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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Naughton, Thomas (Constable)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1814
Place of birth Bedford, Kent, England
Date of arrival c. 1837
Principal occupation Mounted Police, Farmer
Date of death 1886
Place of decease Ardrossan

Thomas Naughton was born in 1814 at Bedford in Kent, England. He entered the Navy at the age of 14, serving on board the George IV Royal Yacht. He served two years and then became a whaler, visiting many countries, such as Japan, many of the South Sea Islands and New Zealand. He arrived in South Australia around 1837 and joined the Mounted Police Force on its formation. He appears to have been stationed at the Adelaide Barracks for his first posting and was involved in cases with Alexander Tolmer, then Inspector of Police, and other senior police officers.

In 1840, while in Adelaide, he married Isabella Shannon at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Adelaide. He and Isabella had three children: Catherine (b. 3/11/1840 Adelaide), Thomas (b. 5/7/1842 Mt Barker) and Isabella (b. 2/5/1844 Adelaide). As the birth of his son Thomas indicates, Naughton was posted at Mt Barker by November 1841. Thomas Naughton was stationed in Willunga after Edward Pollard was moved in January 1843. James Pow took over Willunga Station as a temporary measure for about 10 days before Thomas arrived from Mt Barker around February 1843. Thomas was to remain in Willunga for about two years. Around October 1845, he was posted to Gawler.

When Thomas was stationed in Gawler, he lost his wife, Isabella:

      At Gawler Town, on the 17th instant, in her 26th year, Isabella, 
      wife of Sergeant Naughton, of the Mounted Police. The deceased 
      was a most exemplary and affectionate wife and mother, and nothing
      could more strongly demonstrate the estimation in which the late 
      Mrs Naughton was held, than the large and respectable attendance 
      at her funeral, which necessarily took place on the first morning
      of the races, and when excess of business might have been pleaded 
      in excuse of the non-attendance of many who put off the most pressing
      engagements in order to accompany the remains to the cemetery. 
      The much-respected Sergeant and three of his children were the chief mourners.
                                   South Australian Register, 21 November 1846, p. 2

Thomas was to be stationed in Gawler until he resigned in December 31, 1848. He remained at Gawler after leaving the Police Force and, in 1849, he married Anne Birmingham. After not very successfully attempting farming in the 1860s, he was employed by the Wallaroo Mining Company where he was placed in charge of the horses and the stores. On September 19, 1863, his wife, Anne, petitioned the Supreme Court of South Australia for a judicial separation. By 1868, Thomas formed a liasion with Eliza Jane Hawke. It seems that they did not marry but produced nine children of whom eight survived to adulthood.

He resigned in 1871 and appears to have moved to Redhill. He then moved to Ardrossan to try his hand at farming again. In 1884, he was thrown out of his trap and suffered some severe injuries, including several broken ribs, which greatly reduced his vigor.

He was incensed, however, when Alexander Tolmer was awarded £1,000 upon his retirement in 1885. Tolmer also published an account of his life, “Reminiscences of an Adventurous and Chequered Career at Home and at the Antipodes” which Thomas claimed “bristled with falsehoods”. This led to some spirited letters to the editor of the Register with various people supporting either Thomas or Tolmer.

Thomas died on December 21, 1886 and is buried in Ardrossan Cemetery.

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