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Thomas Bowd (1822–1906)

Death has removed another of the fine old Hawkesbury characters, in the person of Mr Thomas Bowd, who passed away at his late residence, "Sunnyside," Wilberforce, on the 28th ultimo, in his 84th year. The late Mr Bowd stood over 6 feet high, was very upright, but of somewhat spare build, and was possessed of remarkable physical strength. He was a native of the Hawkesbury. Born at Freeman's Reach in the year that St. Matthew's Church of England, Windsor, was completed (1822), he was the first person christened in the historic old church. He married Ellen Slaney, also a Hawkesbury native, at Pitt Town, and for some time followed farming pursuits there. Then for a time he was engaged carrying on the roads, and subsequently worked the farm now owned by Mrs D. McMahon at Freeman's Reach. After a time he went to reside in the township of Wilberforce, in the house now occupied by Mr William Buttsworth. Later he removed to "Sunnyside," where he lived 46 years, and ended his days. For about 36 years he worked the farm at Lower Wilberforce, which in his declining years was looked after by his son Palmer. Twenty-two years ago he lost his partner in life. The issue of the marriage was a large one — fourteen sons and daughters, all of whom survive him but one who died in youth.

The late Thomas Bowd was the eldest son of the late William and Margaret Bowd, of Cattai. His brothers, Joshua and Tristram, and his sister, Mrs Susan Mitchell, pre-deceased him, and Mrs Alsop, of Auburn, who has attained the age of 76 years, is the only surviving member of the honoured old family. In the "fifties" the subject of this notice accompanied his uncle, Joshua Vickory, to the Ovens diggings. In those stirring days the 'yellow fever' was contracted by nearly every soul in the young colony, and Thomas Bowd, then in the prime of his strength and manhood joined the 'rush' in quest of the precious glittering gold. But like many another, he and his uncle found that all is not gold that glitters. Saddened by an untoward happing there — for Mr Vickory died at the Ovens in 1852 — he returned to the spot so dear to him, and never again turned his back on the grand old Hawkesbury. On his way home with the horses and equipment of the expedition, the late Mr Bowd met with a strange accident. One of the pistols in his saddle-bag exploded and the charge lodged in his thigh. The remains of Mr Vickory were exhumed twelve months after burial at the Ovens, brought to Wilberforce, and reverently laid in the family vault in Wilberforce cemetery. In his young days the subject of this notice had an adventure with a snake, and was bitten. He scarified the wound three times and got rid of the poison before medical aid reached him. The deceased was a man of good morals, who always kept himself clean and undefiled. He possessed strong religions suceptibilities, and over twenty years ago gave in his lot with the Salvation Army, and was a firm adherent of that body and regular attendant at the services. We have said that he was a man of remarkable strength. When carrying on the roads he performed many astounding feats. It is told of him that in the heyday of his strength he once shifted a box which the combined strength of four other men with difficulty shifted. On another occasion five 56lb. weights were tied together, and he lifted them with one hand. In his carrying days his teams of horses were always considered the best on the mountains. He was a breeder of draught stock, and took an active interest in improving the breed, and was considered one of the keenest judges of horses in the Hawkesbury. He was a prominent member of the Hawkesbury Agricultural Association in its early days, and his sound judgment and wise counsel were of invaluable aid to the Association.

In politics the late Thomas Bowd was a staunch, uncompromising freetrader. In the early political struggles he was always in the thick of the fray. He took an active part in the return of Mr. (now Hon.) Henry Moses, M.L.C, and was also an admirer and supporter of the late Mr. Henry McQuade and Mr. William Morgan. He never renounced his liberal political convictions, and even at the last election we found him supporting Mr. T. H. Kelly and reform. He was an intense admirer of our present Federal Member, Mr. Joseph Cook, who was the old gentleman's ideal parliamentarian.

He has left a long line of sturdy descendants to perpetuate his memory and his good name. His family are: Mrs. David Hall, Mrs. George Hall (Scone), Mr Edward T. Bowd, J.P. (Wilberforce), Mr. Tristram Bowd (Pitt Town), Mrs. James Hall (Wilberforce), Mr. Joshua Bowd (Scone), Mr. Henry N. Bowd (Willoughby), Mrs. Searles (Wingham), Mrs. Jeffrey (Dural), Mrs. Owen (Croydon), the Misses Harriett and Elsie and Mr. Palmer Bowd, who lived with him at 'Sunnyside.' In addition to the sons and daughters there are upwards of 70 grand-children, and several great grandchildren.

His end was a peaceful one. He had not been well for about three months prior to his demise, and went to Scone for a change. After his return he seemed to fail rapidly, but, being always stout of heart, he would not lay up. He was about on the day he died, and after dinner laid down on the couch where he was accustomed to rest. There he passed away of senile decay.

The burial took place at Wilberforce on the 1st instant. The cortege was a very long and representative one. The pall-bearers were Messrs W. H. Dean, J.P. (Mayor of Windsor), G. Greentree, J.P., R. Greentree, J.P., and S. Cox. As the remains were borne into the church a funeral march was played. During the solemn service the choir sang "Hush, blessed are the dead," and as the remains were taken out the Dead March in Saul was played. Miss Wall, of Windsor, presided at the organ. The remains were laid to rest in the family vault in the cemetery on the hill, the last sad rites being performed by Rev. J. Macarthur, in the absence of the rector, Rev. W. S. Newton, M.A., through illness. The sons present at the funeral were Messrs Edward T. Palmer, Henry N., Tristram J.; grandsons: Hubert Hall, Horace Bowd, Mildred Hall, Harry H. Bowd, Lee Hall, Bruce Bowd, Frank Bowd, Ronald Hall, Keith, and Reginald Bowd; son-in-law: Mr. James Hall. Among the other mourners were Messrs Joseph and William Wilbow, and officers of the Salvation Army.

The funeral was conducted by Mr. T. Collison. Among the wreaths was a beautiful one from the officers and soldiers of the Salvation Army.

Thus was laid to rest all that was mortal of a good man, and of him it may be fittingly said —

In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
He lives whom we call dead.

Original publication

Citation details

'Bowd, Thomas (1822–1906)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


10 October, 1822
Freeman's Reach, New South Wales, Australia


28 February, 1906 (aged 83)
Wilberforce, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (breast)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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