History of the Brodericks of Avondale

Irish Roots

John Broderick (born in Ireland in 1826) was an only child. His father (John) is said to have been one of seven brothers, six of whom migrated to the United States while John and his family came to Australia.

The young John worked as a carpenter in Melbourne in the early days. He married Ellen McCluskey from Ireland who was a first cousin to the US President McKinley. They had five children Jack, Jim, Julia (married Healey), Mary (married Phelan) and Patrick.

John and Mary Keating with a family of six children (Ellen, Johanna, Julia, Michael, William and John)  left Gulbally in Tipperary, Ireland, went to Plymouth, England, and sailed on "The Maitland" on 02/10/1849, arriving at Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne on 09/01/1850.

The Keatings moved to the Lachlan district of NSW early on but young John went back to the Bendigo gold diggings. He went farming in the Kyneton district, married Honorah Crow in 1860, and took up land at Karamomus, Victoria. In 1894 he moved to Barooga NSW where his son John was farming, and where Honora died. They moved to Berrigan NSW in 1906.

John and Honora Keating had five daughters Maggie (married Bill Dwyer), Mary, Kate (married Harry Barry) of Ardlethan,  Jule (died of diphtheria) and Norah (died of diphtheria). They had one son, Jack Keating, who married Bridget Bridget Carolan in Melbourne in 1897 Ref No 799.

One of John Keating's sisters married a Connell (previously O'Connell).


Patrick Broderick  and Mary Keating were married at at Shepparton, VIC, on 20 September 1881. Patrick had a farm (about 40 acres) at Miepoll about 15 miles north west of Euroa and 20 miles south of Shepparton.  Their son jack was born at Miepoll. They moved to the Berrigan district of NSW, along with the Dwyers and Connells, in about 1893.

In the mid 1890's they came to Gunning Gap, near Bogan Gate, along with the O'Connells and Dwyers to take part in a ballot for land. Unfortunately the Brodericks missed out and they returned to share crop at old "Barooga".

At the insistence of Mary Broderick's sister, Meg Dwyer, they returned in 1906/7 as part of a general wave of Victorian farmers moving in and through the Riverina district of NSW,  and purchased for 30 shillings an acre from George Ablett the property of 1149 acres now known as "Avondale". Three hundred acres had been cleared for cropping and in their first season they had a bumper crop. They also had a crop which they used for cattle feed of 'cabbage stuff', commonly known as canola or rape.

When Patrick (Paddy) returned home a discussion arose as to what the farm should be called. Mary, on hearing this said, (and I would think in no uncertain terms!), "It will be called Avondale". She had been reading a serial in the paper, a love story and the hero used to call his lady friend, "my darling flower of Avondale". So Jack Broderick etched the name in the wall of their new home.

The Move to Avondale

Patrick, all the boys except Mart who was a baby, plus Kate and Jule, came by covered wagon train from Berrigan to Forbes. They waited there for Mary Broderick, with Mart and Nora to arrive by train. Nell had married by this time and lived in Victoria. Rita was born later in Forbes.
An interesting feature of the covered wagon was the material they used for the support of the roof. In the area where they lived were trees that they called fishing rod gums. They gathered these and bent them into half hoop shapes to fit the wagon and then put on the cover.

Life at Avondale

The five room home at Avondale was a vertical slab, all hand adzed. The original shearing shed is still standing at Avondale, though the front part has been altered. The workmanship inside is very evident in the pens, gates and grating.

Patrick Broderick was well known as a bare knuckle boxer, evidently winning many a bout. He also liked a little 'tipple' every now and then. Maybe this gave him the extra fighting power, who knows.

Ellen Broderick (Patrick's mother) came up from Warregal in Gippsland in about 1913, to visit. Ellen had migrated to Australia during the Irish uprising. She had a dairy farm with her children Jim and Julia.

Moving out

The older children moved from Avondale as they came of age, since the farm could not accommodate the whole family as they grew older. Jack took up a farm at Yenda, NSW. Most of them except (Mick and Mart) took up other occupations and moved to the Sydney region. The older girls married and also moved to the Sydney region.

Generations at Avondale

By the beginning of the second world war only Mick, Mart and Rita remained with Mary. Mart and Kath lived and farmed at "Cranbrook", a property which adjoined Avondale. Mart ran a small dairy for Major Mitchell.  Mick and Rita lived at Avondale with Mary, now that Patrick had died.

Many of the grandchildren can recall their visits on school  holidays to Avondale in the first half of the century. Catching yabbies in the dam and riding on the tractor  were favourite pastimes. The old kitchen with its timber table and large fuel stove, the outdoor underground cellar, and the "party" telephone line by which a single wire served all the households along the road, are amongst the memories. There were occasions after dinner when everyone would sit in the music room on the corner of the big verandah and Mick would play the fiddle to the appreciation of his sisters, if not of the restless grandchildren.

During the war Italian prisoners of war were sent to the area.  One of them, Dante, lived and worked with Mart and Kath, and many a Sunday lunch was spagetti, hand made and rolled by the Italian. These POW's carried out lots of farm tasks, such as  driving tractors during the sewing season, and they had a relatively free existence.

After the war, Tom Earley returned, he and Rita were married and settled in Sydney. Later Mick moved to Parkes and drove a taxi there for many years. Mart and Kath moved to Avondale in the late 1940's and took over the running of the farm.

Mart and his children farmed Avondale until Mart retired in 1976. The farm was then bought by Dick and Anne Hodges, Anne being Mart's daughter. 

Avondale Today

Avondale is still in the hands of descendants of Patrick and Mary. Today the property is operated by two brothers /mart/anne/mark/ and mart/anne/terry/ in conjunction with the adjacent property "Innesfail".  Mark and Terry's mother, /mart/anne/ now resides in Forbes.

Rita's Story (written around 1995)

I was born on the 7th of September 1908 to Mary and Patrick Broderick of Avondale, Bogan Gate, New South Wales, the youngest child and the fourteenth.  Now I am the only one alive. There were nine boys and five girls. I was baptised Marguerite Florence Broderick. I was rather a delicate baby and it was a very hot summer.  I have been told my mother and the girls, my sisters, would hang wet sheets in the passage-way and Mum would nurse me there. One day, so they tell me, I was having great difficulty getting my breath and one of my older brothers, Paddy, came in and took me from Mum  and ran up the garden throwing me and down until I started to breathe properly again. I suppose I was spoilt by my big brothers and sisters – I was a little curly headed girl after five boys.

One of my first early memories is of my father.  In the evening he would come in and sit in his old rocking chair.  He would say, "Come on my little lump of sugar", and sing me a song.  He would sit me on his knee and shake it up and down - my song was "Ahhhhh …". We had a big kitchen and dining room combined and at the kitchen end there was a stove and a big fire place.  When I was, I guess, about three years of age, it was a winter's morning, there was a very big fire going and there had been a big black boiler of porridge cooked and sitting down the front.  I came out and saw the pot with a spoon all ready for me to stir it, and came running and tripped and fell.  My right hand and arm went into the porridge, I suppose half way up to my elbow into the almost boiling porridge.  My sister Julia grabbed me, and with her finger and thumb ran them down my arm to take the porridge off and all the skin came with it.  I feel that must have been the best thing that could have happened as I never had a scar or mark at all.  I can't remember the pain, but I'm sure it must have been terrible.  I have had quite a few smaller burns in my life and I know they were painful enough.

Another episode in my very young life: I ran out and started to climb the wind mill which was in the back garden and very close to the house.  Everyone was calling to me to come down and of course I kept doing, so my brother Tom came up after me. When I thought he was getting too close I decided to jump.  Fortunately for me l had a rather full skirted little frock on and Tom was able to grab the tail of it.  I bet I never thanked him for that either.

I started school at a little school about two miles from us called Daisy Park.  It was built on my uncle's property which was Daisy ParkMy first teacher was a Miss Howard, we didn't have her very long and Miss Davenport came.  She was a lovely lady and stayed on there for years.  She finally married our neighbour, Paddy Darcy, and was still living there when I eventually got married. I continued at Daisy Park, although not a very good student.  My brothers and I had to walk two miles to and from school in very hot or cold weather.  We were usually running late, my brothers had to get the cows in and milk them before we went.  Sometimes I milked one.  I remember we were late and two boys from down the road arrived riding horses. one was on a grey horse so I was put on behind Gordon on the grey horse and I had black socks.  When we all went in the teacher asked me how I came as she knew how the boy came.  I said, "I walked Miss". She just looked at my black socks covered in grey hair and said, "Very well, take your seats." In the hot weather I mostly came home with a migraine.

When I was still at Primary School my sister Nora's two little girls, Ilene and Lorna, got diphtheria.  They were very young. Ilene I think would have been three and a half to four, Lorna I think would have been two and a half.  They were very sick.  Ilene was discharged from hospital and Kate my sister brought her out to Avondale.  Dear little Loma died.  Ilene had some lovely little sayings.  One day the shower of the hose was missing.  Kate and Dad were looking everywhere so at last they thought Ilene must have had it, so they kept asking and asking her.  At last she said, "I shollered it!" so that finished that.  One day Paddy Darcy came down - he had been working in the paddock and got a huge splinter under his thumb nail - for Kate to get it out.  It was terribly painful, there were moans and groans.  At last Ilene said, "'It would be worser Mr Darcy if it was your leg you broked." Paddy burst out laughing and said "It certainly would, Ilene."

I went on to pass my I.C. Qualifying Certificate exam and went to Forbes Convent to school.  Margaret Dwyer, my cousin and friend, went to board at the Corivent but I stayed with my sister Nora and her husband George and six children.  I stayed there about years.  I enjoyed school but I was not a very wonderful student and I was glad to go home to the farm.  By this time my last sister, Kate was just about to be married so I went home to take her place.  Kate was married in Forbes to Angus Rodgers and had the reception at Nora's place.  I was her bridesmaid and Gwen, Bill and Mollie's daughter was flower girl.

So then I started work at home with my mother who was by then quite a good age, but she still could do quite a lot of work, and she still made butter and sold it and eggs, and dressed poultry as well. We had a big beautiful old cellar underground and it was lovely and cool.  Our cream, butter, eggs and all our jam and preserves were kept down  there, and meat as well.  We didn't have refrigerators in those days.  We had what was called Coolgardie safes.  They stood about three feet high and they were done in with wire mesh and stood in a tray to catch the water.  On top was another tray you had to keep water in as you had to have strips of blanket or similar material hanging down the side and it was better to have them where they would catch a breeze.  We also had hanging wire safes to keep some meat in too.  Some people would build a cool room.  It was mostly built under a tank stand and done in with hessian and anything else that would keep cool, and you would hose it to keep it as cool as possible.  At Avondale we were fortunate, and I think the only family who had a beautiful fresh water well.  In the drought time when dams ran dry and rain water tanks were empty a lot of neighbours would come to our place for water., When there was very little wind my Dad and brothers would put an engine on. Thanks to the wonderful water supply we had I never learned to save water.

I would get up early and get the breakfast for the men while they got the horses in and fed them.  Some milked the cows and did the separating.  I would make the verandah beds if possible while waiting for the men.  The washing up done, I would go inside make beds and tidy up.  In hot weather the outside doors would be closed and blinds drawn to keep out the heat.  Once a week inside would be done thoroughly, floors polished, scrubbed or mopped and dusted.  There would be morning tea to be taken or sent to the men in the paddock.  Then a two or three course dinner to prepare and afternoon lunch to be sent to the men in the paddock.  Then most likely cakes to be cooked for next day or two or three days if possible, and cold tea prepared.

Then my first shearing came along.  There would be usually four extra men, sometimes extra would drop in.  Hot breakfast at 7a.m., morning tea at 10a.m. sent to the shed, dinner at 12.30 (three course meal), afternoon tea 3.30 and cold tea 6.30, get ready for next day and to bed, thankfully.  This usually went on for a week or more depending on the weather.  My brother Mart who was next to me was a great help to me in those days.  He would get away from the shed whenever he could to help me.  We were good mates.  We danced a lot together.  We went to dances and balls whenever possible.

When I was young and at Daisy Park school we had a terrible mouse plague.  There were thousands and thousands, and they got into everything, the beds, cupboards and everywhere you would think it impossible for them to get, the dirty filthy things, it was terrible.  A few years after that there was a rabbit plague.  The paddocks were riddled with their burrows.  They ate all the feed for the stock.  The boys were kept busy trapping and killing them whatever way they could.  They were kept busy skinning them too as there was sale for the skins.  Then came the grasshoppers.  They got everywhere and ate everything.  We even covered the vegetables with mosquito net and they ate their way through that.  Then there were the droughts and floods.  How heartbreaking they were.  Then we had the terrible dust storms.

The good times would come.  The paddocks ploughed up for the sewing of crops.  In my younger days I loved to ride on the machine with my brother, the smell of the newly tilled soil was beautiful.  Then would come the crops to be harvested, the wheat to be bagged and taken to the railway.  In between would come the shearing and extra men to be cooked for.  We had a wonderful life really.  It was hard work all the week but we went to a dance or a ball through the week.  At the weekend we played tennis or golf or the men had a cricket match.  At night we would go to someone's home and have supper and a sing-along, or a dance.  We had tennis courts and a golf course and a cricket pitch at our little centre which was called Gunning Gap.  We also had a Church there.  We would often have tennis clubs, golf or cricket teams from some of the places around. We all worked hard but we also had a lot of fun.

Then to brighten things a little more we would look out in the west and there would be a great big red cloud.  It would come in with howling winds and pile buckets and buckets of red dust on and in the house that you had spent all day on your knees scrubbing and polishing.  We didn't have polishers or scrubbers in those days.  How heartbreaking it was but you just had to pull your socks up and get to clearing it out.  Oh what fun it was.  One terrible dust storm I can remember, I would have been eight, I was down with Nora and George who lived about two miles from Avondale.  George had gone to Forbes on the wagon and would not be back till late.  Dan came down too.  We could see the dust storm coming in.  It was just as though it came in over top of us, everything was black, you couldn't see a thing.  Nora and Dan fed the horses in the stable before the storm came.  Nora wouldn't let us go into the house, she was afraid it would blow down on us so she lit a lantern and we stood along the wall.  Eventually I fell asleep so we went inside.  Nora and Dan stood at the window.  When the horses finished their feed they were very restless and kept stamping their feet, the only light they could see was at the house.  Nora thought we had better go down and let them out or they might break the fence down.  When the gate was open they all came charging for the light.  That was all they could see so they followed us to the house.  We had to rush through the gate and slam it before they could get in.  I can't remember how it finished up.  Neighbours of ours, Pat Dwyer and his daughter Pop, were on their way home from Forbes when the storm caught them.  It was so dark they just gave the horse its head and let it go on its own.  It suddenly stopped and wouldn't move.  When the storm moved and they could see a little they were right on the bank of the river.

Later on I can remember lots of terrible dust storms, particularly after I was doing all the housework.  The terrible washing days I don't think I will ever forget, The first laundry I remember was open on three sides.  The copper of course in the open and an old pump washing machine and a good old scrubbing board.  There was washing galore and all the men's heavy dirty trousers and their working shirts, besides white shirts and starched collars.  The clothes line was out from the house a little and was a wire line running from two or three trees with a clothes prop in the middle, Sometimes the wind and a storm would come up and it was quite common for the line or the prop to break and down would come all your hard work into the dust.  Oh what a thrill.  Hopefully one of the men would still be about to give a hand to rescue what you could, get the line fixed and put them back on the line and bring the rest in to wash again.  The ironing was with flat irons on the big table and a huge fire kept going.  Later on the laundry was moved into another room that was used as the dairy, but when we only milked a couple of cows we didn't need that.  We had a better washing machine but it was still an outdoor copper and the clothes line was moved into the garden.

Mum liked to have her grand children for their holidays and of course if their parents were able to come she was delighted, especially if it was one of her big boys.  I loved having the kids there too, it gave me an interest too and I loved them all. I thought I was so grown up looking after them all and cooking for them.  I look at them now and say I can't believe how you lot have caught up on me.  Jule was there one time with her family, and Ella was I suppose 9 or 10. She was doing Catherine wheels across the lawn and standing on her hands as Mum came around the verandah.  She was horrified, she said, "Glory be to God, girl, get up out of that, it is disgusting a girl doing things like that." Ella said, "You know Grandma, if you could do that you would make a lot of money."

 Bill and Jack Broderick, Bill and Mollie's sons, would come out to Avondale but Gwen, she was the eldest, and Joan (Jack and Joan were twins) would stay with their other Grandma who was a dress-maker and Aunty Dorrie.  From the age of nine or ten Jack was always making carts from old butter boxes and kerosene cases.  Where he got all the little wheels from I don't know.  I remember he made one with the kerosene case and only put two wheels on and one pole in the centre with a cross bar.  The others all had four wheels and two shafts.  Jack would always help me when it came to cleaning up the yards and raking up all the leaves.  We had beautiful big trees which seemed to lose all their leaves in the autumn and winter time but were beautiful in the summer.  We would rake up all these leaves and load them into Jack's cart and he would take them away.  We thought the bigger cart was a great idea so we loaded that and Jack lifted the pole and stepped over it to pull it between his legs and the cart tipped up and took Jack with it.  He was hanging from the cross bar and his head on the ground laughing fit to kill himself.  When I recovered from laughing I pulled the pole down and he was right.  Well Jack went on from making those little carts to make bigger ones, small horse-drawn ones to even bigger ones.  Then he got interested in engines.  He would buy a worn out lorry repair the engine and sell it.  He got bigger and better and then started a farm machinery and tractor business in Parkes and did very well indeed.

Paddy and Molly were up one holiday, Bobbie I can remember most. The first morning his mother was giving them their breakfast and of course Grandma was there and Bobbie called out, "I want some bread." Mollie said, "I beg your pardon Bobbie?", he said, "Bread!"  His mother took a big breath and said, "I beg vour pardon Bobbie", and he said, "Bread, don't ya know what bread is?" A few days later Molly and Paddy went out and left him with me, he was not very happy at all.  He went wandering around the yard, I didn't know what he was doing and didn't worry so long as he wasn't annoying me.  A little while later I noticed he had the tomahawk.  I had just planted about a dozen Lucern trees around the garden fence and when I went to water them and he had chopped every one off.  There was no need to tell you how happy I was with my young nephew.

Years later, I think Bobbie had just started work, he was mad on rifles and shooting and Paddy would not let him use it till he knew how to use it properly.  He was coming up to Avondale for his holiday and Mick was to show him how to use his rifle.  Well Bobbie had grown into the loveliest young man you could ever meet.  A few weeks after he went back he was out shooting with a mate and getting through a fence he was shot.  It was a real heart break. to Molly and Paddy.  Their other son was Peter.  Paddy and Molly had two girls, Irene the eldest and Clare.

During World War 2

  My brother Mick and I, with our mother, were on our property 18 miles from Forbes in the west and 13 miles from Bogan Gate.  It was very hard as all young men had been called up for service in the war.  At times we were able to get Italian POWs to help on the farm.  Some were quite good, others were not.

The first day I drove a tractor Mick was cultivating a paddock.  I had taken his dinner up to him.  I drove up in the truck.  I said, "Here is your dinner," and he got off the tractor and said, "Right, you can take it now." I said, "I can't drive it." He said, "You will be right", and showed me the gears and left me to it.  Well I did manage, but that was only the first time I had to drive it.

  As well as doing housework and cooking I had to do all the running about too, and to town for supplies.  The farmers or any who were young enough formed a regiment in each town, I just can't think what they were called.  Every few weeks they would have a training weekend.  I had to move about three hundred sheep from one paddock to the next.  My brother said, "Lass (that's his sheep dog) will do it for you, just show her and give a whistle, she'll do the rest." She just looked at me and went and laid in the shade.  I was so pleased with her, and it was there she stayed all the time Mick was away.

Dan Broderick and Avondale

From Patricia Broderick (February 2007)

Dan Broderick - also known as Danny Boy - was born in Berrigan in 1903. Dad travelled with the family to Avondale in late 1906 - as a three year old boy.

The journey from Berrigan took 12 days - they camped along the way with the dray loaded with belongings. Dad’s father Patrick, scouted the way out front on “the big grey” and would then come back and call the others on. At one stage some of the kids got whooping cough. The wild dogs out in the bush had never heard coughs like that - and in the night when the kids coughed - from out in the bush the dogs would bark back at them - they called in to a pub - O’Briens - near Crookwell - and Patrick asked the owners whether they had anything that might help the kids - The pub couldn‘t help but Mrs O’Brien came out and gave grandfather some garlic and gin she thought might help. - Folk lore says that the kids wouldn’t swallow the gin and when grandfather tried to give some to Frank he made an awful fuss and refused to take it - at which Dan said “oh let the bugger die”. Of course, Dan wouldn’t drink it either - but Mick thought “Father knew what to do with it”.

Grandmother (Mary) travelled by train with the youngest children - it was pre-arranged to meet her in Forbes which they did and they camped the last night at the lagoon and went on to Avondale the next day. When Mary met up with the family at Forbes all she could talk about was “the switchback railway”. The next day they travelled on and reached Avondale - when they saw it “all the kids went mad and they ran all round the place looking at the house - then someone said - we’ll have to give it a name and “mother said - I’ve already got a name for it, - its “Avondale”, and they wrote it on the wall.

The first year at Avondale was a good year - they had a good crop - which gave them a good start. (stripped 14 bags to the acre and these were 4 bushel bags). The property had been bought from George Applett and had been part of Burrawang Station. The original gate into Avondale had been a couple of hundred yards further up the road but then they moved it down to where it is today.

Dad recalled how one day when he was just four years old “the big blokes were down working in the paddocks. “I went down to help them - but they told me I was too little and I was sacked and they sent me back home” he felt pretty hurt so he went into the kitchen and told the girls he was leaving home - Kate packed him some lunch - and he set off outside the home paddock - got as far as the big tree and then sat down and started to eat his sandwiches. After a while his father came out and found him there and sat down quietly on the ground beside him. - Dan asked his father “what are you doing here” and his father told him “they sacked me”. - Dan looked up at his father and said “ oh don’t take any notice of them - they sacked me too but I wouldn’t go” !

On the farm they all worked hard - but they were happy - music was a big part in family life - perhaps passed down from the Keatings - certainly old John Keating (Mary’s father) could sing and play the violin, and Mary Keating (mother) was well known to sing “I have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue” (which as a young girl she had sung to children in her care - the father of these children gave her a beautiful gold brooch in appreciation - she wore this brooch all her life.) - Dan had a most beautiful singing voice and was well known through the city and country often as “Danny Boy” - a true and pure tenor - he took some singing lessons from Nell Dwyer at “Daisy Park“- There were no microphones or recording equipment then - and his voice production was true. With the Irish ancestry his repertoire would include “Galway Bay”, “Macushla”, and his most popular request was to sing “Danny Boy” at gatherings or concerts all through his life.

And so Avondale was the scene of many happy evenings and sing songs around the piano. Relatives who also were in the area - the Dwyers (Auntie Mag was Mary’s sister) from “Daisy Park” - the Connells “Innisfail” - all would come for musical evenings and tennis at “Avondale“. Rita would sing “A Brown Bird Singing”. As well as his beautiful voice Dan could also play the violin - he could just pick it up and play whatever tune by ear. Mick was also a great violinist - he and Dan were in great demand to play Irish jigs - and the visitors had great fun dancing the jigs. Grandma would sit there nodding her head and tapping her foot to the beat. At local dances, Jack Broderick played the violin and Jim McCann played the accordion. - The Dwyers also had great musical talent (Auntie Mag Dwyer was Mary’s sister). In-laws came and added their talents to the family - and the strain has been passed down through the generations.

At those evenings - another person in demand was Paddy D’Arcy. He was a big tall Irish man with a shock of white hair and a white beard - he would recite poetry in a big deep voice - “Paddy McGinty‘s Goat“ was a favourite! - There were great bonds in that pioneering farming community.

It was hot - the old house was lined with paper - and over the doors would be hessian sugar bags to try to keep the heat out - which they would wet to cool the house. The big verandahs round the house tried to shield the sun. Then when it rained the rain would drum down on the tin roof , and there were stories told about who got the most rain - I remember one time Mick on the phone telling someone Avondale had got far more rain than it really had - he knew that bit of information would race around the district via the old telephone party line. (two longs and a short for Avondale)

Steps down outside the back of the house took you into the cellar - where the walls were surrounded with jars of preserved fruit. Cooking was done on the wood fires - hot in the summer - comforting in the winter. There was no electricity. No running water - in the wind the clank of the windmills accompanied the moos of the cows. In drought times water was very scarce. Crows were a worry - they’d go after the eyes of the sheep - the guns sometimes fired shots at the crows - and the foxes. - No telephone, no television - no radio - and great excitement when a visitor would call with news from where they had travelled.

The property had to sustain itself - what was eaten was from there - a sheep would be killed - hung and then butchered. Vegetables were grown in the patch at the back of the house - orange trees in the front.

As a small boy Dan’s job was to milk the cows before he went to school - first he’d have to get them from the bottom paddock and bring them up to the milking shed. - And then he had to walk to school. After school he had to round the cows up again. (Dad was number 12 in the family, he always said he got his first pair of new shoes and first pair of long pants when he was 16). Life on the farm was good but hard - each one of them had their jobs to do. There were no mechanical harvesters for the wheat crops - they used draft horses and it was done by foot - out in the heat of country - water in the canvas water bag. They had to do all the jobs on the farm - if you couldn’t fix things one way - you had to try another - bush ingenuity - a talent which he had all his life. ( He’d wash his overalls and hang them on the line to dry - weighted down with bricks on the legs to keep them straight.) (And he always picked up nails or screws off the road and kept them in jars - so he always seemed to have just the right thing to fix whatever he was mending.)

He recalled how at the little bush school the teacher tried to teach the class poetry - “sweet daffodils we hate to see you fade away so soon” and all the kids would drone it back to her in their deepest monotone voices . - The fun and tenacity of bush kids. - This was early Australia.

Once when looking at rabbit droppings Mick told me how he used to dig his toes in to keep his feet warm. - He was a bit of a philosopher and a loving uncle to all the kids. He’d take us all down and let us help him milk the cows - and give us a ride on the tractor.

Dan was one of the Gunning Gap Aussie Rules team - which won the Premiership in 1923 - also in the team were Mick, Frank, Mart, Pat Connell, Jack, Bill and Matt Dwyer - the family made up half the team. As well as Tom and Jack Darcy, Viv Coombs and Arthur Hodges.

At the bush church at Gunning Gap the bell erected in a tree would summon time for Mass. And after Mass there would be car boot picnics in the Church grounds. The Church had been transported from Calarie (Forbes) in 1909 by voluntary efforts of farmers who made their wagons available - Jack Broderick was one of them.

- Dan grew up on the property to be a young man and farmed the wheat crops, the sheep, the shearing, through the hot summers and the cold winters, - as had his older brothers and sisters - now married and moved on to their own lives. - And then one day a beautiful young lady teacher arrived to teach school at Gunning Gap. She was Alice Newman - and she lived with the Connell family at Innisfail. Dan and Frank went there to visit almost to the first day. Dan knew the first time he ever saw her she wore a blue dress with lace on the cuffs - which she had to keep (and did). And Alice would relate how Dan would ride his horse up to the school and she’d tell him to go away because all the kids were watching. But he wouldn’t go. - She would ride her push bike to school and he would go with her because she was frightened of the spur winged plovers which seemed to dive at her. Alice played the piano and at parties she would accompany Dan on the piano - At his wedding to Alice Dan sang to her “I love you truly”. And the two of them did indeed love each other truly all their lives.

Dan’s father Patrick died six weeks before Dan and Alice were married in 1933 in Sydney. For a while Dan and Al farmed at Yenda - but times were tough - there were mice - there was drought - and a wheat bag cost 1/6d and you’d get 1/- for the wheat. They had no backing - so they left the farm and Yenda - for Sydney.

Dan was a gentle, wise and beautiful person with a delightful sense of humour - a very imaginative way with words - changing, rhyming, very funny, catchy and memorable. . He had a great love of all his family . - He had a wry grin and a quick wit - a trait in many of the Brodericks. Throughout his life Dan inspired many young people - a legacy of the wonderful pioneering families he descended from.

(One thing I remember about going to Avondale was that they always had time for kids. I remember going for rides on “Starlight“ the horse, milking “Jenny“ the cow, helping with the separator - then afterwards licking the plates clean of cream. The giant loaves of country bread. The sound of the windmill - particularly in the wind, sneaking down the cellar if the door was open, creeping out the gate to go to the bush dunny and watching out for the cows. (Pat Broderick remembers being chased to the dunny by the pet ram which thumped its head against the door just as Paddy scampered safely inside). Being taken in to bed at night by the light of a candle. Going for rides in the sulky to gather mushrooms. Rides on the tractor. The pepper tree at the front gate. The excitement of reaching the farm in the old green Chev (BU 280). Lassie the dog rounding up the sheep. And the fun we had with Rita, Mick and Grandma - who would playfully chase us with her walking stick - but on parting always gave the kids two shillings .)