Thomas Valentine Blomfield

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Thomas Valentine Blomfield (14 February 1793 – 19 May 1857) was a British soldier, pioneer New South Wales settler and pastoralist, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace and Liverpool District Council member.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Liverpool, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Liverpool is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located in South Western Sydney 27 kilometres (17 mi) south-west of the Sydney central business district. Liverpool is the administrative seat of the local government area of the City of Liverpool and is situated in the Cumberland Plain.



Thomas was born on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 1793, in Suffolk, England and christened Valentine Thomas Blomfield on 18 February 1793 at Old Newton, Suffolk. His parents were Thomas Blomfield (1750–1833) and Mary Manning (née Seaman).

Military career

On 8 June 1809 (aged 16), Thomas enlisted as an Ensign in the 2nd Battalion of the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot in the British Army. On 17 June 1811, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He served in the Peninsular War and was awarded the Military General Service Medal, with clasps for Busaco (1810), Albuera (1811), Ciudad Rodrigo (1812), Badajoz (1812), Salamanca (1812), Vittoria (1813), Orthes (1814) and Toulouse (1814).

Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

A lieutenant is a junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

In February and August 1815, Thomas wrote to his family from Limerick, Ireland. The battle weary 48th regiment had returned to Ireland on 19 June 1814 and fought in several of the American battles but were mainly garrisoned in Southern Ireland. From 1817 until 1824, the 48th Regiment of Foot was stationed in Australia. Thomas arrived on the ship "Dick" on 3 August 1817 with a detachment of his regiment which had been ordered for service in New South Wales.

Limerick City in Munster, Ireland

Limerick is a city in County Limerick, Republic of Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city. The city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King's Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River. Limerick is also located at the head of the Shannon Estuary where the river widens before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 94,192, Limerick is the third most populous urban area in the state, and the fourth most populous city in Ireland.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Settlement in New South Wales

In a letter to his father dated 4 September 1820, Thomas announced his marriage had taken place in New South Wales on 3 August 1820 "to Christiana Jane Brooks, eldest daughter of Richard Brooks, Esq., a respectable settler and a magistrate of the Territory". Thomas and Christiana were married at St Philip's Church, Sydney.

St Philips Church, Sydney Church in New South Wales, Australia

The St Philip's Church, Sydney is the oldest Anglican church parish in Australia. The church is located in the Sydney city centre between York Street, Clarence and Jamison Streets on a location known as Church Hill. St Philip's is part of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia. The church is listed on the Register of the National Estate.

Sydney City in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,131,326, and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

His wife, Christiana Jane Brooks (1802–1852), was born on 15 January 1802 in Surrey, England, the eldest daughter of Captain Richard Brooks (c1763-1833) and Christiana Eliza Passmore (1776–1835). Christiana spent her childhood in Greenmile, Kent, England. She arrived in New South Wales, aged 12, in March 1814 on the Spring with her parents, older brother and four younger sisters. Another sister was born that year in New South Wales.

Surrey County of England

Surrey is a subdivision of the English region of South East England in the United Kingdom. A historic and ceremonial county, Surrey is also one of the home counties. The county borders Kent to the east, East and West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northeast.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

In a letter dated 4 September 1820 to his father, Thomas described Christiana:

"She is of a fair complexion, about 5ft 5 inches in height, fair hair and dark brown eyes and, of course, in my opinion, not ugly."

Both Thomas and Christiana were prolific letter writers and many of these have been preserved in a collection published in 1926 entitled "Memoirs of the Blomfield family being letters written by the Late Captain T. V. Blomfield and his wife to relatives in England".

Thomas continued in the Army until January 1824 when he sold out his commission. He settled on land he named "Dagworth" (after the farm where he was born), an estate of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) on the Hunter River, granted to him on 21 April 1825.

Hunter River (New South Wales) river

The Hunter River is a major river in New South Wales, Australia. The Hunter River rises in the Liverpool Range and flows generally south and then east, reaching the Tasman Sea at Newcastle, the second largest city in New South Wales and a major harbour port. Its lower reaches form an open and trained mature wave dominated barrier estuary.

In a letter to her niece, Louisa, dated 2 June 1825, Thomas’ wife Christiana describes her husband:

"Uncle Thomas has very dark hair, a high forehead, dark blue eyes, rather a short nose, a small mouth with a fine set of very white teeth, which he shows very much when he laughs; a very black beard, and nice black whiskers. Altogether he has a round face, a cheerful good-tempered countenance habitually when he laughs, which he does often and most heartily. In height he is five feet seven, and in my opinion a very good figure, and I know several young ladies who used to think so, too, when he was a bachelor. Oh, you'll enjoy meeting him! He is such a joy!"

Thomas is ranked as one of the pioneering band whose early settlement and recognition of its possibilities contributed to the development of the Monaro area in New South Wales. In 1848, when the applicants for leases were gazetted, Thomas sought to obtain Run No. 8, known as Collarnatong, consisting of 35,000 acres (140 km2) and the boundaries whereof, as set out in the Gazette, refer to neighboring runs as being those of Messrs Cassels, Brooks, Brierly and Eccleston.

After the death of Christiana’s parents, Captain Richard Brooks in 1833 and Christiana Brooks in 1835, the Brooks property "Denham Court" near Liverpool passed to Christiana and Thomas Blomfield where Thomas lived until his death on 19 May 1857. He was buried in the small churchyard at the Church of St Mary the Virgin near Denham Court in Ingleburn. Christiana had died five years earlier on 31 October 1852 at Denham Court and was also buried in the churchyard of the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Public service

On 1 November 1834, Thomas' appointment as a Magistrate was published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser: [1]

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint the undermentioned Gentlemen to be Magistrates of the Territory, viz. Thomas Valentine Blomfield, of Dagworth, Hunter's River and Denham Court, in the County of Cumberland, Esquire; and Charles Boydell, of Cam. Yr. Allyn Hunter's River, Esq.

On 9 August 1848, Thomas was listed in the District Council appointments published in the Sydney Morning Herald: [2]

Liverpool. - Messrs, John Brown Bossley and Thomas Valentine Blomfield, to hold office until the 1st May, 1851.

On 27 October 1851, Thomas was amongst a large list of appointees as Justices of the Peace published in The Sydney Morning Herald. [3] He had earlier appeared in a list of "The New Commission" published in The Sydney Herald [4] on 7 January 1836 which is thought to also be Justices of the Peace.


Thomas and Christiana had 12 children:

  1. Thomas Edwin BLOMFIELD (1821–1903) - Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army
  2. Richard Henry BLOMFIELD (1823–1896)
  3. John Roe BLOMFIELD (1824–1889) - Anglican Priest [5]
  4. Christiana Eliza Passmore BLOMFIELD (1826–1904) - married James John Riley (1821–1882), Mayor of Penrith and son of Edward Riley
  5. Louisa Matilda BLOMFIELD (1828–1858)
  6. Barrington Wingfield BLOMFIELD (1830–1835)
  7. Arthur BLOMFIELD (1831–1887) - Monaro pioneer
  8. Henry Wilson BLOMFIELD (1833–1924)
  9. Edwin Cordeaux BLOMFIELD (1835–1913)
  10. Euston BLOMFIELD (1837)
  11. Frank Allman BLOMFIELD (1840)
  12. Alfred BLOMFIELD (1842–1901)

In 1839, Christiana’s sister, Honoria Rose Riley (née Brooks) died leaving three young orphans. Honoria had been left a widow about three years before when her husband, William E Riley (c1808 - 1836) died. The three children raised by Christiana and Thomas, in addition to their own 11 surviving children, were:

  1. Alexander Raby RILEY (1833) - Attended school conducted by the Church of England clergyman, Dr William Woolls, and was one of the first matriculants to the University of Sydney (aged 19) in 1852.
  2. Christiana Sarah RILEY (1836) - married William Essington King
  3. Margaret Maria RILEY (1837) - married Thomas Alexander Browne (best known as novelist, Rolf Boldrewood) (1826–1915), and herself published "The flower garden in Australia. A book for Ladies and Amateurs" under the pseudonym Mrs Boldrewood

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