The cemetery at Braidwood is in two parts – the ‘old’ and ‘new’. The new part is a modern ‘lawn’ style cemetery, much as you will see anywhere, but the old part is well worth a visit if you have some time to poke around the town.
Not surprisingly, the cemetery dates from the early days of Braidwood (photo 2) and there are some interesting headstones. Probably the most interesting, for the story behind it, is that of the four ‘special constables’, who met their end trying to apprehend the Clarke Brothers bushranging gang in 1869 (main photo).
The NSW Government had placed a bounty on the heads of Tom and John Clarke, declaring them outlaws following the killing of the policeman at Nerrigundah. That led to four adventurers (who we would now call bountyhunters) being accredited by the Government as ‘Special Constables’ with powers to do whatever seemed necessary. The Special Constables rode to the district and purported to be surveyors, setting up their camp near the family home of the Clarke brothers. Needless to say, nobody was taken in by the ruse, and not long afterwards their camp was shot up (without any injuries to anyone).
A little later, the intrepid four headed into the hills some 60km south of Braidwood at Jinden. They stayed at a homestead overnight, then started walking in to where they intended to ambush the Clarkes at their hideaway. Somehow the plan came unstuck and instead the four Special Constables were killed in an ambush. When it was realised what had happened, the four Specials were given a bush burial near where they were murdered. After a public outcry, their remains were brought to Braidwood for a more fitting burial, with a large funeral setting out from St Bedes (separate tip).
I have now added a travelogue on the bushrangers to this Braidwood page.
On the fourth weekend of November each year, Braidwood hosts a unique event called the "Hanging of the Quilts".
Quilting is a popular hobby for many people in the district (not just the ladies, even the local fire brigade do quilting in their spare time!). On this weekend, businesses up and down the town hang quilts on display on their facades. Even more quilts are displayed indoors in the National Theatre and in local churches.
This is a popular community event which is drawing increasing numbers of visitors as it becomes better known - so, if you are considering visiting to see it, book your accommodation early!
Addendum: The 2006 quilt display has now been held - from it, I have included many more photographs of quilts hanging from the old buildings in this travelogue.
Exploring the streets in these historic towns is well worthwhile. Cowper is worth a glance or two.
In the first picture we see a very large conifer framing the historic cemetery that has many notable people interred.
Perhaps one of the most poignant is a memorial to the members of the constabulary who were killed by the notorious Clarke gang who were probably Australia's most dangerous bushrangers, more prolific than the famous Kelly gang.
The other building shown here in shot two is an 1850's freestyle building (note number of chimneys) with later additions and fine Edwardian interiors.
The number of chimneys seen in old building is often reflective of a time when two or three separate rooms would be built on their own to avoid the often very real possibility of fire ruining the whole house, i.e. they could save the rest of the residence even if one room caught fire.
The last pic shows a divinely restored Federation stlye house.
Dominating the lower end of Wallace Street in Braidwood, you will see the substantial bulk of St Bede’s Roman Catholic Church. It was built from local granite in 1852 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Braidwood. The interesting separate belltower alongside houses a substantial bell.
The church has been a centre of community life over the years. Probably the most famous funeral to leave here was that of the four Special Constables killed while looking for the Clarke Brothers bushranging gang in 1869 (separate tip).
The Braidwood Markets are held in the park on the last Saturday morning of each month.
Items on sale range from trees and shrubs to handmade craft items to foods and secondhand goods. It's also a good chance to just wander around and have a chat. Whenever we go along, we invariably meet people we know - and finish up spending more than intended! Even if you buy nothing though, there is no pressure: just wander around, browse, and relax.
This building can house just about anything if its history is anything to go by.
Though it started out as a single storey produce store in 1870, it later became a butchers and then a saddlery with the top storey being added in the 1890s.
Terence McGrath was the man responsible for the granite stonework and distinctive quoins and these days it's in the hands of a real estate agent.
One of the things Rosemarie kept remarking on was the grand skies we were experiencing on our southern sojourn.
I had to agree with her. At times it was like watching a moving picture. I have to admit thoughts of Constable crossed my mind.
What to do but take out your camera and blaze away. Apart from the sky I was besotted by a small pond that offered some wonderful reflections as shown in the other pictures.
Back in pre-VT days, there used to be places where one would go to soak up information on world travel. These were called simply libraries or the slightly-more-glamorous Literary Institute.
This multi-purpose building was once the social and cultural centre of the town, the upstairs section being a hall where dances and functions were held.
Completed in 1869 (with later 1891 additions) this somewhat garishly coloured building now stands out in the town for different reasons.
It was only as recently as 2004 that the building was the home of the local council.
The building on the left is the old Commercial Hotel whose name was changed to the Braidwood Hotel. It's the oldest continually licensed premises in Braidwood but, when I was there, the owners were spending considerable amounts of money renovating and, judging by some of the angles of the base, not before time.
When finished it will reflect some of its former glory as an accommodation house with typical dormer windows for the upstairs patrons.
Next door is the museum, mentioned elsewhere.
In some historical towns you can still see what Joe Average used to live in. Gulgong is a prime example but here, on one of the corners in Park Lane, is a classic example of early Australian workers' cottage, circa mid 19th century.
This one actually belonged to the local newspaper editor's wife, Mary Musgrave. Now, why it belonged to the wife is not explained. It leaves one wondering, "Did they live in the same house?". The brochure has some gaps.
Looks like a bank, was a bank but now the only money coming in is for art and coffee. What used to be the Commercial Banking Company, in the days when banks still cared, has now been converted to more altruistic use in the form of an art gallery and restaurant.
Pigge Outte and Runn, you've got to love a place with a name like that. Shame really, because it's closed. According to the sign, the owners have moved the business to the local licensed club and the building awaits new managers.
First thing you should do when you hit town is get the brochure. I mean THE brochure. It's called Historic Braidwood and is an object lesson for other towns on how to guide the tourist and make your town interesting.
By following this guide, I can tell you that the building on the left is the Royal Hotel, built in the 1890's on the site of an earlier hotel of the same name. The building on the right is the old bakery which served hot stuff for 80 years (the old ovens are still there) and today you can still get hot stuff as well as cold because these days it's a restaurant.
One of the more prominent buildings is the old court house. Though a court house has been on this site since 1837, this one was built in 1900 when neo-classical was in vogue throughout the country.
These days it is a multi use building with the lands council and the police sharing the lodgings.
In many parts of Wallace Street, Braidwood's main street, you will find these strange steel posts alongside the kerb. They are a relic of bygone days and are known as hitching posts. Sometimes you also will see them in western movies, because they were used to tie the bridle of your horse when you went to town. Braidwood is one of the few places where they survive, though they are rarely used now.