Braidwood District Historical Society Museum | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

About us

Braidwood District Historical Society Museum

Item details

Name of item: Braidwood District Historical Society Museum
Other name/s: The Royal Mail Hotel; Royal Hotel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -35.4404474327 Long: 149.7995384030
Primary address: Wallace Street, Braidwood, NSW 2622
Parish: Braidwood
County: St Vincent
Local govt. area: Palerang
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Batemans Bay
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT10 DP1109798
LOT11 DP1109798
LOT1 DP86338
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Wallace StreetBraidwoodPalerangBraidwoodSt VincentPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Braidwood Historical SocietyGeneral25 Mar 99

Description

Physical description: Two-storey masonry commercial building constructed in several phases over the latter nineteenth century. The street facade is constructed of coursed granite blocks with shaped flat arches over the openings. A stucco cornice and parapet demonstrates the part of the wall that was above the location and profile of the former two-storey veranda that had a bull nose roof. The windows are twelve-pane sliding sashes. There are doorways at both levels, including french doors from the first floor, indicating the original veranda. The side and rear walls are constructed of uncoursed rubble granite. The roofing is recent galvanised corrugated steel, with a box gutter behind the street parapet.
The interior retains several fine timber Georgian mantelpieces, skirtings, shellac cedar architraves and deep window sills. The floor boards are comparatively wide and appear to be original. The original central staircase appears to be largely original with Georgian styling. This stair hall also has marbling on the wall plaster and early twentieth-century wall paper. The remnants of some original cornices remain, although the plaster quad cornices are recent.

The Odd Fellows Society acquired the building and added a tower in Victorian Free Classical style, a stair hall to the south, and western wind containing large assembly rooms on each of two levels from the 1880s. The extensions were constructed of brick laid in English bond, and rendered on the front elevation. The southern timber stair added by the Odd Fellows in the late Victorian period. A skylight typical of 1890s windows is placed in the ceiling above. The assembly rooms retain their original butt jointed floor boards and Victorian joinery of twelve-paned sash windows and panel doors. The upper assembly room has a barrel-vaulted ceiling with original struck cornices and ceiling roses. The cantilevered beams supporting a former veranda on the north side of the upper assembly room remain, but the remaining fabric was removed for a timber-framed extension to the upper level only.

The original kitchen wing is constructed from rubble granite with sandstone sills and lintels, and a brick chimney. It was a separate building in the rear yard of one storey with a gable roof now clad with galvanised corrugated steel. The windows are twelve-pane sliding sashes.
A sandstock brick gable stable also lies in the rear yard. The brickwork is in Flemish bond; the roof is clad with timber shingles.
A log building lock-up from the nineteenth century has been relocated to the rear yard.
Modifications and dates: The front veranda has been removed, exposing the rendered line above the former bull nose veranda.
The Odd Fellows Society built the stair tower and rear assembly halls c1880s.
The upper assembly hall veranda was removed to allow for a first floor extension, possibly around the turn of the twentieth century.
Current use: Museum
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, Royal Mail Hotel, Oddfellows Hall

History

Historical notes: Braidwood or Wigwigly:
Largely unchanged since colonial days the area was originally settled in the 1830s. Aboriginals called the district 'Wigwigly' meaning 'plenty of fur', alluding to the abundant supply of food and clothing from such animals as opossum, koala and kangaroo. Discovered in 1822 by three currency lads, settlement followed in 1833. Due to criminal activities of bushrangers and convicts, a courthouse and lock-up were constructed and the town was built around them. The gold rush of the 1850s brought excitement and population and the district became known for the production of fine wool, beef cattle and fat lambs. In later years mining has re-commenced and the town's colonial charm has attracted a wave of new residents (National Trust of Australia (NSW), https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/event/looking-at-architecture-braidwood-weekend/, accessed 6/1/2020).

Early Settlement 1822 - 1839
Exploration
Europeans first entered the upper Shoalhaven River basin in 1822 under instruction from the new Governor, Thomas Brisbane, to investigate the possibility of a track between the Limestone Plains and Bateman's Bay. The reports of good country would have stimulated land selection in the area.

Land grants
The system of land grants available in the 1820s were attractive to settlers. A free grant of 640 acres of land (one square mile) was given to a selector for every (Pounds)500 of money or stock held, with a limit of 2000 acres, shortly afterwards increased to 2560 (four square miles). Captain Duncan Mackellar, one of the earliest settlers in the area, was granted 2000 acres in 1822 with which he selected the property "Strathallan". However it appears he didn't move onto the land until about 1829.

County and parish settlement model
When Governor Darling succeeded Governor Brisbane in 1825 he brought from London a new set of Instructions providing for the colony to be settled according to the English pattern of counties (approx 40 miles by 40 miles). The county boundaries were to generally follow natural features such as streams and ranges and were to have a county town and be divided again into hundreds (11 square miles) and parishes (25 square miles). The parishes were to be, as they were in England, a support for the Church of England that would eventually have a church, burial ground and parsonage in each parish. When the number of people allowed, parish local government of the English kind could be adopted. The Church and Schools corporation was to have one seventh of the land in each county for support of the Church of England. However it soon became apparent that the sparse populations in outer-lying areas would not support such a system, unlike in the densely populated areas such as Sydney.

Early survey instructions to Hoddle
Survey of the County of St Vincent had commenced in 1824 in the most northerly area. By December 1827 Assistant Surveyor Robert Hoddle (who later surveyed Melbourne) reported that the Shoalhaven had been traced to its source. Earlier in October that year Surveyor General Oxley instructed Hoddle to mark out land grants for intending settlers in the County of St Vincent.

The Anglican Church received priority treatment being allocated one seventh of the whole county consisting of the best land on the east bank of the Shoalhaven River. The Church and School Estate comprised approx 42,000 acres on the east side of the Shoalhaven River with a straight north-south boundary as the estate's east edge. This boundary line had significant ramifications for the subsequent land settlement pattern with Strathallan, Braidwood Farm and Coghill's land all granted east of this line. Even though the Church and School Estate was resumed circa 1835 the legacy of its land allocation remains clearly visible in the landscape today. Other settlers authorised to take possession of land were:

Dr T.B. Wilson RN 2560 acres grant,
Mr D Mackellar 2000 acres grant,
Mr Coghill 2000 acres grant
Mr Coghill 4000 acres purchase
Mr Ryrie 2560 acres grant
Mr Francis Dixon 2000 acres grant
Mr Francis Dixon 2000 acres purchase
Mr George Bunn 2560 grant
Mr D Mackellar Junior 640 grant
Oxley's instructions stated "These are the only settlers who have any title to land in the vicinity of Mt Solus (Mt Gillamatong)".

According to the census of October 1828 there were approximately 90 Europeans living in the area however few property owners were resident on their grant. After 1831 free grants of land ceased but the remaining land suitable for pastoral development was soon sold.

Early Settlers
Captain Duncan Mackellar
Three property holders feature significantly in Braidwood's establishment. Captain Duncan Mackellar and family joined his nephew at Strathallan in about 1829 and to their combined land grants of 3250, added another 4000 by purchase. Mackellar had one of the larger and more centrally located properties in the 19th County (St Vincent) and played a key role in the area until he sold the property in 1836. The bulk of the land was sold to John Coghill who owned the property on which Bedervale now stands. A small portion of land adjoining the "Jellamatong" (spellings vary) village reserve was sold to Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson whose land adjoined Strathallan to the south.

Thomas Braidwood Wilson
Wilson had selected 2560 acres earlier, but it was not until 1836 that he settled on "Braidwood Farm" with his wife and two children. Wilson had been a Surgeon Superintendent of ships taking convicts to NSW and Van Diemen's Land. 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 which he selected in the 'new country' on 2 tributaries of the Shoalhaven, Monkittee and Flood creeks. Surveyor Hoddle was instructed in 1827 to survey it before all other grants promised in the area.

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. Wilson was a humane and progressive thinker and it would seem that his settling in the area was encouraged by the administration. Wilson visited 'Braidwood Farm' when he was in the colony but it was not until late 1836 that he settled there with his wife and family. 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 Huskisson 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, twice the number on Coghill's combined properties of Bedervale and Strathallan. Although the drought had broken in 1840, the subsequent depression sent Wilson bankrupt and he died in November 1843. His land was sold to John Coghill for (Pounds)2,000 who now owned all the land on the south, east and north of the town. 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 clearly mark the site, from which there are superb views of the town.

John Coghill
John Coghill was an astute businessman and manager. He had also managed a property for John Oxley, Surveyor General, near Camden, from which he ran a merchandising depot. Coghill had acquired the Bedervale property circa 1827-28 and visited frequently. He occasionally sat as a magistrate on the bench with Duncan Mackellar and made submissions to the colonial secretary on matters that affected the future of the area. In the mid to late 1830s Coghill engaged John Verge, well known colonial architect, to draw up house plans, and the house was completed by about 1842. It was also in the mid to late 1830s that Coghill purchased Strathallan.

While on a trip overseas John Coghill's daughter Elizabeth married Robert Maddrell, who came from the Isle of Man and was studying medicine at Heidelberg University. They returned to Australia and inherited Bedervale on Coghill's death in 1853. The property included Braidwood Farm which Maddrell renamed Mona, the original name for his birthplace, the Isle of Man. Under Robert Maddrell's management the estate expanded to 33,000 acres, much of it farmed by tenant farmers. By 1860, Robert Maddrell had 84 tenants on the three large Maddrell properties that surrounded Braidwood. Portions of these farms were eventually sold to the tenants, but in 1882 Robert Maddrell still had 52,000 acres.

Most significantly however, the ownership of the land on the north, east and south of the town by one family resulted in the town boundary on these sides remaining virtually intact and the landscape remaining large open paddocks, although there has been some recent subdivision and modification to this cultural landscape.

Early development in the town
Several buildings were erected c1840/41, including the first Doncaster Inn (1841-1907). The economic depression of the early 1840s slowed development a few years but gradually a business centre developed along Mackellar Street adjacent to Monkittee Creek and on the north-facing slope of Wallace Street. Proximity to creek water was an incentive to spread along Mackellar Street as was, apparently, the disincentive of ascending the "Jew's Hill". Surveyor Larmer purchased land and built the Royal Hotel c1845 (the present Museum). In Mackellar Street the three-storeyed Albert Buildings, later converted to a steam-driven flourmill, were used as shops by Hendricks and Jacobs (still standing). On the corner of Mackellar and Wallace Streets was the Post Office and store (still standing). A District Council was established in 1843.

The first steam mill was erected in 1846 at the junction of Monkittee Creek and Mona Creek near the site of Dr Wilson's first house at Braidwood Farm (the footings are still evident).

The population grew from 1100 in the 1841 census to 1429 in the Braidwood Police District in 1851, 212 of who lived in the town. With the discovery of gold in Araluen in mid 1851, and throughout the region soon after, Braidwood's role as the primary town in the district strengthened. Braidwood's business centre eventually crept over the hill and to the south end of Wallace Street following the survey of the road to Nelligen, and the continuing business from the goldfields to the south.

Braidwood's "National School" was opened in 1849 in Wilson Street opposite the present site. The government granted part of the present site in 1851 and a permanent building was finished in 1852. A brewery was opened in 1851 along with numerous other businesses and small industries. The Joint Stock Bank was built 1855 in response to the gold boom, with others following. By 1857 there were three tanning factories in the town. The 1856 census shows 3045 people in Braidwood police district and in 1861 there were 959 people in the town and 8199 in the surrounding goldfields. The town's population climbed to 1197 by 1871.

A small brick Anglican Church and rectory was erected in Wilson Street in 1856. A larger church in Elrington St was dedicated in 1892 and the tower finally added 1899, all from granite quarried on Wilson's Hill and Mt Gillamatong. One third of the local population was Catholic and by 1865 St Bedes was completed. The Wesleyan Church in Duncan Street was built 1856 and the Presbyterian Church erected in 1861 on the corner of Duncan and Monkittee.

The Commercial Hotel, which is currently being restored by John Mitchell, was built 1859. In 1866 there were eleven other hotels in Braidwood besides the Doncaster, the Royal and the Commercial. The Court House hotel still stands as a two storey brick building in Wallace Street as does the Gold Diggers Home, which became Nomchong's hardware and now a bottle shop diagonally opposite St Bedes. Nomchong, who came from China to the goldfields, moved from Mongarlowe to Braidwood in 1879 and his family became well known locally. In the late 1860s, 1870s and 80s, many of the less substantial buildings were demolished and brick and granite structures took their place.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing discrete retail and commercial areas-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Boarding Houses-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Adapted heritage building or structure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Hotel accommodation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Accommodating travellers and tourists-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Developing collections of items-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a museum-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the pub-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community volunteering-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to a friendly society for mutual benefits-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing and maintaining a local museum-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Participating in Oddfellows organisation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing clubs for social improvement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community organisations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0014902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0014901 May 81 642455

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCox Tanner P/L1981Braidwood Conservation Study: A report on Conservation Planning for the Historic Town of Braidwood
WrittenMurray, Sue and Ellis, Netta1981Early Days in the Braidwood District 1822-51
TourismTourism NSW2007Braidwood Museum View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045462
File number: S90/06104 & HC 32183


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.