In February 1940, surgeon and soldier Edward “Weary” Dunlop, posted to Jerusalem, climbed through the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemene to the old Russian church on the Mount of Olives.  He sat down in the green shade of cypresses, listened to the voices of the sisters singing their daily office, gazed out over “a lost world of tortured, domed hills, bare and brown”, and wrote a proposal of marriage to his Melbourne sweetheart, Helen Ferguson.

We might never have found this very private letter  except for a lucky accident.  Helen Dunlop burned all her correspondence.  A year after her death, her family looked in a cupboard and found a secret bundle of papers tied with ribbon: letters she had received from her husband during their courtship and marriage.

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