Matthew Brady

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Matthew Brady (1799 – 4 May 1826) was a notorious bushranger in Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania) in the early 19th century. He was sometimes known as "Gentleman Brady" due to his good treatment and fine manners when robbing his victims.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Brady, whose proper name was Bready, was born in Manchester,[4] just about the close of 18th century. His occupation in England was that of a gentleman's servant, probably a groom, as he was an excellent and even a graceful rider, and perfect in his horsemanship.

Convict years[edit]

He was tried at Lancaster, on 17 April 1820, and received a seven-year sentence of transportation, and arrived in Australia in the convict ship Juliana, on 29 December 1820.[5]

He rebelled against the conditions in Sydney and received, over time, a total of 350 lashes in punishment for misdemeanours and attempts to escape.[4] In 1823, he was sent to the new penal settlement at Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbor, which had been established 'for secondary offenders and desperate prisoners'.[4]

In 1824, Brady was part of a group of escapees from Sarah Island, who sailed a whaleboat around the south coast to the River Derwent, in Tasmania, and spent the next two years as bushrangers.[4]


Brady was considered a gentleman, who rarely robbed or insulted women. The military considered him a dangerous bushranger. After Brady's gang held up Sorell and captured the local garrison (in which the garrison commander, Lieut. William Gunn was shot in the arm, which was subsequently amputated), Lieut. Governor Arthur posted rewards for the capture of Brady and his gang.

In return, Brady posted a reward of "Twenty gallons of rum" to any person who would deliver Governor Arthur to him.

After 22 months free in Van Diemen's Land, Brady and his gang captured a boat, intending to sail it to the Australian mainland. Due to bad weather crossing Bass Strait, they were forced to turn back.

Eventually, one of his gang members, an ex-convict name Cowan, betrayed him for a pardon. Brady escaped the ensuing gun battle with serious injuries, but was captured soon after by the famous bounty hunter John Batman.


Brady was hanged on 4 May 1826, at the old Hobart gaol. Four other bushrangers were hanged with him, including Thomas Jeffries the cannibal. Brady complained bitterly at being hanged alongside Jeffries, who was, as Brady pointed out, an informer as well as a cannibal and mass murderer. Brady's cell had been filled with flowers from the ladies of Hobart Town, which tends to support his claim to be a "Gentleman Bushranger".


  1. ^ ""GENTLEMAN BRADY.".". The Queensland Times. National Library of Australia. 26 February 1932. p. 5 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "HERALD MAGAZINE SECTION.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 17 April 1954. p. 9. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "THE AUSTRALIAN-BOOKMAN.". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 27 August 1932. p. 14 Edition: FINAL SPORTING EDITION. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Robson, L.L. (1966). "Brady, Matthew (1799–1826)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "TASMANIAN HISTORY.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 16 August 1873. p. 3. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  • Tom Prior, Bill Wannan, and Harry Nunn (1968). A Pictorial History of Bushrangers. Melbourne: Paul Hamlyn.

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