20 May 1922 - Braidwood's Founder

In May 1922 the centenary of Thomas Braidwood Wilson's landing in Sydney was reported.

FOUNDER OF BRAIDWOOD.

Yesterday marked the centenary of the first arrival at Port Jackson of Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, M.D., R.N., the founder of Braidwood. Dr. Wilson arrived in the capacity of Surgeon Superintendant of the transport ship Richmond, and his administration on this voyage was so succcessful that the Navy Board directed him to act, in a similar capacity, on no fewer than eight voyages either to Port Jackson or Hobart town. In referring to the arrival of the Richmond the ''Sydney Gazette," May 24, 1822, the sole newspaper of the day, conveys the information that, immediately prior to the present appointment, the Surgeon Superintendant, T. B. Wilson, Esq., M.D., R.N., had the happiness of attending his Majesty King George the Fourth, to the sister Kingdom of Ireland, and from thence to Hanover, at which place he left the Royal retinue. Dr. Wilson confirms all the accounts relative to the general delight and enthusiastic affection that his Majesty profusely experienced from every rank and class of subject in his foreign dominions." Dr. Wilson was on the active list of surgeons in the Royal Navy from 1815 to 1844.1

A subsequent article added a little more to the story of Thomas Braidwood Wilson.

Braidwobd's Founder.

Some additional information regarding the founder of Braidwood (Dr. Wilson) has come to hand.

The Hobart "Town Courier" of Saturday, February 5, 1831, says: "Arrived on Saturday the ship John, from London 14th Oct., with 200 male prisoners, Surgeon Superintendant Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson, R.N, who lately left us in the Governor Ready, and made the important discoveries at King George's Sound and Swan River. Dr. Wilson, R.N., has, we are happy to announce, done the colony the kindness of introducing to it what has so long been a desiratum amongst us, namely, an excellent hive of bees. They have come out in the most healthy and vigorous state, and we doubt not will thrive and multiply throughout the island, the climate and indigenous plants of which (singular enough though they [are] cannot boast our honey bee) are nevertheless so admirably adapted to the nature of that most useful and interesting animal. Dr. Wilson has also been so mindful as to bring several specimens of the moss rose, the lilac, the laurel-laurristinius and other plants and shrubs characteristic of England, but hitherto unknown in the colony."

The Hobart "Town Courier" of Friday, July 27, 1832, says: "Arrived on Friday, 20th inst., the barque England, with 129 male prisoners. Surgeon Superintendent Dr. Wilson, R.N. Dr. Wilson to whom the colony is already so much indebted for the valuable introduction of the honey bee, brought out by him in the ship John last voyage, and many valuable seeds and plants at former times, has again enriched us by what has never before been attempted to bring to the island, namely, some genuine English partridges, in excellent healthy condition, as well as a large supply of seeds of useful and ornamental plants, selected by the celebrated botanists Mr. Curtis and Mr. Cunningham expressly for the colony. The present voyage makes the seventh which Dr. Wilson has made to these colonies."

The Hobart Town Courier of Friday, August 17, 1832, says : "We are happy to learn that Dr. Wilson has most liberally presented to Mr. Bisdee the partridges which he has with such attention to the interests of the colony brought out in such fine condition in the England. In order to preserve and perpetuate the breed they could not [have] been placed in better hands for the sake of the colony at large, and if Mr. Bisdee succeeds with them as well as he had already, and so liberally, with the pheasants, a great acquisition will be conferred upon us."2

The centenary of the town was also discussed around this time:

Braidwood's Centenary

There is still a deal of doubt as to Braidwood's centenary year. Mr. Frank, who has been interesting himself in the matter, recently wrote to the Royal Australian Historical Society, with a view to securing some authentic information as to Braidwood's birthday, and he has received the following reply from the Research Secretary of the R.A. H. Society: "In reply to yours of 15th, I beg to say that there is no work that I know of that gives the information about Braidwood that you want. Scraps can be found by looking through old newspapers. From time to time I have made notes, and these I am giving you. The "Sydney Morning Herald" only on the 22nd inst. had a paragraph on the "Founder of Braidwood." Perhaps you, saw it: "Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson arrived by convict ship "Strathfieldsay," 216 male convicts, guard detachment 28th Regiment, Ensign Gasling in command, July 1836. Dr. Wilson's house at Braidwood destroyed by fire, January, 1840; nearly all furniture burned." "A daughter of Dr. Wilson married Mr. Stewart M. Mowle."

In 1841 Braidwood had 41 houses and 206 inhabitants (119 males and 87 females. I am enclosing some particulars that I obtained at the Lands Office, and regret that I cannot get you more satisfactory information." The Land Office particulars state:

" The survey of the village of Braidwood was effected by Surveyor J. Larmer, whose plan was transmitted to the Surveyor-General, March 11, 1839, by whom it was submitted for the Governor's approval, which was given a few days later. In August, 1839, the Surveyor General proposed an amended design, which was approved by the Governor, and this approval was duly in Govt. Gazette of 24th April 1839. This amended design approved and gazetted as the township of Braidwood was forwarded to Surveyor Larmer 13th Jan., 1840, with instructions to mark the sections upon the ground."3