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.
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.
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