Thomas' life on the land ...

Thomas left the seas in late 1819 to become a stock keeper to John (Charles) Williams, who had also known the inhumanity of being imprisoned in the hulks at Langston. Thomas lived in a hut owned by Williams, where he was responsible for 170 male sheep and 300 ewes. Williams' lease was on Parsons Valley Run, which is still owned by the Parsons family to this day. Thomas also spent time in William Morgan's hut and Thomas Triffitt's hut, which was on Stony Hut Plains in the Macquarie District on the left hand side of the Macquarie Plains Road near Gretna coming from New Norfolk. His hut was on the top of the hill.

Thomas Almot, [sic] stock-keeper to E.Williams who is up the country and did live in Wm. Morgans hut, - he has threatened to kill. M. Howe went to Thos. Triffits hut where this stockeeper resides, but fortunately the man was out and only Triffitt by himself. 1

The second decade of the 19th century, were lawless times in Van Diemens Land; with numerous bushranging gangs and individuals roaming the countryside, pillaging and destroying property.

During this time Thomas encountered hostile aborigines who slaughtered the sheep and provided a threat and also endured raids by bushrangers, in particular the notorious Michael Howe who had threatened to kill him. Thomas was involved in attempting to capture Howe and was a member of a boat crew in search of a launch from the Prince Leopold. They believed that Howe had seized the vessel and they had intended to capture Howe along the coast. Michael Howe had killed William "Slambo" Drewe a close friend of Thomas', who had been at Newgate Prison in his time, and had also been on HMS Calcutta. Drewe, while also working as stock keeper for Williams, and another man had captured Howe and were taking him to Hobart to collect the reward when Howe managed to free himself and stabbed Drewe with a concealed knife. Howe then seized Drewe's gun and shot him through the head. No wonder that Thomas wished to seek revenge and wanted to assist in Howe's capture.

In August 1822, Thomas wrote a memorial to Governor William Sorell, requesting a "Farm Allottment" of land.

To: His Honour, Lieutenant Governor Sorell
This Memorial of Thomas Arnott, free,
Respectfully Sheweth
That your honour's memorialist came to this Colony in HM Ship Calcutta
D Woodriffe --- Commander, in the year 1803 - and became free by servitude,
and since that period has employed his time on board of ships with Colonial
Trade, and of late on the Islands, Sealing, and was one of the Boat Crew who
went in search of the Prince Leopold round this Island.
Yours Honour's Memorialist wishing to retire from a seafaring life, most
respectfully begs to solicit that your Honour will be pleased to grant him a
Farm Allotment for the purpose of erecting a house thereon.
And as in Duty Bound
Your Honour's Memorialist
Will ever Pray
24th Aug 1822, Thomas Arnott 2

In 1824 Thomas requested a town allotment but wasn't allocated anything until 1831, 3 when he acquired 30 acres, but he is recorded as purchasing 4 acres in Coal River Road at Kangaroo Point, near the site of what is now the Warrane Primary School, which was a part of Richard Browne's original grant.

Notice is hereby given, that the following claims for grants, will be ready for examination by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose, upon or immediately after the 23d day of November next, before which day, any caveat or counter claim, must be entered. Thomas Arnott, 1a. 37p., more or less, Clarence parish, part of a grant originally made to Richmond [sic] Brown. 4

July 5.
Notice is hereby given, that the following claims for grants will be ready for examination by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose, upon or immediately after the 6th day of September next, on or before which day any caveat or counterclaim must be entered :—
Peter Buchannan, 30 a., Clarence, originally Thomas Arnott, who sold to Sophia Graves, now the applicant's wife—bounded on the south west by 2 chains 60 links along a location originally made to Timothy Quin commencing at the road leading between Kangaroo Point and Richmond, on the north west by 3 chains along a location made to Richard Brown, again on the south west by 15 chains 60 links along the last mentioned location to a rivulet, thence on the north west by the said rivulet to land occupied by or belonging to Thomas George Gregson, thence by 19 chains along the land last mentioned, on the north east by a south easterly line extending to the road before mentioned, and on the south east by the said road to Timothy Quin's location aforesaid. 5

Thomas' life would now unfold in an entirely new chapter involving marriage and children.

  • 1. Nicholls : Knopwood's Diary - p 266
  • 2. TAHO : LSD 1/73 - p 89
  • 3. TAHO : LSD 409/2 - p 48a - Film # Z1317
  • 4. Classified Advertising - The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839) 30 September 1836: p1
  • 5. COMMISSIONERS' OFFICE - The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen's Land Gazette (Tas. : 1839 - 1840) 5 July 1839: p2