A small piece of paper (approximately 72 × 137 mm), torn from the bottom of a printed bank deposit form, with the details of the IOU in ink (amended in pencil) on the blank verso, and the signature of the lender in ink on the recto.
Creased where folded in eighths, with splits along three folds; the two outside panels of the document when folded are grubby from handling, with minor signs of use and age elsewhere; overall in decent condition (and clearly, it's a wonder it has survived at all).
The contract reads 'Bloemfontein | 13 Apl 1900 | I.O.U. Ten Pounds [with Ten crossed out in pencil, £15 written above it in ink, and 'Fifteen' in pencil, with both initialled in pencil by F.W. Belt] | F.W. Belt | Payable to H.C. Hawker or order'; H.C. Hawker has signed the recto. The existence of the IOU (worth about $2000 today) suggests is was never redeemed, but both parties were clearly not short of a bob. Francis Walter Belt (1862-1938), Australian naval commander, lawyer, big game hunter and explorer (he took part in the 1894 Horn Expedition, financed by his brother-in-law, W.A. Horn): 'Enlisting as a trooper in the 2nd South Australian (Mounted Rifles) contingent, he saw action at the relief of Prieska, the advances on Johannesburg and Pretoria, and the battle of Diamond Hill; he later served in the Transvaal until March 1901' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). After very active service in the Royal Naval Division in England during the First World War, he wound up his legal practice in Adelaide and settled 'in Hampshire. There Belt lived the leisurely life of a country gentleman, spending winters at his villa at Toulon, France. A contemporary described him as "charming, accomplished, cultured and elegant"; his interests ranged from big-game hunting, carriage-driving and horse-breeding to collecting embroideries and fine china.... he died at Montreux, Switzerland, on 21 August 1938. His estate was sworn for probate at £56,029 in England and £98,723 in South Australia. Henry Colley Hawker (1852-1912) was also a trooper in the 2nd South Australian (Mounted Rifles) contingent. A short notice in the Adelaide 'Chronicle' on 22 March 1913 states that 'The estate of Lieutenant Henry Colley Hawker RN, who was killed in the hunting field in Hampshire, England, a few months ago, has been sworn for probate purposes at £127,000. He was a son of the late Hon. G.C. Hawker MP'. Henry Colley 'Harry' Hawker was the second son of George Charles Hawker (1818-1895), and a grandson of Admiral Edward Hawker; George emigrated to South Australia in 1840, and established a pastoral dynasty that survives to this day.