TOLLIS, Thomas

January 1810 Thomas is mentioned in Colonial Secretaries Paper as “a Corporal and Light Horseman”, on list of persons holding civil and military employment at Sydney and settlements adjacent established by Governor King.

Thomas TOLLIS married Ann WATERS on 26th May 1812 at St. Philip’s Church, Sydney.

Ann WATERS had arrived June 1807 as a convict aged 18 aboard the “Sydney Cove” after being tried at London in 1805.

Thomas Tollis Memorial headstone in Devonshire Street Cemetery

Thomas Tollis Memorial headstone in Devonshire Street Cemetery. Image courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Old Bailey Trial 1805

ANN WATERS, Theft > grand larceny, 30th October 1805

ANN WATERS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 4th of October, one child’s bed-gown, value 4d. a cap, value 1s. three-quarters of a yard of lace, value 1s. 6d, a wine-glass, value 6d. four knives and eight forks, value 1s. 8d. a quart bottle filled with run, value 2 s. and two tippets, value 1s. the property of James Riley .

JAMES RILEY sworn. – I am an attorney at law; the prisoner lived servant with me three years ago; about seven weeks ago she came into my service a second time.

When did you miss these things which are the subject of your indictment? – A. I was present when the officer took them out of the box.

When was it you had occasion to suspect this woman? – A. The bottle of rum I missed about the beginning of last month; the lace was missed by my wife about the 23d of October; Bly came with a search-warrant against the prisoner at my house; she refused to give the key of her box; Bly broke it open; in the box there were three bottles found; the bottle of rum was nighest towards me in the box, with the letter R. upon it.

Did you know by that letter R. that it belonged to somebody? – A. I had reason to suspect it.

Can you speak by any peculiarity of the letter? – A. I compared it to other bottles with the letter R. on them, and they appeared to be the same hand-writing of the wine-merchant; the bottle was filled with rum; there were four knives and eight forks, and a child’s cap.

When you found these things in her box did she say anything? – A. I told her I suspected her to be the thief who robbed me so largely; she immediately fell on her knees: I told her she should not stop, I had charged other persons with it; she begged to stop till Mrs. Riley came home? on the Tuesday following she begged me to forgive her, and she would go abroad with her husband, who was a soldier and was ordered abroad; I told her I would have nothing to do with it; I was present when all the things in the indictment were found in her box except the lace.

MRS. RILEY sworn. – I was not at home at the time this search was made.

Did you come home before this girl was taken away by the constable? – A. No; I searched the box after I came home.

Was the prisoner present at the time you searched the box? – A. No, she was gone.

Was anybody present at the time you searched the box? – A. No, no one.

What did you find in that box which is the subject of the present charge? – A. About three-quarters of a yard of lace; I knew it to be mine; I saw the other things taken out of the box at the Magistrate’s.

Had you noticed the bottle of rum so as to be able to speak to it with certainty? – A. No, I had only missed it; the child’s cap I knew to be mine, I made it myself; and the two tippets are made by myself; there is no mark on them, I knew them by my own work.

There are four knives and eight forks – do you know these; are you sure they are his own property? – A. Yes.

Can you speak with certainty to the child’s bed-gown? – A. That is my own work; I can speak to it with certainty; the lace I had some time in wear, I taxed her with it after she had returned into my service the second time.

She had never owned to you that she had it in her box? – A. No, she said she had not seen it.

Had you any other servant? – A. Not at that time.

What is the value of the bed-gown? – A. Fourpence, four knives and eight forks, 1s. 6d. the lace at 1s. 6d. two tippets 1s.

JAMES BLY sworn. – I am an officer of Queen-square: On Wednesday, the 23d of October, I went to Mr. Riley’s; I searched the prisoner’s box.

When you were there did you find the articles that are now produced? – A. Yes, all but the lace.

How did you get at that box? – A. I broke it open; the prisoner said, d – n my eyes if you shall open my box without you shew me the warrant.

Did she use that expression? – A. Yes.

(To prosecutrix.) Tell me whether you have any doubt of their being your property? – A. They are all my husband’s property.

Prisoner’s defence. Please you, my Lord, this bottle of rum was not Mr. Riley’s; the way I came to have these three bottles in my box, Mrs. Riley had a gentleman and lady that lodged there, she gave my husband a shilling and me two, and a bottle of cyder; she told me she would not carryaway empty bottles, I might keep that bottle, and two more that were in the back kitchen; my husband thought he would buy some rum to have a glass of a morning when he mounted guard. I put these three empty bottles in my box; my husband told me he would buy some rum, he did buy one bottle full, and the glass was left by them; their servant told me to take it up stairs till she called for it; I told my husband to keep the glass, if the servant did not call for it. Mr. Riley was going to have a great dinner on the Sunday; I took the things which were laying about, and put them into my work-box; I told my husband to take it up stairs, and put it out of the way, and he put it into my box; the best knives and forks I put into Mr. Riley’s desk, and some of my own are among these which Mr. Riley has got here. There was no robbery intended, I never wished to defraud my master and mistress, I knew I had a good place, having my husband there as well as myself; if I had wished to defraud them, I could have defrauded them of other more valuable things.

GUILTY , aged 20.

Transported for seven years.

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.


Thomas TOLLIS was a Non Commissioned Officer in the Government guard who died 25th July 1821.

His wife Ann had died earlier in the year on 13th April 1821 aged 32 years and their baby daughter Eliza died only three weeks later 24th April 1821 aged only 9 weeks. Approximate date of birth of Eliza was about end of February 1821.

The 3 of them died within 3 months of each other.

There were 5 other children born between 1809 and 1818:

  • Thomas born 1809
  • Harriet born 1810
  • Ann born 1814
  • Samuel born 1816
  • Nathaniel born 1818

In the 1822 muster shows Harriet, Thomas and Samuel TOLLIS are in the orphan School and Ann and Nathaniel are listed living with other persons.

Sources: National Library of Australia – Trove,, State Records NSW