Thomas Dyer Edwards was 22 years old and working for the famous China trader William Jardine when he sailed from Canton to Sydney in 1829. The same year he returned to China, but with the backing of the newly formed company Jardine Matheson and Co.
Edwards landed again in Sydney on 3 January 1833 with his partner Matthew Dysart Hunter. Together they acquired Pitman’s Wharf and took control of the China trade for the next decade and more. Above Pitman’s Wharf on Fort Street, they purchased the land on which the houses at 35–41 Lower Fort Street were built.
In 1833 they commissioned Edward Hallen to design their own merchant house at number 37 (Dawesleigh, completed 1833) and Custom House at number 35 (completed 1834 and now known as Major House).
Dawesleigh remains a private residence and was acquired by the current owners in 2009 and is mid-way through restoration.