Thomas John Bown

Brass Founder, Plumber

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1864 1866
Alderman City of Sydney 1866 1871

Family background

Thomas John Bown was born on 14 July 1810 and christened on 19 August 1810 at Christ Church, Southwark, London. He was the son of John and Sarah Bown. His wife and family have not been identified. He died on 9 January 1872 and was buried at St Peters, Cooks River.

Occupation & interests

In 1841, Thomas Bown established a manufactory in Sydney producing plumbers and gasfitters’ supplies, fire-extinguishing equipment, brass finishing and engineering work. His address in 1844 was 284 George Street and, in 1859, he was at 614 George Street. Bown was the chief engineer with the City Council and Superintendent of Water-works, resigning from both positions in 1844. He was principal fireman with the Mutual Insurance Company in 1844 and became first superintendent of the Fire Insurance Company’s fire brigade in 1850. He kept the fire engine at his George Street premises at Brickfield Hill. In 1857, his nephew Charles Bown (1836-1918) arrived from London to join him in the firm of TJ Bown and Company. Charles Bown took over as the Insurance Company’s Fire Brigade superintendent in 1867, increasing Sydney’s firemen to 12 in 1870. He became Chairman of the newly constituted Fire Brigades Board in 1884. By 1861, Thomas Bown held the freehold on Barwan Park, consisting of an inn and gardens on Cooks River Road at St Peters. Throughout the 1860s, he advertised as a brass founder and plumber of 99 Bathurst Street. Mrs TJ Bown, his wife, was still residing at Barwan Park in 1877, five years after his death.

Local government service

Bown was the Alderman for Macquarie Ward, 31 March 1864 to 30 November 1866. He was elected for Phillip Ward on 1 December 1866 serving until 30 November 1871, just over a month before his death.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files

Cyclopedia of NSW 1907, McCarron Stewart & Co, Sydney


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