Thomas Napier (builder)

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Thomas Napier (1802–1881) was an Australian builder.

Born in Scotland, Napier emigrated to the Australian colonies in 1832, first to Van Diemen's Land and then in late 1837[1] to the Port Phillip District (now known as Melbourne). He was a builder and continued that trade in the colonies. He moved to Melbourne in 1837 less than two years after the first permanent settlement of the Port Phillip area. He purchased a half acre of land in Collins Street in the centre of Melbourne and built a house for himself and his new wife Jessie Patterson. The land cost him 20 pounds. In 1845, he moved out to the Strathmore area, building a house on the top of the hill in Woodland Street, in the area now occupied by the Catholic Church and School. He called that house “Rosebank."

Thomas Napier was made a justice of the peace in 1860. In the same year, he laid the Foundation Stone of the now demolished Pascoe Vale National School which was located adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek where Five Mile Creek enters.

When he died in 1881, his property was divided between his wife, Jessie, and his son, Theodore.

Jessie died in 1891 and her property was left to her daughter Eleanor and son in -law, George Page Barber. It was around this time that the original Rosebank house was damaged by fire and the present large two-storey house known as Rosebank built.

Napier’s son, Theodore is well known for his donation in 1920 of native bushland to Essendon Council (now part of the City of Moonee Valley) for parkland. This land is now called Napier Park.


  1. ^ Szabo, Stephen Michael (2018). "Theodore Napier: A Victorian Jacobite in King Edward's Court". Journal of the Sydney Society for Scottish History. 17.

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