The story starts with the arrive of 7 WWI medals in my mail box.
John Bradney first served the colony of NSW in the Boer War as a member of the NSW Imperial Bushman. At aged 42 John enlisted in the AIF and was allocated to the 56th Battalion, AIF. John was declared killed in action on 9 Oct 17 and is commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery.
Donald Walter Bradney was 26 when he enlisted in to 30th Battalion, AIF. Donald survived the war and died in 1955.
Another member of the Bradney family also served. This was Reginald Raymond Wildman, the nephew of the Bradney brothers. Reg was a Bradney and initially allocate to 1st Battalion but later transferred to 54th Battalion. Reg took part in the Battle of Fromelles and reported mission in action before being declared KIA on 19 July 1916. Reg's remains were not found. That would all change after the discover of a mass grave in 2006 based on the research of Lambis Englezos. Following extensive research and DNA testing many of the bodies in the grave have been identified. This included the remains of Reg. Norma provided the DNA sample. My friends Tim Lycett and Sandra Playle have also played a big part in the research of these soldiers and recently published a book about it called Fromelles: the Final Chapters.
My sincere thanks go to Renn M who sent me the medals and to Norma for all the information and pictures that she has allowed me to reproduce. The returned medal tally is now 1334.
Post update 13 Oct 13
I am very grateful to Norma who has provided me a 1891 newspaper article about the Bradney family and biographical details of the soldiers in this story.
Photo added 20 Oct 13 This cross was found on the body of Reginald Raymond Wildman.
Wagga Wagga Advertiser Thursday 6 August 1891
A Day at "Sunnyside."
MIDWAY between Wagga and Upper Tarcutta, and about three miles north-west of the Borarabola Homestead, may be seen Mr. John Bradney's most appropriately named property "Sunnyside." The commodious residence standing on a mild elevation slightly to the West, and in sight of the
road, catches old 'Sol's earliest beam. A young and spacious orchard already productive, gives healthy promise of fruitful results. Mr. Bradney, who is a most genial host, possesses it addition to other numerous comforts a good earnest helpmate and nine children-five boys
and four daughters (one of the latter being married). He originally lived at Gunderoo, journeying thence to the plains, he subsequently anchored at " Sunnyside," where he has resided for eight years. He owes his success purely to his enterprise, and thrift two qualifications which combine in perfect harmony with energy, and a sound, practical knowledge of all the affairs appertaining to the skilful management of a farm. Mr. B. is regarded as an authority. He knows the difference between a horse and a cow, and when he harnesses his ploughing team the collar and, bames go on together. His property embraces an area of 1400 acres, 188 of which is cultivated under cereals, oats and wheat the
yield of the latter last year amounting to 800 bushels about, the grain, being- rather pinched in consequence of rust which is the chief opponent to the success of all farmers. Mr. B. considers that there is no officious preventative of this trouble, but by sowing early, about April, the danger is greatly minimised. The hay crop of last season was about 150 tons, the wheat is disposed of locally, but the hay is dispatched to the metropolis, where there is ever a fair demand for good wholesome stuff; Mr.B. finds, on the whole, that it is more remunerative to pay the additional expenses incurred in transit to Sydney than to sell it at Wagga, where the consumption at present is inadequate to
insure an expeditious and payable sale. In the yard I noticed two large waggons burdened with about 6 and a 1/2 tons each ready to start for Wagga, to be sent thence to Messrs. Heaton Bros., Sydney. Farming on a cramped scale never pays, and with the lapse of the past decade hard labor has been so entirely superseded by the operation of mechanical implements that the hand reaper, mower, binder, etc. is becoming a personage of little utility-a "wasty product." Mr. Bradney's farm is replete with every mechanical aid, and he assures me that he would strongly advise every farmer to avail himself of the advantages of machinery as there undoubtedly are enormous dividends to be derived from
them in the shape of labor saved and time saved. "Time is money," and therefore time saved is money saves. " Q.E D." To begin with, Mr. B. has three double furrow ploughs (two Hudson Bros, and one Lennon), £26 each one six-furrow paring plough (Hudson Bros.) 20 pound 10s. With the
latter six horses are used and a fair day's effort turns over six acres. Before ploughing, the land is thoroughly cleared of weeds or other growths by the admittance of sheep, then the seed is sown, and the ploughing commences, much time being saved, and another important advantage as well is obtained by this mode of procedure. The grain, being deeper, germinates and becomes very strongly established in root 'ere it arrives at the surface, and then the attacks of the birds, usually so fatal, become of little moment, the stalks become strong and sturdy however assaulted by the winged assailants, so much for the ploughs. Mr. B. uses steel, oval tined zig-zag harrows, which be finds
more penetrating and durable. With the 16ft. harrow four horses are worked, and three with the 12ft harrow. The sowing is performed by a Martin's seed sower, capable of sowing fully 12 acres an hour. Mr.B. uses two reaper and binders, one is an Osborne the other a McCormack, the latter is simpler and being a later and more improved machine does better work. The cost of these landed was £70 each. A Robinson stripper and winnower has been obtained from Melbourne at a cost of £92 10s and
does its part here. I next came to the engine (a six horse Marshall) which drives a Buncles travelling chaff-cutter. This engine is built especially for the work assigned it and for use in the colonies. The fire box is sufficiently large to admit a log 3ft. 6in. And the exhaust steam delivers into the tub and is re-delivered into the boiler which helps to maintain the heat, and consequently less fuel is requited to
maintain the required pressure (about 60lbs.) It was obtained from Messrs. McLean Bros., and Rigg, through Lorimer and Co., Wagga, and gave Mr. Bradney every satisfaction, as did likewise Messrs. Edmondson and Co., through whom the Chaff-cutter was obtained. Bradney speaks in glowing terms of his agents, who, he says, performed his business with the greatest of fairness and expediency. The chaff-cutter (£260), one of Buncos best, is fitted with every necessary contrivance and works splendidly, all the tailings are redelivered into the feed box, all waste being thus obivate. It is capable of cutting 2/12 tons per hour, and the length of the chaff can be regulated to a nicety. The bagger keeps two men actively employed, one adjusting the bags, the other sewing them up, with care a hundredweight can be got into a bag, but the average is about 85 or 90 lbs. Mr. Bradney speaks in high terms of the capacity of the machine and when I asked him where it was made he slyly remarked "in Melbourne they don't make them in 'Freetrade' Sydney, it doesn't pay,"-Mr. Bradney is a Protectionist, as most farmers and producers are. While Mr. B. and his aids were engaged in getting the machine into motion, Mr. Charles Archer had a most miraculous escape
from death. He had mounted the boiler to adjust the belt, and in order to get it on to the wheel, he turned the latter. Immediately the engine started (it appears the valve was slightly open), and poor Archer was soon in among the governors, piston-rode eccentric, and fly wheel. I stood within three feet of him almost paralysed. I could do nothing. The engine driver (Master J. Bradney),
immediately ran up and stopped the engine, but the weight of the large wheel maintained the motion for a time, and when at length we lifted Archer from his perilous position he was as white as a sheet, and bruised badly, his body also showing abrasion but he was alive, and therein lies the wonder had he moved his feet out of the horizontal, or relaxed his hold for a moment, he was lost. I hope to hear of his speedy recovery from the severe shock and bruising.
Gently the mandoline,
Our tenure of life is uncertain,
For truly we never know when
Like a streak in the west we may vanish,
And fade from the vision of men.
Mr. Bradney owns 1200 breeding sheep and about: 50 head of cattle, in addition to numerous horses and other livestock. His yield of wheat varies from 25 to 40 bushels per acre, according to the peculiarities of the season or prevalence of rust, etc. Hares are unpleasantly numerous, doing considerable damage to the crop. When I visit Sunnyside again I shall take my " iron" and a full belt of cartridges. The education of Mr Bradney's little ones is entrusted to Mr. T. F. Mason, and they are in most efficient hands.