Thomas Burbury (1809-1870)
When Thomas Burbury died in 1870, newspapers reported the passing of a ‘highly respectable colonist [who] commanded the esteem of his fellow men [and] raised a highly respectable family’. No mention that forty years before young Thomas had been condemned for a machine-breaking riot. Or that he’d been transported for Life.
Thomas arrived in 1832. His wife Mary and infant daughter came six weeks later. Mary tracked Thomas to his shepherd run, out in the middle of nowhere. Thomas’ crude bush hut was the starting point for an extraordinary family tale.
A trusted servant, he was appointed Field Constable, and received his Conditional Pardon after three years. He started acquiring land, and by 1863 owned 7,256 acres, farming sheep and some cattle. He leased an additional 9,219 acres. He also became a local councillor.