Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Matthew Brady - a likely lad! see article from http://www.eurekacouncil.com.au/
From Brady's Lookout (both pics)
In 1820 Mathew Brady, described as a labourer, was sentenced by the Lancashire Quarter Sessions to be transported for seven years for stealing food.
Brady was transported in the 'Juliana' and during four years under convict discipline, received a total of 350 lashes for attempts to abscond and for other misdemeanours. In 1823 Brady was sent to Sarah Island, Macquarie Harbour but escaped next year with a group of confederates. During the two years that Brady was at large he fought a number of running battles with government troops and private settlers.
Prior to Brady's capture in 1826 he and his gang camped quietly in the thick bush on the castellated rocky outcrops overlooking the Tamar River at Rosevears. In the back of Brady's mind was always the thought that when Tasmania became too hot to hold him he would pirate a ship on the Tamar River and escape by sea. Several attempts were made to take over ships 'Duke of York'and 'Glory', but lack of enthusiasm on the part of his non-seafaring gang saw these efforts come to naught.
Whilst raiding Mr Dry's Elphin Farm in Launceston looking for supplies, Brady was captured after a shootout.
In April 1826 Brady was brought to Hobart to stand trial and his firm deportment excited much attention. With others he was charged with stealing a musket and a bayonet, with setting fire to the premises of W E Lawrence at the Lake River, with stealing horses from him and with the murder of Thomas Kenton.
Brady was convicted as charged and was hanged on 4th May 1826.
Matthew Brady (1799-1826) was a Manchester boy sentenced by the Salford Assizes in 1820 to seven years exile for stealing a basket with some bacon, butter and rice.
Wild with resentment, he tried again and again to escape and was pushed down from Assignment to a chain gang, and was finally condemned to the penal hell hole at Macquarie Harbour.
In the first four years of his transportation he took 350 lashes.
In June 1824, Brady and thirteen other convicts escaped from Macquarie Harbour in a whaleboat. Before the end of the month they reached the Derwent, came ashore, robbed a settler of his guns and provisions and then set up a permanent headquarters in the bush.
His gang robbed travellers and outlying settlers, gaining wealth and reputation in the process.
In fact they quickly became famous. Colonel George Arthur, the new lieutenant-governor of Van Dieman's Land, papered the gum trees with proclamations calling "in the most earnest manner" on all settlers to join in the hunt for the Brady gang and to order their Crown servants to pass on whatever information they heard.
It was futile, for the convicts would rather join Brady than rat on him. On many occasions convict servants hid Brady and his men in barns, fed them and showed them where the master's guns were kept.
Arthur next appealed to baser motives by posting rewards: first £10 per head for each member of the growing Brady gang, which by now was rumoured to be one hundred strong, then £25.
If a convict gave information that led to the arrest of one of these bandits, he would get his ticket-of-leave. If he caught the bushranger himself, he got a conditional pardon.
The only result was a notice pinned to the door of the Royal Oak Inn at Cross-Marsh a week later:
"It has caused Matthew Brady much concern that such a person known as Sir George Arthur is at large. Twenty gallons of rum will be given to any person that can deliver his person to me."
There was no question that the lad was flash. He was chivalrous, too. He was nicknamed the "gentleman bushranger", because he was so polite to women, thanked those he robbed, and would never kill a free men.
Brady would never harm a woman or let any of his gang do so. When his partner McCabe threatened to rape a settler's wife, Brady shot him through the hand, flogged him mercilessly and threw him out of the gang; Arthur's police caught McCabe ten, days later, and hanged him.
In another incident, a psychopathic convict named Mark Jeffries, a government executioner and flogger had absconded. He was known as "The Monster". He had captured a settler's wife while he was on the run but was irked by the crying of her new-born baby. He picked it up by the legs and smashed its head against a gum tree. Later he was caught and jailed for trial in Launceston. When Brady heard about this he had to be argued out of leading his gang in a frontal assault on the Launceston lockup, freeing all the prisoners, dragging Jeffries out and flogging him to death.
He waged systematic war against the Empire, its army, police and administration. For example he attacked the prison at Sorell, 14 miles east of Hobart, and released all the convicts and put the guards behind bars. (At that time such prisons were maned by military personal with a civilian in administrative charge. The were effectively military fortifications.)
The Brady gang fought like Tasmanian devils when cornered, with skill and coolness, shooting their way past many police ambushes.
They were fearless in attacking the Empire; and systematically targeted their civil oppressors, especially "flogging magistrates".
Through all this, Brady truly embodied the best of the English, Arthurian heritage that demands that strength be used to "Up-hold the Right and defend the weak." Thus he would always treat their captives fairly.
When they took John Barnes, colonial surgeon, a prisoner while ransacking a magistrate's house at Coal River, in Barnes' own words,
"One of the men who stopped me … had been punished a few days before by order of the magistrate, upon some trifling complaint of his master; the man was not in very good health ... and I took him down before the whole of the flagellation had been inflicted, and requested that the magistrate would pardon him the rest;he reflected the circumstance with a little gratitude, or probably I might have been more severely handled."
They took his watch but gave him back his lancet-case, telling him that it "might be of service to him by and by" and then they released him unharmed.
Brady also "defended the weak". He took care not to harm assigned servants in the homesteads he raided; but in case they "gave music" to the police later, he forced them to drink their masters' whiskey until they were too fuddled to remember what his men had said, or which way they had gone. At least one luckless teetotaller died from this; and others, due to the vile quality of colonial spirits, became very sick, but like Robin Hood, he was loved for this.
Not by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur though, who was a tirelessly methodical man, and he eventually wore Brady down.
He offered irresistible rewards-300 guineas, or 300 acres of land free of quit-rent to the man who brought Brady in; or, for convicts, a full unconditional pardon and free passage to England.
With a reorganised police force and re-enforcements from the 40th Regiment of Foot under his command, he waged a war of attrition, picking off the gang members one by one, in a series of running skirmishes.
He also successfully sent out police spies wearing convicts chains, who infiltrated Brady's force using the cover story that they had escaped from an Iron Gang and were on the run.
Thus betrayed from within he was quickly outflanked by Government forces. Brady was shot in the leg in the ensuing battle near Paterson's Plains, just outside of Launceston. He got away but was captured a few days later, limping and exhausted, by a settler named John Batman (the future founder of Melbourne).
They put Matthew Brady in Launceston jail and a few days later put him in chains and brought him down to Hobart, accompanied, to his disgust, by the man he most despised in the world, the infant-killer Mark Jeffries.
Before his trial and hanging, Brady was feted as a popular hero. If his fate had been decided by popular vote, he would have gone free.
Dozens of petitions for clemency arrived at Government House.
Women shed tears for the "likely lad," the "poor colonial boy," who had shown such consideration to their sex. His cell was filled every day with visitors bringing baskets of flowers, fan letters, fruit and fresh-baked cakes.
But the judge was determined to make a solemn and awful example of him. On May 4, 1826, Brady received his last Communion and mounted the scaffold above a sea of colonial faces, contorted in grief, and they cheered him over the drop; only his enemies were silent.
( The government could not expunge his name from popular memory: A 4,000 foot peak in the Western Tiers Mountains, which looks down onto the Lake named for Governor Arthur, is still known as Brady's Lookout, and there is also a Brady's Lake out past the Tungatinah power station on the Lyell Highway).
Monday, March 23, 2009
The coast between Scamander and Bicheno
St Helen's - cray boats
The route we took
Just before St Mary's we saw a sign pointing to - CORNWALL! Yes! we thought, at last, some Cornish input for the blog. Only 3km up the road, we found the little village, which had been the site of a coal mine opened in 1886 (coal had been found in 1843, but it needed the railway to make it a viable business proposition). Some Cornish tin miners had been brought out to teach their mining skills, and the company formed was appropriately called the Cornwall Coal Mining Company. I couldn't find any further info about the tin miners, who they were and how many, or what happened to them .... but there is a Wall of remembrance with the names of many, many miners who had worked in the district. After the obligatory pictures had been taken we continued on to St Mary's, then through St Mary's Pass - shudder, steep drop on my side, be CAREFUL Max!!! On to the Tasman Hwy - we made St Helen's by lunch time, and had yummy fish and chips from The Captain's Catch - very nicely done, none of your greasies in St Helen's!
Next stop Bicheno - oh, we like Bicheno! It had clouded over by the time we got there, but the brisk breeze blowing at St Helen's had dropped right away, and it was very pleasant. A walk along the clifftop, admiring Diamond Island and the wonderful rock formations, and then we decided to look for a cray for tea - this was Bicheno, after all! We asked at the Visitor Centre - certainly we could buy a cray, over at the butchers of all places! It was a gourmet butcher admittedly, who specialised in sausages - Max pointed out the varieties listed, there must have been thirty at least! Half a cray cost us $54 and a dozen green prawns was another $12 - then I noticed the butcher made his own brawn, now I haven't seen brawn since my mother used to make it - so we had to have some of that! Well, it was an expensive tea, but it was worth it!
By this time it was about 3.30pm and we thought it was time to head for home - Ross was 100km away, taking the Lake Leake Road back to the Midland Hwy. The sun was shining on the midlands, and we remarked on the difference in the weather, presuming the mountains are the influence which make it so changeable.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Max in his nifty blue galoshes!
From our campsite at Berriedale, on the Derwent River
Friday, March 20, 2009
Pete's Vegie Patch - that pumpkin was HUGE!
On 22 March, 1821, Wilson, aged 23, was married at Hobart Town to Grace, aged 22, eldest daughter of John Terry of 'Lachlan Mills' by whom he had a large family (in May 1831 he had '8 children with the immediate prospect of another' (Terry pedigree, Archives Office of Tasmania; CS01/180/4337). In 1825, after some argument over the extra land he had unwittingly received, he was granted an additional two hundred acres of land. In 1831 he was allowed another 247 acres. Wilson's brother (perhaps one Thomas Wilson about whom nothing has been discovered) was also granted land in this district. In 1825 Wilson claimed that he was building a flour mill. In 1831 he stated that he intended erecting 'works for the manufacture of woollen cloths'. Whether either of these was constructed has not been found (CS01/180/4337).
In the depression of the early 'forties Wilson became bankrupt (Hobart Town Courier 19 Aug 1842). The Hobart Town Courier of 16 September 1842 contains the following notice:
Sale of a Most Valuable Estate
MR JOHN CHARLES STRACEY
The Auction Company's Agent,
Is instructed to SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION,
on the premises, On FRIDAY, the 23rd instant, at 12 o'clock,
(by order of the assignee of Mr William Borrodaile Wilson, and with consent of the mortgagees,)
All that most DESIRABLE and VALUABLE PROPERTY, known as 'WILSON'S FARM', situated on the MACQUARIE PLAINS, bounded in front by the river Derwent, and adjoining the estates of Messrs. Spode, Fenton and Terry. the farm comprises about 2,000 acres; a considerable portion is in a high state of cultivation, about 100 acres are now under crop; 14 miles of fencing has been recently completed; and the homestead surpasses any in the district, having been erected at an expense of upwards of 4,000 pounds. A considerable portion of this estate might be irrigated at little expense by means of machinery from the Derwent.
There is at present a water-course cut, which secures a fall of about fifteen feet, sufficient to turn any power of machinery, and there is upwards of thirty feet fall in the Derwent in front of the property. Nearly 1000 acres might be brought into cultivation. Nevertheless, this estate, with all its natural advantages and important improvements, must be sold, without reserve, at the times price.
Presumably it was at this time that John Walker, the well-known Hobart Towan brewer and miller, bought the property. Certainly the Colonial Times of 7 September, 1844, contains a notice of milling charges at his 'Clarendon Mill', Macquarie Plains.
In 1848 Wilson was living on his own in an unfinished brick house at The Falls belonging to Mrs Bridger. Thomas Wilson was living nearby in another uncompleted brick residence belonging to WB Wilson. Grace was a resident of Burnett Street, New Norfolk (Census returns 1848). WB Wilson was still alive on 28 August 1851, when his second daughter Mary Ann was married to the Reverend Charles Simson on 3 September 1851. Grace Wilson died on18th April 1855 after a long illness. WBW died on the goldfields of Bendigo in 1854. Perhaps he had gone there trying to rebuild his life after losing Clarendon in the depression of the 1840s.
After 1945 the property was resumed for soldier settlement, divided in two and both farms bought by Terry descendants.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tommy Lake thinking of Home
One of the marked stones
Steve Cain at work
A better view of the bridge