Annual Dinner – 2018 

We are pleased to announce our Annual Dinner for Saturday 30 June 2018.

The dinner will be held at the National Theatre, 100 Wallace Street Braidwood. The function will commence at 6.30pm, followed by dinner at 7.00pm.   This function is BYO drinks. 

In this centenary year of the Great War commemoration, we have managed to secure Dr William Westerman from the Australian War Memorial for our dinner speaker. His talk is entitled ‘A Century Apart: Australian Soldiers on the Western Front and Uruzgan Province’, which is very topical and encompasses both our commemoration and current military commitment. Dr Westerman will be talking about Australian soldiers and their leaders in the First World War (with a particular focus on 1918) and then comparing that with the recent Australian Army deployments to Afghanistan. He hopes to explore the way things have changed over a hundred years, and also how certain aspects of soldiering are still very similar. I can promise it will be very interesting. We will also have a small display, relevant to the Braidwood District.

This year’s dinner is $54.00 per head for members and $59.00 per head for non-BDHS members and will consist of canapes upon arrival, a served ‘winter fare’ main meal and a buffet dessert. There are no reserved tables or seats and is on a first come basis.

I require your confirmation no later than Friday 22 June 2018, and early payment will confirm your booking. Cheques must be made payable to ‘Braidwood and District Historical Society’ and sent to PO Box 145 BRAIDWOOD NSW 2622 or pay directly into our account at The Bendigo Bank, Braidwood.

For Direct Deposit, payments to be made to the Bendigo Bank - BDHS Dinner Account BSB: 633-000 A/C No: 12741 7822.

 [N.B - Ensure you place your name in the direct deposit space, and if it does not allow a name to be entered, place your mobile phone number into it so we can contact you]. If you would like to join the BDHS, please go to our website, fill in the application form and follow the prompts

Tickets are not issued as your name is checked at the door. Please mark the date on your social calendar and let other community members know about the dinner, and we look forward to seeing you there. Any phone enquiries, special meal requirements or food sensitivities please contact Paul on 0427 915 959.


Capture of the Clarke's - Sesquicentenary re-enactment 2017

We recently staged a re-enactment commemorating the  150th anniversary  of the capture of the Clarke Gang.  It was an historically accurate account of the events that led to the arrest of arguably Australia's most notorious bushrangers.   The next day local residents, in the town's courthouse,  read from the transcript of the trial which was held in Sydney  and led to the conviction and execution of the Clarkes. 

The capture of the Clarke brothers on 27th April 1867 brought an end to the series of daring bushranging gangs that had plagued New South Wales since the beginning of the decade. Although Thunderbolt continued at large in northern New South Wales for another three years, the murders of police and civilians and large scale plunder ceased as police gained the upper hand and society in general rejected any sympathy felt for bushrangers.

The Clarke gang were arguably the worst and most troublesome bushrangers of all time. They terrorised the southern district of New South Wales, from October 1865 to April 1867, in an area extending from present day Canberra to the coast and from Goulburn to Cooma. Robberies of mail coaches, stores, travellers and homesteads were almost a daily occurrence. But worst of all was the grim tally of murders- a policeman, four special police, at least one of their accomplices and a half caste Aboriginal mistaken for a black tracker.  

The Clarkes’ downfall came about as a result of loss of the support of their harbourers. Many were tempted by the huge rewards on offer and feared the likelihood of being convicted under the Felons Apprehension Act after Tommy Clarke and Patrick Connell had been declared Outlaws. This ultimately led to betrayal. Tom Berry informed the police that his cousins, Tommy and John Clarke would be at his house on the night of 26th April 1867. The hut was located on Jinden Creek about 60 kms south of Braidwood. That night Berry’s hut was surrounded by a party of five police and later re-enforced by eight more police.

The gun battle that took place before surrender involved 100s of shots being fired over several hours. John Clarke was wounded in the shoulder, Tom Clarke was wounded in the buttock, the black tracker was wounded in the arm and Constable Walsh was wounded in the hip.

Tom and John Clarke were taken from Braidwood Gaol to Sydney to stand trial. The charge eventually preferred against them occurred at the time of their capture- the wounding of Constable Walsh with intent to murder-  a capital offence. There were many other charges that could be laid at their feet, but it seemed the authorities had chosen a charge they considered the most convenient, possibly easiest to prove and the most economical, as the main witnesses had provided the prisoners’ escort to Sydney. The prosecution obviously only needed a conviction for one capital offence as a person could be executed only once.

The trial took place in Central Criminal Court, Darlinghurst Sydney on Tuesday 28 May 1867.  The presiding Judge was Sir Alfred Stephen, the Chief Justice of New South Wales. The prosecuting barrister was the Solicitor General Robert Isaacs. The trial lasted just one day and ended with the death sentence for the two brothers.

On delivering the supreme penalty the Chief Justice addressed the brothers in the most scathing all-embracing condemnation of bushranging by any Judge to this day. It seemed the Clarkes were taking responsibility for the whole of the bushranging outbreak that had plagued the colony for the past decade.

The Clarkes were suspected of more serious crimes including the murder of four special police. Just about everyone including the jury knew them by reputation.

The trial re-enactment was a condensed version of the trial using the actual transcript of the evidence given at the trial.