Waddy, Richard – Ensign
Authority over Berrima’s convict contingent, and the men who guarded them, initially lay with twenty-one-year-old Ensign Richard Waddy. Waddy had arrived in the colony in 1834 in charge of the convicts on the Hive and had arrived in Berrima in January 1835 with twenty-five men and one sergeant from the 50th Regiment of Foot.
As was usual at the time in the remoter areas, the senior military man also acted as police magistrate, an all-encompassing role which extended over the civilian population. All juries in the early days of the colony were made up of military men and even when civilians were allowed to perform this role, the person being tried could still select a military jury.
In the role of magistrate Waddy was also provided with a constable and a scourger, to wield the whip. Richard Waddy is recorded as writing to the colonial secretary on 29 July 1835 requesting documents to enable him to carry out his duties as magistrate. Waddy was probably one of the more able of the officers, of privileged birth, born in Wexford County in 1815. As such he was probably not unfamiliar with the civil responsibilities that came with authority.
Waddy left a description which provides a good insight to his tasks and of the progress on building in Berrima. His initial efforts in 1835 would seem to have been with constructing the bridge and managing the ironed gang who at that time were working at Medway Creek some five miles south of Berrima. He notes that cooks and wardsmen had to take dinner out to them food. He said when explosives arrived he could set the men to open a quarry.
Waddy’s stay in Berrima was brief: he joined the mounted police in Maitland later in 1835 and the mounted police in Goulburn in 1836 where he remained until 1840 resigning after an unpleasant letter from Governor Gipps. In 1840 he married Ann Elizabeth Cordeaux, whose father was one of the colony’s wealthiest men. Cordeaux’s home was at Leppington south of Liverpool but who also owned a substantial acreage north of Berrima district.
He subsequently went on to have an outstanding military career rising to the rank of Colonel of the 63rd Regiment of Foot. General Sir Richard Waddy died in Dublin (Ireland) in 1881 at the age of 67.