Asylum Staff Cricket Team

James Neilson BRADLEY (1868–1943)
James BRADLEY was born in Sandhurst (Bendigo), one of seven children of William BRADLEY and Jane NEILSON. In 1892 he married Ida Emily SCOPES and they had three children, all born in Beechworth. He had a short spell working as a clerk in Melbourne before being appointed Manager of Beechworth asylum in 1911, a position he held until 1918 when he moved to Melbourne to work at the Mont Park asylum. He died in Ivanhoe, a northern suburb of Melbourne.
While in Beechworth, James BRADLEY was heavily involved in community activities. He was Vice-President of the Asylum cricket club, Vice-President of the Alpine tennis club formed at the asylum in 1912, and in 1915 he was elected to the committee of the Beechworth Bowling Club. He was on the council of the Beechworth Technical School, he worked to encourage men to enlist to serve in World War 1 and was Secretary of a group collecting clothing to support the war effort.

Victor Townsend BRADLEY (1897–1955)
Victor BRADLEY was the youngest child of James BRADLEY. He was born in Beechworth and the family would have lived in the manager’s house within the asylum grounds. It is not known whether he worked in a junior position at the asylum, but by 1919 he was living at Middle Park in Melbourne and working as a clerk. In 1921 he married Lilian Agnes STANLEY, but it is not known whether they had children. He lived in Melbourne for the rest of his life, mostly in West Brunswick. At the time of his death, he was described as a bank manager.
Victor BRADLEY was an important member of the Asylum cricket team in 1912–13 and 1913–14, when it won the Beechworth Cricket Association championship. He was selected to play in a Beechworth Cricket Association team in 1914. He also enjoyed tennis and played for the Alpine tennis club.

Daniel Albert GALLIVAN (1894–1917)
Daniel Albert Gallivan was a young Londoner who emigrated to Australia in his late teens. He found work at the Hospital for the Insane in Beechworth, a former goldrush town in remote northeast Victoria. In 1915 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was killed in action in Belgium in 1917. This is his story.

Daniel Gallivan was born in Camberwell, south London, on 9th January 1894. His father, also called Daniel, was an Irishman employed as a Station Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police, and his mother, Elizabeth, was a Londoner. There were also four daughters in the family, Ethel, Mary, Margaret and Martha. At the time of the 1911 Census Daniel was living at home and working as a telegraph messenger for the General Post Office, but soon after he left England for Australia. By December 1912, he was living in Beechworth and working as a clerk/porter at the Hospital for the Insane. There were few treatments available for mental illness at the time, and asylums could do little more than provide care, occupation and amusement for patients. Staff with talents on the sporting field or in cultural pursuits were much sought after.

Daniel was a keen cricketer and he played in the ‘Asylum’ cricket team. There was a cricket pitch and pavilion in the grounds of the asylum and staff were encouraged to take part in various sporting pursuits. The ‘Asylum’ cricket team played in the district competition and were district champions in 1912–1913. Matches were reported each week in the local newspaper, the Ovens and Murray Advertiser.

Daniel batted down the order but took several catches, suggesting he may have been a wicketkeeper. Concerts were held regularly, and Daniel was a percussionist in the hospital orchestra. He also joined other staff in at least one fancy dress ball and performed in a comedy skit as a fundraiser for the local church. These events were usually open to the public and were reported in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, allowing staff to become known and appreciated by the Beechworth community.

In 1915, along with others from the cricket team, Daniel Gallivan joined the Beechworth Rifle Club. No doubt he could see what lay ahead and wanted to be ready to serve his country. Daniel enlisted to serve in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 9th May 1915. He was described as being 5ft 7 ins tall (170 cm), weighing 142 lbs (65 kg) with dark hair and complexion and blue eyes. He stated he was Roman Catholic and named his mother, Elizabeth Gallivan, 74 Kenlor Road, Tooting, England, as his next-of-kin. In line with Army practice, this was altered to his father, Daniel Gallivan, and a new address was added later, 102 Crowborough Road, Mitcham Road, Tooting, London S.W.17, England. Daniel joined D Company, 5th Infantry Brigade, 19th Infantry Battalion, AIF, with service number 1414.

After a brief period of training, Daniel Gallivan embarked on His Majesty’s Australian Transport A40 Ceramic, a former liner, and sailed for Gallipoli on 25 June 1915, where he served until early 1916, when he was sent to France. His Army records show details of illness including boils, rheumatism and a sprained ankle, but no details of his death, simply stating ‘Killed in Action. Belgium. 7.10.17’.

In his Will, Daniel left his possessions and savings to his mother in England, but he may have left a sweetheart in Australia. In his Army file is a letter dated 8th March 1918 from Mr H A Frewin, of 53 Albert Street, Newcastle, New South Wales, stating that his daughter, Elsie May, had been in constant communication with Daniel since his enlistment, but had received no letters since September 1917 and had heard from a private source that Daniel had been killed. On behalf of his daughter, Mr Frewin was seeking official confirmation of Daniel’s death. There was no evidence of an official reply in Daniel’s file.

Daniel Gallivan was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and British War Medal. Army records show that his father was sent a pamphlet Where the Australians Rest and in 1922 a Memorial Plaque and Scroll were sent to his mother, who sadly had died in 1920. Daniel Gallivan is commemorated on Panel 23 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and on Panel 88 in the Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia. He was the only member of the victorious ‘Asylum’ cricket team killed in action.

[This biography was compiled from publicly available sources by Dr Eileen Clark.
Full references can be obtained from her at]

Bryan MULLINS (1880–1946)
Bryan MULLINS was born in Beechworth to Bernard MULLINS and Jane OWENS. He was one of six children. In 1903 he married Amy Elizabeth COLE and in 1904 they had twin girls, Una Mary and Olive Ethel. Bryan worked in Beechworth at the tannery and in 1908 he joined the staff of the asylum, working as an attendant and providing day-to-day care to the male patients. In 1915 he was transferred to the Ararat asylum, and he was moved again in 1919 to Kew asylum in Melbourne, where he remained for the rest of his working life. He died in Kew and was buried in the Box Hill Cemetery.
He was the secretary of the Asylum cricket club in 1913–14 and played in seasons 1912–13 and 1913–14. He was a member of the ANA Friendly Society and took part in their regular card evenings against other Lodges.

James Henry SEMMENS (1885–1963)
James SEMMENS was born in Bealiba, Central Victoria to Peter SEMMENS and Elizabeth STEPHENS. The family moved to Silver Creek, near Beechworth, and in 1910 James joined the asylum staff as an attendant. He married a nurse, Jessie McLEAN, in 1911 and they had three children. In 1915 he was transferred to Melbourne, working in different asylums until being made chief attendant at the Repatriation Mental Hospital in Bundoora. On his retirement, he moved to Bethanga in north-east Victoria, and he died in Albury, NSW, in 1963.
James SEMMENS enlisted in the AIF in 1918, joining the 6th Battalion with service number 61213. He served in France before returning to Australia in 1919.
While in Beechworth, James SEMMENS played a few matches for the Asylum cricket team. He was a member of the Rechabite Lodge and played in their regular card evenings against other Lodges.

Richard John SEMMENS (1889–1975)
Richard SEMMENS was the younger brother of James. He was born in Brunswick in Melbourne and joined the Beechworth asylum staff as an attendant in about 1910. Like his brother, he married a nurse, Linda ELLIS, in 1911 and they had five children. Richard enlisted in the AIF in 1915, joining the 1st Remount Unit, No. 2 Squadron, service number 448. He served in Egypt and returned to Australia in 1918, resuming duties at the Beechworth asylum. In the early 1940s he was moved to Ararat to become Head Attendant at the Mental Hospital. He remained in Ararat after his retirement and was buried in Ararat Cemetery.
Richard played in several cricket matches for the Asylum team between 1911 and 1914. He was a member of the Fire Brigade and the Rechabite Lodge, and after the War he served on the Board of the Ovens and Murray Home for the Aged in Beechworth.

Henry Tidyman THOMPSON (1872–1857)
Henry THOMPSON was born in Beechworth to Walker THOMPSON and Mary TIDYMAN. By 1909, he was working as an attendant at the asylum and in that year, he married a nurse, Hilda TIVENDALE. They had three children. In 1922, Henry became a storeman at the Beechworth asylum, and in 1928, transferred to a similar position at Kew asylum in Melbourne. He died in Beaumaris in 1957 and was buried in the Cheltenham cemetery.
Henry THOMPSON was an all-round sportsman. He was Captain of the Asylum cricket team for several years, Secretary of the club in 1912–13, and in 1911 was elected President of the newly formed Beechworth Cricket Association. He served with the Beechworth Fire Brigade until 1910, and in that year also he was presented with a gold medal to mark his 22 years as a player with the Beechworth Football Club. He joined the Beechworth Bowling Club in 1915.

Beechworth Psychiatric Hospital Cricket XI Team, Beechworth, Victoria, 1913
Museums Victoria Collections

Written by Dr Eileen Clark, Adjunct Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University.
See Eileen’s full bio here

Further research on the Beechworth Cricket team:
Citation: Clark, Eileen, Munday, J & Watts, A. 2021. Cricket and the Beechworth Asylum, 1910–1915: A Collective Biography. Journal of Sociology.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap