You are currently viewing Prostitution, stabbing, tuberculosis for housewife
The ‘gold-ribbed hills of the Thames’ - in the early mining days. Photo: SUPPLIED

Prostitution, stabbing, tuberculosis for housewife

As part of a Valley Profile series, MEGHAN HAWKES explores our local history by seeking out stories of life and death in the Thames Valley.

Charlotte Thrupp’s desperate descent into prostitution after her husband Jonathon’s drowning had seen her nearly lose her children, but two years later she married again – this time to George Brady, a bushman, of Whangamatā.
They had two sons, one of whom died at two days old at Tairua. But George Brady was no Jonathon Thrupp who worked in mines, then after injury tried a new enterprise with the purchase of a boat to provide for his family. Charlotte was now battle hardened by life and the marriage was stormy.
Within a few months, George was charged with assaulting Charlotte in Willoughby St, Thames. They had quarrelled a day or two before as they did frequently when he got drink in him. George, who worked away in the bush, had received two money orders which he sent to his wife.
Charlotte, he said, cashed these then went around town telling people he had never gave her any money. She approached public houses and told them not to give him drink when she had been doing nothing but drink herself. She had accused him with going with another woman, which was not true, whereas he could prove she was an indifferent wife.
Charlotte asked for a separation order. The assault charge was dismissed, His Worship remarking there appeared to be faults on both sides. But there was no separation and the Bradys moved to Auckland where in 1886 they again landed in court.
While George was angrily breaking cups in the passage of their house, one of the children tried to intervene and a chase ensued. After Charlotte got her child back into the house, George stabbed her in the shoulder. When arrested, George stated he had been cutting tobacco with the knife, and that the conduct of his wife would aggravate a man to do anything.

The stab wound was not serious and Charlotte said she did not wish to press charges, as she had a bad temper as well and no doubt she gave him the provocation. She did not think he had done it intentionally. She was as much to blame as he was.
George was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour, and afterwards bound to keep the peace for six months. But by then the lethal disease of tuberculosis had both George and Charlotte in its grip and within eight months of sentencing, George Brady was dead.  
Charlotte entered into a relationship with Patrick Coyle but she also died from TB two years later in 1888 and was buried in the old Papakura cemetery. The four children who were 13 and under were placed in an orphanage. The search for Thames gold had inadvertently set in motion a series of dire events which derailed the lives of Charlotte and her children. Thomas (Jonathon) Thrupp, James Benney and George De Thierry are all buried at Shortland cemetery, Thames.