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Stephen Owen (1801–1880)

Stephen Owen, Deputy Commissary-General, born June 7, 1801, at Fulham, on Thames, died October 12, 1880, at Hobart Town, was the second son of the Rev. John Owen, a Fellow and Prizeman of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, subsequently curator and lecturer of Fulham, and rector of Paglesham, in Essex, and finally to the date of the decease, in 1822, minister of Park Chapel, Chelsea, in the diocese of London; secretary and historian of the British and Foreign Bible Society for the first seventeen years of its existence. Stephen Owen, the subject of this notice, commenced his official career in the Quarter-Master-General's Office, at the Horse-Guards, London, in 1819, where he was employed until 1826, when serious illness compelled him to retire from official life for a season. During the foregoing period Mr. Owen was present at the coronation of George IV., 1821, in Westminster Abbey. In 1828 Mr. Owen was appointed to the Commissariat staff of New South Wales, representing at that date the entire Australian continent, and during his residence of 25 years in that colony he visited the greater number of the various out-stations, among others the penal settlement of Moreton Bay, where he was charged with the Commissariat duties for five and a half years. In 1854 Mr. Owen was transfered to Hobart Town,where he closed his Commissariat career of 31 years, 31st October, 1859, when he retired into private life. The deceased was connected by marriage with the Wilberforce family, one of his sisters having married Mr. William Wilberforce jnr, the family representative for many years.

Mr. Owen was much esteemed by all who know him, and although during the last few years of his life he was much afflicted with deafness, yet he never ceased to take a warm interest in the public affairs of the colony, and his influence was always exerted on the side of the true and the good, Under the well-known initials of S.O. he has frequently contributed letters to the columns of The Mercury—these letters, it will be remembered, were usually employed to advocate social interests, and were earnest and thoughtful in tone; in all relations of life he maintained a reputation for that high-souled honour which is one of the finest characteristics of the British officer. The funeral took place yesterday morning at the Upper Davey Street Cemetery, the service being conducted by the Rev. George Clarke and the Rev. John Nisbet, two of his oldest and most attached friends in the colony.

Original publication

Citation details

'Owen, Stephen (1801–1880)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 2 December 2023.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2023

Life Summary [details]


7 June, 1801
London, Middlesex, England


12 October, 1880 (aged 79)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

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.