleasures of life ...

"Not so, according to an emigrant's letter which has lately turned up in the townland of Tullynamullan, parish of Connor, County Antrim. Exactly one hundred years ago, a son of Kellswater, apparently a fairly recent arrival in Australia, extolled his adopted country to the obvious disadvantage of his native district. (Though pity, in practical terms, the emigrant who wholeheartedly entertains the opposite conviction!)

Whatever the mood of James Foster, centenary publication of his letter may possibly generate some new information about local families, at home or abroad.

Those 'few lines' of David Megaw, which were reproduced in Familia, Vol. 2, No.3, pp. 119-22, immediately initiated valuable contact between Cullybackey and Queensland (see Interest List, 1988, pp. 70-72).

Who knows what may result on this occasion?"

This article looks at a letter written by a man from Kellswater, who had moved to Australia, in which he extolled the virtues of his adopted country.