Thomas Lipson1

#12508, (1784-25 October 1863)
Last Edited1 Oct 2022
Thomas Lipson
(source: unknown)
     NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page. Whilst historical facts are not copyright, my writing about these facts are. If you wish to use any text from this site on Ancestry or on any other website, please ask me first - Tim Hill.
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Thomas Lipson was born in 1784 at Dartmouth, Devon.2,1 He was baptised at St. Petrox on Sunday, 3 October 1784 at Dartmouth, Devon.3,1 At the early age of 10 years he entered the Navy as first-class volunteer on board the "Windsor Castle" of 98 guns, captained by Sir T. Byard, with whom he served at the reduction of Corsica. 1797 he served in the Bedford, a ship of 74 guns at the action off Camperdown; in 1798, in the "Foudroyant" with 80 guns at the captures of the French squadron destined for the invasion of Ireland.

24 January 1808 he was nominated acting Lieutenant of the "Sabrina". He was officially promoted June 2, 1809, and in 1810 was made Senior Lieutenant of the "Bonne Citoyenne", a corvette, on the South American station. Lipson was awarded a medal and two clasps for general actions during the war.

Thomas Lipson married Elizabeth Emma Fooks, daughter of William Fooks and Ann Williams MacKenzie, on Thursday, 30 July 1812 at Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset.1,4 Thomas Lipson was promoted to Commander on 4 March 1819.5 As of circa 1830, his rank was Captain.1

Thomas and his wife Elizabeth emigrated with their six children from England on 20 March 1836 on the Cygnet. The Cygnet stoped in Rio de Janeiro for cuddy stores.1,6 Thomas and his wife Elizabeth arrived at South Australia on 11 September 1836. The family spent 4 months on Kangaroo Island before moving to Port Adelaide on 6th January 1837.1,6
Upon arrival in the new colony Captain Thomas Lipson was appointed by Govenor Hindmarsh as South Australia’s first naval officer, its first collector of customs, and harbour master of Port Adelaide. He exercised virtually single-handed control over shipping and harbour improvements. He was known as an extremely conscientious official.1,7 Thomas lived in 1838 at Currie Street, in Adelaide. The Lipson's first house overlooked the wharf. Later, in 1838, a house was erected.7 The South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, August 18 1838, p 2 reports on the Bachelors' Ball at which Captain Lipson, Mrs Elizabeth Lipson and daughters are listed as attending. It is also mentioned that one of the ball stewards was a Mr Allen. Could this possibly have been John Allan, Eliza's future husband? The ball was held to celebrate the anniversary of the passing of the Act of Parliament constituting the province.7 The latter office he resigned in 1840 when he retired on a life pension. Several valuable surveys of the South Australian coast were made by him, and duly acknowledge by the Home Government. 1856 Commander Lipson was promoted to a Post-Captaincy on the Retired List. In his official as well as his private life, he was universally respected and beloved, and it had been remarked that he never made an enemy.

On his retirement from office, a handsome silver tea service, which was subscribed for by persons resident or connected with the Port, was presented to him as a token of the esteem in which he was held, and also as a recognition of the arduous duties which he had to perform connected with the shipping interests in the early days of the colony.

Thomas died on 25 October 1863.1

Thomas was lauded in his obituary on 27 October 1863:
"One particular trait in the character of the lamented gentleman should not he lost sight of, and that is that general urbanity and affability which at all times marked his conduct in his intercourse with persons of inferior rank in life. An old acquaintance, though he might he in humble garb, was to him an old friend, and was recognised as such wherever met, and many a time has his warm heart flushed his happy face on meeting a subordinate or tradesman busy about his ordinary duties. Open-hearted, candid, and outspoken himself, he sought and felt delight in association with similar minds, wherever he found them."8

His body was interred at West Terrace Cemetery at Adelaide.9

His will was probated 4 March 1864, with his estate being awarded to Elizabeth Emma Fooks through Frederick Pike of Charing Cross, Navy Agent, her lawful attorney. His effects were valued as less than £600.9


1784BirthDartmouth, Devon2,1
1784BaptismSt. Petrox, Dartmouth, Devon3,1
1785Note memo only
1797Note memo only
1808Note memo only
1812MarriageMelcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset1,4
1836Immigratn-newSouth Australia1,6
Note memo only1,7
1838ResidenceCurrie Street, in Adelaide7
1838Note memo only7
Note memo only
1856Note memo only
1863Quotation type 18
BurialWest Terrace Cemetery, in Adelaide9
1864Note memo only CR CR9


Elizabeth Emma Fooks (c 1789-30 May 1880)


  1. [S557] Bound for South Australia (…
  2. [S728] GEDCOM file created by Donald L. Reid, 17 Feb 2014 (companion to 'Descendents of James MCKENZIE.rtf' p.1).
  3. [S728] GEDCOM file created by Donald L. Reid, 17 Feb 2014 (companion to 'Descendents of James MCKENZIE.rtf' p.1) (for exact place).
  4. [S1394] The Roberts Family ( Elizabeth Emma Fooks (1790–1880)… (for place).
  5. [S415] Wikipedia (
  6. [S573] E-mails from Jilly Innes to Tim Hill, Sep 2012 - 12 Sep 2012 (attachments) (for dates).
  7. [S573] E-mails from Jilly Innes to Tim Hill, Sep 2012 - 12 Sep 2012 (attachments).
  8. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1863 'THE MELBOURNE TRANSPORTATION LEAGUE.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 27 October, p. 3, viewed 24 September, 2012,
  9. [S728] GEDCOM file created by Donald L. Reid, 17 Feb 2014 (companion to 'Descendents of James MCKENZIE.rtf' p.3).