GREGORY BROTHERS, EXPLORERS & FRANK PEDLEY, CANADIAN POLITICO
The Aristophot Co., London postcard was sent by a person, not researched, by name N. Stoneham to Mrs Frank Pedley, 283 McLaren St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and the rosine 1d South Australian stamp was canceled by a EUDUNDA/1/ AP 28/ 08/S.A ‘squared circle’ postmark. There was a routing VANCOUVER, B.C./ JUN 4/ 7.30 AM/ 1908 postmark as well as a reception OTTAWA -ONT/ JUN 9/ 08/ CANADA postmark (Figure 1).
The reverse shows a portion of the stamp folded-over a true photo of a Baobab tree which is marked ‘July 2nd 1856', the tree being alongside the Victoria River in the Northern Territory. There is a caption along the lower border ‘Marked by Gregory’s Exploring party 1856, Northern Territory, South Australia’. In addition, there was another caption at the right border read ‘BY KIND PERMISSION OF THE AGENT-GENERAL FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA’ (Figure 2).
Three of the five Gregory brothers were known to be explorers in several regions of Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory which was still part of South Australia at this time. Settlers wanted to know where new runs would be found in the interior of Australia, and Augustus Charles Gregory (1819- 1905) undertook to lead an exploration with his brother Francis Thomas (1821-88), and they took along a third brother, Henry Churchman (1823-69) . The first and second named brothers were attached to the Department of the Surveyor-General, and they received permission to take 3 months leave in 1856 to explore in Northern Australia. In another reference, Henry Churchman Gregory was described as a member of the Northern Australian Exploring Expedition of 1855-56.
The five Gregory brothers were sons of Joshua Gregory of Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire and his wife Frances née Churchman. The father had received a land grant in the new Swan River settlement and in 1829 the family arrived in the Lotus, and the sons lived with their parents from an early age in Western Australia. Augustus and Francis trained as surveyors, and were successful explorers in Western Australia from 1846-61. They found coal at Irwin River, galena at the Murchison River and tracts of pastoral land. The were competent geologists of whom the Government Geologist Woodward said in 1890 that “they did such good work that no professional geologist would be ashamed to own it”.
Geological investigation stagnated when they left Western Australia. Augustus was the most notable of the sons for he was knighted and both he and Francis Thomas Gregory have separate entries in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Sir Augustus’ picture, shown in the A.D.B., is seen in Figure 3.
This postcard was sent to Mrs. Frank Pedley in 1908, but Francis (Frank) Pedley is the one of interest. He was born in 1858, the son of a Newfoundland Congregationalist minister. He spent part of his early years in Ontario where he was educated at the Coburg Collegiate Institute and at McGill University, Quebec. He practiced law in Toronto with his partner A.C. Bedford-Jones from 1890-97. He was appointed Superintendent of Immigration in Ottawa in 1897 and Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs in Ottawa from 1902-13 when he was forced to resign in a scandal of selling native lands for self profit. His former law partner in Toronto assisted in his scan.