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It's Doherty and I'm Free

Charles 'Massa' Doherty (1866-1930)

The swarthy ‘Massa’ Doherty, the head of his clan, was, like all the Port Davey Dohertys, renowned for a prodigious memory. Though uneducated and illiterate, it is said that no man knew more about the rivers, every aspect of their geography, history, flora and fauna, than he. Doherty was the one bushman who even the great Barnes Abel would ‘take his hat off to’.
- Richard Flanagan, from A Terrible Beauty (1985)
Massa Doherty was the 5th son born to Tom and Agnes Doherty. It has been quoted that, given the dimensions of a log, he could immediately give its super foot content, learned from a ‘ready reckoner’ that had been read to him.

Massa Doherty in company with Charlie Abel discovered the Gordon Splits in about 1925.  Until then it had been thought that the river ran underground.
Massa Doherty in company with Charlie Abel discovered the Gordon Splits in about 1925. Until then it had been thought that the river ran underground.

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