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HENRY BURTON BRADLEY, SOLICITOR, NOTARY & HEALTH REFORMER

The vendor of this cover states that it was mailed from East Maitland in 1850, but the N.S.W. duplex with the barred numeral is partly illegible as ‘(6)3'. It has a pair of S.G. 11, imperforate ‘ONE PENNY’ dull carmine issued in August 1850, and it was sent to H.B. Bradley Esq., Solicitor, No.1 Gilchrist Buildings, Sydney (Figure 1).

The reverse had 2 unframed ovals, one originating from EAST MAITLAND/ [crown]/ JY 29/ 18(50)/ NEW S. WALES (possibly? S.G. 2 which was issued earlier in January 1850), as well as the unframed destination SYDNEY/ H/ (remainder illegible). The ms. appears to be unimportant (Figure 2).

Henry Burton Bradley, solicitor and notary, was born in London, son of Henry Bradley, merchant, and his wife Annie, of Daventry, Northamptonshire. He was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, London. On the death of his father he was sent to live with his uncle (Sir William Burton) second puisne judge in the Supreme Court at the Cape of Good Hope. When Burton was appointed to the Supreme Court bench in New South Wales on 1 March 1832, Bradley sailed with him and his wife from Cape Town to Sydney in the Leda, 150 tons, which Burton chose because she carried a surgeon and no other person, and 'to avoid the greater evils of a convict or emigrant ship'.

At a loss to know what to do with Bradley in Sydney, Burton first thought of putting him into a business house, then favoured farming where he would be less exposed to the 'temptations of Sydney', and finally decided on the law because it had served him well. Bradley was appointed third clerk of the Supreme Court on 8 February 1834 with a salary of £160. In 1837 he was promoted second clerk at £330 a year. In 1838 he was granted eighteen months sick leave on half pay to return to England. Apparently he regained his health, for on 21 February 1840 he returned to Sydney in the Hope with his wife Charlotte Sarah, a niece of Lady Burton; they had been married in London on 25 August 1839.

On 3 November 1840 Bradley was admitted to practice as a solicitor with 'marks of approbation from the Court for his diligence, ability and zeal in the discharge of his public functions'. He resigned as chief clerk of the Supreme Court on 3 December 1841 and went into practice at first in partnership with D. O'Reilly. This partnership was dissolved in May 1844 and Bradley was appointed a commissioner of the Supreme Court in July. Later he had other partners including one of his sons. In addition to his regular work as a solicitor Bradley gave evidence on behalf of his clients at several parliamentary inquiries, including the select committee on Blandford Proprietary School of which he was secretary. On 5 March 1879 he was allowed to appear at the bar of the Legislative Assembly with a petition from Chinese residents of Sydney against the Chinese immigration regulation bill; despite his erudite appeal to history, economics, health and morality, the petition had no effect. At the time of his death he was the oldest solicitor on the roll of the Supreme Court.

Bradley lived for many years at The Terraces, Paddington. In 1875 he built Llewellyn at Five Dock and lived there until his death on 22 December 1894. By his first wife he had eleven children. After she died he married on 29 March 1873 at St Luke's Church, Burwood, Louise Portia. She survived him, with six of their eight children, and eight children by his first marriage.

Bradley had been an ardent horticulturist and was well known to amateur gardeners of Sydney and suburbs for his improvement of bulbous plants. This enthusiasm he transmitted to many including his son Henry of the first marriage and his son Alan of the second. He founded the Model Lodging House Co. of Sydney Ltd from motives of philanthropy and was secretary in an honorary capacity until his death. For an outlay of £6000 it provided lodging at 6d. a bed each night for five hundred men who could not find other suitable accommodation. Although by nature a quiet and retiring man who wrote much verse but published little, he nevertheless participated in the social life of the city, attending concerts, levees and balls. His vital interest in the subject of sanitation is testified by his many letters on this and other health matters to the Sydney Morning Herald and by his close association with the Health Society of New South Wales, of which he was honorary secretary from its foundation. Four publications of this society are credited to him: Health (1877), House Poison (1878), Life & Death (1879), and Domestic Economy (1881). By strange coincidence he and his youngest son Alan suffered mild attacks of typhoid fever against which he had lectured and written so much. After three weeks of this illness Bradley had almost recovered, when he succumbed suddenly to pulmonary embolism. A picture of Henry Burton Bradley is seen in Figure 3.

This paper was extracted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

 

 
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