My Dear Myrtle

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These Myrtle Wattle leaves were collected from my home; their fluffy blossoms are like sunshine in spring. During autumn I’ve been immersed in a large collection of letters that were written by my great grandfather Edmund George Oswald, during WWI from Egypt, Gallipoli, Belgium, France and England, to his loved ones back home, including his older sister Myrtle.

In October 1915, to Myrtle about her husband, “Gordon has such a nice beard and you would love to sit on his knee and twirl your fingers in it. We are both in the best of health and all expect to be back by February.”
In 1917, “They call this sunny France. I’ve seen more sunshine in a day in Australia than I have seen in a month over here. At the present it’s nothing but snow and then a glimpse of a sun that has got about as much warmth in it as a candle. Many a winter night I’ve sat in the trenches dreaming of home and Australia, thinking of poor old Mum and you and the rest of them, and of the good and bad times we have had together, it was not until I had got out here that I was brought to realise the value of the word home.”
Later, to his mother Alice, “I am sick and fed-up of the whole blooming war. I have not got a chum left… just think of it Mum, your son is the only one left out of the 250 that left Australia with me.” He returned home but died at 41 from his injuries. Gordon was killed in action in France.
The letters can be found on the State Library of South Australia web archives, thanks to the transcribing efforts of his grand daughter Wendy Mackintosh.

My Dear Myrtle
Myrtle Wattle (Acacia myrtifolia) leaves, linen thread and bookbinder’s gum on canvas
105 x 105 cm framed, image diameter 72 cm
Framed in white moulding, with a white circular cut matt, internal side spacers, glass and hangers
SOLD – Private collection, USA
SOLD – Private collection, USA

© Janine Mackintosh, All Rights Reserved 2015