Something in my gut tells me Bridget Brady was no wilting flower. I have a range of documents about my great great grandmother I want to reveal, over time. She ran the Shannon Hotel in Kilmore and her profession was listed on her death certificate as “Licensed Victualler”, or in more modern language, a “Licensed Publican”.

So, today, on Valentine’s Day, I’m paying homage to Bridget and the women on the Australian Goldfields. They mined and owned businesses and across a huge number of professions and commercial activities. Sometimes as wives to miners, sometimes as individuals, but all of them represent a significant part of the gold rush economy.

She fought for her possessions after her late husbands will was contested at this highest court in Victoria. I have some interesting police documents from her time running the Shannon Hotel. She also was pregnant with her first child Mary Jane on the long journey from Liverpool in the United Kingdom to colonial Australia in 1863 as a new bride. As you can imagine, running a goldfields pub would have been a difficult thing to do, but reading these documents I can’t help but imagine her taking it all in her stride.

As for the location of the Shannon Hotel in Kilmore, I can’t find an exact reference. This is one of the things I hope to rectify when I visit Kilmore Historical Society.

Check out academic Dr. Clare Wright talking about women like Bridget and their contribution to goldfields life. Closed captions available.

Video Copyright Sovereign Hill Museums Association

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