Thomas Lipson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Thomas Lipson, R.N. (ca.1784 – 25 October 1863) generally known as Captain Lipson was born in Dartmouth, England, he joined the Royal Navy at an early age and had a successful if unspectacular career, ending as the Harbour Master of Port Adelaide from 1836 to 1855.


  • 1793 Lipson joined the Royal Navy as a first-class volunteer on the Windsor Castle under Captain Sir Thomas Byard. (At the age of 9 or 10!!)
  • In 1797 he served under Byard on the Bedford, at the Battle of Camperdown
  • In 1798 in the Foudroyant under Byard at the Battle of Tory Island. He was present at the Battle of the Nile and the taking of Toulon; during the rest of the war as midshipman and master's mate in the Princess Charlotte, Ruby, and Isis. He then served for short periods on the Neptune, Amphion and Hydra
  • In 1803, he joined the Montagu and assisted at the blockade of the enemy's ports from Brest to the Dardanelles. He was present on 22 August 1805, in Admiral Cornwallis's attack on the French fleet close to Brest harbour, when the Montagu engaged with L'Alexandre (described in the reference[1] as a ship of 80 guns).
  • On 24 January 1808, Lipson was nominated Acting Lieutenant of the Sabrina off Cadiz; the promotion was made official on 29 June 1809.
  • In 1810 he was made Senior Lieutenant of the Bonne Citoyenne on the South American station. He served afterwards in the HMS Laurustinus (described in the reference[1] as a ship of 24 guns), and the Barfleur on the Brazilian and Mediterranean stations.
  • In 1814 and 1815 in the Iphigenia, HMS Torrent (described in the reference[1] as a ship of 80 guns), and Royal Sovereign, on the North American and home stations. Captain Lipson was awarded a medal and two clasps for general actions during the war.
  • In January 1817 he was in charge of the revenue cutter "Lapwing", when she parted from her cables and was driven from her anchorage in Mill Bay, Plymouth, and went ashore high and dry over a ridge of rocks "with comparatively but little damage".[2] He was in command of the Lapwing on 11 May 1818 when 17 casks of contraband spirits were seized.[3]
The Lapwing (built 1808 in Mevagissey, Cornwall) was to turn up later in South Australia - she was brought to Port Adelaide in May 1850 and sold to merchant Ephraim Teakle. She made regular voyages to the Perth, Western Australia and Melbourne, Victoria. In 1852 she was sold to Captain George Hall, William Paxton and Captain Henry Simpson (d. 26 April 1884), and in April 1853 transferred to Captain William Francis Jnr.[4] She was wrecked at Port Elliot on 6 September 1856 during a gale, when the government moorings gave way.[5] The crew escaped unharmed but two sailors died when they attempted to return to the vessel. The ship was not insured and Captain Francis was bankrupted.[6]
  • He was appointed Commander on 4 March 1819.
  • In 1836 Commander Lipson was appointed by the Admiralty as Naval Officer for South Australia, by the Colonial Government as Harbour-Master at Port Adelaide and Administrator of Marine Affairs, and by the Hon. Commissioners of H.M. Customs as Collector for South Australia. He made several surveys of the South Australian coast for the Home Government.
  • In 1840 he resigned the Customs position, but held the former two until 1855, when he was given rank as Post-Captain and retired on a life pension. He was appointed Master of the Trinity House Board (later renamed Marine Board) in 1852,[7] a post he resigned in 1854 to be controversially replaced by Capt. B. Douglas.[8]
  • Captain Lipson died on 25 October 1863 and was interred at West Terrace Cemetery.


"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"[1]


Thomas Lipson married Elizabeth Emma Fooks (1791 – 30 May 1880) of Melcombe Regis on 30 July 1812.[9] They travelled to South Australia on the "Cygnet" with six children:

  • Emma (Mary Ann) Catherine Berry Lipson (1813 – 28 April 1876) married G. S. Kingston M.L.C. on 4 December 1856 (his third marriage, reported as her second though details of the first yet to hand)
  • Eliza Anne Lipson (died 15 March 1845) married John Allan on 25 February 1840, farming at "Allanvale" in the Wimmera district of Victoria.[10][11]
subject of book "First She Lived : the journey of Eliza Lipson Allan" by Rhonda Poholke ISBN 978-0-646-49637-5
  • Mary Fooks Lipson (died 20 January 1898) married Henry Inman (1816–1895) on 19 January 1839.
  • Louisa Lipson (1829 – 5 August 1918) married James Collins Hawker (ca.1821 – 15 May 1901) Comptroller of Customs, son of Admiral Edward Hawker and brother of G. C. Hawker, on 24 October 1850. Their last home was "Ashford" on Strangways Terrace, North Adelaide.
  • Berry James Lipson (1816–1872) was a clerk in the Colonial Secretary's office. He was convicted of larceny in 1851.[12] A Mr. Lipson left Adelaide alone on the schooner "Amicus" in 1853.[13]
  • Thomas Hardy Lipson (1823 – 18 March 1862), an epileptic, was firstly a customs officer at Port Adelaide and then a farmer on the Light River near Kapunda.


  • Lipson Street, Port Adelaide, was named for him, as were:
  • Lipson Cove, midway between Tumby Bay and Port Neill
  • Lipson, a small township near Port Lincoln
  • Lipson Island, near Port Lincoln
  • Lipson's Breakwater, a natural rocky headland at Port Elliot
  • Lipson's Island, Port Elliot
  • Lipson Reach, on the North Arm, Port Adelaide
  • A plaque at the wharf, Port Adelaide, is dedicated to him.
Street names with a possible connection are: Lipson Place, Port Lincoln, Lipson Avenue, Kadina, Lipson Road, Wallaroo and Lipson Grove, Hawthorn.


  1. ^ a b c d "The Late Captain Lipson, R.N.". South Australian Register. 27 October 1963. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Marshall, John Royal Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers p.209
  3. ^ "Lieutenant Thomas Lipson" (PDF). London Gazette. 23 December 1818. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Parsons List - J to Q". Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Gales on the Coast South Australian Register 9 September 1856 p.2 accessed 14 October 2011
  6. ^ Insolvency Court South Auatralian Advertiser 26 November 1858 p.3 accessed 28 October 2011
  7. ^ "Legislative Council". South Australian Register (Adelaide: National Library of Australia). 15 October 1851. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Our Maritime Laws". South Australian Register (Adelaide: National Library of Australia). 30 June 1881. p. 5. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Captain Thomas Lipson". Bound for South Australia. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Grave of First White Woman in America". The Argus. 9 January 1937. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  11. ^ The Late Mrs Allan South Australian Register 30 April 1845 p.3 accessed 18 October 2011
  12. ^ "Local News". South Australian. 22 July 1851. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Shipping Intelligence South Australian Register 1 March 1853 p.3 accessed 14 October 2011

External links[edit]