The cover is addressed to Joshua Bray Esq. J.P., Kynnumboon, Tweed River, via Casino (New South Wales). The blue ‘TWO PENCE’ QV stamp of N.S.W. is cancelled with the rays ‘21′ of Campbelltown, as well as an unframed CAMPBELLTOWN/ MY 25/ 1871/ N.S.W, alongside. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).
The Brisbane Courier (Qld.) of 5 January 1872 on p. 3 has a heading ‘THE TWEED RIVER DISTRICT, dated January 1: “The Tweed River was prospected about eight years ago, by Mr. S. Gray, and found sufficiently attractive to induce himself and friend, Joshua Bray, at once to settle down here. Previous to that time it seems to have been a terra incognita, only known to the cedar getters, and much fine cedars has been sent away; but cedar getting has become now a restricted trade, as it is difficult to get. Not more than four years ago the fine soil and climate attracted the attention of a few free selectors, and a few useful blacks were taken up, but the chief demand has been in the last three years, during which selection has gone on rapidly, and I dare say we number not far short of 300 farms, large and small, along the banks of the three arms of the river, all on navigable water.” (Figure 2).
Joshua Bray was born at Appin N.S.W. on 3 September 1838 and he was the sixth child of John Bray and Charlotte Curn Storer of Campbelltown. John Bray held the Brungle Run in the Tumut district which Joshua and his brother James worked. Joshua Bray married Rosalie Gertrude Nixon, daughter of George Russell Nixon and his wife Rosalie, in Armidale N.S.W. Joshua died on 20 February 1918 at his home Kynnumboon, Murwillumbah, N.S.W. at the age of 79. Joshua Bray was appointed the first postmaster in 1866 at Tweed River and was later appointed a police magistrate and a clerk of Petty Sessions. In addition he was a farmer, raised cattle and also was the Protector of Aborigines. Joshua and Rosalie had 14 children, 13 of whom reached adult life, and they are shown in Figure 3.
Joshua had good relations with the aborigines, and he used them to deliver mail. Once a month he used two of them, with the outward mail sealed in a pouch, to be delivered to the postmaster at Ballina; on return they delivered inward mail back to Joshua. Joshua learned to speak their language and he carefully studied their customs and culture. An example of only a very small part of his interpretation of their language is shown in the listing seen in Figure 4.
On the 21st of February 1918 the mayor and aldermen of Murwillumbah, the president and councillors of the old Tweed Shire, representatives of the local business and farming communities, and residents of the town and district, gathered at the Murwillumbah Cemetery to pay their last respects to Joshua Bray who had played a significant role in the early history and development of the Tweed Valley.
The ‘bible’ of New South Wales postmarks (N.C. Hopson and R. Tobin: N.S.W. and A.C.T. Post, Receiving, Telegraph & Telephone Offices) describes 3 sequential post offices at 854 kilometers from Sydney: Wollumben P.O. 1.11.1866 (J. Bray, postmaster); changed name to Kynnumboon 15.8. 1868 (J. Bray, postmaster); changed name to Murwillumbah 15.4. 1882 (W.J. Grime, postmaster), and all three post offices had the identical Numeral Canceller of ‘455′.
Addendum (April 2010): Another cover was seen addressed to Joshua Bray J.P. , with the same form of address as in Figure 1, again from the same sender, at Cambell Town, in March, 1871, and it is shown in Figure 5.