Thomas Jacobs

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Samuel Thomas Gill, Creswick Creek (near Ballaarat) from Spring Hill, lithograph on paper, hand coloured
Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ronald Wrigley Estate, 1979.


Thomas Jacobs was born in 1831 at Stowmarket, County Suffolk, England. His father, Samuel Jacobs was described as a soldier and labourer whose wife was Bridget McCormick. Thomas was a seaman on board the 258 ton brig Sarah & Anne, arriving in Melbourne from Glasgow on 27 January 1854. Thomas was described as being 22 years olf, 5 feet 91/4 inches tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. His left arm bore many tattoos. On his left forearm was the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve, and a Man & a Woman. He wore a blue ring on his left hand a a bracelet around his left wrist. There were three passengers on board plus cargo. James Dick was the master. [1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

After being paid for his services as a seaman, he set off to the Ballarat goldfields. It was here he met Maria Radford who had come to Ballarat with her mother Caroline and her step father Samuel Smith. Caroline and Samuel had also settled on the Eureka Diggings.

Thomas Jacobs married Maria Radford on 13 July 1854 at the Wesleyan Church, Eureka, Ballarat East, Victoria, Australia. The witnesses to the marriage were Richard and Ann Rowley, also from Geelong. Although Maria was only 16 she claimed to be 18 on the marriage certificate. They were in the vicinity of Eureka during the unrest before the battle. [2]

Post 1854 Experiences

Around April 1855 Maria and Thomas moved to Mount Blackwood where the population was around 2,000 and the chief part of the diggings was on the banks of the Lerderderg River. By June 1855 the population of Mount Blackwood rose to around 10,000 to 20,000 people. Their first son Thomas was born at Blackwood on 29 October 1855 amid rains and flooding. Thomas' birth was registered on 26 January 1856 at Magpie, south of Ballarat.

By 1857 Thomas and Maria were living at Slaty Creek, Creswick where Maria's mother Caroline Smith, died. The inquest tells of her death from tuberculosis.

Subsequent children were born: Caroline Maria 16 Janaury 1858 at Slaty Creek, Harriette, 1860 and Samuel in 1861 at Nuggetty Gully, Creswick. then came Elizabeth 1864 and Mary Jane in 1866, the second Elizabeth in 1870 and Alfred in 1872.

Thomas joined the 2nd Ballarat Volunteer Rifle Corps, Creswick Detachment in June 1864.

He was found guilty of arson on 12 April 1871 for feloniously setting fire to the hut belonging to Ah Long. Witnesses Ah Yep and Goon Nak had seen Thomas Jacobs running away from the fire. He was sentenced to nine months hard labour at the Ballarat Gaol but was released on 11 October 1871 after serving six months. After being released he returned to his mining activities.

On Saturday 8 November 1873 at 10 past 5pm Thomas was at the Bridge Hotel where he accused George Baulcomb of being the means of his imprisonment for nine months. They began to fight in the hotel but the hotelkeeper would have no fighting or quarrelling inside so they continued outside. After the fight Thomas returned to the hotel and complained of a pain in his left breast and said his heart hurt. Henry Lewis, a brickmaker, accompanied Jacobs home. The next morning Jacobs asked for an order for the hospital, and was finally admitted on 20 November where he died (12 days after the fight). His death was caused by four broken ribs, which penetrated his left lung. George Baulcomb was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to two months imprisonment which he served in the Creswick Lockup. George died in December 1882 in the New Australasian Mine Disaster.

Thomas died 26 November 1873 in Creswick Hospital and was buried at Creswick Cemetery the day afterwards in Church of England ground 9/1660C. [3]

See also

Further Reading


  1. Notes from Val Latimer, 1994
  2. Notes from Val Latimer, 1994
  3. Notes from Val Latimer, 1994

External links