# 17105

[TASMANIA; WINE] Entire letter sent from Circular Head to Launceston, August 27 1847, regarding the purchase of port wine.

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Manuscript in ink, single folio sheet, 370 x 235 mm, folded, headed ‘Circular Head, August 27 1847’, signed at the foot ‘Yours truly, W. [Shepman?]’; outer side addressed to ‘W. Johnstone Esq. Launceston’ and endorsed ‘[Per] “Mercury”‘ / Paid’; old loss at 2 corners, small perforation from letter spike, but the letter itself is complete and free from foxing.

The Van Diemen’s Land Company had established its headquarters at Circular Head (later re-named Stanley), on Tasmania’s far northwest coast, in 1826. By 1847 the township had a population of a little over 200.

The present letter, written by a VDL Company man at Circular Head (frustratingly, the surname is difficult to decipher), is addressed to William Johnstone, an extremely successful Launceston wine and spirits merchant who had established his business at premises in St. John Street in 1842. The letter seems to be in response to one of Johnstone’s pricelists, and regards a possible purchase of port wine:

‘Dear Sir, Your price for Port Wine (£12) is too high, as I am offered in Sydney @ 8 & 10 £, but, if you should have a fresh lot of good @ £10/10 to 11/10 please send by first vessel a quarter cask; if not I would rather decline purchasing at present.’

An early item of correspondence from the remote Circular Head settlement.