Thomas “Tom” Hicks was one of the 13 children of Northern Illawarra Pioneers, James Hicks and his wife Margaret Daley/Brain – there were 8 boys and 5 girls in all. Tom was born 22-06-1857, as a twin with Charles, and their births were registered in Wollongong. Along with five of his brothers and three sisters, Tom had left the Northern Illawarra to Northern Rivers area of NSW.
Tragically Tom had died of Typhoid aged only 37 years, in 1894 (NSW BDM 7240/1894) in Lismore – refer Reporter & Illawarra Journal (Kiama) – 11.4.1894. He had selected land and been a farmer at Goonengerry, in the Jasper – Rous area near Lismore in the 1880’s ( 1, 2, 3) – near to where his twin Charles Hicks had also selected land. Later Tom became involved with the Springhill Butter Factory.
Tom Hicks had never married, nor were there any children. It would appear that his Goonengerry property in the Jasper-Rous area had been taken over by his twin Charles Hicks in 1891 – where there appeared to be some financial issues (4, 5) – Tom also seemed to have had the odd issue in 1892. Perhaps these difficulties were not surprising given that it was the period of the Decade-long 1890’s Depression in Australia, where many struggled, including those on the land and workers alike.
Reading Tom’s Obituary in Reporter & Illawarra Journal (Kiama) – 11.4.1894, he was a popular and respected member of G Troop Cavalry, of the Northern Rivers Lancers of the NSW Lancers, which was formed around 1885, a precursor to the Australian Light Horse.
“For a while all these troops that were raised in 1885 and 1886 were administered as independent bodies forming the “Cavalry Brigade Reserves”, and in 1889 they – with the exception of Tenterfield-Tabulam which had gone over to the Partially Paid Mounted Rifles – were welded into a normal regiment, under Lt-Col Macdonald, and in 1890 the regiment was placed on the Partially Paid Establishment. The name of the Regiment at that time, by the way, was “New South Wales Cavalry Regiment”, and it was actually a regiment of lancers, weapons being lance, sword and carbine. The name was changed to New South Wales Lancers in 1894.” – Source : Royal NSW Lancers Website.
Several years later around 1897 , Tom‘s nephew, George Hicks, son of Tom‘s eldest brother, Henry Thomas Hicks, had also enlisted in the military. From about 1899, nephew George Hicks served in the Boer War, as well as rising to the rank of Captain of the 5th Light Horse in WWI at Gallipoli and the Middle East. A number of other nephews of Tom‘s also served in WWI.
Tom Hicks is the Sergeant buried at Richmond Cemetery in 1894 – reference – Hicks, Thomas Sgt, d 1894 – CEM-LN2-118. Note Tom‘s older brother, Richard Hicks, and Richard’s wife, Emma Hicks nee Payne, are also buried at Richmond Cemetery.
Reference : RICHMOND RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY – Sword and Lance, by Martin J.Buckley – Augmented Index – Typed by Margaret Henderson, 1999
Key: SWORD-1: Sword and Lance index – SWORD-2: Additional Names from book contained in Rolls, etc.
HICKS, T., Sgt. SWORD-1
HICKS, T., Cpl., d.1894 (Lismore/Alstonville Troop 1891-1893) SWORD-2
Other sources for the Royal NSW Lancers include – Records 1888-1965 held by the Society of Australian Genealogists