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Historical Materials from Southern Patagonia
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Journal of William Blain
a Scottish shepherd in Tierra del Fuego, 1891-1898
armed shepherd
Guarding flocks at Estancia "Gente Grande", c1890

The year is 1891. In Tierra del Fuego, large expanses of "virgin land" are being converted to sheep-raising. William Blain, an experienced shepherd, is hired to establish the "Springhill" ranch in the northern section of the island. In forthright terms, Blain records his impressions, observations and experiences. There are natural hazards to overcome, and unruly workers to control. Poignantly, he shows how coexistence with the native inhabitants is difficult, and ultimately untenable.

[ For a later account from this same area, see Letter from a New Zealander (1898) ]

Transcription and Introduction: Arnold Morrison
Illustration: Theodor Ohlsen, reproduced in "La Tierra de los Fuegos", Mateo Martinic, 1982

Originals are property and copyright of the National Archives of Scotland