Mary Louisa BRABYN 
- Born: 22 Sep 1803, Paramatta Barracks George St Sydney NSW
- Christened: 23 Feb 1806, St John Paramatta NSW
- Marriage (1): John GAGGIN  on 8 Oct 1822 in St Matthew Windsor NSW
- Died: 19 Sep 1884, Singleton NSW aged 80
- Buried: 21 Sep 1884, Whittingham Cemetery NSW
Mary Louisa Brabbyn.
The story of the life and times in which Mary Louisa Brabyn lived was compiled from the book "The Life and Times of John Brabyn of the New South Wales Corps and his extended family" written by Betty McGrath. The book was the result of many years work with hands on research into Government archives and the tireless contact with the many branches of the family for their family history.
Mary Louisa was born at Parramatta in 1803. The Brabyn's occupied quarters in the Parramatta Barracks and family legend has it that she was the first white child born at the Barracks situated at the lower end of George Street, opposite the Queen's Wharf. Across the river from Queens Wharf there is a Brabyn and Gaggin Street running parallel to each other, on either side of a school block. The area is in the vicinity of where Sarah Brabyn was granted an allotment in 1804 containing 1 rood and thirty two poles, an area of 100 feet by 198 feet. It was on that allotment the Brabyn's grew their vegetables. The exercise was not without problems. A notice in the local press in 1806 declared that anyone found damaging the garden and surrounding fences would be prosecuted and a reward for information was offered.
The Brabyn family at Parramatta included Jennifer, Mary Louisa and Elizabeth, and at times John Frederick. The 1804 muster shows a total population of 1709 persons, of which 95 belonged to civil and military departments, 890 convicts, 395 free settlers, and 329 children. During this period the Castle Hill uprising took place in 1804, a devastating flood took place, food shortages, trial of John MacCarthur, and the events leading up to and the arrest of Governor Bligh in 1808. All of this would have created a great deal of pressure within the family unit.
When William Patterson was appointed Lieut-Governor and proceeded from Port Dalrymple to Sydney to assume office in December 1808, John Brabyn was appointed Commandant of Port Dalrymple in his place. The family travelled to Tasmania and remained there for 15 months. Jennifer met and married Peter Mills and remained in Tasmania when the family returned to Sydney in March1810. Jennifer would have only been 15 years old at the time of her marriage. In April 1810 Brabyn sailed with his regiment to England via Cape Horn, the families of those officers and men who intended to return remained in Sydney as settlers. Sarah Brabyn and her two daughters remained and resided at Windsor.
After four months Sarah applied for and received rations for herself and family for 12 months during the absence of her husband.
Governor Macquarie on 6th November 1810 named the Hawkesbury settlement Windor, Rev. Cartwright arrived in June 1811 and resided in a house later bought by John Brabyn in George Street Windsor. John Brabyn arrived back in Sydney on 21st January 1812. He again left in March 1816 and was away for 18 months. The Bank of New South Wales opened for business on 8th April, 1817. In 1820 an over land route between Windsor and the Hunter River was established and called the Great Northern Road.
The Brabyn family, including Mary Louisa, on 19th January 1918, attended the Governor's Ball at Government House in honour of Her Majesty's birthday. It was the event of the year no doubt for a young woman. On the 15th April 1820 the Parramatta Bible Society was formed and the Sydney Gazette reported that Miss Brabyn, Miss E. Brabyn and two daughters of Samuel Marsden were on the female committee.
In 1820 John Gaggin, Nephew of John Drennan, the Deputy Commissary, was employed at the Windsor Commissariat Store. John arrived aboard the "Globe" on 9th January, 1919. The population of Windsor was now 5385. The social life in Windsor reached an all time high about 1822.
An interesting letter to the printer of the Sydney Gazette appeared on 5th April 1822 :-
"Sir, You talk of the prevailing Sydney gaiety, but allow me to give you a description of our grand doings here, and at Richmond. On Monday evening of the 11th ult., William Bell Esq. of Bellmont entertained a large party of Ladies and Gentlemen; The Windsor band attended; and the dance was led off to the tune of "Rivers, I am beyond your reach". On the Wednesday following, William Cox Esquire of Clarendon, invited a large party of his friends to celebrate the christening of his son, and closed the evening with a lively dance to the tune of "The Golden Fleece" or "The Merino Breed is Pure". On the Friday following, Windsor was the scene of barouches and four, crowded with Ladies, single-horse chaises and horses with out-riders, until a late hour of the day, passing to Clifton Cottage, the residence of Captain Brabyn, where a sumptous dinner was prepared; and in the evening a sprightly dance commenced, led off by Miss Brabyn, to the tune of "Speed the Plough", which was played by the Windsor band with animated glee. This entertainment was honoured with the company of several Officers of His Majesty's ship, Dauntless. The party did not break up until the splendid luminary of this lower world bade the bandsman repair to that labour which afford all the comforts of a friendly welcome and a country life. The visitors left Richmond and its neightbourhood with one general wish, that part of the country might be blessed the continued plenty and its inhabitants ever be rendered happy.
Yours, &c. RECIFFOLAVAN" (Perhaps the signature makes more sense if read backwards.)
Mary Louisa married John Gaggin in 1822 at Windor in St. Matthew's Church. John's initial farming pursuit was unsuccessful and he was declared bankrupt in 1828. Mary Louisa lived at Clifton until 1832, and then she and her young family moved to "Sydenham" in the Hunter Valley. John's return of convicts for 1832 showed their address as "Sydenham" Falbrook, Alcorns Inn. The property was the 800 acres granted to John Brabyn in 1824. The house was built prior to Mary's arrival by John Gaggin with the help of convict labour. The Falbrook River, previously called Glennies Creek, flowed through the property. In her book Betty McGrath describes the area :- "from the hill at Glennies Creek you can see the old gum standing near the entrance with a large scar where bark was removed for a canoe by local aborigines, and the driveway down to the creek where the old stone and cedar homestead stands. Further down stands the lonely grave sheltered by an elm tree where John and Lizzie were buried. Aborigines from the Wonnarau tribe camped on the property and young boys were initiated in a sacred bora ring." Access to Windsor and Sydney was via the Great North Road or by boat from Maitland or Morphet, down to Newcastle, and then by boat to Sydney.
With the aid of a convict workforce horses, cattle, sheep, chooks and pigs were reared, and orchards and gardens surrounded the house. Convict labour was readily available on the property. Aboriginal girls worked in the house and helped look after the children. Drought gripped the land in the early 1840's. John Gaggin became bankrupt for the second time in 1843. "Sydenham" was protected by John Gaggin's actions to ensure his daughter was protected from the elements of a harsh land and a husband who liked to gamble. The property "Sydenham" was held in trust for Frederick Charles Gaggin. After 1843 drought conditions began to ease and things improved.
In 1850 Frederick Charles Gaggin claimed his inheritance. The year 1851 saw the marriage of two children, Sarah to Joseph Cooper and Henry Walsh to Sarah Howden. The same year John Gaggin was appointed Commissioner for Crown Lands for the Police Districts of Patrick Plains, Merton and Musswellbrook and was sitting on the Local Bench at Maitland Quarter Sessions in 1852.
In 1852 John Gaggin persuaded his son to advance him one hundred pounds borrowed against "Sydenham". He was living beyond his means. In 1856 a Supreme Court Jury found against John Gaggin acting as a Magistrate, in a civil action for malicious arrest and imprisonment. The Court ordered the plaintiff three hundred pounds in damages. "Sydenham" was further mortaged to the total extent of eight hundred pounds. John's Commission as a Justice of the Peace was not renewed, and he was removed from the position of Commissioner for the Sale of Crown Lands. Frederick was forced to sell the farms of "Sydenham" to repay the debts, although he retained 178 acres.
In September 1859 a death announcement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald advertising the death of John Gaggin in Victoria. Nothing further for certain is known. It was not uncommon for people to disappear from their local scene and there were many stories and rumours. With money salvaged from the sale of "Sydenham" and a mortgage, Frederick purchased a house called "Rosebud" in Pitt Street Singleton for his mother and she lived there until the time of her death in 1884.
This history is the intellectual property of Mr D Becker.
Images courtesy Mr D Becker.
Gaggin - At her residence, Rosalind cottage, Pitt Street Singleton, September, 19th, in her 81st, Mary Louisa, eldest daughter of captain Brabyn, of her Majesty's 102nd. Regiment, and relict of John Gagan, Esq., of Sydenham, Falbrook. Deeply regretted by a numerous family and large circle of friends. Her end was peace.
Mary in 1822 petitioned the Gov of NSW for land to graze her 20 head of horned cattle on, there is no record that she received any.
Mary Louisa had a 40a land holding in Kurrajong which she sold to Richard Skewthorpe 12 Feb 1863 for L100
Mary married John GAGGIN  [MRIN: 3064] on 8 Oct 1822 in St Matthew Windsor NSW. (John GAGGIN  was born about 1802 in Ireland and died about 1859.)