Matthew Brady

The bushranger walk, Poatina

Local legend has it - 

Somewhere

in a crevice

of the

Western Tiers

lies a gun

loaded with

molten gold.

Brady was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1820. After rebelling against conditions in Sydney he was sent to the dreaded Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour, a penal station on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land. He was one of the few to escape, seizing a boat with twelve other prisoners and journeying to South Arm near Hobart Town.

 

For nearly two eventful years Brady and fellow escapees roamed over Van Diemen’s Land on horseback, outwitting all pursuit.

On one occasion Brady and his gang held the township of Sorell for twenty-four hours, locking the local police and magistrates in the gaol while setting the other prisoners free.

 

Another time Brady held Launceston to ransom, demanding that Thomas Jeffries, bushranger, murderer and cannibal, should be hanged.  Otherwise Brady threatened to hang ‘The Monster’ himself.

 

Lieutenant Governor Arthur wrote to British Secretary of State, Lord Bathurst, ‘While the Boldness and atrocious Acts of these Felons filled the Settlers with Terror and Alarm the Skill and Conduct of this extraordinary man who directed them, has baffled the united efforts of the Civil and Military Power’.

Governor Arthur posted a reward for Brady’s capture.  Brady responded by posting a reward for the capture of the governor.

Governor Darling of New South Wales sent every soldier he could spare to Van Diemen’s Land. Betrayed by a gang member, Brady was injured in a gun battle and soon after surrendered to John Batman near Franklin House.

 

For all his swashbuckling ways Brady was known as ‘gentleman’ with the reputation of never harming a woman.  Unlike some other bushrangers, he was not one of the murderous ‘doubly damned’.

 

He was hanged in 1826 at old Hobart gaol, one of five including Jeffries to which he objected. He was about 27. The ladies of Hobart Town had filled his cell with flowers.

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