About Us

Cragg Braye & Thornton has been serving the Hunter Valley for over 100 years. Our highly qualified and experienced team take pride in providing their valued clients with the highest professional service. Cragg Braye & Thornton was established over 100 years ago as WJ Cragg and has served the community of Singleton and the wider Hunter Valley continuously since that time, offering tailored service in all areas of law.

We now have offices in both Singleton and Newcastle and associated conveyancing and mortgage broking businesses:

We have been here for over 100 years and plan to be serving the community for 100 more.


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Our Team

Brian Thornton

About Brian:

Brian is the Principal Solicitor of Cragg Braye & Thornton and has over 30 years’ experience as a legal practitioner. Brian is also a Notary Public and a mortgage broker with Choice Home Loans. Before Cragg Braye & Thornton, Brian began his legal career as a clerk for Reed, Hannigan & Turner before being admitted to the Supreme Court in 1984.

What he does:

Brian primarily practices in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Law and Litigation. Brian acts for a variety of clients including individuals, small and large business owners, trustees and companies.

Brian represents clients in family law disputes including divorce, property settlements and matters involving children. He regularly appears in the Federal Court and Family Court for family matters.

Brian also has vast experience in the civil and criminal Courts and Tribunals. He has experience across all disputes ranging from crime, employment, debt recovery, negligence, insurance, personal injury, disputed estates, tenancy and property.

When he’s not at Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Brian is a registered pilot and has performed numerous missions for AngelFlight over the years. When he isn’t up in the air, this foodie can be spotted at one of the Hunter’s many restaurants and vineyards. As he often reminds the rest of the team, “Life is too short to drink bad wine”.


  • Diploma in Law – Solicitor’s Admission Board Sydney, 1984
  • Admittance to Supreme Court of NSW 1984
  • Admittance to High Court of Australia 1985
  • Entrance to the Family Law Section – Law Council of Australia, 1986
  • Membership – Australian Institute of Family Court Arbitrators & Mediators, 1992
  • Graduate Diploma in Taxation Studies – University of New South Wales, 1997
  • Fellow – Taxation Institute of Australia, 1997
  • Admittance to Supreme Court of QLD 2004
  • Notary Public Certification – Legal Professions Admission Board, 2005
  • Certificate IV in Property Services – TAFE NSW, 2006
  • Real Estate License – NSW Department of Fair Trading, 2006
  • Graduate Diploma in Business Administration – University of Newcastle, 2010
  • Master in Business Administration – University of Newcastle, 2012
  • Certificate IV in Financial Services – National Finance Institute, 2015
  • Diploma in Financial Studies – National Finance Institute, 2016
  • WIRO approved legal practitioner – WorkCover Independent Review Office, 2016


Emily Thorn

About Emily:

Emily is an associate solicitor with Cragg Braye & Thornton after joining the firm in 2015.

Before Cragg Braye & Thornton, Emily has worked in the legal industry for 10 years (she started young!) beginning with her home town of Junee, NSW. Since then, Emily has completed her degrees in Law and Arts at the University of Wollongong before joining the team at Cragg Braye & Thornton.

What she does:

Emily practices in the areas of property law, succession planning and estate administration.

Emily provides advice on transfer of residential, commercial and rural property for home buyers, business owners, investors and farmers. She also acts for small business clients in employment law and debt recovery matters.

When she’s not at Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Emily is the coordinator for the Upper Hunter Showgirl competition and is always on the lookout for young women passionate about advocating the issues affecting regional and rural NSW. She enjoys weekends spent with her husband, renovating their historic home.


  • BA (History)/LLB – University of Wollongong, 2014
  • Grad Dip Legal Practice – University of New South Wales, 2015
  • Admittance to Supreme Court of NSW 2015


  • Upper Hunter Show Society
  • Agricultural Societies Council Next Generation
  • Royal Agricultural Society Alumni
  • UOW Alumni
  • Golden Key International Society

Ellen Ledger

About Ellen:

Ellen is Cragg Braye & Thornton’s receptionist and law clerk.

Before Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Ellen has previously worked in administration at a local accounting firm. She is currently studying Development Studies at the University of Newcastle and has recently returned to Cragg Braye & Thornton after a six-month exchange in Norway.

What she does:

What doesn’t she do? Ellen’s organisational skills are legendary and are often unleashed on Brian’s office when she isn’t busy organising the rest of us. A jack-of-all-trades, Ellen assists in all matters, particularly family law, criminal law and commercial law.

When she isn't at Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Ellen is busy studying to complete her degree, and is also learning French. When she has spare time, she spends it with her beloved dog, Larry, her cat, Cheesecake, and her friends and family.


  • High School Certificate – Saint Catherine’s Catholic College, 2013
  • Bachelor of Development Studies – University of Newcastle (to graduate 2017)


  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Oslo

Kerry Clarke

About Kerry:

Kerry is Cragg Braye & Thornton’s conveyancing clerk. With over 30 years’ experience, she has extensive knowledge of conveyancing practice and procedure.

Before Cragg Braye & Thornton, Kerry began her career as a clerk in the Upper Hunter with a local firm in 1987. She has continued working in both conveyancing and the local area since that time.

What she does:

Kerry carries out all transactional work involved in conveyancing matters. Kerry provides regular updates to our clients, agents and their banks while their matter progresses, and makes all arrangements for settlements.

When she’s not at Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Kerry and her husband can be found traversing the globe in their spare time, showing their champion dogs. When she’s at home, Kerry enjoys cooking and spending time with family and friends.


  • Justice of Peace – NSW Attorney General & Justice Office
  • Completion of Paralegal Secretarial Studies – International Career Institute


  • Doxhoont Kennels
  • Associated with Kennel Clubs

Cynthia Codrington

About Cynthia:

Cynthia works part-time as our abacus.

Before Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Cynthia has acted as an in-house accounts manager for many local businesses.

What she does:

Cynthia is Cragg Braye & Thornton’s accounts manager. She also assists with some commercial law matters, including debt recovery.

When she's not at Cragg Braye & Thornton:

Cynthia often speeds past us on her way to respond to bushfires as a crew leader of the Darlington Rural Fire Service brigade. Outside of fire season, Cynthia is often travelling with her husband around Australia.


  • Bachelor of Business – University of Technology Sydney, 1981


  • NSW Rural Fire Service