'This has got to be the highlight,' Thomas, 26, said. 'I feel very emotional. This is a title I have won and not just a position and that makes a big difference.'
But England's women's team were determined not to allow Thomas, the world silver medallist, to steal all the glory. They also won a gold medal, beating the highly fancied home team, who had won the title on the two other occasions it has been held.
Thomas won the floor gold medal at the Auckland games four years ago but the individual all-round title is considered the highest achievement in gymnastics. 'I have got what I wanted, this is the title I came for,' he said.
Led by Watford's Zita Lusack and Jacqueline Brady, England made the breakthrough by nearly a point from Canada with Australia third.
Lusack qualified for the individual event in second place overall behind the impressive Canadian, Stella Umeh, while Brady was one place adrift.
Karin Szymko, 15, of Surrey, was sixth while Anika Reeder, 14, of Essex was a creditable seventh equal.
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