Historic site: Francis Bradey's Grave

"We cannot escape history and neither can we escape a desire to understand it."

- Anonymous

 
Image of The grave of Francis Bradey and his wife, Keturah Ross.
The grave of Francis Bradey and his wife, Keturah Ross.
Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref D.3.39.
 

Francis Bradey was an early settler in the Pauatahanui area. He had an extensive property at Duck Creek where his grave remains - now surrounded by the Whitby housing development.

Francis Bradey, 1793-1864

 
Francis Bradey
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. From "Early Wellington" by Louis E. Ward (Whitcombe and Tombs, 1928).
 

Francis Bradey was born in England in 1793. He was the son of Franciscus Elezious Bradey, who married Martha Hinks, of Staffordshire. Francis was the grandson of a former Chancellor of Ireland. He joined the Royal Artillery in 1812, and obtained his discharge in 1819.

Francis Bradey arrived at Port Nicholson, Wellington on the Adelaide on 7 March 1840 with his wife, Keturah Ross and five children (these appear to have been all girls, a number of sons were born later in Wellington). On 25 August the same year he survived a boat accident off the shores of Petone Beach in which nine of the twelve aboard the vessel were drowned. Fortunately he only lost his luggage.

Bradey purchased section 932 Hansen Street and had shared interests in Section 489 between Lambton Quay and The Terrace as well as purchasing farm land at Pauatahanui (some 2,000 acres at Duck Creek). Following his land purchases Francis Bradey appears to have returned to England on the Brougham which sailed for London from Wellington on 5 May 1842 and returned on board the Bombay the same year.

Bradey appears to have had some standing in the new Wellington Settlement. On 22 January 1843 (the third anniversary of Wellington’s English settlement) he attended a "Tee-Totallers" (of whom he was one) event at Wilkinson’s Gardens, Oriental Bay. On 24 May 1849 he attended Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations with its military displays by the 65th regiment. On 23 October 1856 he attended a dinner given by Samuel Skey at Barrett’s Hotel to celebrate his selection as a member of the Provincial Council for Wellington City. As part of the celebrations he sang "His Excellency". He purportedly led an active life and held the rank of captain in New Zealand military service. In recognition of that service he was given a funeral with full military honours including his body being carried on a gun carriage from Wellington, which took two days to reach Duck Creek.

Bradey's land at Duck Creek

 
Image of Duck Creek Farm (Pauatahanui) painted by Francis Bradey in 1887.
Duck Creek Farm (Pauatahanui) painted by Francis Bradey in 1887.
The farm was the Bradey Homestead.
Image from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref D.3.30.
 

It is unclear as to when Francis Bradey moved on to the land at Duck Creek but an oil painting in 1863 shows that there was a timber mill there in 1863 and this was operated by Messrs. Hurley and Carter. The timber for the mill came from the Duck Creek land and was used in the construction of Old St Paul’s. The Bradey family farmed the land known as the Duck Creek run until the 1960s.

Following his death on 29 October 1864 Bradey was buried on a hill above his homestead, on his Duck Creek run at Pauatahanui. His wife died on 5 November 1888 at the age of 84 and is buried in the same plot. Bradey’s daughters are buried elsewhere (one in the Pauatahanui Public Burial Ground). The Bradey land passed down through the family until it was sold to the Whitby Consortium in the 1960s and the land became part of what is now the suburb of Whitby. The Bradey grave site is now in the middle of a housing subdivision (2007).

In recognition of the influence of the Bradey family in the Paremata and Pauatahanui area, there are a number of places named for the family including Bradey’s Bay.

Letter of Francis Bradey

The following extracts are from a letter written by Mr. Francis Bradey to his son, Henry, in England:

"Port Nicholson, N.Z., Aug. 16th, 1840.

"The survey of the town is completed and the whole of the town acres are delivered out according to the plan of the Company. I have been employed all the week looking out my three town acres, and a quarter of an acre. For the latter I gave £60 shortly after my arrival and it proved to be in a good position (locality of the Hutt County Council Office, Lambton Quay). I have been offered £200 for it since. When the Government approves of a title it will be worth £500 as it has a frontage to the bay; but we seriously apprehend the Government will not acknowledge the Company's title; and if that is the case, it will ruin me, as well as a great many others, as I have bought altogether, better than 400 acres...

"The Company's territory of Port Nicholson is said to have the best Harbour, the best position, with more available and better land than any other part of New Zealand, and must eventually become the seat of Government.... Colonel Wakefield is decidedly one of the most kind-hearted men in the world and gives universal satisfaction; he is greatly beloved by the natives as well as his own countrymen and no man can be better qualified for so great an undertaking as the Company's principal agent for New Zealand. Give my kind love to all my friends in the temperance cause ... I forgot to tell you we had the British flag flying in our Port, and British soldiers here to protect us. The Surveyor General and his officers have commenced surveying the country."

Continue to Matai-taua pa, first chapel and St. Alban's or return to Pauatahanui, Judgeford and Whitby.