Last random entry for today because I am tired, and sick of fighting with computer. This the first in a series that was published in the Examiner. I saved to a folder on the drive years ago, but I'll just use the first one :)
BRADY AND HIS ASSOCIATES.
Sir, I am aware that it is next to impossible for a writer to give en exact description of occurrences of 60 years back. At the same time an eye witness, on whose memory the scenes remain as vividly as if they had happened yesterday, naturally has a desire to see them related correctly, and, perhaps, "B" may also like to be in possession of the real facts of his story. I do not propose to add to the necessarily brief and rapid sketch which he given of the startling events that were crowded into that night at Elphin with the exception of one instance in order to further elucidate the character of Brady.
My father, hearing a gun discharged at the back of the house, went out to see what it meant, not suspecting bushrangers, when he was immediately seized by armed men from each side of the back porch, one of whom, annoyed at resistance, gave him a bayonet thrust, but the weapon getting tangled in his necktie, the man gave him a blow on the head with it, and when he was taken back into the house the blood was seen running over his face. The wound was dressed by his son-in law, Dr. Landale, Brady assisting and expressing his sorrow for what was done, and threatened summary punishment on any man who offered further violence.
There was not a large party of friends collected, the only visitors being Dr. Landale and his wife. The family consisted of my father and mother, myself, then a boy nearly eight years old, and my younger sister, too young a child to retain any distinct memory of what took place. My brother and my other sisters were from home at school.
The story of Brady requesting one of the ladies to seat herself at the piano, and singing to the music, is probably founded on the fact that while the bushrangers were surrounding the house, my sister, Mrs. Landale, was playing on that instrument the ominous air "The Campbells are coming."
The servant alluded to having been thrust into a room and the door locked, escaped by a second door, eluded Brady's sentry within a few yards of him, and made straight for Mr. Mulgrave's, the P.M., who despatched a message to the barracks, and at once armed himself and hurried to Elphin accompanied by one soldier, one constable, and, I think, the messenger. In the meantime Brady having been signalled by one of his sentries that men were on the move towards the house, collected his men with a whistle, gave the order, " Now my lads, we must go," and retired to an outhouse, whence they intended to give the soldiers a warm reception. Mr. Mulgrave rushed into the house at the front, double-barrelled gun in hand, enquiring in excited tones, " Where are the scoundrels?" and was answered by a volley from the outhouse, one bullet taking a piece out of the soldier's coat, one leaving a round hole in an upper window, and several leaving their track along the shingles of the porch, where it could he seen for many years. Brady and his men then removed to a field bounded by the Patterson's Plains and Elphin roads. Then arrived Dr. Priest, who would not dismount but insisted on reconnoitring, and rode round the field where the bushrangers were. As he passed they fired a volley, nine bullets hitting the horse, and two piercing his knee. I saw the dead horse riddled with bullets. The doctor was taken, not to Launceston, but to Elphin, where he was well known, and where he died after a fortnight's suffering. When he at length consented to have the limb amputated his medical brethren agreed that it was too late to perform the operation. Dr. Priest's white trousers accounted for the line in which the bullets took effect.
A good deal of plunder was collected, and bound in bundles, and a horse and cart were got in readiness for carrying it away, but, thanks to Mr. Mulgrave's prompt action, these bundles were left behind, and so were the horse and cart.
Colonel Balfour was riding past some men whom he mistook for his own. Hearing the click of fire-locks he called out, " My men, what are you doing ? I'm the colonel," and was replied to by shots, which blew off his cap and pierced it. Some ten soldiers were sent to Elphin under a lieutenant, but did not arrive till the bushrangers had disappeared. The officer said that he had made a detour with a view of cutting off their retreat. He had to endure much "chuff" on this account, but I presume he did what he judged to be the right thing.
Brady, when captured, was wearing Colonel Balfour's cap. He was brought along the Elphin road well guarded, and on horseback, his leg being wounded. My father met him, and had a conversation with him, and took me with him. I observed that the prisoner spoke calmly, and occasionally smiled and joked. He was certainly a different man from the run of bushrangers, and, perhaps, had he lived under milder laws in the first instance, would have exhibited a very different course of life.
Yours, etc., William DryLaunceston Examiner, 1 February 1888