family photo strip - Ros
Ros Escott's Family History Pages


The information on this page is from many sources. Much of it is new information from my own research in England and Tasmania, and from searching through old newpapers and BDM records. This has built on the extensive research over many years by other family members, especially my late aunt Winifred Keogh, my cousin Teresa Pagliaro, and my cousin Elizabeth Rennick who compiled and edited 'A Family Portfolio', published 1996.

contact me if you have additions, corrections or questions, and particularly if you are related to our branch of the Lowe family. I am generous about sharing my work to further collective research, but please do not copy information and pictures from this site and publish them elsewhere, e.g. on Ancestry, without attribution and without contacting me first.

George Lowe and Honora Ahern

My great-great-great grandparents George Lowe (1782-1861) and his wife Honora Ahern (1795-1839) were transported as convicts. At the time of his arrest and imprisonment in New Prison, London, George was described as 18 years old, 5 foot 5 inches tall, dark complexion, brown hair, hazel eyes, a weaver of Whitechapel. In the Assizes records for Maidstone Kent, at his second trial, Lowe is described as "late of the Parish of Bromley in the County of Kent, Labourer". In the 1830s Lowe is described by Henery Savery in his memoirs The Hermit in Van Diemen's Land as a "tall, stout, John Bull looking chap". No physical description of Honora Ahern has been found. 

Was George Lowe from Whitechapel in the east end of London, or from Bromley eight miles away in north-west Kent? It seems that both court records simply state his native place to be the place where the relevant crime was committed. Although he had no previous record, Lowe was apparently 'known' in Bromley because the London police had been alerted to look for him in relation to the offence committed there.

George Lowe - the convict years

Lowe arrested and tried at the Old Bailey

On 28 October 1800, George Lowe, age 18, and his accomplice Martin Briant/Bryant, age 20, were detained in the Maxworth-Arms in White-horse Lane, Stepney - very near St Dunstan's Church, Stepney. They were detained on suspicion of having committed a burglary in Kent, then arrested when found to be in the possession of stolen goods. They were incarcerated in New Prison and tried in the Old Bailey on 14 January 1801. Lowe was sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing a pair of leather-lined velveteen britches, value 12 shillings from a shop in Whitechapel. Bryant received the same sentence for stealing a Guernsey frock, value 3 shillings.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online for Martin Bryant and George Lowe, 14 January 1801. Offence: Theft > grand larceny.

Lowe tried at Maidstone

George Lowe and Martin Briant were then sent down to Maidstone, Kent to be tried for an earlier offence: "Removed by Habeas Corpus from Newgate charged with burglariously breaking open the dwelling house of James How at Bromley in the Night of the Twenty second of October last and with feloniously stealing therein two silver Watches value seven Pounds & seven shillings the Property of the said James How". [Maidstone Prison Records]

They were tried in the Maidstone Lent Assizes, on 16 March 1801. George Lowe puts (represents) himself, Jury say guilty, no goods, To be Hanged by the neck until he be dead. The finding was the same for Martin Briant. The value of the watches made this a capital offence so they were among the 37 who received the death sentence at that session of the Assizes, "eighteen of whom were reprieved before the departure of the Judges hence". [Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 24 March 1801].


Lowe and Bryant's sentences were commuted to transportation for life. In Australia, Lowe's sentence appears to have been subsequently commuted to 14 years. Briant, who became a cooper in Sydney, was released even earlier.


The hulks and then transportation to Sydney Cove

Lowe and Briant were held for around 18 months on the hulk Stanislaus at Woolwich on the River Thames at Woolwich. The Stanislaus was one of several hulks operated by private individuals, such as the shipowners Duncan Campbell and James Bradley, under contract to the British government. They would have been allocated to a work gang and had to spend 10 to 12 hours a day working on river cleaning projects, stone collecting, timber cutting, embankment and dockyard work while they waited for a convict transport to become available.

... crowds of men in irons all dressed alike ... dragging carts filled with rubbish, some up to their middle in water labouring by the riverside at excavations, some carrying timber of other burthens, others in sawpits or employed on different sorts of artificers' work ... closely attended by soldiers with muskets and fixed bayonets.  H. Savery, The Bitter Bread of Banishment formerly Quintus Servinton, (First Published in 1830), Sydney, 1962, p.285.

In September 1802 Lowe and Briant were boarded onto the HMS Glatton with other prisoners from the Stanislaus.

Lowe and Briant - Stanislaus Hulk 

The HMS Glatton and departed South Downs, England on 23 September 1802. There were 271 male and 130 female convicts aboard although 2 were relanded while still in English waters and 12 died on the voyage. They sailed sailed via Maderia and Rio De Janeiro, making the journey in 169 days. The HMS Glatton arrived in Sydney on 11 March 1803 and Lowe went ashore four days later.


George Lowe escapes - twice

In early 1805 George Lowe was sent south, to the very new settlement of York Town at Port Dalrymple in northern Van Diemen's Land, arriving there on the Buffalo on 4 April 1805. On the same ship was Colonel Patterson's wife, Elizabeth, coming to join her husband who was in charge of the settlement. Lowe was assigned to Richard Wilson, a settler from Norfolk Island, whose farm was at Anderson’s Creek, just south of the main settlement (camp) at York Town. Lowe would have been engaged in the back-breaking labour of land clearing and getting timber for building and other purposes.  At the time of the general muster of June 1805, there were 301 people living in the York Town area, including 135 convicts, mostly males, eighteen women and two children.

Three months after arriving, in June and in the middle of winter, Lowe was with a group of convicts who escaped and engaged in various raiding activities, living rough in the bush along the Tamar River. Lowe gave himself up after a few days, claiming he had been coerced into joining them and had been threatened if he tried to leave. He made a detailed statement about their plans, activities and location - no doubt trying to save his own skin, as convict dissent was usually severely punished by lashes and hard labour.

Transcript of George Lowe's statement:
County of Cornwall to wit . . .
Information on Oath of George Lowe Convict taken this day before me one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Cornwall.

Informant being duly Sworn deposits that on the Nineteenth day of June instant and for some time previous thereto he Informant lived as a Government Servant with Richard Wilson Settler. That on the morning of the above day
William Russell, Terence Flinn, Bartholomew Foley, John Fitzgerald and John Murphy Convicts rushed into his Masters House. That Russell, Flynn and Foley took from out said House a Musket some powder, Ball, provisions, a Tin Pot and a Tomahawk, that Informant found the aforesaid Convicts and went with them as he supposes Sixty Miles up the River. That on the following Monday Informant and his Companions determined to return to the Camp for the purpose of procuring more dogs and provisions and that on the night of the next ensuing Friday they discovered the Fires of the prisoners Huts in Camp when John Fitzgerald one of the party ran away and took with him one of the dogs they had taken with them on their first leaving camp. That previous to his going Fitzgerald sayd it was his intention to get provisions at the Government Stock Yard that Informant and the rest of the party Slept that night about half a Mile from Camp. That at day break the following Morning they agreed to go first to Wilsons the Settlers to Tie the Hands of himself and his men and to take what provisions and Dogs they might have. That Informant and his Companions were then to go to Centonys Devines Bullocks and Williams Hutts and in like manner secure the persons who might be there and take from thence whatever dogs or provisions they could find after doing which it was the determination of Informant and his party to go to Mr Riley’s Farm and take what provisions be at his Stock Shed. That in Consequence of this determination the rest of the party sent Informant to look out about Wilson House whereupon Informant took that opportunity to escape from them which before he attempted to do but was prevented by their threatening to Shoot him. Informant further says that previous to their going yesterday morning to Wilson Farm, Terence Flinn went to John Murphy the Sawyer and discovered to him that Informant and the other men who had ran away were near the Camp whereupon Murphy informed Flynn there was a  Reward for apprehending them and advised them to take the best means in their power to Escape. Informant also says that John Clifford was to have been one of Number who made their escape from Camp. That Clifford told Informant he would take with him Mr Mountgarretts three dogs which he always had at his Command and that he Clifford had Three pounds of powder secured for the purpose of taking with him. Informant also says that Patrick Langton one of Mr Riley’s Servants told him that he Langton meant to run away with the party and to take Mr Riley’s Musquett. That Edward Wood a Servant to Williams Settler says he could procure five or six charges of powder and a Pair of Pistols; that William Servant to Centony a Settler was to have gone but that he refused on the Wednesday morning having given a Fishing Line to John Murphy to assist them; that John Brown Servant to Philip Devine had always intended to escape with them and had got for that purpose a Flint and Tinder Box with a palm and Sail needle to make a Sail of his Bed Case; Informant further says that not one of the five men who with himself ran away have ever been near the Camp since the day they left it untill last Friday night; That Russells intention was that if they could not procure any more dogs in their return to Camp they would build a Canoe and by crossing the water take Mr Pipers Dogs and provisions at Outer Cove and also the Dog the Soldier had at Low Head who they were to surprise when asleep and Informant further says that their intention now is to prepare some kind of Bark Canoe to Cross the water and thinks he can discover where they are.
Sworn before me on this 30
th day of June 1805                   George his x Mark Lowe.
Alexr Riley J.P.

Was Lowe in on the plan from the start and later got cold feet (or was simply cold!) and turned himself in? Or had he been coerced against his will into joining the absconders, as he claimed? In November 1805, George Lowe returned to Sydney on the Lady Nelson with the other absconders. No record has been found of a court case relating to the escape attempt, so it is not know if Lowe went to Sydney to give evidence or to be tried. 


In August, 1806 convict George Lowe is listed on a muster in Sydney, occupation 'Boat Crew', which would have entailed bringing goods and passengers to and from ships in Sydney Cove.  

At the time of the Rum Rebellion in Sydney on 26 January 1808, the brig Jenny was in port with five thousand gallons of rum and brandy on board. When the news reached her, she was lit up with candles in honour of Governor Bligh's arrest. There were many willing purchasers, but Major Johnston who had taken command was reluctant to allow more spirits into the colony. There are various accounts, but it appears that at least some of the spirits were secretly purchased and smuggled ashore at night before she was ordered to quit port on 8th February. Four days later she put in at Broken Bay, but was alleged to be landing or preparing to land spirits and she was seized and ordered back into port. The ship and cargo were restored to Captain Dorr, and the Jenny cleared port on 15 March 1808, "having shipped more seamen". [The journal of William Lockerby, sandalwood trader in the Fijian Islands during the years 1808-1809William Lockerby]

On 20 March 1808 Lowe and another convict John Bingham escaped on the American Brig Jenny, under Captain William Dorr, enroute to China via Fiji. Were they press-ganged or did they willingly agree to be added to the crew in order to escape? The Jenny apparently needed to take on extra seamen, who might have been hard to find in Port Jackson at that time. There is evidence that other convicts assigned to boats crew at about that time were involved in smuggling, so Lowe may well have been part of the night-time activities and would therefore have had contacts on the Jenny, which had been at anchor since November.

It was a decision Lowe may have come to regret. The Jenny was headed for the Feejees via Tonga, to engage in the new, lucrative but potentially very dangerous sandalwood trade. The area abounded with unchartered reefs, and hostile natives onshore, with a reputation for cannabalism. The Jenny's fore- and top-mainsail mastheads were carried away, and other damage received, in a gale on 2 April, soon after leaving Tonga. Fortunately the weather was then fine for several days and they were able to get the ship under jury-masts and proceed slowly through the islands. There were several encounters with hostile natives in canoes, many of whom were armed, and some of whom tried unsuccessfully to board and take the ship. On 22 May, she arrived at Sandalwood Bay (now Bau Bay on Vanua Levu Island) where another brig, the Elizabeth was already at anchor. On 30 June, the Elizabeth sent a whaleboat ashore with three Europeans and two Otaheitans (Tahitians) to procure sandalwood. They were run down by a canoe from the Island of Taffeia; the Europeans were murdered and one later eaten, the Otaheitans were spared and left on a remote island from where they were later rescued.

The Jenny had planned to rendezvous with the Eliza which had left Port Jackson a month later, but the Eliza was wrecked on a reef about 60 miles out of Sandalwood Bay; most of the crew made it safely to the Island of Nairai. The captain and two mates rowed in a longboat to the Elizabeth and Jenny, who sent crew back to rescue the rest of the Eliza's crew - and presumably at least some of the reputed 40,000 Spanish silver dollars she had on board. One man was killed and several injured when they were attacked during the rescue. There are reports that quite a few of the silver dollars finished up in the hands of the various crew members from the ships involved in this episode. (Walter MAHB, A 40,000 dollar question, or some remarks on the veracity of certain ancient mariners, beachcombers and castaways. JPS 83:1 1974 p58-83)

Soon after, on 28th July, the Jenny, with a good load of sandalwood, suddenly sailed off under jury-mast, leaving behind some crew members who were stationed on shore. Her ultimate destination was Canton in China, where sandalwood was in great demand and where the opium trade was active, but she was seized by a British frigate soon after leaving Guam where she had put in to procure new masts. While there it was alleged the Captain engaged in trading, which was a contravention of British Orders in Council, against entering or trading in enemy (Spanish) ports. Captain Dorr subsequently lost the Jenny in the Court of Vice-Admiralty at Calcutta.

George Lowe's role in these activities in the Feegees is not known, but when the Jenny sailed for China, George Lowe and John Bingham were not aboard. Were they with the group abandoned on shore, or had they already surrendered themselves to Captain Stewart of the Elizabeth, which was a Port Jackson brig, owned by Messrs. Lord, Cable and Underwood, emancipated convicts. On arrival back in Port Jackson in October 1808, the Captain Stewart handed Lowe and Bingham back to the Government. No records have survived as to how or whether they were punished for their escape. The question remains - did Lowe return to Port Jackson with a supply of silver dollars from the wrecked Eliza?

An account of the incident involving the Jenny and Elizabeth is reported in the Sydney Gazette of the 23 Oct 1808.  A fuller account is in The Journal of William Lockerby, Sandalwood Trader in the Fijian Islands during the Years 1808-1809 by Lockerby, Thurn and Wharton. 


In 1811 George Lowe is included in a General Muster of convicts in NSW.

Sydney from Bennelong Point, 1812


 George Lowe returns to Van Diemen's Land

On 8 February 1812, George Lowe is on a list of eighty male convicts to be embarked on board the ship Ruby of Calcutta for the settlement of Hobart Town on the River Derwent in Van Diemen's Land under the Command of Major Geils 73rd Regiment.

In March 1813 he obtained, by servitude, his Certificate of Freedom.  He had originally been convicted in March 1801 (curiously the later official records show his trial date as 1799). He had served 12 years of a Life Sentence that had at some point been commuted to 14 years. George Lowe was a free man.


Honora Ahern, Irish Convict: her adventures on the high seas

Honora Ahern (aka Honor/Norah Hern/Hernell) was born c1795 and was a servant in Cork, Ireland, who could not read or write. On 7 April 1813, aged 18, she was tried in the city of Cork for an unknown offence (no records can be traced) and she was sentenced to 7 years transportation. She appears to have been tried and sentenced at the same time as Ellen Hickey, a 22-year-old servant who was also sentenced to 7 years transportation, so it is likely that they were tried for the same offence. Before and after their trial, Honora and Ellen  would have been held at the Cork Old Gaol in the upper stories of the gatehouse at Northgate Bridge [Picture left of bridge and gaol, by Grogan].

Honora Ahern and Ellen Hickey were transported on the Catherine  The Catherine was 325 tons and only 2 years old - built at New Bedford in 1811. William Simmons was the Master and Palmer was the Surgeon for the voyage. The vessel was inspected on the day she arrived (in Cove, Cork) in August 1813 and was found to have a good roomy prison and berths made up for a hundred females, and there may be more. Her hospital is a good one, except being placed in the bows; it is tolerably well ventilated.

The women convicts came from counties all over Ireland; Honora and Ellen were in a group of twenty-five from the Cork Old Gaol. Honora was one of only three eighteen-year-olds on board, the youngest of the 98 Irish female convicts on the Catherine; there were also four children travelling with their convict mothers. Over 50 of the women had been tried in Dublin and by the time they arrived in Cork, they had already spent 6 weeks on board a ship, without bedding or a clothing allocation, waiting for suitable winds for the two-day trip to Cork. The convicts were put on board the Catherine in groups, starting on 25 September, and were all on board by 1 October 1813. They were ready to sail a week later, but heavy wind and rain delayed their departure until 27 October and they did not arrive in Falmouth, England until 30 October. The weather there was exceedingly cold and the prisoners, confined on board in the harbour, were said to have suffered severely.

It was the height of the Napoleonic wars; the Catherine and a ship carrying 219 Irish male convicts, the Three Bees, were to sail in convoy to South America under the protection of the armed frigates Niger and Tagus, before continuing to Port Jackson. They all departed Falmouth on 18 December 1813, but on 6 January, near Cape de Verde, the Niger and Tagus entered into a chase and battle, before capturing the French frigate Ceres which was under the command of Baron de Bougainville. [Right: The Niger, Tagus, capture the French Ceres by John Bentham Dinsdale.]

The Catherine and the Three Bees, with their cannons armed, continued on without their escort. They arrived in Rio de Janerio on 3 February and left 14 days later; it was again bitterly cold during the time they were in the harbour. On the voyage across the Pacific there was at least one encounter with a suspected hostile ship, but nothing eventuated. The Catherine arrived in Port Jackson on 4 May 1814 with 97 female convicts (one had died on the voyage); the Three Bees arrived two days later. They docked at The Rocks, near Dawes Point.

SHIP NEWS. - On Wednesday arrived the Catherine transport, Capt. Simmonds, with 97 female prisoners from Ireland; which she received at Cork, and afterwards went to Falmouth for convoy, whence she sailed for this Colony the 8th of last December. . . .  Yesterday arrived the Three Bees transport, Capt. Wallace with 209 male prisoners, also from Ireland, but last from England having sailed in the same convoy with the Catherine, under protection of the Niger and Tagus frigates; which captured, off the Cape de Verde, the Ceres French frigate, rated 36, but carrying 46 guns . . . [The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 7 May 1814]

Governor Macquarie wrote to Earl Bathurst: Catherine , commanded by Capt. Wm Simmonds, arrived with 97 female convicts, one only having died on the voyage. . . . I am happy in being enabled to state that the Convicts by the Catherine and the Three Bees have, without a Single Exception, borne grateful Testimony to their having been treated with the most unremitting care, Attention, and kindness, by the Masters and Surgeons of those Vessels, from the day of their Embarkation until they were finally landed here. The settlement in Van Dieman’s Land being much in want of women, I have embarked 60 of those arrived to the Derwent. [Extract from Macquarie to Bathurst, 24 May 1814, HRA. I, viii, p. 253]

Two weeks later, on 20 May, the Three Bees caught fire while still docked at The Rocks; all attempts to extinguish the raging fire were useless, so all abandoned ship. Cut adrift and engulfed in flames, the ship floated in the harbour with 30 casks of gunpowder still on board. The ship's cannons began to fire at random and one ball crashed through the window of Captain John Piper's parlour, shattering the corner of his writing desk. A light breeze blowing off the shore caused the vessel to drift to the extremity of the cove, where she struck projecting rocks near Bennelong Point. The inhabitants of Sydney expected the magazine to blow at any time. When the explosion occurred some hours later, it was fortunately with less intensity than anticipated - largely due to water leaking into the hull. Governor Macquarie wrote: . . . with this crisis, little short of the total destruction of the Town of Sydney was expected every moment to take place by the explosion of the magazine. The alarm was so great that numbers of the inhabitants deserted their houses and escaped into the country to avoid being buried in its ruins. [Macquarie to Bathurst, 24 May 1814, HRA. I, viii, p. 254]  The Governor himself was among those who left town, but convicts such as Honora would not have been afforded this luxury. [The picture is from the re-enactment of the burning of the Three Bees in June 2009 at Fire water, during Sydney's first Vivid Festival]

As Governor Macquarie wrote (above), the arrival of the Catherine in Port Jackson coincided with a request from Governor Davey for more female convicts to be sent to Van Diemen's Land. On 28 May, just 24 days after she had arrived, Honora Ahern left Port Jackson for Van Diemen's Land on His Majesty's brig the Kangaroo, with the group of 60 female convicts from the Catherine; there were also 40 male convicts on board.  It was a nightmare voyage. The ship encountered bad weather, and "was obliged by contrary winds to take refuge in Jarvis's, Two-fold and Oyster Bay alternately", before she was driven northward past Port Jackson by strong southerly winds and took refuge at Port Stephens in "Hunter's River".  The Kangaroo finally returned to Port Jackson on 3 August, nine and a half weeks later. [The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 6 Aug 1814]. The newspaper reported "all on board well" but three convict women were relanded because they were in a bad state of health and they were replaced by three other women. The Kangaroo set sail again on 19 August, arriving in Hobart Town on 14 September 1814. Honora Ahern had been on a ship almost continuously for 11 months since she left Ireland, and had had enough excitement for a lifetime.

Honora was most likely selected directly from the boat by a settler wanting a domestic servant. There is no record of who she was assigned to, but it was probably a married settler in the New Norfolk district, and that is how she met George Lowe.
She appears to have committed no further offences during her sentence and would have been granted her Certificate of Freedom, by servitude, on or about 7 April 1820, seven years after the date of her trial. A duplicate Certificate of Freedom is recorded as issued on 11 Oct 1823.

George Lowe and Honora Ahern marry

On 21 February 1815, emancipated George Lowe and convict Honora Ahern were married by the Reverend Robert Knopwood in St David's parish, Hobart Town, probably in a private house because St David's church (now Cathedral) was not yet built. The witnesses were David Bush and William Widdowson (the new husband of Honora's friend and fellow convict from Cork, Ellen Hickey). It had been two years since George had become a free man, and six months since Honora had arrived in Van Diemen's Land. In a colony where there were ten or more men to every woman, a healthy young bride such as Honora was quite a catch for George.

As a convict, she had to apply for and be granted permission to marry; she would then have been assigned to her husband after their marriage. He could have her charged and punished if she was insolent or disobeyed his orders, but there is no evidence of this and it seems that he treated her well.

George Lowe and Honora née Ahern had 7 children:

  • James Lowe (born 18 December 1815 Hobart - died 10 February 1865 Hobart)
    Married Belinda Bridget Kennedy on 3 February 1836 in Hobart and they had 9 children: Ellen Virginia Lowe (1836-1872) who married Joseph Henry Jones (c.1834-1923); Mary Ann (Minnie) Lowe (1837-1894) who married Richard Michael Phegan (1834-1916); George Lowe (1838-1892) who married Jane Watt (1842-1914); James Lowe (1840-1913) who married Sarah Annie Matilda Mitchell (1849-1929); William Lowe (1841-1881) who married Ellen Brewer (c.1848-1926); Edward Lowe (1842-?); Josiah (Joseph) Lowe (1844-1907) who married Mary Jane McGee (1852-1929); Matthew Lowe (1847-1847); and Thomas Lowe (1850-?). James Lowe's wife Belinda died on 22 May 1851 from consumption, aged 34.

  • Elizabeth Lowe (born 20 January 1817 Hobart - died 02 February 1819 New Norfolk of snakebite

  • Mary Ann Lowe (born 03 November 1819 Hobart - died 23 November 1914 Melbourne)
    Married John Pearson Rowe on 08 September 1835 in Hobart and they had 13 children. See Rowe for further details.

  • George Lowe (born 13 July 1822 Hobart - died 29 November 1890 in Port Melbourne, Victoria)
    Married Emily Graves in 1852 in Melbourne and they had 9 children: William George Lowe (1857-1857); Elizabeth Lowe (1858-1938) who married Thomas Smith Tatham (1855-1931); Emily Lowe (1861-1861); George Lowe (1862-1939); unnamed female Lowe (1865-1865); Frederick Lowe 1866-1866); Susan Lowe (1868-1868); William Lowe (1869-1944) who married Emily Sharman (1866-1948); and James Lowe (1873-1875).  George unexpectedly visited his sister Mary Rowe in East Melbourne on 18 September 1886 asking for money which she said she was unable to give him; she recorded in her diary that she had not seen him for 40 years and that they had never been close. George Lowe's wife Emily died in 1911 in Richmond. They are both buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

  • Caroline Lowe (born abt 1824 at sea or England - died 09 April 1884 Hobart) Did not marry.

  • William Lowe (born 02 March 1827 Hobart - died 27 September 1881 Hobart)
    Married Elizabeth Ellena (Ellen) Garrett on 05 June 1872 in Hobart and they had 6 children: George William Percival Lowe (1873-1873); Blanche Elizabeth Caroline Lowe (1874-1936) who married Alfred George Edwards (1868-1931); Clive Percival Lowe (1876-1877); Isabel Norah Lowe (1878-1961) who married William Arthur Jones (1873-1954); Elsie May Lowe (1880-1968) who married Charles Henry Minchin (1864-1933); and Wilhemina Mary (Ina) Lowe (1882-1968) who married Alfred George Pearce (1878-1964). William Lowe's wife Ellen Lowe died 1906 in East Melbourne, aged 63

  • Ann Norah Lowe (born 02 March 1829 New Norfolk - died 14 February 1857 Hobart) Did not marry


The Lowes' early business and family life

On 18 December 1815, George and Honora's first son, James, was born. Honora would have been 21 years old.

On 26 July 1816 George Lowe paid £120 cash to James Bryan Cullen for a farm of 78 acres situated on the Derwent River in the district of New Norfolk. James Cullen had been "possessed of the land as a settler removed from Norfolk Island in consequence of the evacuation". However, there is no evidence that Lowe actually took possession as Cullen remained on the property. It appears to have been a type of mortgage or loan, with the property used as security. Cullen was known to have financial difficulties. Six months later, in January 1817, George Lowe successfully tendered to supply 1500 lbs of fresh meat to His Majesty's Magazine on 28 March 1817. William Abel (another Norfolk Island ex convict settler) also tendered to supply the same amount on the same date, suggesting some sort of partnership had already developed between these two men.

On 20 January 1817, George and Honora's first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. She was baptised in February 1818 in St David's Hobart, Church of England and died on 02 February 1819. On the evening of yesterday fortnight, as a young child about 14 months old, daughter of George Lowe, settler at New Norfolk, was playing near the door of its parents, a large black snake, which was unobserved on the premises, bit the infant in the knee. The parents at first considered it only a slight puncture, not being aware that it was then bit; but shortly after the poor infant was seized with the dreadful symptoms attending the bite of a snake, and continued in the greatest agony till Monday evening last, when the infant died. This is the first distressing calamity of the kind we have heard of in the Settlement. [Hobart Town Gazette, 20 February 1819]

At about this time, Lowe appears to have become financially embarrassed  for a period. CAUTION. All persons are hereby cautioned against taking in Payment a Promissory Note, drawn by the undersigned in September 1818, for £24 Sterling, in favor of George Lowe, or Order, payable on or before the 31st March 1819; the (same being given by me to the said George Lowe on condition of his returning to me two Promissory Notes, one drawn by Richard Burrows, sen. deceased, in favor of me, for £20 Sterling, and the other by Richard Burrows, jun. in favor of G. Lowe, or Order, for £3 Sterling, as will appear by a Receipt of the said G. Lowe's now in my Possession, and which is witnessed by a creditable Settler residing at New Norfolk, and in the presence of respectable Persons, who can testify that I did not receive any Consideration Whatever for the said Note of £24.  William Pressnell. N.B.-The above was inserted in October last. [Hobart Town Gazette, 24 July 1819]

Nine months after Elizabeth's death, a second daughter Mary Ann was born, on 3 November 1819. She was baptised on 1 Dec 1819 in St David's, Hobart, Church of England. She was to become my great-great-grandmother and to lead a very long and interesting life.

On 13 July 1822, a second son, George, was born and was baptised on 5 September 1822, in St David's, Hobart, Church of England.

During this period, George Lowe snr. appears to have been attempting to shed his convict past and to be establishing himself as a respectable businessman and settler.  In June 1822 he is listed as having donated 10 shillings towards the establishment of a Sunday School for Christians of every Denomination. In May 1823 he gave 10 shillings for the erection of a Wesleyan Mission Chapel and Charity School in Hobart. In September 1823 he gave £1 to a fund for the widow and nine children of Lieutenant Lewis Von Bibra. In December 1823, he donated 10 shillings to the Presbyterian Church towards erecting a place of worship.

In that same year, Lowe appears to have foreclosed on a debt and and to have arranged the sale of THAT neat and pretty COTTAGE, with out-house, garden, and appendages thereunto belonging, situate opposite the Veranda Stores, corner of Bathurst-street, in Elizabeth-Street, the property of the said Charles Williams, unless the same be previously re deemed, and all incidental expenses paid. [Hobart Town Gazette, 22  November 1823]

In June 1824, both George Lowe and his convict servant Popkins were witnesses in the forgery trial of Joseph Bond Clarke, a convict. George Lowe deposed, that six months or more ago, the prisoner wished him to change a note for £50, drawn by Stanfield, in favour of the prisoner or bearer, which at first he consented to do, partly in cash, and partly in goods; but ultimately he declined, from a suspicion of its being forged.  In relation to another bill produced in court, John Popkins stated he was Lowe's servant; that the prisoner took a note or bill for £50 to Lowe's house, about 12 months ago, and wanted change for it; but witness's master was doubtful as to its being genuine. [The Hobart Town Gazette, 25 June 1824 - the same edition of the paper that gave the account of the infamous cannibalism trial of Alexander Pearce for murder of Thomas Cox, at or near King's River.]

On 19 November 1824, The Hobart Town Gazette reported that a Commission of Information had been instituted before 3 Commissioners, and 12 Jurors, including George Lowe, for the purpose of enquiring what sum or sums of money, if any, was or were due to the Crown from Edward Foord Bromley, Esq. J. P. late Naval Officer, at Hobart Town and Treasurer of the Colonial Revenue, against whom the verdict had been recorded: "We find that Doctor Bromley owes to the Crown the sum of £8,269.0s.8d. currency; but we find him to have been extensively robbed, to what extent is not known, and we therefore beg to recommend him to the most favourable consideration of the Government.


The Lowes' trip back to the old country

From at least early 1823, George and Honora Lowe were prosperous enough to start making plans for a trip back to the England and possibly Ireland, something very few emancipated convicts achieved. But first Lowe needed to sell his shop in Hobart:

To New Settlers & others,--To be disposed of by Private Contract, those valuable and extensive Premises, situate at the corner of Liverpool and Argyle-streets, in the central part of Hobart Town, consisting of a good shop in full trade, parlour, bed-room, kitchen, with a cellar under it, and an excellent 5-stall stable with a loft above, which will hold 1000 bushels of wheat; also, a substantial bakehouse ad joining, with bed-room, &c. - As the proprietor is about to proceed to England, he requests all claims against him may be presented; and all persons indebted to him are requested to pay the same forthwith. Apply to the proprietor, George Lowe, on the Premises. [Hobart Town Gazette, 10 May 1823]

On 11 October 1823, Honora is recorded as having been issued with a duplicate copy of her Certificate of Freedom, which she would need to be able to produce to travel legally to England.

From mid-1824 serious planning was underway and regular advertisements appeared in the newspaper, such as this one in the  Hobart Town Gazette on 11 Jun 1824. It is not known whether the intention was to leave the colony permanently, or just for an extended period. However, this type of advertisement was quite common for business people settling their affairs before the long trip to England.

On Monday 13 and Wednesday 15 December 1824, an auction was held on George Lowe's premises on the corner of Argyle and Liverpool streets to sell without Reserve: Isle of France Sugar by the bag, Liverpool Salt ditto, Tea, Tobacco, Vinegar in casks and bottles ; two Puncheons of Jamaica Rum, in Bond, by the Puncheon; Jamaica Rum by the Lot of 5 Gallons, Hollands' ditto, 10 Firkins of superior Butter by the firkin; Gold and Silver Watches; an excellent Eight-day Clock, three other Clocks, and Empty Puncheons.

Just before they were due to sail, perhaps while out celebrating: The premises of Mr George Lowe were robbed a few nights ago to the serious amount of £125, in Spanish dollars, with which the depredators escaped. Two persons however have since been apprehended, under strong suspicions of their being implicated; and we understand they will be dealt with according to law. [Hobart Town Gazette, 31 Dec 1824] It is not known whether George recovered this money as no further account has been found.

On 29 December 1824, Mr. Geo. Lowe 'and family' are listed as passengers (for England) on the ship Denmark Hill, Captain Foreman, headed for Rio de Janerio from where the passengers for England would have to take another ship. However, it appears 'and family' did not include at least two of the children, as Lowe later stated that during their absence in England, John Popkins, his convict servant, was in charge of property, and had the care of his children; and that he conducted himself with propriety and kindness to the family, when left under such very peculiar responsibility. (Colonial Times, 30 November 1831). The Lowe children (plural) left behind in Popkin's care, presumably with the assistance of a nursemaid, were at least two of James (9), Mary (5) and George (2½). Did they take young George or did they take their only surviving daughter Mary? Or did they leave all three children behind? On board the Denmark Hill with the Lowes, also passengers for England, were Edward Lord, Esq. and daughter, Dr Espie R.N., Lieut. Slage R.N. and Mr and Mrs Joseph Lester. Lieut Edward Lord was a former acting Lieutenant-Governor of Van Dieman's Land (South) and by the 1820s he was he was said to be the richest man in VDL and an original proprietor of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land. Estranged from his wife (an ex-convict), Lord was returning to England with their youngest daughter Emma, age 5. Honora was 2 months pregnant, but this voyage must have been so much better than the 10 months she had spent on board a ship as a convict.

No record has been found of what the Lowes did for the next 17 months, other than that their next daughter, Caroline, is believed to have been born in c.1824, possibly soon after they arrived in England. Did George have family to visit in England? Did they go to Ireland where Honora may still have had family in Cork? Did Lowe, ever the businessman, take goods to England to sell?  We do know that it was a business trip, in part at least, and that a period of prosperity was to follow.


The Lowes return to Hobart Town, back in business

On 6 May 1826 the ship Doncaster, 234 tons, Capt. John Foster, arrived from the Downs, England, from where it had departed on 25 December 1825. Passengers for Hobart Town included Mr and Mrs G Lowe and family. In the cargo hold, George had with 43 cases, 300 boxes, 1 trunk, 14 bales, 42 casks, 5 pipes wine, 4 puncheons rum, 4 crates, 10 baskets, 14 packages grocery, 16 iron weights and, 50 firkins. [Hobart Town Gazette, 13 May 1823]

Within days of returning to Hobart, George was back in business, advertising a vast amount and variety of imported goods for sale: Mr. George Lowe takes, this opportunity of informing his Friends and the Public, that he has returned from England by the ship Doncaster, and has for SALE at his Stores, in Argyle-street, the following Goods:-Company's pieces of nankeen, fine calico and shirting, warranted blue prints, bed-ticking of different qualities, black and coloured bombasine, Norwich crapes, shawl handkerchiefs, coloured thread, super cambrics, tine striped cotton shirts, smock frocks, swansdown waistcoats, watermen's trowsers drab jean and plush cord ditto, fustain and velveteen dresses for children, a great variety of mens' jackets, waistcoats, and trowsers boy's nap wrappers scales of various sizes mould and dipt candles, soap in boxes, pint and quart decanters, goblets and tumblers of sizes, wine glasses; a very extensive assortment of hosiery, consisting of men, women and children's cotton and worsted stockings of every description, and of the very best quality; stout worsted waistcoats, patent fancy cravats for travelling, worsted caps, slik and cotton braces, gloves, fleecy boots, blue breakfast cups and saucers, dinner, pie and soup plates; baking dishes, Cape Madeira   wine in casks, rum in puncheons, sewing twine in balls, shoemaker's thread, Turkey raisins, currants, fig blue, ginger, spices English molasses, pickles in pint bottles, English silk baud kerchiefs, raven grey sewing silk, two 8 day convex spring dials, vinegar in casks, double Gloucester und Dutch cheese, tobacco pipes, fancy beaver and, satin hats, trimmed with feathers; gentlemen's best water-proof hats, boy's drab and green hats, flannel of various qualities, black twill and bombaset; grey, check, green, and red plaid; drab cord for trowsers, prime Irish butter, blacking; quart, pint, and half-pint pewter pots; mugs, frame saw tiles, 3- bushel sacks, copper tea kettles; net caps, collars, and tippets; a handsome net dress, net shawls and scarfs, sprig and plain muslin caps, bed furniture; cricket balls, boy's strong half-boots, children's coloured ditto, ladies shoes, womens and children's stays; pictures in frames, fishing hooks of various sizes, constables' pocket staffs, mustard, and a great variety of other goods. [Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 12 May 1826].


George Lowe, 'the responsible businessman'

At a Meeting of the Merchants, Shopkeepers, and issuers of small Notes, resident in Hobart Town, called together by Public Advancement and held this Day, the 4th July, at the British Hotel, Thomas Lempriere, Esq in the Chair, it was, in furtherance of the Measure adopted by the Bank of Van Diemen's Land to return to Sterling Payments, Unanimously Resolved, That, from an early Period, to be hereafter fixed at another General Meeting, Spanish Dollars be for the future taken, by the Individuals present, at their Sterling value, namely, Four Shillings and Four pence; and this Resolution being reduced into Writing, was immediately subscribed by Messrs, J. P. Deane, G. Lowe, Wm Cook, H. Hopkins, G. Stokell, W. Watchorn, A. Buchanan, J. Johnson, W Murray, J Roberts, B. Morris, J. Hiddlestone, John Dean, J. Donaldson, F. Allison, John Hamer, Ben. Guy, Rob. Stodart, J. Swan, Jas. Ogilvie.

It was, at the same Time, likewise Unanimously Resolved, That the insufficiency of the smaller Denomination of Specie, for the Purpose of general Circulation, rendering it unavoidably necessary that the Issue of Notes by private Individuals should, for the present, be continued, a Committee be appointed to receive and take into Consideration such Suggestions as may be communicated with Respect to the best Mode of guarding against a Repetition of the Forgeries that have lately so generally prevailed, and Report Thereon at another General Meeting to be held at the British Hotel on Wednesday the 12th Instant, at Six o'Clock in the Evening. The said Committee to be composed of the Chairman, Mr. Benjamin Guy acting as Secretary, and Messrs. J. P Deane, Allison, Cooke, Hopkins, Lowe, Dean, Stokell and B. Morris.

The Committee, appointed at the above General Meeting, desirous of obtaining every possible Information relative to the Object for which they have been nominated, will thankfully receive any Suggestion on the subject that may he offered to their Consideration, in Communications addressed to the Committee at the British Hotel..[Hobart Town Gazette 8 July 1826] [Hobart Town Gazette, 8 July 1826]

In October 1826, Mr George Lowe is listed as having donated £2 towards a "Liberty of the Press" Subscription Fund to defray the Fines, Law Charges, etc. (amounting to nearly £600),  attendant upon the Government Prosecutions against Mr. Bent, the Proprietor of the Colonial Times during his imprisonment. [Colonial Times, 20 October 1826]

The following case is interesting because it associates George Lowe with some of the people who later, in 1835, formed the Port Phillip Association to settle land in what would become Melbourne. Thomas Ewbanks Piddock, an attorney, who lately arrived in the Colony by the ship Hugh Crawford, was committed to Gaol, on a charge of forging and uttering an order for the payment of £90 purporting to be drawn by George Lowe, in favour of David Lord, on the Bank of Messrs. Gellibrand, and endorsed by the said David Lord, John Martin, and J.T. Collicott. Mr. Piddock brought, we understand, several letters of recommendation from England, to persons of respectability in this Colony, but his manner has been such since his arrival, that it is supposed his intellect is impaired. He was committed for further examination. He admitted having made the order as a form for some person, but denied intending to apply it to any fraudulent purpose. [Hobart Town Gazette 27 January 1827]. Although the jury eventually found Piddock Not Guilty, it appearing to us, that he was under the influence of insanity when the act was committed, the £90 payment order drawn by George Lowe may have existed, even if it was later alleged to have been uttered fraudulently.


Lowe's expanding business interests

Mr. George Lowe respectfully informs his Friends and the Public in general, that he has opened a BUTCHERS SHOP, at the House of Henry Conolley, opposite the Waterloo Mills, Liverpool-street, where there will be a constant Supply of good Beef and Mutton, at the following low Prices:- Sheep by the Carcase, at 4d. per lb; by the Side, at 4½d. ditto; Fore-quarter, at 4½d.; and Hindquarter at 5d. ditto. -Any Person having good Beef or Mutton for Sale, will please to apply to Mr. George Lowe. -All Transactions for ready Money. Shipping supplied on the lowest Terms. [Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 9 February 1827]

George and Honora's sixth child, William Lowe, was born on 2 March 1827 and baptised on 2 April 1827 in St David's Hobart, Church of England.

The following month George had what appeared to be a clearing sale of excess stock, possibly to raise funds for his stated intention of going to the Isle of France, presumably on another buying trip:

Sale by Auction
BY Mr. J. C. Underwood,
On the Premises of Mr. George Lowe, Argyle-street, on Monday, the 9th, Wednesday, the 11th, and Saturday, the 14th of April next, at 12 o'Clock each Day,
Mr. LOWE proceeding to the Isle of France by the earliest opportunity, the following valuable Assortment of Merchandize will be Sold without Reserve:
BLACK and coloured Bombasines, English Prints of various Qualities, English silk
Handkerchiefs, Company's Yellow and BlueeNankeens, Calicoes of every description, Striped Cotton Shirts of the best Quality, Battick, Flannels, Blue Dungarees, Slops of every description, six Pieces of Coarse Blue Cloth, a few Table Cloths, Women's and Children's Stays and Steel Busks, a few Pieces of Cords of the best Quality, Comforters and Gravets, Children's Beaver Hats, Ladies' Cloaks, Ladies worked Nett Caps and Lace Collars, a Lady's elegant Lace Dress, Gentlemen's Lamb's Wool Jackets, Buttons for Children's Dresses, Cricket Balls, Shoemaker's Hemp, Pins by the pound or paper; Pewter Pots in sets of quart, pint, and half-pints ; Gentlemen's Riding Whips, Paints of various colors, English Soap and Candles in Boxes; English Blacking in quart, pint, and half-pint bottles; Mustard in half-pound bottles, Pickles and Fish Sauces of various kinds; Glass Ware, consisting of quart and pint Decanters and Tumblers, of different patterns; English Tobacco Pipes, box or gross; Scales and Weights, Cape Butter of excellent quality; Raisins, superior sort, in small qualities ; English Treacle of the best quality, best White Wine Vinegar in Lots of five Gallons ; Gin (in Bond), by the Cask, or, in Lots of five Gallons ; Wine, by the Pipe, or in Lots of five Gallons; and Taylor's Brown Stout, in Hogsheads.Nankeens, Calicoes of every description, Striped Cotton Shirts of the best Quality, Battick, Flannels, Blue Dungarees, Slops of every description, six Pieces of Coarse Blue Cloth, a few Table Cloths, Women's and Children's Stays and Steel Busks, a few Pieces of Cords of the best Quality, Comforters and Gravets, Children's Beaver Hats, Ladies' Cloaks, Ladies worked Nett Caps and Lace Collars, a Lady's elegant Lace Dress, Gentlemen's Lamb's Wool Jackets, Buttons for Children's Dresses, Cricket Balls, Shoemaker's Hemp, Pins by the pound or paper; Pewter Pots in sets of quart, pint, and half-pints ; Gentlemen's Riding Whips, Paints of various colors, English Soap and Candles in Boxes; English Blacking in quart, pint, and half-pint bottles; Mustard in half-pound bottles, Pickles and Fish Sauces of various kinds; Glass Ware, consisting of quart and pint Decanters and Tumblers, of different patterns; English Tobacco Pipes, box or gross; Scales and Weights, Cape Butter of excellent quality; Raisins, superior sort, in small qualities ; English Treacle of the best quality, best White Wine Vinegar in Lots of five Gallons ; Gin (in Bond), by the Cask, or, in Lots of five Gallons ; Wine, by the Pipe, or in Lots of five Gallons; and Taylor's Brown Stout, in Hogsheads.
On the last Day of Sale, the following useful Articles will be put up:  
A handsome Eight-day Clock, by Lormier and Edwards; a Copper, containing about 20 Gallons, with a Grate, complete; an elegant   Globe Lamp, with spare Globe; and a beautiful Piebald Poney, rising five years old, and well adapted for the use of a Lady.
A Credit of three Months will be given to Purchasers of £20 and upwards, for Bills subject to the approval of Mr. Lowe
.  [Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 6 April 1827]

It is not known if George ever went to the Isle of France (presumably Mauritius), but the evidence of his ongoing activities suggests that other business opportunities presented and he changed his mind.

William Abel, an emancipated convict from Norfolk Island, had been granted land at New Norfolk in 1813 and subsequently purchased three additional and possibly adjoining land grants. In 1822 he was granted a publican's licence for the King's Head Inn. Four years later he was involved in a most unfortunate incident that appears to have contributed to his incapacity to continue his business affairs. We lament to state, that a most unfortunate occurrence took place on Tuesday night, at New Norfolk. Mr. Abel, jun. having been out late in the evening, returning after the house door was shut, endeavoured to get in at the window. Mr. Abel, sen. imagining that it was a robber, fired at the window, and unhappily shot his son dead. His feelings may be better imagined than describe [Colonial Times, 7 April 1826] William Abel's full account of the incident.

In January 1827, local entrepreneur David Bush had taken over the management of the Kings Head Inn in New Norfolk from William Abel. Bush was in partnership with George Lowe who opened a shop on the premises. [Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 2 Feb 1827] Two months later, the Inn and property were all advertised for sale, and then withdrawn, as Abel had taken out a mortgage with Lowe for £1,350.

The Colonial Times ran an article on 24 August 1827, happy to at last see individuals establish stores in the interior, for the purpose of supplying the Settlers with necessaries, without compelling them for every article to drag through mud and mire, to Hobart Town or Launceston. . . . . Mr George Lowe, a wealthy trader of Hobart Town, is about to open an establishment at New Norfolk, on similar liberal principles; namely, to furnish the best of articles, at the Hobart Town prices, and to take live stock as payment. – Such undertakings as these must be very beneficially felt by the Settlers. – We hope to see the example followed elsewhere.

On 31 May 1827, Elizabeth Clarke, a convict servant assigned to George Lowe, had been found guilty of stealing a gown from his household, value 15 shillings. [Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 1 June 1827] The irony of this is that both the Lowes had been sentenced to transportation for similar crimes in their native countries. Now they are rehabilitated, wealthy and have a convict servant assigned to them - but they press charges! 

In September 1827, the irrepressible Lowe was praised by the newspaper for his enterprising spirit: It is said, that Mr. George Lowe, of Hobart Town, has offered to make a contract with the Government, for the erection of the New Norfolk Bridge, for £3000 in cash, and £500 worth of labour, to be supplied by the Government, on condition of receiving the tolls until his principal be returned, with a 15 percent compound interest; and that the Lieutenant Governor has not accepted the offer. –We think this enterprising man must put the Van Diemen's Land Company to the, blush, as they count over their immense capital. [Colonial Times, 7 September 1827]. This statement was retracted the following week: Mr Lowe, we understand, is willing to undertake the work, but he has not yet made the offer. [Colonial Times, 14 September 1827]. The bridge was not a new idea and had been discussed at public meetings since at least 1835, when £2000 had already been subscribed towards the project. A toll bridge was eventually built by the New Norfolk Bridge Company (Lowe was a minor shareholder) and opened in 1841; tolls were collected from all users until 1874. This  bridge was replaced by a new Government-built bridge in 1880. The Toll House still stands on the northern side of the Derwent River, not far from where Lowe had his property. Mrs Edward Lord, has the honour to acquaint her friends and the public, that circumstances have prevented her retiring from business, as she intended, and that she has removed from Elizabeth-street, to the premises lately occupied by Mr. George Lowe, in Argyle-street, where her Stores are ready to receive commission goods as usual, and where she has now on sale, a choice selection of British and Foreign Goods of all descriptions, and an assortment of hosiery, broad cloth, Irish linen, millinery, ladies' and children's boots and shoes, gloves, hats, crockery ware, china, fruit, vinegar, &c. &c. per Medway.  [Hobart Town Gazette, 22 September 1827]

In October 1827, Lowe became the Licensed Publican of the King's Head Inn, New Norfolk (now Valleyfield, pictured above as it is today). On 27 March 1829, George Lowe foreclosed on Abel's £1,350 mortgage, by nominally paying £650 to Abel and £700 to a George Frederick Read to discharge a prior mortgage. He obtained possession of several adjoining properties along the bank of the Derwent River, including the Kings Head Inn.

There appears to have been some complex transactions related to this foreclosure as some of the property and stock were advertised for sale in February 1828: TO BE SOLD, two most desirable farms, situated in the most rapidly improving town of New Norfolk, the one containing 22 acres, and the other 92 acres, adjoining each other, and with a good House erected on them, an excellent Garden well stocked with fruit trees, stock yards and paddocks. Small vessels can approach within 200 yards of the house, which is contiguous to the site of the intended new bridge across the Derwent. Also, to be sold with the above, upwards of £1000 worth of dry goods and spirits, for the payment of which, a credit of 12 months will be given at a fair valuation. Apply to Mr. George Lowe, New Norfolk, or Mr. Lester, White Horse, Hobart-town. [Hobart Town Courier, 16 February 1828]

George and Honora's seventh and last child, Ann Norah Lowe, was born on 2 March 1829 on her brother George's second birthday. She was baptised on 22 Jan 1830 in New Norfolk Church of England. She died, aged 28, of diarrhoea on 14 Aug 1857 at Warwick Street, Hobart. In her death record she is described as a "gentleman's daughter".

Mr George Lowe yesterday bought the valuable premises belonging to Mr. Presnell, at the corner of Collins and Argyle streets, near the Market place, for £1500. [Hobart Town Courier, 14 March 1829].
We are glad to find that Mr. J. L. Roberts has commenced with a Brewing Establishment, on his own account, on the Premises of Mr. George Lowe, Argyle-street, and that with malt and hops he has succeeded in producing a beverage which is highly spoken of for its quality
. [Colonial Times, 28 August 1829]. Lowe was by now a successful businessman; he later opened a pub for his eldest son James Lowe on the site.

On Wednesday John Bell was convicted of stealing from a boat in the River Derwent, several articles of wearing apparel value £1 16 6, the property of George Lowe. [Hobart Town Courier, Saturday 21 March 1829]

On 5 Sept 1829 the Hobart Town Courier listed G. Lowe as a signatory on a testimonial for the retiring Police Magistrate of New Norfolk.

In 1830 Lowe had sandstone stables and a coach-house built on his property at the Kings Head Inn at New Norfolk. On the keystone to the arched entrance, he had his initials GL carved with the year 1830. These buildings still stand and are the only surviving physical testament to George Lowe.

In 1831, Lowe appears to have foreclosed on a debt: Sheriffs Office, Aug.4, 1831. In the Supreme Court, Lowe v. Lucas.  On Tuesday, the 16th inst at 12 o'clock, the Sheriff will cause to be put up for sale by public auction, on the premises of defendant, situate at the Black Brush, about 100 bushels of Wheat in the straw, unless this execution be previously satisfied. [Hobart Town Courier, Saturday 6 April]


Lowe starts the colony's first coach service

On Thursday last (11 August 1831) we were agreeably surprised to see a well equipped coach start for New Norfolk, it being the first thing of the sort this Colony has yet produced. It was drawn by three horses, and it is intended, so soon as certain arrangements shall be completed, to run it between New Norfolk and Hobart Town, each way, daily. Mr. George Lowe, of New Norfolk, is the spirited proprietor.  [Colonial Times, 17 August 1831]

On Thursday the 1st inst, we had the satisfaction to see the new four horse stage coach (the Eclipse) established by Mr. Lowe and Mr. Mills, between Hobart town and New Norfolk, make its first journey into town, driving down Elizabeth street, loaded with passengers inside and out, and the horn blowing in grand style. Its lively appearance as it passed us in the street, brought up the pleasing recollection of old times, when the mail coaches, which have since been attended with such general benefit to the community of England were first established. May this commencement prove equally auspicious in our young colony, and we are glad to hear that the present undertaking promises to succeed so well, so many places for passengers having already been booked, that the proprietors propose running it to and from New Norfolk instead of alternately every day. It carries 6 passengers very comfortably inside and 10 out. [The Hobart Town Courier, 3 September 1831]

We congratulate the Colony upon the very decided success that has attended the spirited endeavours of Messrs. Lowe and Mills, of New Norfolk, towards establishing a coach between that delightful township and Hobart Town. It has not failed, we understand, upon any one day since it started, on the first instant, to have a handsomely remunerating load. So far, too, as we can learn, the manner in which it is conducted, both as to the excellence of its horses, and the regularity of its driving, is of the highest order. It met with a trifling accident on Saturday last, on its way to town, in consequence of the pole having snapped in two, but although it was heavily laden, both inside and out, none of the passengers were at all hurt, and as a proof that they attached little or no importance to the accident, several of them among whom were some ladies, returned by it on the following morning. We consider these few words no more than due to a very meritorious undertaking, having heard the accident grossly magnified, and we can undertake to assert, that not the slightest blame attaches to anyone. [Colonial Times, 21 September 1831]

ECLIPSE COACH. P. MILLS.  In returning thanks to the public for the liberal encouragement received, begs to inform them that the partnership with G. Lowe Is Dissolved, and the business will in future be carried on by himself. The above Coach will on Monday the 10th Oct. leave Hobart Town every morning at 8 o'clock and return the same evening, leaving New Norfolk every afternoon at 3 o'clock. N.B. -All parcels or packages above the value of Five Pounds must be booked and paid for accordingly. Hobart town, October 8, 1831.  [The Hobart Town Courier, 15 October 1831]


Lowe's business activities expand

John Popkins stood charged with embezzling £3. 14s. 3½d. the property of his master, Mr. George Lowe, of New Norfolk, having received the sum on his master's account, and appropriated it to his own use. The prisoner pleaded guilty. It appeared that the man had been in the Colony ten years, and had lived with his present master seven or eight years. Mr. Lowe admitted that he had only once taken him before a Magistrate, although addicted to habits of intoxication; that during Mr. Lowe's absence in England he was in charge of property, and had the care of his children; and that he conducted himself with propriety and kindness to the family, when left under such very peculiar responsibility. The Court thought Mr. Lowe had erred in not checking the habits of the prisoner by an appeal to the authorities, and the present situation of the man, after so long a service, might be attributed to his indulgence in habits of unrestrained intemperance. Sentenced to be transported beyond seas for seven years.  [Colonial Times, 30 Nov 1831]

On Sale, at the Stores of the Undersigned, ENGLISH SOAP, at the low Price of 6d. per pound by the box. GEORGE LOWE. Campbell-street, near the Commissariat of Accounts Office.On Sale, at the Stores of the Undersigned, ENGLISH SOAP, at the low Price of 6d. per pound by the box. GEORGE LOWE. Campbell-street, near the Commissariat of Accounts Office. [Colonial Times, 18 Dec 1832]

On Sale, at the Stores of the Undersigned, in quantities not less than Five Gallons, for cash, – superior JAMAICA RUM, at 9s. per Gallon, – fine HOLLANDS, at 15s, do. George Lowe. Campbell street.  [Colonial Times, 22 January 1833]

Cape Wine. Just landing, the cargo of the schooner John Dunscomb, in pipes and half hhds., direct from the Cape, and will be disposed of at low prices. Enquire for further particulars, to J Lester, or G. Lowe, Campbell-street. [Colonial Times, 26 February 1833]

Superior Cape Wine.  ON SALE, ex Susannah, at the Stores of the Undersigned, 120 hhds. of very superior Cape Wine, in hhds. ALSO, a few quarter Casks of 19 Gallons each, of choice quality, adapted for the consumption of private Families. ALSO, Brandy, Rum, and Gin; Cape Butter, of excellent quality; pickled Herrings, Soap, and general Merchandize, at very low prices, for cash ! ! !  G. LOWE, Campbell-street. April 4th, 1833. [Colonial Times, 9 April 1833]

G. LOWE, solicits the attention of Innkeepers and large consumers, to his very large stock of choice French Brandy, Jamaica Rum, and English Gin, both in and out of bond; which he is determined to sell at such prices, as are calculated to meet the exigencies of the times, as also, Cape butter, pickled herrings, soap and general Merchandize, upon equally advantageous terms. G. Lowe. Campbell-street, April 12, 1833. [Colonial Times, 16 April 1833]

TO BE LET. An agreeable House at New Norfolk, on the left bank of the river, lately in the occupation of Mr. Geo. Lowe. The House contains ten rooms well furnished, and recently repaired completely; there is a large garden well stocked with fruit trees, and eight acres of land, part laid down in English grass. A large stone built store to be let with the House.-Enquire of the Printer of this paper. [The Hobart Town Courier, 19 April 1833]

TO BE LET, with immediate possession, all that House and Premises situated at New Norfolk, and lately in the occupation of Mr. GEORGE LOWE. The House will be let separate, or with  he Premises and Store, if required; and it has been lately repaired in the most complete style. Rent moderate. -Apply to Dr. OFFICER, New Norfolk.  [482]  [Colonial Times, 16 July 1833]

Sheriff's Office, June 20, 1833. In the Supreme Court, Lowe v. Barnes.
On Monday the 1st July next, at 12 o'clock, the Sheriff will cause to be put up for sale, by Public Auction, at the Court House, Hobart town, a Farm of 36 acres, situated at New Norfolk, bounded on the one side by Hibbins, and on the other side by the river Derwent, unless this execution be previously satisfied.
[The Hobart Town Courier, 21 June 1833]

FOR SALE, at the Stores of the undersigned, Campbell street, about 600 dozen of Dunbar's best bottled Ale and Porter. GEO. LOWE. July 25, 1833. [Hobart Town Courier, 2 August 1833]

Prime Brazil Tobacco. Just Landed from the Jess, two hundred baskets, warranted good, and at reduced prices. Apply to Mr. GEORGE LOWE, Campbell-street, or to J. LESTER, Murray-street. Nov. 8, 1833. [Colonial Times, 12 November 1833]

Illegal hitching posts for horses? 
Hobart Town Police Report. Messsrs. George Lowe, J. Trotter, and W. Sharman were severally charged with causing obstructions and nuisances, opposite their several buildings by posts, and in breach of the Police Act. Case dismissed, it being frivolous.
[Colonial Times, 22 April 1834]

Cape Wine NOW landing from the Swallow, fine rich flavoured Cape Wines, from 300 to 400 half pipes, 200 quarter casks. Apply to Mr. G. LOWE, Campbell-street, or J. LESTER, Murray-street. Sept. 12, 1834. [Colonial Times, 16 September 1834]

In October 1834, George Lowe was one of many Inhabitant Householders of Van Dieman's Land who signed a petition to convene a public meeting to petition the Lieutenant Governor for a remission of the sentence passed upon Mr. Thomas Lewis. [Colonial Times, 14 October 1834]

Lowe is listed as having been appropriated 2 shares at £10 each in the New Norfolk Bridge Company, which built the toll bridge over the River Derwent. [Colonial Times, 20 January 1835]

Mr. George Lowe was charged with a breach of the Wholesale Spirit Act, in selling a quantity of wine, he not being a licensed wholesale dealer in wines and spirits. It appears, by the evidence of Mr. James Lear, that he had bought a quantity of wine of another person, who had stored it at Mr. Lowes', and that Mr. Lowe was not the Vender. Discharged. [Colonial Times, 20 January 1835]

In August 1835, George Lowe was one of 51 citizens who signed a request to convene a Public Meeting to consider petitioning the petition to convene a public meeting to petition the Commons House of Parliament, on the illegal and atrocious flogging of one of His Majesty's free subjects, by a Military Magistrate of this Province; and, to represent generally the misapplication of the patronage of the Crown, in the appointments to the Magistracy. [Colonial Times, 14 October 1834]


The Lowes prepare to relocate to Sydney

 The undersigned leaving this colony for Sydney as soon as his affairs can be arranged, requests all those persons who have claims against him to present them for payment immediately, and all those persons indebted to him are hereby called upon to pay their respective accounts to prevent the necessity of handing them over to his solicitor to en- force payment. To prevent mistakes no receipt will stand good unless bearing my bona fide signature. GEORGE LOWE. July 8. [The Hobart Town Courier, 10 July 1835]

Mr GEORGE LOWE, being about to leave the Colony, requests all
   claims to be presented, and has to acquaint those persons indebted to him, either by Bill-book debts or otherwise, that they must forthwith settle their respective accounts, or they will, without distinction, be handed over to his Attorney for recovery. N.B. – Mr. Lowe, to prevent misunderstanding, has to request, that no persons will give credit, on his account, without his written authority, signed by himself. July 10, 1835 [Colonial Times, 14 July 1835] 

Notices such as these appeared regularly in several newspaper over the next 2 months.

House to Let, A Most capacious House and Shop, situate at the corner of Watchorn and Bathurst-streets, having an excellent dry cellar – rent very moderate. For further particulars, apply to the undersigned.  G. Lowe, New Town-road, July 28, 1835. [6169] [Colonial Times, 28 July 1835]

Gentleman George's household possessions for sale

In August 1835, George Lowe advertised a clearing sale of his extensive household goods, furnishings, books, artwork, clock collection, etc. The itemised description is of a wealthy gentleman's household. The auction was to be a week after his daughter Mary's marriage:

Extensive Sale of Valuable Property.
On Wednesday, the 16th September, at Twelve o'clock, on the Premises, on the New Town Road, the residence of Mr. George Lowe, proceeding to Sydney.
Will sell by Public Auction, without reserve, ALL his valuable Plate, Furniture, Books, Paintings, &c. &c. among which, far too general to particularise, will be found sofas, couches, chairs, sideboards, bookcase, secretary, four-post, tent, Indian, and children's bedsteads, with bedding and furnitures to correspond.
Dining, breakfast, claw drawing room, and dressing tables
Two of the best and most expensive carpets in the Island
One very excellent 28 day clock, by McCabe, formerly belonging to Captain Betts, warranted
One very excellent ditto, by Grimaldi and Johnson
One very handsome hall ditto
Three others, by equally celebrated makers
One very splendid silver tea service, and a quantity of useful plate
One handsome China dinner service, blue and gold
A large quantity of best flint cut glass of every description
One superb China punch bowl
One hand organ, with several barrels
One double-barrelled percussion tiger gun, with apparatus complete-cost 80 guineas
One American rifle, and three fowling pieces Several splendid hall and branch lamps
The dining and drawing-room curtains are costly, with elegant brass poles, &c. to correspond, imported to order
One gentleman's dressing case, mounted with upwards of 20 ounces of silver
Pier, chimney, swing, and dressing glasses
The paintings are numerous and valuable, many being by the most celebrated masters
The works in the library treat on almost every subject, ancient and modern, and the greater part are elegantly bound
The various ornaments about the house are chaste and elegant
The furniture, such as fenders, fire-irons, wardrobes, chests of drawers, cosy chairs, clothes press, &c. are equal to new
One large strong iron chest
The cooking utensils, kitchen furniture, and every essential, will be found here, of the best description, and of almost unlimited extent
There is also a quantity of merchandize – hardware, Taylor's stout, two tons of English soap, in 56 lb. boxes, two ton of paints, several sets of weights and scales, side saddles, racing ditto, as well as property of every description
It is hardly necessary to remark, the Proprietor has for a length of time made it his study to select the very best articles the Colony afforded, without the most remote regard to cost, consequently the public will do well to embrace such an opportunity.
Terms – Under £25 cash; £25 and upwards, approved bills at three months.
Cards to view the property may be obtained at the Auctioneers, two days prior to the sale
Colonial Times, 18 & 25 August, 1, 8, 11 & 15 September 1835]

MACDOUGALL & STRACEY, will sell by Public Auction, at their Mart, Collins-street, ALL the remaining effects of Mr. George Lowe, proceeding to Sydney, consisting of Pictures, Paintings, China, Glass, Earthen- ware, about 3 tons of soap, 20 cases of starch, ½ ton of while lead, &c. A variety of Sundries. Terms,-Cash under £25 and upwards of £25 approved Bills at 3 months. ([Hobart Town Courier, 18 September 1835]

Whatever George Lowe's plans were for Sydney, they appear not to have worked out. Six weeks later, on 30 October 1835, Mrs Lowe and family are reported as returned to Hobart on the Medway. On 17 November, George Lowe, his servant and two of his sons are reported as having arrived back in Hobart on the barque John.

There is only one newspaper account of George Lowe's activities in Sydney: The Leda had arrived from the Cape with wheat, and the Orwell from Batavia, with upwards of 1,100 barrels flour. The flour carried up, by Mr. G. Lowe, sold at £30 a ton, but was advertised by the purchaser Mr. Brownlow, when the Medway left, at 25s. per cwt. by the bag. [Colonial Times, 27 October 1835]


Two of the Lowe children marry

Prior to his relocation to Sydney, George Lowe had arranged the marriage of his not quite 16-year-old daughter Mary to 25-year-old colonial surgeon and free settler, John Pearson Rowe. Family tradition has that Mary was told by a maid "If you peep around the parlour door, you'll see your father talking with the man you are going to marry".  One of Lowe's conditions of the marriage was that Rowe would give his daughter an education. They were married on 8 September 1835, in Hobart, in a Catholic ceremony conducted by Rowe's friend Father Cotham.

In October 1835, Belinda Kennedy successfully sued George's eldest son, James Lowe, for Breach of Promise:
This was an action brought for a breach of promise of marriage by the plaintiff, Belinda Kennedy, against James Lowe, the defendant in this action.
Mr. Attorney General appeared for the plaintiff, who stated that the defendant had a short time since, he believed, gone to Sydney although he had previously been served with notice of this action, and he had suffered judgment to go by default. After explaining the nature of the case, he called William Marks, who deposed, that he knew Belinda Kennedy the plaintiff, and James Lowe, the defendant. Plaintiff was in the service of Mr. H. Bilton as housemaid. Witness was also in Mr Bilton's service. Defendant had been paying his addresses to plaintiff for twelve months before she left Mr. Bilton's, which is about two months ago. He appeared to be very fond of her until within the last three months, when he did not appear to be so attentive. The last time witness had any conversation with defendant, he (witness) told him that as he had got the girl into trouble, he ought to get her out of it. Defendant made light of it, and said it was not the same here as in England, and they could not make him pay for the child. He said his father was going to set him up in business, and he would marry the girl in September, but he (witness) was not to tell her so, but to keep the secret. Defendant is twenty one, and the girl is l8. Thinks defendant is gone to Sydney.
Mr. Henry Bilton. -Knew of the courtship; defendant's visits were not clandestine; plaintiff had been in his service eighteen' months - she left about eighteen months ago, in consequence of her own wish. She was a very respectable girl, and the best servant he ever had for honesty, industry, and sobriety. Defendant lived with his father as a clerk.
 Verdict for the Plaintiff. -Damages £200. [Colonial Times, 20 October 1835]

On 4 January 1836, Belinda give birth to a daughter, Ellen Virginia Lowe.  20-year old James Lowe and 16-year-old Belinda Kennedy married a month later, on 3 February 1838 in Trinity Church, Hobart; baby Ellen was baptised on the same day.

In 1841, Lowe helped set up his some James in business as the licensee of the Mogul Tavern (right hand side of picture, c1860, on the Collins and Argyle Streets intersection). Licenses granted for the District of Hobarton, September 1841: Lowe, James, Mogul, Argyle Street

In 15 years of marriage, James and Belinda Lowe had 8 children. A year after their last child was born, 34-year-old Belinda died of consumption on 22 May 1851. James did not marry again, but appears to have been in a de-facto relationship with a Sarah Taylor. James Lowe died on 10 February 1865, age 49, after an accident while delivering ginger beer in Burnett Street, Hobart.


Back in Hobart: Lowe the moneylender and property owner

In a court case Dutton v. Triffitt, reference is made for some bullocks changing hands in order to prevent their being sold with the rest of the defendant's property, in satisfying of a mortgage to Mr. George Lowe. [Colonial Times, 17 May 1836)

Assigned convict transfers:
To George Lowe, 322, Thos Walker, Malabar, from James Strong, Liverpool street [Hobart Town Courier, 24 June 1836]
To George Lowe, Liverpool street, 691, M. Malony, Georgiana, from Edgar Luttrell, Kangaroo point [Hobart Town Courier, 29 July 1836]   
To Joseph Fox, Bathurst-st., M. Maloney, Georgiana 1, from George Lowe, Hobart.  [Hobart Town Courier, 16 Dec 1836]

George Lowe examined.- I was present when an agreement was made between Mr. Mark Solomon and Mr. Jackson ; it was shortly after last November; I heard Mr Jackson say I'll take the house for three months; he came for the key, I don't recollect any amount of rent being mentioned; I understood the rent was to commence from that day. [Colonial Times 20 Dec 1836]

COMMISSIONERS' OFFICE, August 25, 1837  Notice is hereby given, that the following claims for grants will be ready for examination by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose, upon or immediately after the 25th of October next, before which day any caveat or counter claim must be entered.
George Lowe, 1 rood 12 perches, Argyle-street, Hobart Town.
[The Hobart Town Courier, 1 September 1837]
TITLE DEEDS. Deeds of grant in favour of those individuals whose names are hereunder mentioned are now ready to be issued on payment of the amount due thereon to the Crown.
George Lowe 1R 12P Hobarton.
[The Hobart Town Courier, 13 July 1838]

Lowe v. Thomas -Writ received 10th Aug., levy 18th August, at Sorell. Sale-On Wednesday 5th September, at 1 o'clock, at the premises of defendant, Sorell, a small quantity of household furniture, unless this execution be previously satisfied. [The Hobart Town Courier, 31 August 1838]

COMMISSIONERS' OFFICE. June 6. Notice is hereby given, that the following claims for grants will be ready for examination by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose, upon or immediately after the 6th day of Aug. next, on or before which day any caveat or counterclaim must be entered:  George Lowe, 27p. Hobart-town, the applicant is the original locatee.  [The Hobart Town Courier, 7 June 1839]


George Lowe and Hobart's Theatre Royal (aka Hobart Town Theatre)

The Theatre Royal is Australia’s oldest working theatre and one of our most beautiful treasures. Actors love performing there and it is still considered one of the best theatres in Australia for acoustics. Peter Degraves, founder of Cascade Brewery has been credited with designing it in 1834 and his son Henry was given the contract to build it. It was financed through public subscriptions and opened in 1837. However, as was common with most of Degraves' schemes, various  disputes arose between the subscribers and Degraves, who he claimed, owed him over £2,000. As a result of these disputes Degraves ultimately became the theatre’s owner, via a public auction, in 1839. The Theatre Royal remained a possession of the Degraves family until after Peter Degraves death in 1852, although ownership was at various times in dispute.

Was George Lowe an original Theatre Royal shareholder? It seems likely, given that he could afford to be and that he seemed to be involved in a wide range of local community activities. There is evidence that suggests he had an interest in the theatre and probably attended.  A numerous meeting of the subscribers to the New Theatre was held on Monday at the Freemason's Tavern, when it was resolved that all persons holding 3 shares should have a free admission not transferable - but transferable if they held five shares - that the interest on the capital expended be augmented to 10 per cent, and that the conveyance of the land in Campbell-street which has been purchased for the building be made in trust to Messrs. J. Q. Briggs, W. Bunster and P. Degraves, members of the committee. We rejoice to find that this spirited undertaking is in so forward a state, and that the Theatre is likely to be ready for the reception of the performers before the return of Mr. Cameron's company from Launceston.  [The Hobart Town Courier, 27 June 1834] 

We have the pleasure to inform the friends and supporters of the new theatre, that the building is about to be immediately commenced, the whole of the shares being now taken. Mr. Degraves, we learn, is the architect, under whose active and scientific management, the house, it is anticipated, will in a very few months be ready for the exhibition of our legitimate drama. The establishment on a solid basis of this most rational species of recreation, suited to all ranks and classes and so instrumental in bringing people together, and inducing them to regard each others frailties or peculiarities with mutual forbearance, will, we are sure, in a small community like ours, be apt to be torn in pieces by the least breath of dissention, be hailed with satisfaction by every friend of the colony. [The Hobart Town Courier, 25 July 1834]

THE Committee feel it their duty to state as shortly as possible for the information of
   the Shareholders and the Public, the purport of the several resolutions passed at the general meeting held at the freemason's Tavern on the 1st instant, which they trust will lead to the immediate erection of the Theatre on satisfactory terms.  The resolutions they passed were to the following effect.
"That it appeared to the Meeting that the funds of the company would not enable them to accept any of the Tenders opened on the 16th June last.
"That it appeared to the Meeting that the erection of the Theatre should not be delayed until the completion of the co-partnership deed, &c.
"That additional powers should be given to the Committee to enable them to proceed with the building.
"That Messrs. George Stokell, George Cart- wright and Joseph Allport, should be added to the Acting Committee.
"That any act of the Committee approved by the majority at a meeting of five Members should be binding on the company, except as to accepting Tenders for erecting the Theatre, which should require the concurrence of five members.
"That in as much as Mr. Henry Degraves had offered to contract for the erection of the Theatre, and to let part of the money remain on security of the building, the Committee should be authorized to agree with him for its completion, or with any other person on the like terms ; the total cost not to exceed £2300.
"That a conveyance of the land purchased by the company should be merely taken to trustees, for securing the contractor, and afterwards in trust for the company."
 [The Hobart Town Courier, 8 August 1834]

THE Committee feel it their duty to state as shortly as possible for the information of
   the Shareholders and the Public, the purport of the several resolutions passed at the general meeting held at the freemason's Tavern on the 1st instant, which they trust will lead to the immediate erection of the Theatre on satisfactory terms.  The resolutions they passed were to the following effect.
"That it appeared to the Meeting that the funds of the company would not enable them to accept any of the Tenders opened on the 16th June last.
"That it appeared to the Meeting that the erection of the Theatre should not be delayed until the completion of the co-partnership deed, &c.
"That additional powers should be given to the Committee to enable them to proceed with the building.
"That Messrs. George Stokell, George Cart- wright and Joseph Allport, should be added to the Acting Committee.
"That any act of the Committee approved by the majority at a meeting of five Members should be binding on the company, except as to accepting Tenders for erecting the Theatre, which should require the concurrence of five members.
"That in as much as Mr. Henry Degraves had offered to contract for the erection of the Theatre, and to let part of the money remain on security of the building, the Committee should be authorized to agree with him for its completion, or with any other person on the like terms ; the total cost not to exceed £2300.
"That a conveyance of the land purchased by the company should be merely taken to trustees, for securing the contractor, and afterwards in trust for the company."
 [The Hobart Town Courier, 1 July 1836]

Lowe makes an offer for the Theatre Royal

In June 1839, George Lowe gave evidence in a very interesting breach of contact case, Degraves v. Moses in relation to the 'Hobart Town Theatre', now better known as the Theatre Royal. It was alleged Moses had bought the theatre at auction in January 1839 for £2025 but had not complied with the terms of the agreement. Degraves claimed he had been forced to try to re-sell and had lost money, although the re-sale was alleged to be a sham because it was purchased on behalf of Degraves. The case highlights the grievances that the syndicate shareholders had with Degraves and their concerns about the theatre's sale. It is not clear whether they were against a sale generally, or specifically a sale to Moses, who was referred to in evidence as 'the Jew'; testimony was given that Moses intended to live in the theatre and had already moved a chandelier there.  Degraves had been advised by one syndicate member that he 'would have made a better job of it if he had offered it to the Catholics' (possibly for use as a Chapel).

George Lowe's evidence: I attended the re-sale of the Hobart Town Theatre, in March; when I went there, I saw Degraves; he said, this will just suit you; I offered him £2250 for it, if he would take some houses in exchange; he said, he could not say, then; he did not think it would be sold, and if not, he would have a little talk with me afterwards; he said, I need not wait; I went away; I saw Degraves afterwards; he told me it was not sold. George Lowe's offer was later described as constituting £1500 in cash and £500 to £700 in property (including a cottage worth £45 per annum).  [Colonial Times, 25 June 1839, pages 6-7]

Notice.  AT a Meeting held this day, according to advertisement, several Members of the Hobart Town Theatre assembled. Mr. T. Lucas was called to the chair. It was proposed by Mr. D. W. Bush, and seconded by Mr. John Mezger - That a Fund be raised for the purpose of filing a Bill in Equity against Mr. P. Degraves, as it is the opinion of all Shareholders present, that he (Mr. Degraves) holds possession of these Premises illegally. 
Proposed by Mr. J. Solomon, and seconded by Mr. G. Guest -That those persons whose names are subscribed shall bear a proportion of the expense, which is estimated at about Fifty Pounds and it is hoped all persons connected with the Theatre will render assistance as regards information, &c., in bringing the matter to a close immediately. 
Thomas Lucas, Chairman; George Lowe; William Osborne; D. W. Bush; John Mezger; J. Solomon; George Guest; Richard Ockerby; D. W. Bush pro Richard Allwright.
Mezger's Hotel, Monday, June 14, 1841.
 [Colonial Times, 15 June 1841]


Honora Lowe née Ahern dies

On 19 November 1839 Lowe’s wife Honora née Ahern died in Hobart, aged 44, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery at St Mary's, Hobart. (The cemetery no longer exists, but the old cemetery wall is still there - photo 2012).  There is no evidence that Honora had practised as a Catholic after leaving Ireland in 1814; she was married in the Church of England and all her children were baptised there. However, two of her children had since married Catholics. Mary's husband, John Pearson Rowe, was a very committed Catholic and it is possible that he had encouraged his mother-in-law to reconcile with her faith towards the end of her life.  The following year, George Lowe was listed amongst subscribers to St Mary's Church, Mt Carmel, Hobart Town: G. Lowe £1. 6s. [The Courier, 27 Nov 1840]


Lowe moves briefly to Port Phillip, then resumes business in Hobart

Notice. THE Undersigned proceeding to Port Phillip, requests that all claims against him may be forwarded for payment to his residence, and all persons who are indebted to him, are hereby required to pay the same to Mr James Lowe, who has an authority to receive the same. No credit is to be given on account of the Undersigned, without his written order. George Lowe. Argyle-street, Dec. 9, 1839 [Colonial Times 10 December 1839]

Money to Lend. SUMS of Money, from Five Shillings upwards, are ready to be advanced by the undersigned, upon any reasonable security being deposited with him, at his new Shop Argyle Bridge, Argyle-street.  George Lowe  March 31, 1840. [Colonial Times, 31 March 1840]

The late John Ibbotson.  The Parties acting as subscribers to this Estate, have been induced, owing to false representations and insinuations, to publish the following List of Subscriptions, with a full statement of the accounts:-
George Lowe - - - Amounts unpaid: £1.0.0   Amounts received  £0.0.0

Mr. George Lowe appeared to answer the complaint of Edward Westbrook, his hired servant, with refusing to pay him his wages, amounting to £2 2s 9d. Mr. Lowe not being able to show cause why he should not pay the amount claimed, was ordered to do so, together with costs. [The Courier, 16 November 1841]

IN the matter of the Insolvency of James Bonney, of Richmond, in the Island of Van Diemen's Land, Farmer. - Notice is hereby given that Valentine Fleming Esquire Commissioner of Insolvent Estates for Hobart Town hath appointed a special meeting of the creditors of the above-named insolvent to be holden at the Court House Hobart Town on Wednesday the 20th day of July instant at ten o'clock in the forenoon for the purpose of receiving the proof of debts due to George Lowe of Hobart Town and George Stokell of Clarence Plains. — Dated this 1st day of July, 1842. Butler & Son. Attorneys for the said George Lowe and George Stokell. [Colonial Times, 5 July 1842]

Subscriptions to the Regatta for 1843:  George Lowe £1.0.0   [Colonial Times, 19 December 1843]


Lowe's second wife, Martha née Medwin

On 12 Mar 1842 in Hobart, widowed emancipist George Lowe married twice-widowed free settler Martha Clarke née  Medwin in Hobart.  Martha had been born in 1805 in Oxford to James and Frances Medwin. It was claimed she was the cousin of Captain Medwin, the companion and biographer of Byron, and that her father was also closely related to the poet Shelley. No evidence has been found to substantiate this claim and it may have been a story invented to give a cultural connection a Martha's famous daughter, Maria Burgess (aka Madame Carandini).

On 1 February 1825, Martha Medwin had married James Burgess, a coachman. Four of their five children were born in Brixton, London: Maria Burgess in 1826, Elizabeth Burgess in 1827, Fanny Louisa Burgess in 1830, and James Henry Burgess in 1832.  In April 1833, the family arrived in Hobart on the Henry Porcher as assisted immigrants. Their last child, William Medwin Burgess, was born on 2 May 1834 in Hobart and died six months later on 27 November. The following year, on 27 June 1835, Martha's husband James Burgess died age 38. His will indicates that he owned the family's residence as well as the leasehold on another property, perhaps for his business. A sale of his effects, an upholstery business, was advertised in the Colonial Times on 11 August 1835.

On 4 January 1836 in New Town, Hobart, Martha married William Clarke, who had been a witness to her late husband's will.  At the time of her second marriage, Martha had four children under ten. With William, she had three more children: Mary Medwin Clarke born 28 November 1836 in Hobart, Sarah Beatrice Clarke born 3 June 1838 and Martha Mary Clarke born circa 1840 (estimated from age at death as no record of her birth has been found). William Clarke died age 44 on 17 February 1841 in Hobart, leaving Martha a widow again.

When 60-year-old George Lowe married 37-year old Martha Clarke née Medwin on 12 March 1842, three of his six surviving children were still under 18, with the youngest his 13-year-old daughter Ann Norah. Martha had seven children under 16 years of age. Lowe must have been more than a nominal step-father, at least to the younger children, as some of them used the surname Lowe and he was referred to as their father, for example in family notices.


Lowe's later years

In 1853, fifty years after his arrival in Sydney, 71-year-old George Lowe was in Hobart to witness the end to transportation to Van Diemen's Land; the new name chosen for the colony was Tasmania. If they had not already begun to do so, the Lowe family could now more easily close the book on George and Honora's convict past. With the end of transportation, there was a deliberate campaign by government, religious institutions and families to eradicate the 'convict stain' on Tasmania's past. Generations to come would be unaware of their convict ancestors; the convict archives were closed to researchers until the late 1960s.

Patriotic War Fund.  Additional Subscriptions. George Lowe 10s.0. [The Courier, 16 April 1855)
Patriotic War Fund.  George Lowe 2s.6. [The Courier, 26 May 1855]

To JOHN LORD, ESQ., WOODBURN.  Hobart Town, 12th April, 1855.
SIR, -Mr. JOHN DUNN, jun., having resigned his seat in the Legislative Council as a Representative of this City, we, the undersigned Electors, request you will permit us to put you in nomination to supply the vacancy, pledging ourselves to use our best exertions to secure your return.

(undersigned included) James Lowe; George Lowe  [The Courier, 1 May 1855]

We regret to have to record one of those conflagrations which, when they do happen in Hobart Town,
 and which, fortunately it but seldom, are extensive and calamitous in their result. About three o clock yesterday morning, the Constables Barr and Elliott were passing along Liverpool-street, they observed smoke issuing from the rear of the Waterman's Arms, followed by flames; they immediately gave the alarm, aroused the inmates, and the neighbouring inhabitants; and in a few minutes the Butcher's shop, at the corner of Argyle-street, and the back portion of the public house, including the stable and kitchen, were on fire.
The engines, after some delay, were sent for, and arrived a considerable time after the fire broke out, and when they did arrive, more than a quarter of an hour elapsed before water could be obtained, as the pipes were empty; when they did arrive, one 'plug, opposite Mezger and Bastian's was too large for the hose, of the engine, and had to be broken off by the Police, before drop of water could be obtained. In the mean time the flames were raging with violence,
 the interior of the Waterman's Arms being in one blaze, and the Butcher's shop nearly destroyed : the engines, however, played vigorously, and with good effect, restraining the fire within a circumscribed limit, namely, to the comer of Liverpool and Argyle streets.
In a short time, the roof of the Waterman's Arms, fell in, smothering the flames, which, however, again rose with increased rapidity, to a height of thirty-feet, illumining the scene far and wide. So great was the heat, that the door of Solomon's Temple was blistered, and the glass in the end windows of Mr. Robert's Store, adjoining the Pawnbroker's shop, was actually melted out of the frames.
It is surprising, that the houses of Messrs. Brown and Goer, closely adjoining the Waterman's Arms, in Liverpool-street, were not also, burnt down; and this
   can only be accounted for by the absence of wind, and the wet state of the shingles : as it was, however, both have sustained considerable loss. Mr Brown especially, from the damage done to the furniture in its removal, and exposure to the water and mud. And here we must not omit to mention the active efforts of the Odd Fellows, who, as usual, to aid their Brethren, exerted themselves most manfully in saving their property : a number of citizens, also, exerted themselves in the most commendable manner, and throughout the whole the utmost good order prevailed.
A detachment of the Military was on the spot, but did not arrive till an hour had elapsed from the commencement of the conflagration, which is somewhat surprising, as so great a glare must, or ought to have been, descried from the Barracks, long before that time.
The amount of mischief done is, the entire gutting of the Waterman's Anns, the walls of the public house alone being left standing, the stable, kitchen, and the building formerly used as a Singing Room, as also, the Butcher's shop, being entirely consumed, and had the night have been dry and windy, it is impossible to calculate the extent of the calamity.
We cannot too severely reprehend the delay in the supply of water, and to obviate this in future the water ought to be laid on at night, and plain directions given where to find the men in charge of the plugs.
The fire, as far as we can ascertain, commenced in the stable of the Waterman's Arms, although it is re- ported, that it originated at the Butcher's shop, from the boiling of bones and fat.
Mr. Parsons is insured for £1500 for his stock mid furniture : Mr. George Lowe, the landlord for £1000, and Mr. Goer, for £800. Mr. Brown is not insured at all, but it is to be hoped, that he will not be permitted to be a sufferer to the full extent of his loss.
In conclusion we have to add, that a morning contemporary of Saturday, is incorrect in asserting, that "the fire-men did not know where to find the plugs." They have called upon us, and fully exonerated them- selves from any blame in the matter; on the contrary, as soon as the water was obtained, they exerted themselves in every way to arrest the progress of the fire.
  [The Hobarton Mercury, 26 May 1856]

FIRE.- A destructive fire occurred at the Waterman's Arms, corner of Murray and Liverpool-streets, about three o'clock on Saturday morning. A party of military were speedily on the spot, and rendered good service by pulling down outbuildings and attached sheds, and thus confining the fire to the public-house, which was burnt down in about an hour and a half. Two horses in an adjoining stable perished. Mr. Parson, the occupant, had insured his stock for £1,100; Mr. George Lowe, landlord, £1000. We find that a butchers shop adjoining, belonging to Mr. Goer, was also destroyed: this was insured for £800. [Launceston Examiner, 27 May 1856]

Hobart Town.  List of all persons entitled to be on the Electoral Roll for the Return of Members for the House of Assembly for the Electoral District of Hobart Town with the Polling-place assigned to each elector by the Revising Barrister for the Southern Districts.  J. W. Rogers, Clerk of the Peace.  28th August, 1856
Harrington Street, near Warwick Street:
  Long list of names including George Lowe. [The Courier, 28 August 1856]

On 3 December 1856, George Lowe, genteman, purchased from Lavington Roope, merchant of Hobart Town, a parcel of land along the north-west side of what is now Roope Street, between New Town Road and Pirie Street (then between the New High Road and the Old High Road between Hobart Town and New Norfolk). This was to be his residence for the rest of his life.

On 1 July 1857, Lowe purchased for £800 a house and land in Davey Street Hobart, a short distance north-east of the corner of Barrack Street. His occupation is described as 'Iate merchant and now out of business'. This house and land was left in his will to his wife Martha.


George Lowe dies

On 12 Nov 1861 George Lowe died in Hobart, age 79.
DIED, At his residence, Roope-street, New Town, on the 12th inst., after a long and painful illness, Mr. George LOWE, an old and respected colonist, aged 78 years. [The Mercury, 13 November 1861]
LOWE.—At New Town, Hobart Town, on the 12th instant, Mr. George Lowe, aged 78 years.  [Launceston Examiner, 16 & 23 November 1861]

George Lowe was buried two days later in the cemetery next to St John's Anglican Church, New Town. There is no record of where he was buried and the cemetery is now an open area near the church (see photo above); the intact headstones were removed to Cornelian Bay Cemetery - a headstone for George Lowe is not amongst them.

In his will, dated 10 May 1860, George left "all my furniture, books, plate, linen, monies and all the residue of my personal estate" to my dear wife Martha Lowe. He also left her the house and land in Davey Street, Hobart, on the condition that she renounce all claim by right of Dower, or any other claim, on the house and land in Roope Street, New Town. The latter property was left to his only surviving unmarried daughter, Caroline Lowe. Was he estranged from his three sons, James, George and William, or did he think it was time they made their own way in this world?

George's widow Martha Lowe née Medwin died on 17 May 1882 in Melbourne and is buried in St Kilda Cemetery with her widowed daughter Elizabeth Crouch née Burgess.


Although transportation had surely given George Lowe opportunities to better himself, that he would never have had in England, he had not had an easy life. But his story is a far from typical story of a convict of that era. For someone who appears to have had little education, he must have been a smart, and probably ruthless, businessman who knew how to make the best of opportunities. He worked hard for the wealth and status he had achieved.

Sadly there is very little record of Honora Lowe née Ahern, but through four of their children: James, Mary, George and William, the Lowes now have numerous descendants all over Australia.

If you are a descendent, please contact me.


St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney

George Lowe was arrested near St Dunstan's, Stepney which is at the end of White-horse Lane. The church bells are mentioned in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons: "When will that be, say the bells of Stepney"

The underground cell area at New Prison, London, where George Lowe was held after his arrest in 1800.

HMS Glatton A model of the HMS Glatton on which George Lowe was transported to Australia 1802-1803.

Replica slab hut at York Town, Port Dalrymple.

Anderson's Creek near York Town, VDL.
George Lowe was assigned to a settler here in 1805.

The Rum Rebellion in 1808 when Governor Bligh was reportedly captured hiding under his bed.

Vanua Levu Island, Figi, where George Lowe had some risky adventures with the sandalwood traders in 1808.

The Journal of William Lockerby 1808-1809.
George Lowe was with Lockerby on the Jenny in 1808.

Van Diemen's Land

C17th map of Van Diemen's Land when it was thought to be the southern part of New Holland (mainland Australia)

Early Hobart Town by Joseph Lycett,
artist and convict, transported for forgery.

Map showing the unsuccessful voyage to VDL that Honora Ahern took on the Kangaroo. They went from Port Jackson (blue spot) south to shelter in Jarvis Bay; further south to shelter in Twofold Bay (Eden); blown back north to shelter in Oyster Bay (Botany Bay); blown further north to shelter in Port Stevens; then finally south and back to port Jackson, 67 days later.

Rev Robert Knopwood was first clergman in Van Dieman's Land, and the only one for many years.