The cover has a ms. Per Clipper Ship Schomberg from Liverpool, Octr. 5.1855 and was addressed to Thomas M Sloman Esqr. Merchant, Bathurst, New South Wales Australia, Via Sydney N.S. Wales. The stamp had washed off but most of the EXETER/ OCT 2/ 1855 was legible, and at the left hand border, in another hand, were the words Paid by Stamp (Figure 1).

The reverse has a transit SYDNEY/ B/ DE 27/ 1855, a reception BATHURST/ JA * 2/ 1856/ N.S.W as well as a red English postmark, dated 3 OC 3/1855 (Figure 2).

Thomas Martin Sloman, banker and pastoralist, was born on 29 May 1811 at Exeter, England, the eldest son of Samuel George Sloman. He was educated at Ottery St Mary’s with the intention of entering the ministry of the Church of England. However, he changed his mind and became a midshipman with the East India Co. In November 1833 he arrived in Sydney in the Ann, bringing letters of introduction to Rev. Samuel Marsden.

For nine months he worked at Rev.Thomas Hassall’s station at Jerry’s Plains, and then entered into partnership with Sydney Jamieson Watson on the cattle station, Kill-me-cat, on the Tumut River. He dissolved this partnership in 1835 and next year, when he went to Bathurst to inspect sheep owned by Hassall, he was persuaded to accept the position of accountant in the Bathurst Bank. In 1840, when the Union Bank took over this bank, he was offered the position of manager, but declined. He had an interest in the business of John Lipscombe until 1840, when he joined J. J. Ashe in the firm of Sloman & Ashe. Four years later this partnership was dissolved and he made a trip to England, returning in 1846. He then became a partner with an auctioneer, Tress. In 1848 he bought half shares in Meadows Station, near Wellington, and Belaringar and Dundallamal on the lower Macquarie River. He later sold these interests to David Baird. In 1851 he dissolved his partnership with Tress, and went to England.

In September 1855 he married Amelia Tregenna Henning at St Paul’s Church, Chippendale. In 1858 he was a partner of Thomas Woolley in an ironmonger’s business in Sydney. In the 1860s he held several properties in the Wellington district, and made trips to New Zealand with loads of cattle. He returned to banking in 1872 when be became manager of the Bathurst branch of the Savings Bank of New South Wales, a post he filled for twenty-five years; the branch was popularly known as Sloman’s Bank.

As a young man he was a fine athlete. All his life was guided by Christian principles, and he was scrupulously honest in his varied business activities. His work for the Bathurst cathedral was outstanding, and his name is on the foundation stone. On his ninetieth birthday he was presented with an illuminated address by the citizens of Bathurst. He spent his later years writing of the events and worthy citizens of that town. He died at his son’s home at Dubbo on 3 August 1902. There were nine children.

Schomberg, the most famous of the Black Ball Lines’ fleet of passenger ships was said to be the most perfect clipper ship ever built. It was designed and built in Aberdeen to beat the very fast clippers of North American designer Donald McKay. When James Baines, owner of the Black Ball Line launched Schomberg he said, “by the grace of god, this ship under the capable command of Captain Forbes will break the record he has already made”. Schomberg left Liverpool on October 6, 1885, with 430 passengers on board and 3,000 tons of cargo comprising iron rails and equipment for the Geelong Railway and the construction of a bridge over the Yarra to connect Melbourne with Hawthorn. On Christmas Eve, some 78 days out of Liverpool, the vessel made landfall near Cape Bridgewater. The next day Moonlight Head was sighted. The ship was sailing with strong south-easterly wind and had to tack several times but made little progress. In the evening the wind dropped and the ship was again heading in the direction of Moonlight Head. The gentle breeze made it difficult for the vessel to turn about and the ship was carried in through the breakers and came to a grinding halt on a sand spit.SS Queen, which was bound for Melbourne, approached Schomberg and managed to take all passengers on board. Another steamer was sent by the Black Ball Line’s agent in Melbourne to collect passenger’s baggage. Various steamers assisted with the unloading of cargo from Schomberg however when the weather changed for the worse, the task became impossible. Cargo was strewn over the beach and police had to patrol the area for looters. Captain Forbes was apparently playing cards with two female passengers when Schomberg ran aground. By the time he came up on deck and gave orders it was too late. Captain Forbes was finally acquitted on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to show he had not used every precaution necessary to save his ship. Following his acquittal there was a public outcry.

The text for Thomas Sloman was extracted from the entry in The Australian Dictionary of Biogaphy.

Categories: Business, Ship Wrecks