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Alternative title: Australian Reminiscences
Issue Details: First known date: 1907... 1907 Reminiscences of the Gold Fields and Elsewhere in New South Wales, Covering a Period of Forty-Eight Years' Service as an Officer of Police
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  • Portrait photograph with caption: 'Martin Brennan, Ex Senior Superintendent

    Has dedication: These reminiscences of many years in New South Wales are dedicated to my dear daughter, Sarah Octavia Brennan, M. A., B. Sc., who encouraged me to place on record some stories of my adventures in the land of her birth, which she intensely loves. Martin Brennan, Ex Senior Superintendent of Police.'

    Preface by Martin Brennan, pp. 5 - 7


* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,:William Brooks , 1907 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Mrs Lambert's Misfortunes : A Sensational Gold Fields Experience in New South Wales, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography

Brennan relates the sad tale of Elisha Goldstein, a beautiful woman who travelled to Australia following what she believed was a betrayal by her fiancé. While visiting the Major's Creek goldfield she meets and weds Rufus Lambert, only to discover herself trapped in an abusive and bigamous marriage. Although Brennan tries to help her he is unable to prevent her tragic end.

(p. 11 - 34)
Captain Morrison's Adventures, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan provides a vivid description of the Araluen goldfield, so rich that it was called 'The Happy Valley', at one stage supporting 110 hotels. The publicans' spirits had to be transported down the steep mountainsides on slides. Following an accident in which a slide broke loose and demolished a miner's cottage, Brennan encounters the occupant, Lionel Rochester, ex British Army in India, who collects snakes, has had two narrow escapes from death that morning, and is in need of a wife. Brennan attempts to assist him in his marital quest and, in the process, reveals a strange tale.
(p. 35 - 53)
The Faithful Young Widow, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography

While travelling by ship to Sydney, Brennan meets George Greenland, who is also planning to join the police force. Dorothea, the woman he loves, has travelled to Australia ahead of him. However, he discovers she has apparently broken her promise to him and married another man. Broken-hearted, Greenland falls ill and dies. After his death Dorothea arrives at the hotel and Greenland's fatal mistake is revealed. Brennan finishes this piece with an account of his experiences at Araluen in 1868. He also meets Dorothea again. She has remained faithful to her promise to Greenland and regards herself as his widow. Dorothea is the means by which Brennan unmasks a clever imposter.

(p. 54 - 70)
The Inspiration of Carl Sleichman : A Gold Fields Experience, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography

After being revived from a drunken stupor, former criminal Carl Sleichman is convinced he has been returned from the dead and is destined to become a prophet. He teams up with a local religious fanatic, Rasch, and begins preaching. However, his blasphemous doctrines outrage the local populace. A Catholic priest takes over the service and afterwards Sleichman and Rasch discuss religious doctrine with him, declaring themselves convinced they were wrong. Unbeknownst to them they are also the means of restoring a child to her parents.

(p. 71 - 97)
William Quintilianus McCombe, M. A., : A Famous Teacher in a Golden Age, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan outlines the establishment of public and denominational education in Australia. Teachers often come from overseas, particularly Britain. One of these is William Quintilianus McCombe, who arrives with letters of introduction from Trinity College, Ireland, in the 1860s. His success arouses some rivalry from other teachers in the district, but when they visit his school he explains his teaching methods to them in detail and they acknowledge his worth.
(p. 98 - 121)
Dora Doran and the Mysterious King, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan relates the story of Dora Doran, who leaves her parents in the 1850s to migrate to Australia. She obtains a position on the goldfields, where she is well-respected. One morning she is returning from an errand when she meets a mysterious figure who claims to be her 'guardian King'. Various adventures befall her, but in the end her piety is rewarded, much to Brennan's approval.
(p. 122 - 146)
The Adventures of Doctor Keatinge, the Notorious Imposter and Mountebank, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan relates the activities of Crouch, a well-educated and plausible imposter, who impersonated Church dignitaries and clergymen in Britain, Europe, the Middle East, and America. He lived in Australia from 1861 to 1865, during which time he continued his fraudulent activities. After being unmasked in Ireland he returned to Australia in 1888 where he continued his impersonation until convicted of sexual assault on a child in 1891. He died in Darlinghurst Gaol shortly after his conviction.
(p. 147 - 172)
The Vagaries of Truth Seeking Spiritualists, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
While stationed in a large, unnamed, New South Wales country town Brennan encounters spiritualists. He disapproves of their activities but is unable to do anything to stop them, until events reveal the falsity of their claims.
(p. 173 - 191)
Characteristics of the Australian Aborigines : Their Treatment Past and Present, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography

Brennan theorises on the racial origins of Aboriginal Australians and outlines European contact by Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships in the 1600s, including the wreck of the Batavia in 1628. He deplores the brutal and unjustifiable treatment of the indigenous peoples following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, and relates a series of massacres that occurred from Tasmania to Queensland. Brennan had extensive contact with Aborigines and learnt several dialects. He vigorously defends Aboriginal people against the derogatory claims made about them and their culture by early writers, and was active in petitioning for land for an Aboriginal family group who came to him for assistance.

(p. 192 - 220)
Memorable Episodes in the Official Career of a New South Wales Police Officer, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan relates anecdotes about the characters and events he encountered while stationed in Moruya, where he was in charge of the Gulph gold escort. In his opinion many promotions resulting from the re-organisation of the New South Wales police force in 1862 were based on nepotism and resulted in police officers being appointed to positions they were unsuited to. One of these is the new commander of the district, Sub-Inspector Limbo, an ex-navy officer who has a high opinion of his abilities as an historian, fancies himself a gifted inventor, and claims an extensive knowledge of criminals and the law. However, his efforts to conduct policing activities in the district are sadly inept and farcical.
(p. 221 - 248)
A Woman's Revenge, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
A bitter rivalry breaks out when a female servant and her station hand husband take out a selection on their employer's cattle station. The woman, Mrs Minto, concocts a terrible story against Martia, the cattle station owner's daughter, who has married against her parents' wishes and moved out of the district, and her sister Athenia. The sisters are acquitted in the subsequent trial, but Brennan is led to ponder the inadequacies of some medical witnesses and the sometimes unjustified faith placed in their testimony.
(p. 249 - 266)
The Adventures of a New South Wales Sable Princess, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan gives a detailed eyewitness account of a corroboree held by a group he names as the Borrogorang tribe, whose lands extended from the Hawkesbury River to Cape Howe. Following the ceremony the chief's daughter, Mudra, is married to an African American, Tom Britt. Their daughter, Millie Francis Britt, spurns her Aboriginal admirer, Boomerang Whittaker, and instead marries ticket-of-leave holder Tom Simmons, an apparently reformed and devout man. After Millie is abducted by Boomerang and subseqently rescued the couple move to the Victorian goldfields, only returning to Goulburn when they learn of Boomerang's death. Once back in Goulburn Simmons's true nature is revealed and a broken-hearted Millie leaves him to follow her own path, eventually making a happy second marriage. Throughout her adventures Millie's initiative, goodness, skills and prowess sustain her, but she ends her days in hardship following the death of her second husband. Brennan sees her fate as an indictment of so-called civilisation.
(p. 267 - 286)
Incidents of Official Administration in the Early Days, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan decries the harshness of the law in early New South Wales and gives a number of examples, including the story of Joseph Samuels, who was sentenced to hang in 1824 for stealing a sum of money, but was reprieved after the rope broke three times. The discovery of gold led to the establishment of the gold police, about whom Brennan has little good to say, particularly a blatantly corrupt pair, Sergeant Nipper and Trooper Stork. Their reign ended when the gold police were taken over by the mounted police, to which Brennan belonged.
(p. 287 - 311)
The Washpin Murder : A Thrilling Psychological Adventure, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
When a shepherd, Jeremiah McCarthy, is found brutally murdered in his hut on the Murrumbidgee River at Yeumbra, Brennan is part of the investigating team. Brennan describes the investigation that followed and the subsequent trial and conviction of the murderer, ex-convict Tom Robinson, known as 'Mad Tom the Soldier'.
(p. 312 - 328)
The Reverend Charles Badham, D. D. : A Former Professor of Classics and Logic, Sydney University, Martin Brennan , 1907 single work autobiography
Brennan pays tribute to the achievements of the Reverend Charles Badham. While Professor of Classics at Sydney University, Badham established language courses in Greek, Latin, German and French which people could study by correspondence and which he ran free of charge. Brennan was his first pupil in Latin under this scheme. Professor Badham did much to widen access to tertiary education, including introducing evening courses and facilitating the admission of women to Sydney University.
(p. 329 - 340)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 5 Aug 2010 10:25:54
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