Letters have virtually disappeared these days, along with postcards, greeting cards, telegrams and, to some extent, telephone calls. Social media rules, and I confess I have adopted the new forms of communication wholeheartedly. However, it also gave me great delight recently to look back at a time when the love letter was very much part of life…and often the object of wit and humour.


One business in the Blue Mountains, where I live, was cheeky enough to employ the lover letter as a promotional gimmick. The following appeared in the Blue Mountains Echo, on July 10 1909.

A love letters were used  as humorous promotional tools by a photographic company.

Here is one of Albert Fowler’s regular advertisements. I’m disappointed that his business no longer exists;

Humorous promotional love letter.

Other than during wartime, the writing of love letters slowly declined. Here is an editorial which appeared in The Kimore Press (Victoria) on November 12 1936;

I began to wonder if love-letters are really ‘going out’. So I made inquiries of other girlfriends and I have come to the conclusion that they are!

John generally telephones if he has anything to say’, one told me.’

Norman always comes to see me at the weekend, and I usually get no more than a postcard telling me which train or tram to meet‘, said another.

Not one of them seemed to have a single regret for the tender and sentimental notes which our grandmothers used to read over and over, and to place under their pillows in order to bring them sweet dreams at night.

Naturally there was a revival of love letters with the outbreak of WWII, some which culminated in marital bliss, others in a heartbreaking ‘dear John’ finale.

WWII Gunner R. Hodgson takes the prize for the most novel method of delivery. He was from Kew, in Victoria. but in 1942 he was stationed in Darwin. When Hodgson’s mate Private William Howell leapt for a mark in a game of Australian Rules football he came down on an anthill hidden in the long grass and broke his ankle, He was put in a plaster cast and ordered home. Now Howell was also from Victoria (Northcote) and Gunner Hodgson asked if he could write a love letter to his fiancΓ©e on the heel, to be delivered ‘by leg’ (so to speak) by his friend. Private Howell was only too happy to oblige. He broke his journey in Sydney and told the press that although the plaster was worn and ragged, he would deliver the romantic message to Miss Edwards with a kiss, joking; ‘The letter may be a bit blurred, but my kiss with be definite and authentic!‘ I’m not sure Gunner Hodgson meant him to go quite that far. 😎 (Information from The Sydney Sun, June 24 1942)

A love  letter on a plaster cast.
THE SUN (Sydney) JUNE 26 1942

I wonder whether the ‘ardent swain’ in the following nonsense piece was a greengrocer?

A greengrocer's love letter?

The only ‘love letters’ I remember receiving were notes from boys at school. Today it would no doubt be a text. Anyway, here is a bit of advice for the young;

It rarely pays to be a smart-alec, as the object of your desire may have a sharper wit than you do;

love letters should not be too 'smart' and presumptive.

This is closest thing to a love letter I’ve ever received from my husband of 45 years. It was written when I was on a very strict elimination diet in the 1980s. The mention of ‘kickboards’ is a reference to the tasteless little rice cakes I had to eat instead of bread.

‘Bobbie’ 😍, faced with the task of writing a birthday card, will ask pathetically, ‘But what will I say? For this reason I deemed his note worthy of preservation.

I feel I should close with something far more romantic. Here is a link to some famous love letters though the ages. πŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ

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