Thomas Troy

Thomas Troy (Anthony Laffan File)

Thomas Troy was born at Kissing point, Ryde, 5/3/1819. He was the son of Patrick Troy and Elizabeth Smith . Patrick was a convict sent out on the "Providence" in 1811, while his wife Elizabeth was the youngest daughter of first fleet convicts , Anne Colpitts and Thomas Smith (Alias Hynes). Thomas was the eldest and soon he was part of a fairly large family of two brothers and two sisters. All seemed to go well with the family in his early years. He was brought up a Catholic at first, as his father Patrick who was born in Ireland, and must have joined the Catholic Congregation , when Father Therry arrived in 1821. Although being Catholic was difficult, Thomas and his younger brother Patrick, had been enrolled in the R.C. School, Hyde Park, Sydney. This of course was soon to be St. Marys Cathedral School. He must have been enrolled from the 30/10/1826, as he was listed as paying fees for six months, for one day each week Schooling. (On Sundays) 125 years later, i was enrolled in the same School. Things started to get really bad by mid 1828.Patrick was upon a charge of fraud and things got steadily worse. There was a Thomas Troy mentioned in the Govt. Gazzette in june , when Thomas was only 9. Was there another Thomas Troy living in the colony at this time? No actual record of such. Well, a Thomas Troy was confined to Sydney Gaol awaiting trial for attempting to stab. There were no other reports on this incident. Patrick troy was hanged for fraud in october and the family was split up. Once Patrick had been charged, Thomas and Patrick were enrolled in the orphanage at Cabramatta. They were all enrolled on 26/9/1828. and admitted 10/10/1828. His two sisters, Ann and Jane , were sent to an orphanage at Parramatta. The Youngest boy in the family, George, stayed with his mother Elizabeth. Elizabeth must have been devestated to have lost her husband and children. It is recorded, that the families last moments was absolutely heart wrenching. It is also sure , that she fell on hard economic times. She was to marry again several years later, and start another family. it is not sure if she saw any of the four children, whom she had put in the orphanage. It seems fairly sure some contact was kept.

Thomas left the orphanage 3/12/1829, aged only 10. He was indentured to a property owner in the Argyle District, a Mr Reid of Bungonia, as a servant until 2/12/1840. The property included ground around Lake Bathurst. We dont know how long he stayed there. One source stated that he ran away, but there is a more likely solution. In a report in the Sydney Gazette in 1826, there was an Aboriginal attack on properties adjoining Dr Reids Property. One property mentioned , was a Mrs Sherwin of Parramatta, who had a couple working at her Dairy there. At Thomas's Wedding, William Sherwin was the witness (Best Man?) His Wife Louisa , was the sister of William Sherwins Wife, Harriet. He did not travel far, for he must have moved to some time to the Mittagong area. It is possible he started working on a Property owned by the Sherwins (William Sherwin was the first Australian born Surgeon and he became Surgeon General.)

Mittagong was first surveyed in 1821 with some grazing in the area at this time. The first Inn,the "Kangaroo Inn", was built in 1827, with the old Mill. This in was very close to where Thomas Troys Property was later developed. The Inn and the property,by the way, was purschased in 1835 by the explorer Captain Charles Sturt. There were early Grants in the District around 1822. I Have not been able to Trace when Thomas or Louisa bought their land, but part of the land was an original Grant to William Christie.(as noted in Thomas's Will) In several documents after his death, it was stated that Thomas was a resident in the area for 60 years.THis means that must have been Local from about 1837,aged 18. Also in Mittagong was Thomas's sister , Jane Troy, probably being cared for by Thomas. Jane married a local identity, Edward Ordige in 1850, having 4 children by him. So in october 1843, Thomas married Louisa Hanks, and just in time, as their first child Emily, was born in November. Thomas was 24 and louisa was 28, and Louisa already had 3 chidren with her. The eldest , Edward ,was already 12 years old. Living nearby over the years , were many of Louisa's sisters and husbands. The land may have come from Louisa's wealthy sister, Harriet, who had held property in Bong Bong in 1832 and sold up her extensive Sydney properties late in the 1830's and early 40's. Harriets husband William Sherwin may also have been involved. Phyliss Hanks was married in 1832 in Berrima to George Riley. Harriets son George Taylor Rowe had an adjoining property to Thomas. So how did thomas get his property? A probability was, that he got it from George Riley, for "Christies Farm" was listed in George Rileys fathers will (Andrews very complicated and twin Wills) Andrew, in todays terms, would have been classed as a Billionaire. In 1842-1843 there was a sudden depression in the Colony, and several Banks closed. William Sherwin went bankrupt, as did William Moore, another famous attorney, who married Louisa Hanks sister Mary. (Maybe for her money) With all this going on, Thomas had managed to get "Christies Farm". It was around this time that the Riley Wills, were finally out of the greedy lawyers hands.

So at Mittagong, you had Thomas and Louisa, Harriet and William Sherwin (Harriet had previously been married to Dean Rowe, but he died suddenly at aged only 38) It was Rowe who had prosecuted poor Toms father. Also at Mittagong was Phyliss Riley, another sister who had married well .We do know that Thomas donated portion his land in 1862 to the Bishop of Sydney, for a School. The donation was an agreement between George Taylor Rowe and Thomas Troy.. Thomas set about building up his Farm. He and Louisa quickly earned the respect and affection of their neighbours. Hard work created a flourishing farm business. Thomas is on record as having produced the greatest per acre yeild of wheat in a season. He transported it to the goldfields and made a fortune. It is also said he went into the Dairy industry and almost certainly one of the farmers benifiting from the Rail Line being opened up in 1867. ( Did he earlier have experience on Mrs Sherwins Dairy?) Milk could thus be transported to Sydney, relatively successfully. As his family grew up, many members of the family, including the Keith children, ( Louisa's children from Barrister Edward Keith, while his concubine). moved to the Cootamundra area. By the 1880's , there was only Thomas jr. living in the district. Around this time, he sold most of his property to Thomas jr., so he and Louisa could retire to a quite Rural life. Thomas calld his property "Glenore". He was obviously a quiet, generous and respected man. His wife Louisa died in 1896, and he died a short time later 24/7/1897. His funeral was very well attended and his and Louisa's deaths were seen as a great loss to the District. It was obvious from the memorials written about him, that he had earned the respect and love of all in the District. From a disastous early life, he overcame many trials to become a successful and much admired member of the community. Most of his properties were left to his young son Sidney, who was residing in Sydney at the time.Most of his other children were sucessful farmers in the Cootamundra district. One can have nothing but admiration for Thomas Troy. The terible events in his earlier life, and the success he gained through hard work, is of the highest order. Coming from an orphanage, indentured at only 10 years of age and to finish his life comfortably on his own property, is truly amazing. ( Check Land Grants 05-042 Berrima pre 1885 )

Anthony Laffan