Bradshaw family

This page lists the biography and personal paper collections of the Bradshaw family.


Frederick Maxwell Bradshaw (1848 to 1905) and Joseph Bradshaw (1854 to 1916)

Joseph and Frederick Bradshaw came to northern Australia at the end of the nineteenth century. 

Although Fred, as he was always known, was older by almost six years he was a shy, humble but quietly capable man. It was younger brother Joseph who first took up pastoral holdings in Western Australia in 1890. 

Between 1891 and 1894, his manager was Aeneas Gunn, later to be immortalised as the ‘Maluka’ in Jeannie Gunn’s 'We of the Never Never'. 

In 1894 Joseph Bradshaw moved to the Victoria River in the Northern Territory.

Joseph Bradshaw was the first to record the beautiful and distinctive Aboriginal rock-art which is now known as the Bradshaw style.

Fred joined his brother at Victoria River in 1898. Captain Joseph Bradshaw had named, and registered a vessel, the Bolwarrah, after one of his parents’ properties in Victoria which the brothers used for transport and exploration. 

On Christmas Day 1905, Mounted Constable Kelly from Darwin found Fred’s body, along with three other Europeans also dead, on the beach near Cape Scott. 

His body had been speared and it was first thought that Fred had been attacked by Aborigines when he and the others landed ashore looking for fresh water. 

Police reports and court proceedings show that his death occurred on the Bolwarrah where he was clubbed to death by a tomahawk and his body thrown overboard.

Joseph Bradshaw oversaw the ‘burial’ of his brother high on a bluff overlooking the Victoria River. Some years later, photographer ‘Ryko’ would photograph himself next to the coffin weighed down by stones with the caption: At rest on the ‘tomb’ Victoria River – Fred Bradshaw.

The letters held by the Library represent some of the last ever communications made by Fred to his family. 

They form a detailed and vivid reconstruction of life on Bradshaw’s Run at the turn of the century highlighting many of the challenges faced by early pioneers; isolation, disease, climate, separation from loved ones and the co-operative spirit.

Researched and written by Dr Mickey Dewar

Bradshaw Letters 

Letters to and from members of the Bradshaw family include all of the following:

  • 1/1 Letter from James McEwan & Co. Limited. Dated 16th June 1900.
  • 1/2 Letter to J.W. Bradshaw from James McEwan & Co. Limited. Dated 22nd June 1900.
  • 1/3 Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 25th December 1904.
  • 1/4a-b Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 2nd May 1905.
  • 1/4c-d Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 5th May 1905.
  • 1/5a-c Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 2nd June 1905.
  • 1/6a-c Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 4th June 1905.
  • 1/7 Telegram to J.W. Bradshaw from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 11th July 1905.
  • 1/8 Telegram to John Bradshaw from Thomas Giles. Dated 11th July 1905.
  • 1/9a-b Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 17th July 1905.
  • 1/10a-b Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw, includes a list of supplies requested by O'Malley. Dated 25th July 1905.
  • 1/11 Telegram to J.W. Bradshaw from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 28th July 1905.
  • 1/12a-c Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 31st July 1905.
  • 1/13 Telegram to J.W. Bradshaw from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 1st August 1905.
  • 1/14 Letter to John W. Bradshaw from William Lucas. Dated 7th August 1905.
  • 1/15a-b Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 28th August 1905.
  • 1/16 Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 11th October 1905.
  • 1/17 Letter to [John] from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 11th October 1905.
  • 1/18 Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 12th October 1905.
  • 1/19 Letter to Mrs Bradshaw from M.E. Stephen (?), Session Clerk, Hawthorn Presbyterian Church. Dated 13th October 1921.
  • 1/20 Letter to Mr. McNab from Charles Bradshaw. Dated 17th April and 24th April 1841.
  • 1/21a-b Letter to John from F.M. Bradshaw. Undated.
  • 1/22 Transcripts of Letters.

Newspaper clippings and miscellaneous personal papers

  • 2/1 Newspaper clipping, two articles: The Union Jack and In the Great Push. The Argus, 7th December 1918.
  • 2/2 Newspaper clipping : The Argus War Review. Supplement to The Argus, 6th January 1919.
  • 2/3 Two newspaper clippings. Rudyard Kipling's poems: Justice and Ulster. Sources and dates unknown.
  • 2/4 Four newspaper clippings.
    • Article relating to the murder of Fredrick Bradshaw, date unknown.
    • Death notice for Daniel Bradshaw, dated 1909.
    • Article relating to the death of Mrs Bradshaw (mother of Joseph, Fredrick and John), date unknown.
    • Article relating to the death of Joseph Bradshaw, [dated 1916]. Sources unknown.
  • 2/5 Power of Attorney for F.M. Bradshaw. Dated 9th March 1898.
  • 2/6 Power of Attorney for Joseph Bradshaw. Dated 16th March 1899.
  • 2/7 Power of Attorney for Catherine McNab (cousin to Joesph and Fredrick Bradshaw, daughter of Charles Bradshaw). Dated 4th May 1896.
  • 2/8 Diary of Charles Bradshaw. This diary describes the journey of Joseph Bradshaw senior (father of Joseph and Fredrick) and his brother Charles journey from Liverpool to Australia on the ship 'Mary Bannatyne'. Dated 2nd October 1840 to 14th [November 1840]. No entry under last date in diary.
  • 2/9 Bradshaw family history chart. Part of the details written on the cover attached to this Bradshaw family history document reads : 'From original copy compiled by Charlotte and Joseph Bradshaw 1883'. This chart showing the Bradshaw's family history includes entries for Fredrick, Joseph and John Bradshaw along with their brothers and sisters. Henry, born 1853 and Elizabeth Agnes, born 1856 do not appear on this chart. Dated 1883.
  • 2/10 Two invitations
    • "To meet Mr and Mrs S.M. Bruce", date unknown.
    • To Mrs E. M. Bradshaw "To welcome their Royal Hignesses The Duke and Duchess of York", dated 1927.
  • 1/11 Christmas card from Mr and Mrs R G Menzies. Dated 1939-40
  • 2/12 Christmas card from The Attorney General Mr R. G. Menzies. Date unknown.

Miscellaneous items and documents

  • 3/1 Glass plate. Possibly one of the Bradshaw brothers. Possibly dated 1876.
  • 3/2 Two photographs.
    • Photo of F.M. Bradshaw grave, date unknown.
    • Photo of 'Marple', corner of Nelson and Wesley Streets, Mount Albert, date unknown.
  • 3/3 Two photographs. Both of Joseph Bradshaw's grave. Date unknown.
  • 3/4 Footscray Presbyterian Church. Report of Kirk Session Board of Management and Sabbath School for the year ending 30th September 1886. Dated 1886.
  • 3/5 Footscray Presbyterian Church. Anniversary Conversazione! Programme. Dated 10th June 1887.
  • 3/6a-c Specification of works required to be performed and materials to be supplied in the erection of classrooms, Hopetown Avenue, Canterbury, for Emily L. Bradshaw. Dated 12th January 1904.
  • 3/7 Adelaide at a Glance (images of Adelaide). Inside cover "To Bertha with love from Janet 1905". Dated 1905.
  • 3/8 Plan showing property at the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets. Dated 1918.
  • 3/9 Open letter to the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Hawthorn. Dated 26th October 1918.
  • 3/10 Booklet. Pituresque Healesville and District Tourists' Guide. Dated 1919.
  • 3/11 University of Melbourne. Eighty-first Annual Commencement. Dated 1936.
  • 3/12 Journal. Res Judicate: the magazine of the Law Students' Society of Victoria, volume 1 number 1, September 1935.
  • 3/13 Two articles.
    • Sandringham Line , railway timetable, date unknown.
    • Hawthorn Girl Guide Local Association Member tag, date unknown
  • 3/14 Cheque book. Dated 1st February 1901 to 3rd April 1901.
  • 3/15 Two articles. Hand-drawings and hand –written notes relating to a pump. Date unknown.
  • 3/16 Booklet. Superstitions about the holy communion by Hugh Paton (Minister of St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Phillip Street, Sydney). Date unknown.
  • 3/17a-I Particulars of some allotments at Mount Albert. Includes street maps and lists of landholders. Date unknown.

Last updated: 28 November 2017