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Braidwood, New South Wales

New South Wales
The Braidwood Courthouse, built in 1901
Braidwood is located in New South Wales
Coordinates35°26′0″S 149°48′0″E / 35.43333°S 149.80000°E / -35.43333; 149.80000
Population1,720 (2021 census)[1]
Elevation643 m (2,110 ft)
LGA(s)Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council
RegionSouthern Tablelands
CountySt Vincent
State electorate(s)Monaro
Federal division(s)Eden-Monaro
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.0 °C
66 °F
5.5 °C
42 °F
718.2 mm
28.3 in
Localities around Braidwood:
Warri Warri Durran Durra
Bombay Braidwood Mongarlowe
Bendoura Jembaicumbene Northangera

Braidwood is a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, in Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council.[2][3] It is located on the Kings Highway linking Canberra with Batemans Bay. It is approximately 200 kilometres south west of Sydney, 60 kilometres inland from the coast, and 55 kilometres east of Canberra. Braidwood is a service town for the surrounding district which is based on sheep and cattle grazing, and forestry operations.

Indigenous History

Braidwood is located within the Yuin Nation, on Walbanga Country. The Walbanga People speak dialects of the Thurga (Durga/Dhurga) language.[4]

The Walbanga Peoples relied on the plentiful supply of vegetables available in the tablelands, such as the tubers of the yam daisy, wattle-seeds, and orchid tubers. In September to May, fish and crayfish were eaten, while possums and larger grazing animals were hunted year round. The Walbanga People and neighbouring groups made annual trips in December and January from to the Bogong Mountains and Snowy Mountains to roast and eat bogong moths (Agrotis infusa).[5]

The lives of the Walbanga People were forever changed by the arrival and early colonisation of Europeans in the 1820s. There were reports of the loss of water, fish and native animals essential to the First Nations's diet after the arrival of the settlers. The settlers also brought exotic diseases, particularly smallpox, the influenza epidemic in 1846-7 and syphilis, which devastated the First Nation's people in the region, likely including the Walbanga People. The Walbanga and surrounding populations culture and traditional life was considered to have been destroyed by 1850. Bogong moth ceremonies, intertribal meetings and corroborees also ceased in the region.[5]

In 1872, First Nation's Peoples from the south coast and the highlands areas met in a large ceremonial gathering on the Braidwood goldfields, where they also held discussions about strategies to gain back access to their land. After the gathering, the local police officer, Martin Brennan, was approached by 62 members of the gathering, led by 'Jack Bawn and Alick' who asked for his assistance, and Brennan recorded the following: "I asked Jack what they wanted. He replied, 'We have come to you to intercede for us in getting the Government to do something for us... I have assisted the police for many years, and we want to get some land which we can call our own in reality, where we can settle down, and which the old people can call their home.'..."

On 29 March 1873, Brennan sent the government a comprehensive report detailing the experiences, circumstances and the aspirations of the group. Shortly afterwards he received instructions to name forty acres of Crown Lands in whatever location Jack Bawn desired as an Aboriginal Reserve. However, Jack Bawn and his people were blocked from occupying the surveyed land due to the hostility from surrounding white farmers, but they continued to urge Brennan to press Authorities for the land. Brennan also recorded the following statement in regards to the First Nation's Peoples of the Braidwood and Coast Districts "...whose aspirations at all times were to be allowed some land which they might call their own...; which they might cultivate unmolested for the use of themselves and their families; and where the aborigines of the surrounding districts might meet periodically for the purpose of holding coroborees and other exhilarating games."[6]

As of the 2016 Census, there were less than 100 First Nations' Australians living in the Braidwood Region.[7]

Historical population
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics data.[8][9]

Settler History

European explorers reached the district in 1822 (Kearns, Marsh and Packer). The area was first settled by Europeans in the 1820s, and the town was surveyed in 1839. The village was located near the headwaters of the Shoalhaven River. The settlement was built with the labour of convicts, and many of the buildings they built around the region are still standing.

Dr Wilson

The town was named after Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson.[10] He had been a surgeon-superintendent of ships taking convicts to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania). 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 (10 km2) which he selected in the 'new country' on two tributaries of the Shoalhaven, Monkittee and Flood creeks. 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. He eventually controlled a total of 12,305 acres in the area.[11] He and his wife and children settled in the district in late 1836. 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 Jervis Bay 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. Wilson was sent bankrupt due to a drought in the late 1830s and the subsequent depression. He died in November 1843. His land was sold for £2,000 to John Coghill, who now owned all the land on the south, east and north of the town. Coghill built the historic house Bedervale. However, 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 mark the site of Wilson's grave, from which there are views of the town. The path to the grave is no longer open to the public.

First Royal Commission

Braidwood was the subject of Australia's first Royal Commission in 1867, inquiring into the activities of police officers and managers in the district, concerning the extent to which bushrangers had been shielded and assisted by police connivance and inactivity. The Commission identified several instances of misconduct and found the superintendent of police had failed to exercise 'strict and proper control over his men.'[12]

Gold discovered

Gold was discovered in 1851, and for the next two decades the district's population swelled to about 10,000. Supplies and produce to support the workforce on the gold fields came from as far afield as the Canberra region,[13] (though Canberra itself would not be founded until 1913). This prosperity lasted for several years, during which some substantial commercial buildings including banks and hotels were constructed.

Twentieth century

Braidwood was formerly the seat of the Tallaganda local government area. However, following restructuring of local government areas by the New South Wales Government, it is now part of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. The local paper is now called the Braidwood Times.

Through much of the 20th century, Braidwood was essentially in rural recession. Amongst other consequences, very little building work was carried out, and as a result the town entered the 21st century with much of its original streetscape and architecture intact. On 30 March 2006 the town and its setting were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register, following a period of unpleasant dispute between those wishing to preserve the town's charm and those wishing to develop it.

Braidwood is located equidistant from Bungendore and Tarago railway stations, a distance of approximately 40 kilometres. NSW TrainLink operate multiple direct services from both railways stations to Canberra, Sydney, and provides connections across the state. Murray's coach services operate daily between Bateman's Bay and Canberra including picking up and setting down passengers in Braidwood.

Heritage listings

The Braidwood District Historical Society Museum

Braidwood has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Braidwood has an oceanic climate (Cfb) with mild to warm summers and cold winters with frequent morning frost. Due to its position on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range and its proximity to the Tasman Sea, summer temperatures are generally cooler than in nearby Bungendore and Goulburn which lie further inland at a similar altitude. Braidwood's greater exposure to moist easterly winds also yields a wetter climate relative to Bungendore and Goulburn. Warm to hot summer days are usually tempered by afternoon and evening easterly breezes.[19]

Climate data for Braidwood
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 25.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 10.9
Record low °C (°F) 2.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69.7
Average precipitation days 8.8 8.3 8.7 7.5 7.6 8.7 7.8 8.1 8.8 8.9 8.8 8.5 100.5
Source: [20]


At the 2021 census, Braidwood had a population of 1,720. 78.0% of people were born in Australia and 85.9% of people only spoke English at home. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 40.5%, Catholic 21.0% and Anglican 16.6%.[1]


Braidwood is served by local newspaper, the Braidwood Times,[21] which is owned by Australian Community Media.

Braidwood is home to community radio station 2BRW. Operating under the name 'Braidwood Community Radio', the station can be heard on 88.9 FM.[22] For commercial radio, Braidwood is in the Goulburn broadcast licence area[23] with 2GN heard on 1368 AM and Eagle FM on 93.5 FM. These stations have studios in Goulburn.

The town falls under the Southern NSW television licence area with stations transmitting from a tower on Mount Gillamatong, adjacent to the township.[24]

In popular culture

Film and television

The town has several times been used for film locations, including Robbery Under Arms (1920), Ned Kelly (1970), The Year My Voice Broke (1987), On our Selection (1995), Finding Joy (2003), The Discontinuity (2009) and Australia's Most Haunted (2013).

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Braidwood". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 26 September 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Braidwood". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 November 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ "Braidwood". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Walbanga (NSW)".
  5. ^ a b "South Eastern Highlands – regional history". Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  6. ^ Goodall, Heather (1990). "Land in Our Country: The Aboriginal Land Rights Movement in South-Eastern Australia, 1860 to 1914" (PDF). Aboriginal History. 14.
  7. ^ "Braidwood : Region Data Summary". Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Statistics by Catalogue Number". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  9. ^ "Search Census data". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Braidwood". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 June 2009. Edit this at Wikidata
  11. ^ Philip Cox & Wesley Stacey (1973), Historic towns of Australia, Melbourne, Lansdowne, p.92. ISBN 0701801840
  12. ^ Report of the Commissioners, State of crime in the Braidwood District, 30 July 1867
  13. ^ Newman Chris (2004), Gold Creek, Reflections of Canberra's Rural Heritage, Gold Creek Homestead Working Group.
  14. ^ "Braidwood and Its Setting". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01749. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  15. ^ "Bedervale". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00017. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  16. ^ "Braidwood District Historical Society Museum". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00149. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  17. ^ "Mill Centre". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00434. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  18. ^ "Albion Hotel, 3 adjoining shops & stables". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00304. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  19. ^ Mills, Graham (September 2007). "'On easterly changes over elevated terrain in Australia's southeast". Australian Meteorological Magazine. 56 (3): 177–190. CiteSeerX
  20. ^ "Climate statistics for Braidwood (Wallace Street)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Braidwood news, sport and weather | Braidwood Times". Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Home". Braidwood Community Radio 88.9 FM. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Goulburn Radio Licence Area". Commercial Radio Australia.
  24. ^ "ACMA - Search for broadcasters by postcode". Retrieved 14 January 2020.
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Braidwood, New South Wales
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