The cover is addressed to Mrs Thomas Rutledge, Brush Farm, Parramatta and the blue 2d QV ‘Laureate’ Plate 1 stamp of New South Wales is cancelled with a ms. ‘37′ of Bungendore, N.S.W. The cover is said to be unique by the vendor (Figure 1).
The reverse has 3 postmarks, top left an unframed PARRAMATTA/ [CROWN]/ AP 1( )/ NEW S. WALES, bottom left an unframed CAMPBELLTOWN/ /[crown]/ AP 12/ NEW S. WALES, and bottom right an unframed GOULBURN. In addition there is a ms. ‘( ) BUGENDORE’. The flap has an albino impression of a Crown over SYDNEY (Figure 2).
William Rutledge(1806-1876) arrived in Sydney aboard the ship Harriet in December 1829 from County Cavan, Ireland. He set himself up as a contractor for Government supplies and was assigned six convicts in 1835. His address in 1834 was The Field of Mars, Parramatta. He was later to acquire land at Kissing Point and Eastwood. In early 1836, he acquired a station of 2,560 acres on the Molonglo Plains.
After he had established himself, William brought out two sisters and four of his five brothers: Thomas, who later became the owner of “Carwoola“, Richard and Lloyd, who went to Port Fairy in Victoria, and John, who moved to California. William himself moved to Port Phillip in 1838, and married Eliza Kirk in Sydney on 18th August 1840. They had two sons and five daughters. He moved to Port Fairy in 1843 and remained there until 1865. He is remembered as a pioneer settler, merchant and banker.
After William had permanently moved to Victoria, his business interests in New South Wales were managed by his younger brother Thomas Rutledge. This included the Molonglo Plains station which he had named “Clonbrony” and which had been enlarged by the purchase of Edward John Eyre’s “Woodlands“. The estate was later purchased by Thomas Rutledge and he called it “Carwoola” from the aboriginal name of land. The aboriginal word was Carrowillah which means “where the water meets the plain”.
To increase his estate, Thomas Rutledge had purchased properties from Henry Antill in 1862, William Bowen, O. McAlister and W. Brown in 1865. The major holdings of Thomas Rutledge in 1870 were “Janefield” established by Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson in 1831, “Gidleigh” established by Admiral Philip Parker King in 1833, “Foxlow” established by John Hosking around 1835, and, of course, “Carwoola“.
The home station for Rutledge became “Carwoola“, which had grown to 25,000 acres, and it was here that he built a graceful Georgian mansion. The station included a village for his employees with houses, store, smithy and church. “St Thomas’” was built between 1872 and 1874 and was designed by Canon Alberto D. Soares, who was the incumbent of Christ Church Queanbeyan from 1858-1877. J.F. Maslin, purchased “Carwoola” from the Rutledge family in 1907.
The total area of Thomas Rutledge’s holdings in 1870 was 55,000 acres of purchased land and 110 leased sections which stretched from Bungendore to Hoskinstown and beyond. Some portions of Radcliffe Estate are recorded as being part of Portion 130 granted to John Rutledge on 22nd November 1837. These portions were also absorbed into Thomas Rutledge’s “Carwoola“.
It was not only his farming interests that made Thomas Rutledge a man of history. In December 1848, he was appointed to carry mail from Goulburn to the Maneroo (Monaro) via Queanbeyan during 1850. He was again awarded the contract for a thrice weekly service to Bungendore and Molonglo in 1853, and was to hold the contract until the early 1860’s. In 1860/61 gold was discovered on the Rutledge estate and in June 1861 he opened his property up to diggers. Thomas Rutledge continued to be a prominent member of the community until his death in 1904.
William Forster Rutledge(1850-1912), son of Thomas Rutledge, became the first Shire President at the first meeting held on 27th February 1907. Lt. Col. Thomas Lloyd Forster Rutledge MLA (1889-1958), William’s son, was a member of the first AIF and left the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and later became a member of the Legislative Assembly. His son, William S.F. Rutledge, lives on “Gidleigh”.
The date of the cover (1853) is compatible with the addressee being the wife of THE Thomas Rutledge (who also had an association with Bungendore N.S.W., the source of the cover), but this comprehensive account of Thomas Rutledge gave no mention of ‘Brush Farm’ as one of Thomas Rutledge’s properties. Thomas may have purchased Brush Farm from a Dr. Forster (needs confirmation). Rutledge did marry Martha, the second daughter of Thomas Forster of Brush Farm Field of Mars, on 11 October 1849 at Ryde (Sydney Morning Herald 16 October, 1849, page 4), and I believe there is no coincidence that their son was named William Forster Rutledge.