Thomas Burbury


The Burbury family property, 1858 (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

Thomas Burbury (180970), convict and landowner, was born into the English gentry, but was transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1832 for taking part in Luddite riots, helping burn down a factory. His wife Mary and child followed him. An exemplary convict, Burbury became a constable at Oatlands, helped capture sheep-stealers and bushrangers, and received a pardon in 1839. Acquiring extensive landholdings, notably Inglewood near Oatlands, he took part in every public movement in the district, and was clerk of the racecourse, district poundkeeper and municipal councillor.

Many sons meant perpetuation of the family name, and descendants became well known as pastoralists, especially Merino sheep breeders; businessmen and lawyers; members of parliament; local councillors and wardens; and justices of the peace and churchwardens. Sir Stanley Burbury was the first Australian-born governor of Tasmania; Lewis Hoad, son of Ailsa Burbury, was a noted tennis player. Inglewood remains in family hands.

Further reading: ADB 1; W Sinclair & E Christensen, Thomas Burbury, 18091870, Melbourne, 1979.

Alison Alexander