ARMSTRONG, Thomas (1818-1892)

Thomas Armstrong emigrated from Scotland in 1839, his occupation listed as shepherd. In partnership with William Bell (1796-1870) he took out a squatters licence in the Eltham area and later purchased land at Kangaroo Ground. In 1841 he married Williams daughter Dinah. The Bell family rented land at Yarra Flats from John Dickson and ran it as an outstation. By 1856, together with Simon and Thomas Armstrong, they had purchased more than 1300 acres and taken over the pastoral lease from Dickson. Tom Armstrong managed Gulf Station with his brother-in-law William Bell (1831-1877). Early maps show that Armstrong and Bell owned land along Steels Creek Road to the west of Gulf Station. William Bell bought out the Armstrongs' shares in Gulf Station in 1871.

In his own name Thomas Armstrong also owned the section in the south east corner bounded by Irvine Crescent and Melba Highway, including the area now occupied by Chardonnay Views housing estate. On the other side of Melba Highway he also owned the land on which the present day Racecourse is situated. Unofficial race meetings were held on his land from 1873 until he founded the Yarra Flats Racing Club in 1880. Thomas Armstrong was also Captain of the Hunt Club for many years.

Armstrong was a member of the Yarra Flats School Committee in 1868 and in 1877 he sold two acres on Symons Street to the Board of Education for a school (now the site of the Yarra Glen Primary School). He was a Councillor with the Eltham District Road Board (later Eltham Shire Council) for about 35 years, a Justice of the Peace and a founding member of the Yarra Flats Cemetery Trust