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Submitted by Maddie 7 July 2011


Thomas LUCAS is the son of Henry LUCAS  who was born in Shiplake, England and Ann CHASE – Born Caversham England.  Thomas’s story has taken us on a very long and complicated journey.  I will now endeavour to outline the outcome of our research and what we know to be the TRUE story of Thomas and not  his history as published in TWO publications,  namely ,  “Timetable”     put out by   the Redlands Shire Council Historical Division  and “Islands of Freedom” put out by another Redlands historical group.  I will outline  the errors of both these publications regarding Thomas being a Ticket of Leave convict etc at the end of Thomas’s story.

Thomas was born in Chekendon, Oxfordshire (although both his marriage and death certificates state that he was born in BEECHWOOD, Berkshire.)  Berkshire is just across the river from Checkendon.  We spent many hours trying to find BEECHWOOD, when a cousin in England, who is a qualified genealogist and historian, came across a map of early England.  She discovered a “BEECHWOOD FARM” quite close to Checkendon in the centre of  a  beechwood  forest area and that was what Thomas was naming as his birth place.  We then went on to Parish Records for that area and found that Thomas, Son of Henry and Ann, was christened on 7th August 1836, noting that there were no records of births   until 1837.

Thomas moved around with his parents traced through the 1841 and 1851 census,and by the 1861 census Thomas was now living in London, still named his birth place as BEECHWOOD, Oxfordshire and his occupation shown as “Coachman”.

Thomas left London on 2nd September 1865 on the ship “Queen of the South” for Brisbane, Australia.  He arrived in Brisbane on 8th December 1865, coincidentally the same birth date of both his Granddaughter Marjorie (PEARSON NEE WOOD) and Grandson John (WOOD).

He first leased land, 150 acres on Pumicestone  Passage bordered by Glasshouse Creek.  The following year the lease was forfeited for his failure to pay rent. Later however he went on to purchase land on Lamb Island in 1887 and 1888 (two separate lots) where he and his wife and family lived at  and raised their family. 

In 1886 Thomas married Elizabeth BIRCH and they had their five children while living on Lamb Is.

1.        Thomas George (B) 1886   -  (2)   Lucy (B) 1887 -    (3)  Henry (B) 1888/89  -  (4) Richard (B) 1890/91 and  Mary (B) 1894.

Thomas was one of the   pioneer oyster farmers in Moreton Bay.  Lucas Passage and Lucas  Drive  on the Island were both named in his honour.  Thomas’s Death Certificate shows that he died of consumption and diarrhea on 5th January 1895 and was buried on Lamb Island, the only grave on the Island and under the care of the Redlands Council.  When we first visited the grave it was marked only by a ring of rocks and a decaying sandstone headstone.  We also noted that a child had been interred in the same grave but no name was given on the head stone.  After much research we have never been able to identify the child.  We can only assume that it was a still born infant of Thomas and Elizabeth as we could not imaging why someone elses child would be buried in Thomas’s grave. Council have since erected a proper fence and attached a stainless steel plaque to the old head stone.  Mistakenly, however the plaque was engraved with the incorrect date of Thomas’s death as “12th June 1895.  His death certificate clearly shows 5th January 1895.  Another publication that we found on the internet showed his death as 1893.  There have been so many errors connected with stories of Thomas and  though it is nice to think that he has been remembered,   we want the memory to be a true history.

In 1995, the descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth, us included, attended a “Centenary Celebration for the Life of Lamb Island Pioneer Thomas LUCAS”.  The memorial service was conducted by The Rev. Owen Gregory and was attended by  Redlands Councillor, Eddie  Santaguiliana.  After the graveside service we all moved to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Reid (Rob and Trish) of Michael Ave. Lamb Is., where we were all treated to a sumptuous lunch.

I will now endeavour to show you that historians are not always correct.   -  In compiling the history of Thomas and his family I had come to the point of wrapping it all up when I decided to do a bit more research on the Moreton Bay Islands to include in my history.  I found a publication “TIMELINE” put out by the   Redlands historical division.  On the first page (and others) it stated that one of the first land owners and Oyster Farmers on Lamb Is. Was “Ticket of Leave Convict” Thomas LUCAS who lived at Corroboree Point from about  1853 until his death in 1893.  That set bells ringing as our research clearly showed that he lived on the Island from 1887/88 and died there in 1895 which was confirmed by his Death Certificate.  No one else in the family had ever heard that Thomas was a convict so we researched the claim.  The only Ticket of Leave Convict we could find came from Wiltshire, England and was born in 1809.  That Thomas was transported to Australia in 1832 aged 23 years.  Our Thomas was not born till 1836 so we immediately dismissed him and continued our search with no luck.  Then we obtained another publication “Islands of Freedom” put out by The “Redlands Society”.  There were four pages in this book dedicated to our Thomas but they also claimed that he was a “Ticket of Leave Convict” from Wiltshire transported to Australia for a “minor felony” in 1832 etc.  If this fellow was supposed to be our Thomas born in 1809 that would have made our Thomas 85 years old when he died on Lamb Island not 58 and he would have fathered five children in his late seventies up till his death when the youngest child was only a baby. Not bad for a fellow with Consumption etc.  It took some convincing   to get those two  ??Historians ?? to admit that they had it all wrong but we had solid proof and they finally accepted that they wehowever was correct except for the incorrect date on his head stone.  We are now in agreement that corrections will be made in future publications.   “The Islands of Freedom” publication  even stated that and I quote “the information on the original Death Certificate regarding the date of death and his age were both incorrect”.   Unquote.

On 6th February 2011 ( after the removal of the old plaque)  a new plaque was attached to the old headstone showing the correct dates etc. with some of his descendants in attendance.

I will add here that one year after Thomas’s death his widow Elizabeth married another fisherman Adolphus REID, but one year after that  (1897) Adolphus fell from his boat and was drowned.  It was many years later in 1921 at aged 56 years Elizabeth married for a third time to Bill NEALE and they then lived on the mainland at Nundah, Brisbane.

Now rest in Peace Thomas Lucas.


re wrong.  What had been published regarding his marriage and onwards from there


Grave error recalls Lamb oyster pioneer
Bayside Bulletin
Judith Kerr
28 Feb, 2011
IT was truly a grave error when the headstone of Lamb Island pioneer oyster farmer Thomas Lucas was found to be engraved with the wrong date of death.
The mistake was spotted by Mr Lucas's grandson, John Wood, at a 1995 Redland City Council graveside ceremony to mark 100 years since the pioneer's death.
Since then, 81-year-old Mr Wood and wife Margaret have spent hundreds of hours verifying his grandfather's date of birth and death and convincing Redland City Council to change the inscription.
This month, after more than 16 years, Redland City Council capitulated and allowed Mr Wood to replace the incorrect plaque with a new one, which gives the correct dates for Thomas Lucas as being born in 1836 and dying on January 5, 1895.
Getting the history correct was important for Mr Wood who said his grandfather's grave was the only one on Lamb Island, where the Lucas name had been immortalised in landmarks Lucas Passage and Lucas Drive.
"Alarm bells started to ring when I saw the plaque on the headstone which said Thomas Lucas died on June 12, 1895," Mr Wood said.
"His death certificate, of which I had a copy, said he died on January 5, 1895.
"From that moment on, I knew something was wrong and decided I was going to rectify the problem," Mr Wood said.
But Mr Wood's battle to set the records straight proved to be a lengthy and drawn out affair that ultimately ended in the re-writing of some history books.
During his research into the history of Thomas Lucas and his family, Mr Wood found an entry in Timeline, a publication by the council's historical division.
"On the first page, it stated that one of Lamb Island's first land owners and oyster farmers was 'ticket-of-leave convict' Thomas Lucas, who lived at Corroboree Point, from about 1853 until his death in 1893," Mr Wood said.
"That set alarm bells ringing as our research clearly showed he lived on the island from 1887 or 1888 and stayed there until he died in 1895, which was on his death certificate.
"No one else in our family had ever heard that Thomas was a convict, so we researched the claim," Mr Wood said.
After more than five years of research, Mr Wood was satisfied that the only ticket-of-leave convict named Thomas Lucas came from Wiltshire, England, and was born in 1809.
"That Thomas Lucas was transported to Australia in 1832, aged 23 years," Mr Wood said.
"Our Thomas was not born until 1836, so we immediately dismissed the one from Wiltshire as being the wrong person," he said.
Another document, Islands of Freedom, published by The Redlands Society, also claimed Thomas Lucas was a convict from Wiltshire transported in 1832.
But for that claim to be correct, Thomas Lucas would have died at 85, not 58, and fathered five children in his late 70s with the last child only a baby when he died.
"It took some convincing to get the local historians to admit that they had made a mistake," Mr Wood said.
"Most of what had been published about his marriage had been correct but we all agree now that corrections will be made in future publications of Islands of Freedom.
"That publication also claimed that the original death certificate got the date of death and his age wrong.
"Our family is honoured that the name of Thomas Lucas is remembered in Lamb Island's history and now his dates are correct, he can rest in peace," Mr Wood said.