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Braidwood, New South Wales
New South Wales
The Braidwood Courthouse, built in 1901
|Population||1,651 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||643 m (2,110 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council|
Braidwood is a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, in Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council. It is located on the Kings Highway linking Canberra with Batemans Bay. It is approximately 200 kilometres south west of Sydney, 60 kilometres inland from the coast, and fifty-five from Canberra. Braidwood is a service town for the surrounding district which is based on sheep and cattle grazing, and forestry operations.
European explorers reached the district in 1822 (Kearns, Marsh and Packer). The area was first settled by Europeans in the 1820s, and the town was surveyed in 1839. The village was located near the headwaters of the Shoalhaven River. The settlement was built with the labour of convicts, and many of the buildings they built around the region are still standing.
The town was named after Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson. He had been a surgeon-superintendent of ships taking convicts to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania). He was first granted land in Van Diemen's Land in 1824, which he exchanged for land near Lake George in 1825. In addition he was given 2560 acres (10 km²) which he selected in the 'new country' on two tributaries of the Shoalhaven, Monkittee and Flood creeks. In 1833, the western end of Wilson's grant was resumed and reserved for a future village and a similar area added to the eastern end in compensation. He eventually controlled a total of 12,305 acres in the area. He and his wife and children settled in the district in late 1836. He became a community leader and amongst other things contracted to build the first courthouse in 1837-38. In 1840 Wilson petitioned the government to build a road from Braidwood to Jervis Bay to enable faster and cheaper shipping of the wool clip to Sydney and, with Col. John Mackenzie, supplied the materials and labour for the Braidwood to Nerriga section.
In 1841 Braidwood Farm had 141 residents. Wilson was sent bankrupt due to a drought in the late 1830s and the subsequent depression. He died in November 1843. His land was sold for £2,000 to John Coghill, who now owned all the land on the south, east and north of the town. Coghill built the historic house Bedervale. However, before his death, Wilson had purchased the block immediately to the north of Braidwood. He was buried on this block, high on the hill overlooking the town.
A memorial and large pine tree mark the site of Wilson's grave, from which there are views of the town. The path to the grave is no longer open to the public.
First Royal Commission
Braidwood was the subject of Australia's first Royal Commission in 1867, inquiring into the activities of police officers and managers in the district, concerning the extent to which bushrangers had been shielded and assisted by police connivance and inactivity. The Commission identified several instances of misconduct and found the superintendent of police had failed to exercise 'strict and proper control over his men.'
Gold was discovered in 1851, and for the next two decades the district's population swelled to about 10,000. Supplies and produce to support the workforce on the gold fields came from as far afield as the Canberra region, (though Canberra itself would not be founded until 1913). This prosperity lasted for several years, during which some substantial commercial buildings including banks and hotels were constructed.
Braidwood was formerly the seat of the Tallaganda local government area. However, following restructuring of local government areas by the New South Wales Government, it is now part of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. The local paper is now called the Braidwood Times.
Through much of the 20th century, Braidwood was essentially in rural recession. Amongst other consequences, very little building work was carried out, and as a result the town entered the 21st century with much of its original streetscape and architecture intact. On 30 March 2006 the town and its setting were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register, following a period of unpleasant dispute between those wishing to preserve the town's charm and those wishing to develop it.
Braidwood is located equidistant from Bungendore and Tarago railway stations, a distance of approximately 40 kilometres. NSW TrainLink operate multiple direct services from both railways stations to Canberra, Sydney, and provides connections across the state. Murray's coach services operate daily between Bateman's Bay and Canberra including picking up and setting down passengers in Braidwood.
Braidwood has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Braidwood and Its Setting
- Monkitee Street: Bedervale
- Wallace Street: Braidwood District Historical Society Museum
- Wallace Street: Mill Complex
- 119 Wallace Street: Albion Hotel
Braidwood has an oceanic climate (Cfb) with mild to warm summers and cold winters with frequent morning frost.
At the 2016 census, Braidwood had a population of 1,651. 78.5% of people were born in Australia and 87.2% of people only spoke English at home. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 32.4%, Catholic 24.0% and Anglican 20.5%.
In popular culture
Film and television
The town has several times been used for film locations, including Robbery Under Arms (1920), Ned Kelly (1970), The Year My Voice Broke (1987), On our Selection (1995), Finding Joy (2003), The Discontinuity (2009) and Australia's Most Haunted (2013).
- Deuchar Gordon, Australian pastoralist and president of the Australian Club
- Judith Wright, Australian poet and conservationist and Aboriginal rights campaigner
- John Chapman, Army Officer
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Braidwood (state suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- "Braidwood". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- "Braidwood". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- "Braidwood". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Philip Cox & Wesley Stacey (1973), Historic towns of Australia, Melbourne, Lansdowne, p.92. ISBN 0701801840
- Report of the Commissioners, State of crime in the Braidwood District, 30 July 1867
- Newman Chris (2004), Gold Creek, Reflections of Canberra's Rural Heritage, Gold Creek Homestead Working Group.
- "Braidwood and Its Setting". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01749. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Bedervale". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Braidwood District Historical Society Museum". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00149. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Mill Centre". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00434. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Albion Hotel, 3 adjoining shops & stables". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00304. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Climate statistics for BRAIDWOOD (WALLACE STREET)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
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