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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Salmon, Thomas (1780–1847)

by K. R. Von Stieglitz

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Thomas Salmon (1780?-1847), merchant and landowner, born in Gloucestershire, England, became an architect in London and lived at Gloucester Terrace, Stepney. According to his own account he first visited Hobart Town in 1812 in the Atlanta, in which he had a third of the ownership. As the cargo had not been inspected at Sydney his venture proved costly, for he was not permitted to sell his wine, spirits and porter except in limited quantities to civil and military officers. Nevertheless in 1816 he returned to Hobart with his wife, three children and his brother, James, in the Adamant. As he also brought goods worth £1500 and had paid more than £500 for passages and freight, he was granted 200 acres (81 ha) at Humphrey's Rivulet (Glenorchy). In 1817 he received another 300 acres (121 ha) near Oatlands, although he then had a general store in Macquarie Street. In 1820 he bought two rams from the government and that year was appointed a member of the Lieutenant-Governor's Court.

In 1824 when Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur arrived Salmon applied for an additional land grant, claiming that he had insufficient pasture for his cattle. Although he had cleared and cultivated 70 (28 ha) of the 90 acres (36 ha) of Stethorn farm, bought at Prince of Wales Bay, New Town, his application was refused because only 15 (6 ha) of his 500 granted acres (202 ha) had been improved. Salmon then complained of a conspiracy against him; his house and store had been raided by convict road-gangs and his assigned servants had been withdrawn. Some restitution was made but in 1827 he again complained: 'Mine is a Losing Farm and I have 38 cattle from which I supply many of the Inhabitants of Hobart Town with Milk and have not a servant left'. An inquiry revealed that his three convict servants had been arrested for disorderly behaviour and placed in a chain-gang. Finally the report reached Arthur who rejected the appeal: 'I may be mistaken, but this person Salmon is a character I continually meet with riding furiously and exceedingly drunk … a most improper master to have a convict servant'. Salmon continued to acquire small properties but little fortune. He died in Hobart on 12 May 1847 and his widow Elizabeth survived him for two years.

Their eldest son Thomas (1807-1868) was granted 100 acres (40 ha) near Oatlands in 1826, became chief police constable there and later tried his hand as a surveyor and poundkeeper. The second son, Charles Frederick (1808-1844) became manager of the Steamboat Store at New Norfolk, and died insolvent. Another son, Joseph, was a farmer at Oatlands. He died in 1846, crushed by a wagon wheel.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 3, vols 2, 3
  • CSO 1/89/2007, 1/107/2588, 1/370/8423 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

K. R. Von Stieglitz, 'Salmon, Thomas (1780–1847)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 24 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

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