Thomas Cullen

Magistrate, Publican, Pastoralist

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Newtown 1863 1863
  • Jubilee souvenir of the municipality of Newtown, 1862-1912 (City of Sydney Archives LIB-00017635)

Family background

Born in Sydney in 1806 as the son of Irish convicts, Patrick Cullen and Elizabeth McNamara, Thomas Cullen moved to Windsor with his mother and siblings after his father’s death. In Windsor, he married Mary Anne Alcorn in 1828. The couple moved to Singleton, where they raised two daughters and two sons, living at the Governor Bourke Inn. By July 1857, Cullen had moved back to Sydney, where he performed magisterial duties. He lived at Horbury Terrace in Sydney, where his wife died the following year, on 4 April 1858.

Later moving to the Newtown area, where he was elected as an alderman in 1863, he served on the bench at the Central Police Court, when he collapsed on Friday, 9 September 1864. His son-in-law, Crown Prosecutor William R. Templeton, of ‘Lewisville’ in Newtown, rushed to Cullen’s aid, and it was decided to prepare a bed at the Police Court rather than transport the unconscious man to hospital.  Cullen died there on Saturday, 10 September 1864, aged 58. He was buried in the family vault at Camperdown Cemetery.

Occupation & interests

At Singleton, Thomas Cullen took over the Governor Bourke Inn (later renamed Fitzroy Hotel) in 1836. Sittings of the Court of Petty Sessions were held on the premises during his time, as well as religious services. Cullen owned Mihi Station in New England and the Tareelaroi (Turilari) and Whalan (Whaland) cattle runs in the Gwydir District, all managed by overseers while he lived in Singleton and Sydney.

Community activity

Thomas Cullen served as a justice of the peace (JP). In Singleton, he was a founding member and first treasurer of the Patrick Plains and Upper Hunter Agricultural Association in 1845. Cullen was very much involved in public affairs during his time in Singleton, where he was on the Local School Board of the Roman Catholic School.

Local government service

Thomas Cullen was elected to the first Newtown Council as an alderman for O’Connell in 1863. He served on the Finance and Bylaw Committees but was often absent due to commitments elsewhere.


Biographical information for this alderman was originally researched by Mark Matheson for the Newtown Project Website. Additional research was undertaken by Dr Martina Muller in November 2022.

‘Classified Advertising’, Maitland Mercury, 17 February 1847, 1,

‘Denominational Schools’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 1849, p. 2,

‘Supplementary List of Claims…’, Maitland Mercury, 7 November 1849, 4,

‘Family Notices’, Empire, 12 September 1864, p. 1,

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 1864, p. 8,

‘Family Notices’, Freeman’s Journal, 14 September 1864, p. 7,

‘Woolloomooloo Branch’, Freeman’s Journal, 14 September 1864, p. 3,

‘Singleton’, Maitland Mercury, 15 September 1864, 3,

‘Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction’, NSW Government Gazette, 23 September 1864, Issue No. 187, p. 2125,

‘Transfer of Runs’, NSW Government Gazette, 8 February 1866, Issue No. 37 (suppl.), 404,

‘Death of Singleton’s Oldest Inhabitant’, Singleton Argus, 1906, 2,

‘Old Association’, Singleton Argus, 16 September 1932, 8,

‘Early History of Moree and Adjacent Districts’, Warialda Standard, 22 May 1950, 4,

Lyn Stewart, ‘John Browne (1803-1881) and the rush to the Hunter Valley’, The Patrick Plains Gazette, August 2019, 6-8.


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