There is a lake in Sandgate, my suburb on the edge of Moreton Bay, called Dowse Lagoon. It is named after one of Sandgate’s first European settlers, Thomas Dowse, (1809-1885) who settled here with his wife and family in 1842. Thomas Dowse was an ex-convict. In September 1824, at the age of 15, he was tried in the Old Bailey:
for stealing, on the 16th of August , at St. Andrew, Holborn , a coat, value 2 l. a waistcoat, value 5 s. a pair of trowsers, value 10 s. a handkerchief, value 4 s. and a shirt, value 4 s.
He stole these items and pawned them for 35 shillings.
This is where the story gets strange, for the main witness in the case was Catherine Dowse, a widow – and Thomas’s mother. The clothes belonged to Tom’s brother (though technically they were Catherine’s, since minors could not own property).
So what was going on? Continue reading