Thomas Rowley

Bones in the Belfry home page

Parents : George Rowley and Elizabeth Friend (70%)   (includes discussion of the evidence of Thomas' origins in England)

Thomas Rowley (b 1747 Kingston on Thames Surrey, m Elizabeth Eyre, 1775 London. d 1806 Kingston House, Newtown).   (60%?)
                                                                                        m Elizabeth Selwyn,  <<<< see separate webpage
Elizabeth Eyre died on the voyage out on the Pitt, probably 1791
    children by Elizabeth Selwyn   
    Isabella Rowley (b 1792 Sydney Cove, m William (Lieut) Ellison 1807 Sydney Cove, d 1808 Sydney)
    Thomas Rowley II (b 1794 Sydney NSW, m Catherine Clarkson 1818 Christ Church, Castlereagh, d 1858 Minto).
        John Rowley (b 1822 Minto NSW, m Mary Jane (Jane) Onslow 1846 Liverpool, d 1909 Pertersham)
            John Clarkson Rowley (b 1847 Liverpool, NSW, m Sarah Jane Smart 1874 Beechworth Vic, d 1928 Bethanga)
                   Joseph Smart Rowley (b 1875 Yackandandah Vic, m Eircell Broome 1909 Albury NSW, d 1957 Bethanga)
                                                                                                   m Avis Sirl 1922 Albury
    John Rowley (b 1797 Sydney Cove, m Sarah Pear 1819 St John's, Paramatta, d 1873 Scone NSW)        <-  Not direct ancestor, but an explorer of interest. See portrait at bottom of page
    Mary Rowley (b 1800 Kingston House Newtown, NSW, m John Lucas 1817,  d 1869 Nunima, NSW)
    Eliza Rowley (b 1804 Kingston House, m Henry Sparrow Briggs 1826 St Johns, Paramatta, d  1882 Kingston)
    Other possible children :  Mary Mickle/Muckle  Henry Rowley

Important  Update to the Thomas story   -  Link
    Evidence Eliza was Simeon Lord's Child

    The definitive work on Thomas Rowley was published in 1981 - A Cameo of Thomas Rowley, by Ian Ramage. Sadly Ian passed away in August 2007. He was a historian, whose interest was sparked by the fact that his wife Nancy was a descendant of Thomas. His "Cameo" remains the definitive work on the life of Thomas Rowley. This page collects information that has turned up since, and quotes some selections from  Ian's Cameo  The full text (200pps) is available as a PDF.  I cannot express too highly my appreciation of Ian's work. His facts have endured, and his uncertainties still remain uncertanties thirty years later. He sparked an enduring interest in family history (I am also a Thomas Descendamt). I have come across few forebears as interesting as Thomas Rowley, except perhaps the rogue Thomas Clarkson, whose daughter married Thomas Rowley' son. Thank you Ian. I hope your work can be appreciated by a new generation via the web
Link to article about the Ian Ramage Memorial
       Les Rowley

    In 1789 Thomas Rowley was appointed as Adjuntnt by Francis Grose when Francis was tasked with raising the New South Wales Corps (also known as The Rum Corps.). Thomas arrived in Sydney on the Pitt in 1792. He served as Acting Commandant of Norfolk Island, and was one of the half dozen farmers who established Merino sheep in Australia. He had five children by Elizabeth Selwyn, a convict who also arrived on the Pitt in 1792. Thomas was in his forties when he arrived in Sydney, and died in 1806. He and his descendants were prominent members of Sydney society of the day.
Internal Links     Chronology    The Pitt and a Wife    A Marriage?    John Gray Artlcle    Children    Norfolk Island    Farmer    Merchant and Simeon Lord    Endings    Scuttlebutt    References  

Although this painting, which is hung at the Women's Pioneer Society in Sydney, is supposed to be Thomas Rowley, there is a doubt. The uniform he is wearing is a naval uniform not an army uniform, and was not designed until after his death. However, there is a remarkable family likeness to some descendants. (Comment by John Gray).

    The last contact I had with John Gray was 2007, but I am sure he would be intersted in the following email from Ric Lucas in August 2021
    On your page you suggest there is a doubt about the portrait of Captain Thomas Rowley, because he is wearing a naval uniform.
The painting is a portrait miniature, and is held by the Women Pioneers Society of Australia.  That would explain the brass plate naming him at the foot of the portrait, which you can see in photographs online.
Most soldiers in early NSW were redcoats, which has led to speculation that the portrait is not of Rowley, but perhaps of his famous namesake, Admiral Rowley, RN and that his blue uniform is a naval uniform of the 1740s.  I have always doubted this, because it seemed an odd mistake by the original owner of the miniature, not to mention the Australian who donated it to the Women Pioneers.
So I researched British military uniforms.  I discovered that after Captain Rowley resigned from the redcoat NSW Corps, he was appointed in 1800 by Hunter as Captain of the Sydney company of the Loyal Volunteers.  This militia was re-established in 1801 by Governor King in fear of foreign incursions and Irish rebellion.  The Parramatta company was involved in suppressing the vinegar hill revolt by Irish convicts in March 1804. Later Rowley was promoted to be Captain Commandant of the entire force.  And guess what!  They wore blue jackets.
The evidence for this lies in contemporary art depicting the battle of Vinegar Hill, and in this rather wonderful doggerel from the Sydney Gazette of 8 April 1804.
It would not be surprising if the blue jackets used by the Loyal Volunteers were not surplus naval jackets from the government’s stores.
    The mass of blue jackets behind the line of redcoats must be the members of the Loyal Association who assisted in suppressing the rebels at Vinegar Hill.
The doggerel Ric refers to can be found in Ian Ramage's Cameo section 13-14. Ric also supplied a photo of the original doggerel from the Sydney Gazette and an image of the painting depicting the battle of Vinegar Hill,

Chronology (extracted from a document by Bob Venn)

1789    Major Francis Grose organises the appointment of "Adjutan" to serve under Grose, for "Gentleman" Thomas Rowley
            Grose receives official warrant to raise the NSW Corps. Recruits to be between 16 & 30 years of age.
            Grose was 32, Thomas might have been the eldest at 42.
.           Under instruction from Grose, Thomas is instrumental  in despatching 2nd, 3rd and 4th fleets to NSW
1790    2nd Fleet arrives NSW. Elizabeth Selwyn steals 34/-, clothing from employer
1791    Elizabeth (22 years old) sentenced to transportation for 7 years. 3rd fleet arrives in NSW.
            Thomas has been working at Chatham Barracks, promoted to Lieut Adjutant..
1792    14 Feb Thomas and Elizabeth arrive Sydney on the Pitt as part of the 4th Fleet
            19 Nov Birth of first child Isabella (9 months and 4 days after the Pitts arrival)
            10 Dec Capt Arthur Phillip returns to England, replaced by Grose
1793     "Hope" arrives Sydney - all cargo including 7,500 gallons of rum purchased by NSW Corps - which from then on also known as the Rum Corps
            Thomas purchases 2 acre land lease Sydney Town, cnr Church & Brickfield St
            Land grant by Grose of 100 acres at Petersham Hill, nucleus of Kingston Farm (located now between Newtown & Annandale)
1794    Absolute Pardon for Elizabeth.
            Son Thomas born.
            Additional 70 acres granted at Petersham Hill and 50 acres at Concorde.
            Grose returns to England 
1795    Land Grant to Thomas at Mulgrave Place (Hawkesbury River)
1796    Thomas Promoted to Captain
1797    Son John born
1798    Land Grant by Gov Hunter to Thomas, 260 acres which became Burwood Farm (now Granville/Sth Granville) (Image, link courtesey Rhonda Kroehnert)
1799    Further Land Grants by Gov Hunter to Thomas, 85 acres, adjacent to Holdsworthy Army camp and 1500 acres added  to Burwood Farm
1800   Thomas departs to Norfolk Island as Commandant
            Daughter Mary born
1801   Thomas places himself on the sick list, and returns from Norfolk Island
            Thomas retires from NSW Corps due ill health
1802   Thomas appointed Commandant of Loyal Sydney Association (a civilian Militia)
1804    Daughter Eliza born
            June, birth of possible daughter Mary Mickle (Positive link to Thomas yet to be proved)
            Land Grant by Gov Hunter to Thomas, 700 acres, at Holdsworthy
1805    In his Will, Elizabeth is clearly mentioned as Elizabeth Selwyn
            Thomas fills out very guarded return on sheep industry
1806    29 May Thomas dies, age about 59 years
            After August, birth of Henry at Holsworthy  (Positive link to Thomas yet to be proved)
1843    22 Jun Elizabeth dies aged 78           

The Voyage of the Pitt, and a Wife

    In the  "Fourth Fleet Families in Australia, Dr C J Smee", we get a list of 10 soldier's wives on the Pitt, which include Mrs Elizabeth Rowley and Mrs Grose. Free children are listed, including a 3 year old Francis Grose, but no Rowley children. To see images of the data
402 convicts, including 58 women were on the Pitt when she sailed from Yarmouth Roads on 17 July.1791. Dr Smee lists 2 Officers, 19 Naval Military, 4 Free persons, 10 soldiers wives, 1 convicts wife, 2 free children, and 5 convict children. This comes to 445 plus crew starting the voyage. Elizabeth Selwyn is listed among the convicts. (Thanks Bob Venn for the Fourth Fleet reference). The only information in the book about the source of this information is that Mrs Nancy Gray transcribed the Pitt muster. It is almost certainly wishful thinking, but if the original document had ages of passengers, it would be very helpful. Another thought - there should be embarkation records for the Pitt in England.
    Bateson in "the Convict Ships" gives details of the voyage. Smallpox appeared shortly after departure, and 15 prisoners had died by the time she touched at St Jago, Despite it being an unhealthy season in the Cape Verde Islands, sailors and soldiers were allowed ashore. The Pitt experienced calms and incessant rain in the Doldrums, and made scarcely any headway for a month. The prisoners devepoled ulcers and scurvy but otherwise remained relativley healthy. However among thr military guards and their families, and the seamen malignant fever appeared, and is said to have caused 27 deaths in a fortnight. Her crew was so depleted that in later gales convicts had to be recruited to help navigate her. By the time the Pitt reached Rio de Janeiro in October, 13 soldiers, 5 soldiers wives, and 13 seamen had died.. No convicts had died, but 5 escaped, believed perished (at Rio?).... Overall there was one convict death on the voyage for every eleven convicts embarked
    There is an interesting description of the voyage of the Pitt in Thomas Keneally's new book  "The Commonwealth of Thieves" (pages 399-405) . He adds to Bateson's picture of the voyage. The death rate of convicts on the voyage was one in eleven on the Pitt. They arrived in poor health in mid February, Sydney's most oppressive month,The colony was short of rations as well.  Quoting the book, "The record of burials, chiefly of newcomers, during that late summer is sobering. On 16 February, four convicts were buried, and six the next day, and a further six on 20 February. Five were buried the next day, a further two the day after, on 23 February a further six, on 25 February another four- and these just at Parramatta. And so through the first week of March the burials continued. On 8 March there were five male deaths, and on the next day two more and that of a child, Margaret Tambleton. The regular multiple burials of men continued throughout the month. By May 1792, of 122 male convicts who came out in the Queen, only 50 were still alive." All this is a reminder that when we look at convicts in our family tree who prospered, they were the lucky ones. Many perished and appear on no family trees.

The Pitt (775 tons)
  This image has been scanned at low resolution and heavily cropped. Copies of the print itself can be purchased from the Natioal Maritime Museum in the UK.

A Marriage?

Compare the following two signatures

Signature 1
Signature 2

Signature 1 is the signature of a Thomas Rowley marrying Elizabeth Knott 19 January 1791 at Stoke on Trent Stafford England (witnesses Samuel Poulson and Thomas Geen. Theses two names ring no bells). Signature from Pallots Marriage Index
Signature 2 is the signature of our Thomas Rowley as Adjutant of the NSW corps.
Are they the same person? I am not sure. Signature 1 came out of one of the Ancestry,com databases, and is obviously more carefully written, but that would be expected. Signature 2 came from Ian Ramage.
The fact that Rowley describes himself as "Adjutant" indicates it was written between June 1789 (the date of the inception of the NSW Corps) and April 1791 (when he was promoted Lieutenant). Ian Ramage
Given that Thomas did have a wife Elizabeth on the Pitt, the timing is helpful, as the Pitt sailed in July the same year. An earlier marriage would most likely have produced children, and made athe move to Australia much more difficult to contemplate. Perhaps it was the other way round. The prospect of the move brought on the sudden appreciation of the virtues of matrimony.
Planned research from here is to look for evidence that this is not the marriage, eg children in England when Thomas had left.
Signature 3

Thanks to "my family tree"in Ancestry for the following Information. This is the wedding banns for a Thomas Rowley marrying Elizabeth Eyre in 1775. Location St Margaret Lothbury, London. 
There is a Christenibg for Elizabeth Eyre 10Oct 1754 at St Andrew, Holborn, Camden, London So far I have been unable to find any children. But it feels right. Our Thomas is twenty seven at the time, this Elizabeth 21. The lack of known children is also a plus. All up. this Elizabeth would be a 60% chance?

John Gray Article

   One of the prominent early Thomas researchers is John Gray. The following link is to a very readable article he wrote. It has been reproduced here in text only form at the moment. The original article has photos, maps and family tree diagrams. These might be able included at a later date if  webspace permits. John's article also included Thomas' Will.. John's permission to reproduce this article is gratefully acknowledged. John Gray's son has a website which gives an extensive family tree of Thomas Rowley descendants (See          

Children   (5 definite, 1 probable. 1 possible)

Thomas acknowledged "my five natural children begotten in the body of Elizabeth Selwyn namely Isabella Rowley Thomas Rowley John Rowley Mary Rowley and Eliza Rowley" in his will..Eliozabeth would have been the formative influece on the children, as Thomas died when they were young. His main contribution may well have to leave them the Sydney properties 
 John is of interest in that he was involved in early exploration. the younger Thomas has a separate page.

However there are two other possible children.

Mary Mickle (Muckle).

The following is extracted from Ian Ramage's Cameo. The full text is recommended: (Includes thorough documentation of information sources.)

16.29    Despite the earnest endeavours of many descendants, no parish register record of the birth in 1804, or subsequent baptism, of Eliza Rowley, the fifth child of Thomas Rowley and Elizabeth Selwyn has, so far as I am aware, been located. Perhaps, an explanation is that Thomas Rowley had temporarily abandoned Elizabeth Selwyn and transferred his affection to another young convict lass, Jane Mickle. In June, 1804, Jane Mickle gave birth to a daughter, Mary, who was baptised at St Philip's Church in June the following year.

16.30    Frank Clune expresses it nicely when, writing about the child, he notes
"Captain Rowley had no objection to his name being entered in the church records as her father, but he would not, or could not, and in any case did not marry the mother of the child.�

16.31    Jane Mickle was a convict who was transported on the Nile, arriving on 15 December, 1801. She had received a seven year sentence, and, at the time of her conviction, would have been only fourteen years of age!

16.32    Frank Clune suggest that Thomas Rowley provided for Jane Mickle in his will. This is not so but perhaps the shop and dwelling which she occupied in Phillip Street, the known as �Back Row East�, were provided by him.

16.33    Many a mickle makes a muckle, the Scots say, and it was not long before Jane Mickle became known as 'Jeannie Muckle".
"�Mistress Jeannie Muckle' as Dr Lang used to call her in conversation, as far back as 1813, held a wine and spirit licence in Phillip-street."

16.34    In the construction of the first Presbyterian Church in the Colony, Scots Church, Dunmore Lang received considerable assistance from Jeannie Muckle.
"The actual subscription �1,500 being exhausted, they had to raise the money as best they could. The first assistance Dr Lang received was from a lady of some historic interest, Mrs Jeannie Muckle, of Sydney, who advanced the doctor on his personal security and without interest the sum of �300 - in Spanish dollars at 5s. each, the regular currency in 1824. ... Some time after Mrs Muckle's loan, Rev. Samuel Marsden lent Dr Laing �800 sterling. ... The Scots Church ... had cost about �3,000 and the debt on it ... �1,480. For that debt Dr Lang was exclusively responsible. His first effort was to pay off Mistress Muckle's loan, as it was the first contracted; this he did in due course.�

16.35    In March, 1826, Dr Lang officiated at the marriage of Jeannie Muckle to Archibald McKellup. McKellup, a leading citizen, was also a publican in Phillip Street.

16.36    Mary Muckle, the daughter of Thomas Rowley and Jane Muckle, married Richard Roberts, on 28 February, 1837. Roberts was the native-born son of two convicts, William Roberts and Jane Longhurst. Richard who died within three years of his marriage, on 24 June, 1839, was a well-to-do merchant. Following the death of her mother, stepfather and husband within five years, Mary Roberts was, at the age of thirty-five, a wealthy property owner. She remained unmarried and was most highly regarded as a resident of Sydney-town until her death in 1885.

16.40    Mary Roberts also was "an eminent benefactress to the Scots Church� continuing her mother's generous interest.

16.42    Not all descendants agree with Frank Clune's suggestion that Captain Rowley was the father of Jane Mickle's child. They point out that another Thomas Rowley (Corporal, Royal Marines) who was 39 years of age when he was buried at St Philip's on 20 September, 1822 and who would therefore been about 21 when Mary Mickle was born, could have been the father.

Comment Les Rowley: If asked to take sides on Mary Mickle as a child, I would give a hesitant no. Reasons : Mary Mickle was born in June 1804, and the acknowledged daughter Eliza born in the same year, month unknown. Thomas retired from the NSW Corps due to ill health in 1801, and was to die of consumption in May 1806, aged about 59. But perhaps I am underestimating the man, and owe an apology to men in their late fifties in general. It is worth remembering that there was a also Thomas Rowley who arrived in the colony as a convict with the second fleet.  Does anyone know anyhing about this other Thomas? (Convict from London, came on the Neptune, arrived 28 June 1790, 7 year sentence- Margaret Hardwick. Margaret found  Thomas Godfrey Rowley's trial papers from the Old Bailey at (theft:burgalary 11th July 1787.))

Henry Rowley

In an article published in Australian Family Tree Connections, Alan Hagenson makes a pretty good case for Elizabeth Selwyn being pregnant with a 6th child when Thomas died.
(a) In the 1823-5 Muster, Elizabeth Rowley is said to be the mother of Eliza and Henry, Elizabeth Selwyn is listed as Elizabeth Silvin.
(b) On a couple of occasions, Henry gives his date of birth as 1806. He was not baptised in that year
(c) When Henry applied to marry Margaret Ellems in 1830, the application is supported by John Lucas and opposed by Henry Briggs. John and Henry are first generation Rowley husbands
(c) At his marriage in 1839 Henry is said to be living at Holdsworthy, where the Rowleys have a property
(d) At his marriage, he states his father is Thomas, and his mother is Elizabeth Sullivan.
Alan's very readable article should be read first hand. There is obviously some connection there. Alan points to a few inconsistences in the facts, but it is pretty convincing. The name confusion is not surprising. Elizabeth was bringing up the children on her own from 1806, and was probably illiterate. Does anyone know?     To read Alan's article in full       To contact Alan     
Comment Les Rowley: If asked to take sides, I would give a fairly confident yes. Doubts:
(a) The same doubt as for Mary Muckle. Thomas was dying of consumption in 1806.
(b) One of the suggestions as to why Thomas came to Australia is that he came to keep an eye on a son or relative who was transported as a convict. If this was the Thomas Rowley of the second fleet, it could be consistent with Alan's facts, but it seems unlikely. There is no evidence for a connection.
(c) Another longshot with no evidence: Could Henry be Isabella's child, brought up br Elizabeth? Isabella was to cause a minor scandal by marrying William Ellison in May 1807 at age 14 and a half. Perhaps she had a child the year before?.

Farmer and Grazier

In  his Cameo, Ian Ramage quotes P R Stephenson, The History and Description of Sydney Harbour (p 293)

�The first Merinos in Australia were brought to Sydney from Monterey, California, in April, 1793 in H.M.S. Daedalus, a naval storeship. Of the six rams and twelve ewes that were shipped at Monterey in December, 1792, only one ram and three ewes survived the passage. They were degenerate Spanish Merinos, descended from stock that had been shipped from Spain to Mexico perhaps two hundred years previously. They were acquired by Captain Thomas Rowley, a military officer who had a farm at Camperdown, on the Parramatta Road, three miles west of Sydney. The pioneer of the Merino in Australia, he built a flock from them, twelve years before John Macarthur imported Merinos from the royal stud in England in 1805. (Little or no research has been done by historians of the Australian wool industry in reference to the Daedalus sheep and Thomas Rowley's part in their acclimatization.)�

Thomas may well have done his place in history a disservce by his answers to a survey organised by McArthur in August 1805 (again from Cameo, originally from "Some Early Records of the MacArthurs of Camden", MacArthur Onslow p 119).

Questn.1st    Have you any true bred Spanish Sheep in your Flocks?
Ansr.        I do not know.
Q. -----    2nd    Do you endeavour to preserve the Spanish Breed of Sheep pure and Unmixed with other Breeds ?
Ansr.        No.
Q. -----    3rd    What other Breeds of Sheep have you that produce Fine Wool?
Ansr.        I am no Judge.
Q. -----    4th    What Rams have you had in your Flocks and from whom and from what Country did you Obtain them ?
Ansr.        My first Ram was from California, and my second Two Spanish Rams from Captain Waterhouse.
Q. -----    5th    Do you think Breeding the Pure Spanish Sheep will be profitable to you as if you bred other kinds?
Ansr.        I do not know.
Q. -----    6th    Do you think the Wool of all kinds of Sheep Improved in this Colony?
Ansr.        I think it does.
Q. -----    7th    How many Sheep do you possess at this time?
Ansr.        Males 219 and Females 300 - Total 519 Sheep.
Q. -----    8th    How long do you suppose it will be before your whole Flock will be Increased to twice their present Number?
Ansr.        I do not know.
Q. -----    9th    What means have you adopted to Improve the Carcase and Fleece of your Wool?
Ansr.        None.

It should be borne in mind that Thomas was probably very sick at the time (He died within a year of consumption). To me though, it reads like a typical farmer's response to a government survey. Claude Rowley was Thomas Rowley's great great great grandson and a sheepfarmer, and when Elsie, Claude's wife saw the above, she said that is exactly the kind of answers Claude would have given. It might also be true that MacArthur had the connections and self promoting ability to make sure he got the credit anyway.

Merchant, and Simeon Lord

A couple of passages quoted by Ian Ramage in Cameo
�When I arriv'd in the Reliance at Port Jackson in 1795, Simeon Lord was a Convict in the service of Capt. Rowley of the New South Wales Corps or had just left him, either his time of servitude being out, or he was emancipated. From his good conduct Capt. Rowley told him if he set him up in any business he would assist him; in consequence he commenced Baker & retailer of spirituous liquors, & I am told he got himself taught to read and write."
Captain Henry Waterhouse to Sir Joseph Banks (Banks Papers. Brabourne Collection. Vol 4 pp 272/4 ML Mss A 78 - )
Simeon Lord. He arrived in the colony in August 1791 with nothing but a seven-year sentence. He was assigned to Captain Rowley and endeared himself to that gentleman by making money for him, and also, in a quiet way, for himself. When he was freed he owned two houses. It was a beginning. His manners were rough, his domestic morals far from strict, but he had drive and imagination.�
 "A History of Australia'',  Marjorie Barnard,   p 125

For more information about Simeon Lord, go to

Norfolk Island

A couple of small extracts from a comprehensive discussion in Ian Ramage's Cameo:
11.03    In the period 1788-1813 which encompasses Rowley's stay, the island outpost initially comprised well behaved convicts and a small guard. It was not, during this period, regarded as being a place of further punishment or banishment. This is not to say that by to-day's standards, cruelty did not often occur although it did not sink to the level of that shown on the mainland.

11.16    Rowley succeeded to the command on 12 November, 1799.
�It seems that by this time the inhabitants' taste for liquor had become an increasing problem. Lieutenant-Governor King mentioned in his 1796 report that some convicts habitually bartered their clothing and other necessities with the settlers and soldiers for spirits. John Turnbull, who visited the island around 1801, also commented on the drunkenness of the inhabitants, noting that some were often intoxicated for a week on end. In 1799 the people suffered a period of ill-health, brought on, according to the surgeon, by drinking spirits hot from the Norfolk stills. Captain Rowley ordered the stills to be seized, and for this was indirectly threatened with prosecution by two of the owners. "
�Thomas Rowley, in spite of his unwelcome efforts to enforce the sobriety of Norfolk�s citizens, appears to have been a popular Commandant. He stated that at his departure the principal inhabitants wrote a joint letter to the Governor expressing their sorrow at losing him. He also earned a word or two of praise from the Governor: �I think it wright to add that from every account I have rec'd from thence that Captain Rowley's conduct in administering the Government of that Island was much to his credit and the advantage of Government.' (96) But Captain Rowley stated bluntly: 'I am �1,000 the worse for going to that island.'(97)� (98)
Quotes from Historical Records of New South Wales

Thomas departed Norfolk Island June 1800, having resigned due ti ill health. Elizabeth Selwyn presumably did not accompany him, as Mary was born Mar 1800 in Sydney.


Thomas Rowley's will was a big stuff up. It was drawn up on 27 Feb 1805. When he died in May 1806, all his executors were in England. This led to problems which ended with the family eventually recovering possession of Burwood farm in 1837. See the judgement in
For a discussion of the will in relation to Elizabeth Selwyn, go to her page

John Rowley Portrait

"John Rowley b 1797 became the city rate collector.  I found a reference to his appointment on Trove"  -  Ric Lucas


The following telegram is the last known communication received from Thomas Rowley. It was received by my parents on their Golden Wedding.

(thanks to Glenn Rowley)   


Just about all the material here has been supplied by other researchers, and we are very apprecitive of the gift they have given us.


(1) A Cameo of Captain Thomas Rowley � Ian Ramage. 200pps on Thomas and his descendants.
(2) Harvest of the Years, Dunlop.. History of the Sydney Suburb Burwood. The land was originally granted to Thomas Rowley as a farm.
At the end are two maps showing the farm and the suburbs today.
(3) Merinos Myths and Macarthurs., J.C.Garran and L.White. Thomas Rowley as one of the half dozen who introduced merino sheep to Australia.  
(4) ADB  Australian Dictionary of Biography
(5) Life and Work of the Pioneer Captain Thomas Rowley, Huntington, H. W. H.   
(6) Fourth Fleet Families in Australia, Dr C J Smee
(7) The Convict Ships, Bateson.

Email from Meaghan Bare

Meaghan Bare pointed out a reference in the Surrey Archives to a sale of land by Thomas Rowley to Burwood Park in 1769. Copies of the documents werew obtained (detailed Analysis)  Conclusion is it is not our Thomas, but it does strengthen the argument that the Australian Thomas came from this area . Glenis Crocker  found a will for a Thomas Rowley that looks very much like this Thomas
I was also wondering whether it might be worth asking these people to see whether they know anything of Rowley, as they seem to have done a history of time at Burwood Park   link no longer works
Also have you seen this book online, which seems to suggest Rowley imported the first thoroughbred horse to NSW.  Quite a good story with the spring carnival coming up! 

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