Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Trove Tuesday - Death of Andrew Thompson 1773-1810

Andrew Thompson, despite arriving in the colony as a convict on the Pitt in 1792, went on to become one of the Hawkesbury's most celebrated pioneers. Thompson was renowned for his work as a Chief Constable, and magistrate but was also a farmer, brewer and businessman, accumulating a huge estate.  His premature death in 1810 was mourned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the elite of the colony as well as the local Hawkesbury community. His obituary in the Sydney Gazette reads

At Hawkesbury, Green Hills, on Monday the 22d Instant, after a lingering and severe illness, aged 37, Andrew Thompson, Esq. Magistrate of that District. In retracing the last twenty years of the life of this exemplary and much lamented Character will not be held uncharitable to glance at the lapse from rectitude which in an early and inexperienced period of youth destined him to these shores, since it will stamp a more honourable Tribute to his Memory to have it recorded, that from his first arrival in this Country he uniformly conducted himself with that strict regard to morality and integrity, as to obtain and enjoy the countenance and protection of several succeeding Governors; active, intelligent and industrious, of manners mild and conciliatory, with a heart generous and humane, Mr. Thompson was enabled to accumulate considerable property; and what was more valuable to him, to possess the confidence and esteem of some of the most distinguished Characters in this Country; the consciousness of which surmounted the private solicitude of revisiting his native Country, and led him rather to yield to the wish of passing the evening of his life where his manhood had been meritoriously exerted, than of returning to the land which gave him birth. Mr Thompson's intrinsic good qualities were appreciated by His Excellency the present Governor, who soon after his arrival here was pleased to appoint him a Magistrate, for which situation Mr. Thompson's natural good sense and a superior knowledge of the Laws of his Country peculiarly qualified him. 
Nor can we close this Tribute to his Memory without recurring to the important services Mr. Thompson rendered this Colony, and many of his fellow-creatures, during the heavy and public distresses which the floods at the Hawkesbury produced amongst the Settlers in that extensive District; Mr. Thompson's exertions were on a late occasion for two days and two nights unremittingly directed to the assistance of the sufferers, and we hasten to add, that in these offices of humanity, he not only exposed himself to personal danger, but laid the foundation for that illness which has deprived the World of a valuable life.
During the unfortunate Disturbances which lately disrupted this Colony, he, whose death we now lament, held on the even "Tenor of his Way," and acquitted himself with mildness, moderation and wisdom, and when the ruthless Hand of Death arrested his earthly career, he yield with becoming fortitude, and left this World for a better, with humble and devout resignation, and an exemplary confidence in the Mercies of his God.
Source: Family Notices. (1810, October 27). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 3. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article628118

The square, located on a ridge between the Hawkesbury River and South Creek, was named Thompson Square by Macquarie in honour of his friend. He also erected a lengthy monument on his grave in St. Matthew's Church of England Cemetery in 1813 with "respect and esteem for the Memory of the deceased." 


  1. Michelle, this is a great blog, long overdue. Thanks for shedding some light on how important Andrew Thompson was.