THOMAS [Born 10th February 1836 in Southwark, London, Surrey, U.K.]
The U.K. Census of 1841 has Thomas at the age of 5 living in Webb Street in the Parish of Saint Olaves, in the Borough of Southwark, Surrey [this neighbourhood now dominated by London Bridge Station]:
Thomas's father Edward  has an occupation recorded as a “Fellowship Porter and Fish-Monger”, his mother Maria  home duties. At this date they [Edward & Maria] have six children living with them, Emma  a dressmaker, son Edward  a Bricklayer, Jane , Hannah , our Thomas , and Charles .
We have also found via Original Parish Records that there were other siblings / children: Mary Maria [who would have been 25] and Caroline , both of whom had moved on, They also had a brother William [born in 1825 died in 1826], another sister Amelia [birth date of about 1827] who married in 1860 at 33 years old. She would have been 14 at census date  but is not listed at the address [a bit of a mystery].
Thomas’s older sister Caroline Machin born in 1821, is of particular interest: Caroline, married Robert Phillip Simmons [in 1843] and they, with their then, 2 children, immigrated to Melbourne, Australia in the 1850’s. Caroline & Robert go on and bear another five children here in Sandridge [now Port Melbourne]. Robert Phillip died in 1881 and Caroline soon after in 1882, both had been residing at Trafalgar Cottages, Smith Street, Emerald Hill, [that is now South Melbourne proper].
Back to Thomas: At 21 years of age on April 10th 1857 Thomas and Annie Holmes  are married at St Mary’s, in Bermondsey, [the next parish to Saint Olaves] Surrey. In the same year their first child Annie is born, Sept 1857 in Lambeth, Surrey, just south of Southwark.
In October 1859 Thomas and his young family set off for a New World in New Zealand as “Provincial Government Assisted Immigrants”.
The ship "Roman Emperor’s" passenger list, detailed: MACHIN's: Thomas, his profession recorded as a Bricklayer and 23, Annie 22, & daughter Annie 2. Births On Board: Amongst three in total: on Jan. 20, 1860, Mrs. Thomas Machin, of a son.”
Thomas & the family first settle in Christchurch, research shows their second child, born on the voyage from the U.K., died at less than 12 months old. His name was recorded as Thomas Dewar Machin, [Dewar, as in the family name of the captain of the ship they sailed to NZ on, the Roman Emperor]
After about ten years in Christchurch, Thomas moves the family south to Timaru. Over the period "1870 through to about 1884" the Timaru Herald had a hundred or more articles in their; advertisement, family notices, and general story, columns of Thomas and his family, the articles including: birth’s, marriages, etc. It has been access to this most valuable resource via the New Zealand - National Libraries - Past Papers - Web-Site, that has allowed us to create [in our own minds] a picture of a man in his critical and developing years where he created a large family and business, a picture that is just not available from any other source.
These Timaru Herald articles included detail of Thomas an entrepreneur, advertising the sales of his stock of: Stoves, Kitchen Ranges, and Builders Ironmongery from a store that Thomas ran, this along with invitations for: builders, bricklayers & labourers to quote on works he had and was tendering for, as a contract-builder & architect.
Thomas’s activities included, amongst other things, the building of: Houses, Shops, Bridges, Hotels, and Masonic Halls. Likewise Thomas is reported, taking up Jury Duty, he also sits as a committee member at number local institutions, the local school, the Masonic lodge, etc.. There is a long list of court appearances over defaulted money payments, to and from, contractors. The stories seemed endless.
Migration to Australia: We have not yet found shipping advise that confirms the date of migration but we know that some time between 1884 and 1887 Thomas at about 52 years of age, relocates to Auckland on the North Island [NZ] then migrates to Australia settling in South Yarra, Victoria. How many members of the family accompany him is not clear, but eventually all but Clara and Charles are found to be living in and around Melbourne. Wife Annie is about 50, they are the parents of eleven children still alive: Annie [Jnr] 27, Amelia 23, Clara 21, Thomas Edward 19, Charles 18, William 16, Harry 14, Fred 13, Jane 11, Arthur 9, and my granddad Robert, just 5.
Melbourne’s newspapers, and in particular “The Argus”, follow on with more stories of Thomas's building activities. The buildings he helped create still stand, here in Melbourne and in Timaru [NZ], many are heritage listed so for the foreseeable future to be part of these cityscapes.
Later in 1892 Thomas [now 56] is to fall on hard times, court appearances fighting for payment for works rendered, the economic recessions of this era, and finally bankruptcy forcing the sale of his factory / workshop in South Yarra, all take their toll. He is estranged from his wife of forty years and parted from the family as a whole, in 1908 [at 72] he is to die of a Cardiac Haemorrhage - Heart Failure, at an address in Flemington here in Melbourne.
Thomas is buried in a non-descript gravel plot in the Coburg Cemetery with No-Memorial, and there appears to have been No-Ceremony, as certainly there were No-[Newspaper]-Obituaries. A sad end to what appeared to be an illustrious life, but somewhat immortalized by the Heritage Listed Buildings and the relevant News Papers articles.
[This is a short-form summary of a more detailed story of Thomas’s life & exploits; Per Peter Patten - 2012. Should you be interested don't hesitate to ask for a copy of the full narrative]…
I would welcome any comments, correction and additions, please copy to / or notify me in the "Enter your public comment here" box at WikiQuickLink-->> Peter Patten …
Prior to import, this record was last changed 12:02 1 Jan 2014.
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