Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Spence, Thomas

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Spence, Thomas

Thomas Spence was born on 6 October 1802, a native of Dumfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland, the son of Alexander Spence and his wife Jane, née McKay. At Manchester, Lancashire, on 28 August 1834, he married Esther Hyde, a dressmaker from Lancashire.

Arrival in Sydney

Identified as a 38-year-old carpenter from Cumberland, Thomas Spence arrived in Sydney on 12 February 1842 on the Champion with his wife Esther, their five-year-old daughter Elizabeth, and Anne Roberts who had been put under his charge.

In 1844 Thomas Spence, by now a builder, bought land in Balmain and built a small stone cottage (later Woodbine Cottage) in Nicholson Street. When he stood for Fitzroy Ward in December 1857, Spence gave his occupation as builder, of William Street. By 1870 he had freehold property at 126 Palmer Street and a residence at 216 Pitt Street.

Thomas Spence was Alderman for Fitzroy Ward from 1 December 1857 to 30 November 1859 and from 21 September 1860 to 30 November 1863. He was Mayor in 1863.

He died in Sydney on 1 August 1878 aged 75 and was buried with his wife, who had died in Sydney on 2 February 1858, aged 51, in the Presbyterian section of Gore Hill Cemetery.


Leichhardt historical journal: covering Annandale, Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Rozelle, Annandale Association, Balmain Association, Glebe Society, Sydney, no 12, 1983

State Records NSW, Immigration Reel 2135

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 August 1878, p 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13424897, viewed 21 March 2012