25 Apr 1933 - A Generation That Has Passed

A series of articles were published in 1933 referencing the early history of Braidwood and mentioning the condition of Thomas Wilson's grave.

A Generation That Has Passed

Mention has been made in the last 'Dispatch' of a picture among the household effects to be auctioned at the Albion Hotel this week, which, though unable to be classed as a work of art, is still of value to such residents of the district who are possessed of the historic sense and are interested in the traditions of the town. The subject is the land sale of the Llewellyn Estate, and was painted by Mr. Finneran, a partner in a store where Mr. Taylor's chemist shop now stands. Each person depicted is readily recognised, and many of them took a leading part in the activities of the town and helped considerably in the building of the churches, hospital and institute, and in establishing the Braidwood Show. The auctioneers were John Wallace, who owned Nithsdale, and Edward Rowe. The others are Dr. Llewellyn, Messrs. Robert Maddrell (grandfather of B. C. Maddrell), Thos. Roberts, of Exeter Farm, C. Murphy (constable), Rowland Hassall (grandfather of T. Hassall), James O'Brien (father of M. R. O'Brien, of Mt. Ellington), R. J. C. Maddrell, senr., Thos. Malone, John Musgrave (grand father of Musgrave Bros., newspaper proprietor), Carl Martin (jeweller), E. Smith (butcher in Araluen), John Allan (forest ranger), R. Clapham (chemist), W. McDowall (grandfather of Roy and Rees McDowall), John Jeffrey (father of Police Superintendent George Jeffrey), E. Towle (manager of N.S.W. Bank), R. C. Hassall (father of T. Hassall), H. Maddrell (father of G. C. Maddrell), W. Royds (of racing fame), W. Bennison (flour miller), I. Crommelin (State teacher). Robert Bruce (the baker), and the three town celebrities of that time, Mrs. Green, seller of oranges and apples; Bob Chaney, who, in spite of hard limes, sickness and cold weather, always had a cheery word for everybody; and Buckland, an expert with locks and guns, and credited with being the friend and abettor ot the bushrangers. Every one has passed into the Great Beyond, and in memory of their work, this picture should not be allowed to pass into private possession. If we had a Town Hall it should hang there, but under the circumstances the Institute is the only place for it. Now, who is patriotic enough to buy and present it to the town ?. Most of these men mentioned, with others, ably carried on the traditions handed down to them from the first pioneers, but the present generation seems sadly lacking in the public sense of what is due to those who have passed on. For example, Iook at Dr. Wilson's grave, the state of which is a disgrace to us all; at the broken sundial which he gave to the town; our shabby public buildings; unwanted streets; neglected cemetery; and general disregard of the advantages which the foresight of Dr. Wilson and other pioneers gave us as a heritage. Braidwood has an early history which many country towns may well envy, and maybe its townspeople will rise soon to the sense of their responsibilities and make it the beautiful, interesting health resort it should really be. May that day soon come. Mrs. Giles, the present lessee of the Albion Hotel, while still a new comer to thee town, found the picture mentioned amongst some lumber in a shed, and recognising its worth, had it cleaned and restored, for which the thanks of the true citizens of the town are due to her. 1

After the many uncomplimentary remarks of visitors and others concerning the state of Dr. Wilson's grave. the public conscience is being stirred. A movement is afoot to wipe off the stain that Braidwood is indifferent to her responsibilities and has no sense of what is due to him who made the way easy for those who followed after. Before this year closes it is hoped that the resting place of one of our most worthy Australian pioneers, and founder of this town, will be put into proper order so that it can never fall into such a state of disrepair as unfortunately it is at present. Mr. Wilton, of Mona. and owner of the land on which is the site of the grave, has given his consent to the work of restoration and enclosure, so that stock and rabbits can be kept away. Dr. Wilson introduced to Australia the moss-rose, lilac, laurel and lauristinus, among other plants, and, since there will be room for some small shrubs when the work is finished, perhaps a day will soon come when several of our young people will plant one of these to the memory ot Braldwood's own Empire Builder. 2



As many people in this district are unaware of the valuable services Dr. Wilson rendered to Australia in general, and Braidwood In particular, it is not out of place to publish a few facts concerning his work, and the reason why the restoration of his grave is a public responsibility. Dr. Wilson was born in Scotland in 1792, and quite early in his career was appointed Surgeon to His Majesty George the Fourth, and later to the Royal Navy in the same, capacity. In 1822 he.made the first of eight trips to Australia as medical officer on convict ships, and soon became noted for the humanity and kindness he extended to the prisoners under his care, not only in keeping them in good health (no small attainment, in the crowded ships and inadequate means and safeguards at his disposal), but established schools, for most of the men were unable to even read and write, giving tte poor unfortunates something other than their own grievances to dwell upon. Each trip both to the old country as well as the new, Dr. Wilson brought consignments of trees and plants, also domestic birds, and it is to his credit that the European honey bee was successfully introduced. He was not the first to bring them to Australia, as several others had tried and failed, but his bees not only flourished in Tasmania, where they were landed, but the mainland as far as Western Australia was stocked from them. For his benefactions, he was given a grant of land in Tasmania, where his brother was settled, but afterwards exchanged it for one in this district in 1828, where he established a model farm. Part of Strathallen estate and the Monkittee farms form portion of it now. When the Government thought of laying out a township, Dr. Wilson offered a site on his own land, which was accepted, and in 1832 surveyed, and the streets laid out by Surveyor Hoddle, who performed the same service for Melbourne two years later. Next year Melbourne celebrates its centenary, and it will be interesting to note what prominence is given to Surveyor Hoddle there. Braidwood has allowed the centenary of the founding of the town to pass unnoticed, but now a whole-hearted effort in restoring the grave of our great pioneer will remove the stigma that we are insensible to our inheritance, and unworthy successors of those who blazed the trail a hundred years ago. For some time now Goulburn though possessing deep sewerage, has been struggling to suppress diphtheria, within its boundaries, while Braidwood, in years, has had an occasional mild case, and the splendid health of the children excites favorable' comment of medical men who come here. This is mainly due to the excellent position of the town. Sir Richard Bourke, then Governor of N.S.W.. gave the name Braidwood to the town in compliment to Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson. The building of the first Court House (cost defrayed by the Doctor) and the making of roads, especially the Nerriga road, which connected Braidwood with the coast at Jervis Day, followed soon after. Colonel Mackenzie, ot Nerriga, helped Dr. Wilson with the road to Nerriga. which they made at their own expense. Then immigrants of upstanding character and honest worth, with good farming experience, were induced to settle in the district, and men with money to take up grants of land. Special sheep and selected wheat, with farm seeds in general, were brought, and orchards planted, all through the influence and enterprise of Dr. Wilson. In honoring such a man we honor ourselves. 3

DR. BRAIDWOOD WILSON (To the Editor of the 'Review')

Sir,— Whilst casually glancing through the columns of the 'Braidwood Dispatch,' I came across a reference to the grave of Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, the pioneer of Braidwood. This piece of news was of particular interest to me, as I am a direct descendant of the said Dr. Braidwood Wilson. My mother, who quite recently passed away, was a daughter of James Wilson, of Maryborough, Queensland, the said James Wilson being a son of Dr. Braidwood Wilson. I am, therefore, a great grandson of the Doctor's. I have two aunts still living in Queensland, who are grandchildren of Dr. Wilson's. Dr. Wilson was one of the little known pioneers of Australia. He was a surgeon attached to the Royal Navy, a great naturalist, and also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was sent out to Australia as surgeon superintendent in charge of convict ships. Whilst in Australia he undertook exploratory work of which little was chronicled. One of his efforts was an exploratory trip up the north coast. He left Sydney (N..S.W.) on March 25th 1829 on the ship Governor Ready. The ship was wrecked and the crew having taken to the boats, made their way along the north coast of Australia to the settlement of Port Raffles. Port Raffles was abandoned in August 1829 and Dr. Wilson sailed westwards with the Commandant Captain Barker. who had been transferred to take charge as Commandant of King George's Sound (Western Australia). They arrived at Fremantle on October 17th. 1829, in the ship Governor Phillips. While at King George's Sound, Dr. Wilson was en engaged in exploratory work. and, in conjunction with Captain Barker and Lt Collie, pioneered the greater part or the south-west of Western Australia. The towns of Denmark, Collie and Mount Barker stand as monuments to the memory of their endeavors, Dr. Wilson was also the author ot a book entitled 'A Narrative of a Voyage Round tlie World,' in which he includes a description of the British Settlement on the coast ot New Holland, as Australia was then known. I have tried to obtain a copy of this book, but up to date I have not been successful. As a reward for his work Dr. Wilson was granted a lease of 6,000 acres of land in New South Wales. The exact location of this lease I have been unable to ascertain. Wilson's Promontory is also an oilier monument to thv exploratory endeavors of Dr. Wilson. I, myself, have not long been a resident of New South Wales, Western Australia being my home State. I have often intended visiting Braidwood, but the opportunity has not yet offered. I would be pleased with any items of interest that you could forward me, either in connection with Dr. Wilson's sojourn in Braidwood, or, in fact, anything connected with him in any way. I would be particularly pleade with a photograph of his grave, and would reimburse you for any expense that might be incurred. In closing, I might state that my aunt, a Mrs. Higgins, of Maryborough, Queensland, has a Iife-size painting of Dr. Braidwood Wilson, and is also in possession of his full dress uniform. Yours, &c, THOMAS B. DICKINSON. Box 46, Post Office. Wellington, N.S.W. 4

  • 1. The Braidwood Review and District Advocate 25th April 1933 page 2
  • 2. The Braidwood Review and District Advocate 12th May 1933 page 2
  • 3. The Braidwood Review and District Advocate 30th May 1933 page 5
  • 4. The Braidwood Review and District Advocate 4th July 1933 page 1