(1800–79) began his notable career in the NSW public service in 1829 as clerk of the Executive and Legislative Councils. He became colonial secretary in 1837, and served five governors before his retirement in 1856. He was involved with the movement towards responsible government and the development of the licence system to control the gold rushes. Under Gipps, Thomson was forced to speak in the Legislative Council for an unpopular administration which he found very trying. He presented and supported Earl Grey's proposal for federal union to the Legislative Council in 1848. He was also a strong advocate of free trade between the colonies. Thomson realised the long-term effects of the discovery of gold for the colony and opposed heavy-handed attempts to control gold diggers. He was chosen, with W.C. Wentworth, to see the Constitution Bill for NSW through the British parliament. Upon Thomson's return to Australia, Governor Denison asked him to form a ministry, but he could not gather sufficient support either then or on a subsequent attempt.
From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.