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Matthew Brady (1799-1826)
Brady was born in Ireland and transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1820 for forgery. During his first four years he received 350 lashes for trying to escape and other crimes. He was sent to the infamous Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour on the west coast but in 1824 escaped to Hobart by boat. He formed a gang of bushrangers who lived in the wild by stealing farm stock, robbing travellers and other criminal activities but whose code of behaviour forbade molesting women or injuring the helpless. In 1824 the gang occupied the town of Sorell, east of Hobart, for a whole night, locking soldiers and the local police in the town gaol. Brady was arrested in 1826 and charged with stealing, arson and murder. The gang's ethics stood him in good stead - the public petitioned for clemency, testified to his gentle treatment of women and brought presents to him in gaol. He was hanged in May 1826 and was reported to have died 'in the manner of an educated gentleman'.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|