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Bray, Rosalie Gertrude (1846–1938)

The death of Mrs. Rosalie Gertrude Bray at her home at Kynnumboon early yesterday morning marked the close of a life of long and splendid service in the development of the Tweed district. For 72 years — including the whole of her married life — Mrs. Bray had lived in the house at Kynnumboon in which she died. She had seen the Tweed progress from a wilderness to one of the most prosperous rural areas of its size in Australia, and her woman's hands and mind and spirit had played their part in that progress.

The second daughter of George Charles Nixon, M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge, Mrs. Bray was born at Tenby, Wales, 93 years ago. As a girl she lived for some years in Switzerland and with her family came to Australia when about 15 years of age. The voyage was made on the sailing ship Albion, which took three months to make the voyage. The Nixon family landed in Melbourne and travelled by bullock dray to the Tumut, where they settled. It was there that Mrs. Bray met her future husband, the late Mr. Joshua Bray, who was in partnership with his brothers in a cattle station in that district.

It was in June, 1863, that Mr. Bray came to the Tweed with his brother-in-law, Mr. S. W. Gray, M.L.A. This was the first of the "Bray and Gray" partnership that figured so largely in the early days of the Tweed. Mr. Bray built the house in which members of the family still live, and then returned to the Tumut for his bride. Mr. and Mrs. Bray were married at Armidale on May 18, 1886 [ie. 1866]. Travelling to Sydney, they book boat to Brisbane, their horses on board with them, and then rode from Brisbane to Dry Dock, near Tweed Heads. There they were met by Mr. "Paddy" Smith, one of the earliest white men to settle on the Tweed, and he rowed them to Kynnumboon.

Of the true type of pioneer, Mr. Bray, from the day of his advent on the Tweed, figured very largely in its affairs, filling practically all the public offices then available and having large private business interests. He was the first Magistrate, first Clerk of Petty Sessions, first Postmaster. He was the first man to drive stock from the Richmond across the ranges to the Tweed, travelling along a route now marked by the South Arm road to Lismore. And Mrs. Bray was the true pioneer's wife, and her ministering hand was always available in cases of sickness and suffering. She it was who attended to the postal services while her husband was about on many other public and private duties. The first mail services were carried mainly by blacks engaged by Mr. Bray, but very often difficulty was experienced in securing the services of blackfellows for this work owing to the frequent "bullen bullen" (state of war) existing between the various tribes on the mail routes.

Mrs. Bray was a splendid horse woman and did much of her travelling in this way. Before there were any churches on the Tweed she conducted a Sunday school for the children who were beginning to appear in the district and included among her pupils children of all denominations. Church services were also conducted at her home at Kynnumboon before the advent of a church. Later, when an Anglican Church was established at Murwillumbah she continued to teach in Sunday school and also was the organist for the church services. During the war period Mrs. Bray was a keen worker for the War Chest and Red Cross and since then had maintained her connection with the latter organisation. She was also deeply interested in several city charities.

Members of the Nixon family followed her to the Tweed and settled here. Her father lies buried in the old Murwillumbah cemetery. The first ascent of Mount Warning of which there is any record was made by three of Mrs. Bray's brothers. Messrs. Frank, Louis, and Arthur Nixon, on April 17, 1868.

Mrs. Bray leaves a family of five daughters and three sons to mourn their loss. The daughters are Mrs. W. M. Charles (Toowoomba), Miss Florrie Bray (Sydney), Misses Ethel and Marjory Bray (Kynnumboon); and Mrs. S. N. Barnby (Sydney). The sons are Messrs. Rex Bray (Sydney), Frank Bray (Stokers), and Percy Bray (Murwillumbah and recently of the Gold Coast, West Africa). Three daughters and two sons predeceased her.

The funeral will take place to-day, leaving from All Saints' Church of England at 11 o'clock for the old cemetery, Murwillumbah.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Bray, Rosalie Gertrude (1846–1938)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bray-rosalie-gertrude-26775/text34381, accessed 26 August 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Nixon, Rosalie Gertrude
Birth

1846
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Death

10 June 1938
Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence