Thomas Richard Linsay Atto, was born about 18th April 1806, in Southwark, Surrey, England son of John William Linsey Atto and Sarah Powell. His birth was registered at the Maze Pond Baptist church in Surrey on 24th November 1806. This was not a baptism. He was part of a family baptism on 26th February 1823 at St Mary's Newington, Surrey, a Church of England church. Thomas was a sailor and Master Mariner [a]
The first reference I can find for him in Australia is listed as a seaman aboard the Renown on 19th June, 1831 travelling from Hobart to Sydney. He appears again aboard the Susanna travelling from The Cape of Good Hope and arriving in Hobart Town on 18th March 1833. There are further references [e] to him in 1844 travelling from Hobart Town to Sydney aboard the Amitie, returning on 12th April on the William. Thomas was a passenger. He is also recorded as Master of the Rose in 1842, and the Rambler and the Berwick Castle in 1844. In 1856 he is recorded as the First Mate on a barge pulling ships on the Tamar river. He also appears on the 1856 electoral roll for Launceston which shows Thomas residing at Westcombe Street. Thomas is listed as a householder and ratepayer. In 1866 he appears on the Tasmanian Directory as being a labourer residing at Westcombe Street, Launceston.
Marriage: Thomas Atto, master mariner, full age and Jane Feutrill, minor were married on the 6th October 1846 in the home of Mr Feurtrill in Brisbane Street, Launceston by license according to the rites of the Independant church. Witnesses were Samuel Feutrill and Sarah Feutrill. Jane was not yet 17. Thomas was aged about 44. Their first child was born less than three months later.
Thomas and Jane had the following children: Click Here
1848 Tasmanian Census: Thomas Atto is head of household at Brisbane street Launceston. The dwelling is mad eof wood and owned by Alexander McLoughlan. There are 5 persons residing on the night of 31st December, 3 of those were 'free' There were 2 married men and 2 married women between 21 and 45 and one single man of the same age. There was also a female child under 2 [making a total of 6!] Of these, one married male, one married female and one single male were 'free'. One male and female are 'bond'. They are all of the Church of England faith. One male is an mechanic or artificer and rest are in the last category of'all other'. NOTE: no one is described as a boatman!
Launceston Examiner dated 15thAugust 1854: ATTO-SCOTT.-Thomas Atto, and Sarah Scott (wife of Richard Scott), children of John William Linsey Atto, late of Walworth, in the county of Surrey, gentleman, who died on the 1st February, 1853, are entitled under his will to shares in the residue of his estate, provided such shares be obtained within seven years from the decease of the said testator. The said Richard Scott, when last heard of, commanded the barque "Spray," of Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, and the said Thomas Atto was a seaman on board some vessel belonging to Launceston. Application to be made to Mr. Fraser, Solicitor, 2, Furnival's Inn, London.
Launceston Examiner 20th September 1862 reports: Larceny - A boy named' Thomas Atto, a pitiable-looking object with bare feet and ragged clothes, was charged with stealing eight loaves of bread, eight-pounds of beef, and dripping, a purse and other articles, the property of James Lewis from a boat lying at the steps next the bridge across the North Esk. The father of this boy was charged with receiving the stolen articles. From the evidence taken it appeared that young Atto was not the only one concerned in the robbery which took place on Tuesday. It seems that Lewis came up the town leaving a lad named Coventry to keep an eye on the boat, though not to stay in it. About dinner time, feeling rather hungry, Coventry thought he would go to the boat and appease his appetite, but, unfortunately when he got there the cupboard was bare. Turning to some boys on the bridge, he said, "What thieves they are here !' upon which a little girl, the sister of the boy Atto went to him and told him that her brother had stolen the things. On seeing his master, Coventry told him of the loss and of what the girl told him, and a constable was obtained and the boy Atto taken into custody on which he acknowledged being implicated in the robbery but said that some other boys had assisted him. He also stated where some of the things were hid. Search was made by the police and in the loft of an empty house next to Atto's and of which Atto senior had the key, some of the dripping and the remains of the bread, were found. The youngsters seemed to have had a feast of bread and dripping in the loft. The bulk of the things had not, however been found. The constable who apprehended young Atto said that he found on him a tig of tobacco and a short, pipe. The elder prisoner was subsequently taken into custody The bench gave the elder prisoner the benefit of a doubt and discharged him, admonishing him to bring up his children in better manner. -The boy had nothing to say in his defence and the Bench sentenced him to one months hard labour and ordered him to be kept separate from the other prisoners. The Police Magistrate expressed his regret that they could not inflict solitary confinement.
The Launceston Examiner dated 29th August 1874 reports: Prosecution under the Education Act. Thomas Atto was charged by Frederick Cecil Greene with being the parent of two children, between the ages of 7 and l4 years, and failing to send the said children to school. The information was laid under the provisions of The Public School Amendment Act, 1873. Defendant pleaded guilty, but said the boy was over 15 years, and was at work, getting 7s per week; the girls were kept at home to look after the house. Mr Greene said if that were the case defendant should have applied to a Chairman of a Local School Board to obtain an exemption certificate. He had spoken to the mother several times. It was pointed out that the mother of the children did not live with Atto, and had not told defendant what Mr Greene had said. Under the circumstances, the Bench would not make an order. Mr Dowling said he knew the case of Atto to be one of necessity and it was arranged that Mr Greene should see defendant, and point out to him the proper steps to take in order to get an exemption order.
Launceston Examiner 19th December 1874 Thos. Atto, father of two girls, said he did send them to St. John's School, but they would not admit them, because they were not cleanly, and since then one of the girls had been ill. The Police Magistrate The only ground on which you can be exempt is by certificate from the local Board, unless you are employing them in some way or other in getting their living. The Visiting Officer said the last time he told them to go to school was on the 23rd November, and he had seen them both about the lane since. . Mr Fawns confirmed that statement, the defendant was a boatman and he went out and left the children running about the lane. Defendant-I sent them to school and they refused to receive them unless they came respectable. The Visiting Officer said they would receive them if they went with their heads clean. The Police Magistrate spoke of the alleged objection to receive the children unless they went respectably dressed, and said that was no excuse and need not be an objection it was not so in Scotland where the children of the peasant went to school with those of the higher classes. .Mr Fawns - It's your duty to see that they are sent clean, and you should take some pains to do so, instead of walking about smoking end drinking. His Worship enquired if there was not a school at the Wharf. Mr Green replied in the negative. The bench made an order that the children be sent to school.
Cornwall Chronicle 21st December 1874: Thomas Atto appeared to a summons issued against him at the instance or Mr P. 0. Greene for having, on the 3rd November, refused and neglected to send his two children to one of the public schools, they being within the prescribed age of 7and 14years and residing within two miles of a public school, without holding certificates exempting such children from school. The defendant said he hod sent them, but they were told not to go again because they wore not clean enough. The Inspector raid the children had been tent to school in a very dirty state. Mr Mason told the defendant that be would have to keep the children decently clothed, and see that they attended school regularly and were sent clean,otherwise he would be summoned again and fined.
The Launceston Examiner dated 6th February reports: Compulsory Education.- Frederick C. Greene, Visiting Officer under the Public Schools Act, charged Thomas Atto, with having on and since the 11th January, 1875, neglected an order of the Court directing him to send his two children to a public school. Plea guilty. Ordered to pay a penalty of 10 shillings.
The Cornwall Chronicle Launceston, Tas dated 8th February 1875 reports: Breaches of the Education Act. — Thomas Atto, Ross Briant and Sarah Scully were charged by Mr F.C. Greene with neglecting to send their children to school. Atto pleaded guilty, and said he could not keep his girls clean, and when they went to school they were sent back. The Bench fined him 10s, and allowed him time to pay.
Launceston Examiner 12th May 1880 Educational.--Jane Atto, Sarah Murphy, and William Woodworth, were proceeded against by Mr F. C. Greene,visiting officer under the Board of Education, for having neglected to send their children to one of the schools at Launceston, contrary to the Education Act 37 Victoria, No. 11. The Bench, in each case, ordered the parents to send their children to school.
Launceston Examiner 11th August 1880 Jane Atto pleaded not guilty of having failed to send a boy named John Saunders to school, she being his guardian. The evidence of the visiting officer showed that the defendant had been cautioned, but she said she had no control over the boy, who refused to go to school. The boy said the teacher had punished him several times for not having paid 3d for each time he absented himself, in consequence of which he was afraid to again attend. The Bench ordered the boy to be sent to school, and in the event of the order not being attended to, they would not be disposed to deal with the defendant so leniently.
Deaths: Thomas Atto aged 74, labourer, died 9th March 1882 in Launceston, Tasmania. Cause of death senility. Launceston Examiner dated 11th March 1882 reported: ATTO. On 9th March, at his residence, Westcombe street, Mr Thomas Atto, aged 74 years. (Melbourne and home papers please copy) |
Jane Atto, a widow aged 65 died on 11th July, 1896 at of Margaret Street, Launceston, Tasmania. Cause of death was cerebral haemorrhage Launceston Examiner dated 13th July 1896 reported: ATTO.-On 11th July, at her residence, 52 Margaret-street, Jane, relict of the late Thomas Atto, aged 65 years.
A curious postscript: The Will of Martha Clark dated 1883 makes mention of TWO Thomas Attos both of whom went to Australia; Thomas Richard Atto, son of John Lindzey Atto and Sarah who went to Australia 40 years ago and Thomas Atto son of Thomas and Mary Atto of Islington who went to Australia 50 years ago.
References: [a] Australian Colonial Series, Vol 1 Special Edition, CD Rom; [b] Tasmanian Pioneers Index 1803-1899, CD Rom; [c] Convictions website, passenger lists; [d] Colonial Tasmanian Families website; [e] Mariners in Australian Waters website; [f] Parish Records as per Ancestry. Special Thanks to Hayden Bingham and Shirley Atto