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Lieutenant Thomas Burnett
Lieutenant Thomas Burnett

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

Memorial commemorates Royal Navy surveyor who drowned in D’Entrecasteaux’s Channel.

Lieutenant Thomas Burnett arrived at Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 6 January 1837 aboard the barque Fairlie accompanying Captain Sir John Franklin who was taking up his appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of the colony. Copeland had recommended Burnett to Franklin for hydrographic surveying in Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania, particularly the port of Hobart Town and its approaches. Governor Franklin gave Burnett the use of the Colonial cutter Vansittart. The southern entrance to D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the approaches to the Derwent River were surveyed.

Burnett was drowned on 21 May 1837 when his whaler was knocked down by a squall in the South Port River adjacent to Bruny Island in D’Entrecasteaux Channel. He was buried in the old Hobart Town Cemetery, now St David’s Park, with full naval honours. His monument there was designed by John Lee Archer, Colonial Architect, utilising the stone plinth imported from England which was to have been the main stand for an observatory for Burnett.


Address:Davey Street, St Davids Park, Hobart, 7000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -42.885853
Long: 147.328264
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial
Actual Event STart Date:06-January-1837
Actual Event End Date:21-May-1837
Monument Designer:John Lee Archer


Front Inscription

To the Memory Of  Lieut Thomas BURNETT RN.  Who arrived in this Colony on the 6th day Jan 1837 with the appointment of Maritime Surveyor and while actively engaged in the prosecution of this object in D’Entrecasteaux’s Channel was unfortunately drowned by the upsetting of a boat on the 21st May following Aged 31.

This monument erected as an individual tribute of sorrowing attachment records at the same time the public estimation in which his worth and talents were held by this Colony and his country of his birth the irreparable loss it has sustained by the untimely death of the best of sons and most affectionate of brothers.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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