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Hunter Valley Bushrangers

Braddish & Branigan

Upper Hunter 1844

 


 

Timothy Braddish arrived in Australia on the convict transport Calcutta in 1837.  He was 5ft 4 inches tall with a sallow and freckled complexion, brown hair and eyes and a small scar on his upper lip. Accompanying him on the Calcutta was his older brother John. Together the brothers had been convicted in Limerick of having stolen goods in their possession.

Perhaps it was on the long voyage to Australia that Timothy Braddish became acquainted with Edmond (Edward) Branigan, a 20 year old Tipperary man sentenced to transportation for life. Or perhaps it was later when the two young men were both assigned to work for the Australian Agricultural Company

By 1844 the Australian Agricultural Company had established sheep stations on vast areas of the Liverpool Plains. Braddish and Branigan may have been assigned to one of the Company stations, as Timothy Braddish had been issued a ticket of leave for the Murrurundi district.

The two men absconded together in December 1843 and soon began committing numerous depredations on persons and property in the vicinity of the Peel. They were quickly apprehended, however made a daring escape with others from the lockup at Scone and soon began their lawless career once again. They headed to localities beyond the settled districts, stealing on their way a bay gelding belonging to settler George Hobler

On the 6th June 1844, well armed and mounted, they bailed up the overseer Thomas Cullen and watchman James Yates at Australian Agricultural company owned Currie-a-bark station at the Barnard River, Upper Gloucester. They began to ransack the hut, gathering fire arms, food and provisions to place on their pack horse. Braddish stood sentry while Branagan organised James Yates the assigned servant to help him load his loot.

Yates sprang at Braddish who held a double barrelled fowling piece in this hand, a brace of pistols in his belt and five stand of arms at his feet. Undaunted, and perhaps with a pardon or reward in mind, Yates tripped Braddish and wrestled him to the ground. The overseer Cullen, not to be outdone seized Branagan and a desperate scuffle then followed between those two.

Meanwhile, Yates succeeded in disarming Braddish and ordered him to surrender.  Braddish in true bushranger style and with little to lose, refused to surrender, so Yates with little choice left, pulled the trigger. The pistol misfired and the two once again began a deadly struggle. Yates felled Braddish with a blow to the head and as Braddish  reached for a gun Yates fired again, the ball passing through Braddish's thigh, causing him to surrender. Branagan kept up his own battle with Cullen, until finally he too was defeated.

Medical assistance was immediately obtained from Stroud for Braddish. Dr. Douglas was stationed at Stroud at this time and may perhaps have attended Braddish.  After the wound was dressed the two bushrangers were taken 70 miles to Stroud by dray in short stages. When they arrived they were placed in the lockup and later were transferred to the Newcastle gaol arriving there on 14th  June 1844.

At the Maitland Quarter Session held on Monday the 8 July, both men pleaded guilty to a charge of being illegally at large with firearms in their possession. They were sentenced to transportation for life to a penal settlement.

 James Yates and Thomas Cullen, both prisoners for life were recommended at the same Court hearing to be issued with Conditional Pardons for their part in the capture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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