Thomas Cowlishaw

Stone Mason, Builder, Architect

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1843 1847
  • Maria Cowlishaw, wife of Thomas Cowlishaw (1806-1875) (Courtesy of Cowlishaw Family website)

Family background

Thomas Cowlishaw was born on 12 September 1806 at Wirksworth, Derbyshire, England, son of William Cowlishaw and Ann, nee Storer. He married Maria, daughter of Thomas and Mary Evans, in England about 1832 and had seven children. James, born in 1834, was the first child born in Sydney. Cowlishaw died at Paddington, Sydney, on 6 November 1875, aged 69. His wife predeceased him on 27 March 1874, aged 70, at Paddington. The family are buried in the Old Wesleyan Cemetery at Rookwood.

Occupation & interests

Thomas Cowlishaw and his wife arrived in Sydney on the Henri Porcher in July 1833. In 1842, Thomas Cowlishaw, a ratepayer and builder of Liverpool Street, had a five-room house for rent in Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills. By 1859, he was an architect at 23 Hutchinson Street. In 1863, he was living at Chadson Villa, Old South Head Road, Paddington.

Community activity

On 8 February 1844, Cowlishaw was elected treasurer of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts. For 17 years, he held the office of Lands Valuer for the Works Department. Cowlishaw was at the first meeting of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children, chaired by George Allen in 1832. A founder of the Destitute Children’s Asylum at Randwick, he remained on the Board of Directors until his death. He became a devoted and active member of the Wesleyan Church and was superintendent of the Bourke Street Sunday School.

Local government service

On 1 November 1843, Cowlishaw was elected Councillor for Macquarie Ward with 150 votes. He remained in Council until 31 October 1847. In November 1844, he was appointed to the Committee of Public Works of the City Council.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files

Society of Australian Genealogists: Rookwood Index


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