THORN, GEORGE (1806-1876), soldier, businessman and politician, and GEORGE HENRY (1840-1905), politician, were father and son. George was born on 11 April 1806 near Stockbridge, Hampshire, England, son of Simon Thorn, farmer, and his wife Sarah. A colour-sergeant, he arrived in Australia with the 4th (King's Own) Regiment in 1832. He served Governor Richard Bourke as an orderly, joined a detachment for service in Port Phillip in 1836, entered the Town Survey Department and was on the governor's staff at the first survey of Melbourne in March 1837. In June when his regiment left for India he bought his discharge, joined the Commissariat Department and on 2 November in Sydney he married the seventeen-year-old Jane Handcock.
In 1838 Thorn was sent to Moreton Bay and, on 20 July 1839 was put in charge of the Limestone Hill penal settlement with control of all government stock. He resigned when the establishment closed in 1839, kept the Queen's Arms Hotel and in 1847 sold it and set up a store. His purchase of Ipswich town lots at the first sale in 1843 began an accumulation of land that included Rosebrook, Nukienda and Warra Warra stations totalling 58,000 acres (23,472 ha), and allotments in Toowoomba, Mogill and Cleveland. In 1859-60 he returned briefly to England.
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