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Thomas Lowry (1858–?)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Thomas Lowry, 1891

Thomas Lowry, 1891

Queensland State Archives, ITM341532, DR17768

Thomas Lowry (1858-?) shearer, gaoled trade unionist

Birth: 1858 in England. Marriage: unknown. Death: unknown. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Enlisted in the British Army in his youth, later wrote ‘I have served my Queen and country for six years and some days on the frontiers of Afghanistan’.
  • 1887 arrived in Queensland in the Austral.
  • Arrested and charged with others at Clermont on 25 March 1891 with intimidating strike-breaking labourers at Ebor Creek, Springsure, and riot at Peak Downs on 19 March. On the first charge he was sentenced summarily at Clermont on 1 April by police magistrate Edmond Morey to three months gaol.
  • Tried at Rockhampton on the charge of rioting, Lowry was sentenced on 20 May 1891 by Justice Harding to an additional three years gaol with hard labour and was required to find sureties (one for £80 and two for £40) for 12 months good behaviour on his release. Harding described Lowry as “a man of violent temperament and not likely to be benefitted by a light sentence”.
  • Prison records indicate he could read and write, was a native of England aged 33 years, 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) in height, of slight build with fair hair and grey eyes and was tattooed “Britannia” on his right arm with Union Jack, stars & stripes star & heart on his left arm. He gave his religion as “C.E.”
  • Obtained early release under the First Offenders Probation Act on 11 June 1892 having expressed regret for his actions and entered into recognisances to the amount of £100 for future good behaviour. He received £18 15s. from the Union Prisoners’ Assistance Fund. His release was greeted with hostility by some, who accused him of “crawling”.
  • After his release he travelled to Sydney, then looked for shearing with a union ticket at Byrock in July and near Blainey, NSW in late November 1892, as he wrote to the Brisbane Worker in a letter denying that he had been assisted by the pastoralists’ association secretary John Whiteley King. Subsequent letters from his fellow prisoner Heathcote exonerated him.

Queensland State Archives DR 9472 p.267, DR 59901/298; Stuart Svensen, The shearers’ war; the story of the 1891 Shearer’s Strike (Brisbane, 1989).

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Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Lowry, Thomas (1858–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Thomas Lowry, 1891

Thomas Lowry, 1891

Queensland State Archives, ITM341532, DR17768

Life Summary [details]



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