Thomas Powell, son of Cornelius and Mary (née Maroney or Marooney) Powell, was born in Tulla, County Clare, Ireland in 1812. He arrived in Melbourne in 1839 on the William Metcalfe in the Colony of Port Phillip on 15 November 1839 with his wife Susannah née McNamara. They were bounty immigrants. Thomas aged 27 was listed as a carpenter and Susanna aged 20, a dressmaker. Their one year old son, Patrick died on the voyage.
Their subsequent children were:
Cornelius — born 1840
Thomas — born 1841, died December 1854 aged 13 years 7 months
Mary Jane — born about 1844, died 1909
John — born 1845, married Nora Fitzgerald, died March 1876
Catherine (Kate) — born 1848, 7 April 1873
Susanna — born 1850
Caroline — born 1852, died 1853 aged 8 months
Anne Mary — born about 1858, married Edward Thomas Brennan, died 15 November 1935
After shifting to Geelong he established a business as wheelwright and blacksmith in partnership with Michael Reynolds. The partnership dissolved in August 1842. He ran the Union Inn in Malop Street until he transferred the business to Alfred Lee Frost in 1849. In 1850 it was transferred it back to him for a few months and again transferred, later in 1850, to Henry R Gosling. Also in 1850 he started the Corio Brewery in Geelong and Stawell. It was often referred to as Powell's brewery. In 1852 he successfully stood for election in the Barwon Ward in the Geelong council election. After the election a petition was presented to the council claiming that he impersonated voters who were out of town. He did not contest the seat again at the next election. He was a South Barwon councillor from 1860 to 1867.
purchased 245 acres of crown land in Waurn Ponds in 1849 which he named Claremont. This land was east of Ghazeepore Road, south of Waurn Ponds Creek and stretched to what was a road aligned with Hams Road. He had an eight room brick house built on this property, the tenders being called on 2 March 1857.
His son Thomas died, aged 13 years, at Waurn Ponds on 23 December 1854, and his wife, Susanna, at Little Malop Street, Geelong on 8 January 1856. Soon after her death, in 1856, he married Mary Ann Rowley. Their son, David Rowley, was born on 6 August 1857 at Claremont. A daughter was born on 15 August 1858 and daughter, Elizabeth Jane, at Claremont on 21 June 1861.
Thomas sold his brewery in 1858 and retired to Claremont. Late in 1862 he became the second lessee as toll keeper at the tollgate at the Prince Albert bridge. In 1863 he returned to the brewery that he had sold, renting it from H Elms and conducted it and the Stawell branch until his death in 1877. He died while on a visit to Stawell. He was buried in a family plot in the Old Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
His daughter carried on the brewery under the name of MJ Powell & Company. He may have been a brother of Connor Powell. They came from the same parish in Ireland.
Buried in the grave below are:
Susannah Powell — first wife
Mary Ann Powell — second wife
Thomas Powell — Son
Mary Jane Powell — Daughter
John Powell — son
Nora Powell — daughter-in-law
Kate Powell — daughter
Ann Mary Brennan — daughter
Edward Thomas Brennan — son-in-law
Lilla Brenan — daughter of Ann and Edward
The large sandstone monument was erected in 1856 by Richard Cumming of Yarra Street, Geelong.
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Barwon Heads History