Hunter Valley Colonial Medical Practitioners


David Sloane


David Sloan arrived in Hobart as Surgeon on the William Young in 1829. He was in Maitland by the early 1830's

He is mentioned in the History of the Colonies by Martin Montgomery in an article about James Mudie c. 1833.....


In 1836 he attended a meeting in November of that year to thank Pieter Laurenz Campbell for his duties as Police Magistrate.

In 1840 David Sloan married Isabella Lydia Phillips at her father's residence at Bona Vista. Isabella's younger sister Lydia married Richard Ryther Steer Bowker in 1858.

In 1843 a post mortem was performed by Dr. Sloan on the bodies of two aboriginal men who had been killed in a battle near the old 'Black Swan' at Campbell's Hill.  One, from the Port Stephens tribe was shot in the nose and the other from the Wollombi tribe was knocked down with a waddie, speared through the thigh and knee and then his head beaten with waddies by three or four others. The Port Stephens man was removed from his shallow grave where he had been wrapped in his blanket with a sheet of bark laid under him with his broken waddie by his side, so that a post mortem could be performed. Dr. Sloan later testified at the inquest held at the Northumberland Hotel

By January 1844 David Sloan had fallen victim to the financial depression. Following insolvency proceedings, he was allowed to retain his furniture and wearing apparel although there was no mention of his surgical instruments. He may have been allowed to retain them as in May 1845 he performed a Lithotomy on a patient and the following account was given in the Maitland Mercury:

'Dr. Sloane has performed this very delicate operation on a ticket of leave holder, named Brennan, who is now recovering rapidly under skilful treatment he is receiving We believe this is the first time that the operation of cutting for the stone (The removal of kidney or bladder stones by surgery) has been performed in the district'

The following months were perhaps not so successful and Dr. Sloan had some difficult cases to deal with. In June he attended Henry Incledon Pilcher with Dr. Beardmore after Pilcher suffered a stroke. The two doctors consulted however were unable to save Pilcher.  In August he worked to save the life of John Bowman a child who had been severely burned after his night dress caught fire. Dr. Sloane had rushed to the house and applied the 'proper remedies' without delay however the little boy died 18 hours later. It was found that the fire had 'penetrated through the coats of the abdomen' otherwise a fatal result was not anticipated.

In 1848 Dr. Sloane with the assistance of Drs. McCartney and Liddell performed an operation on Mr. Ryan a bullock driver in the employ of Mr. Pringle. Ryan had met with an accident several months previously and his thigh had been broken and unsuccessfully set by a resident Doctor. He was sent to Maitland Hospital in May 1848 where several attempts were made by the medical officers to set the leg without avail and it was decided that to amputate the leg was the only option. As the operation would have to be performed rather high up on the thigh it was considered desirable to do so with the aid of chloroform and a small quantity was obtained from Sydney.  On the morning of the operation, Ryan was given the chloroform however  its effect was to 'make him excited and nervous as if under the influence of strong drink and he remained acutely sensible to the prick of a pin and the operation was postponed. A few days later however it was decided to proceed with the operation without the aid of chloroform. The operation was performed rapidly and skilfully however Ryan was weakened after his long illness and the shock proved too great for him. He never recovered from the state of exhaustion produced by the operation and died a few days later

The Chloroform left over after the operation on Ryan was used when Dr. Sloan and Dr. McCartney removed a tumour from the face of a four year old boy who had arrived at Maitland Hospital from Merriwa.

A daughter, Lydia was born to David and Isabella Sloane in October 1841; son John Flockhart was born in July 1845 and daughter Louisa Jane in April 1847.

Isabella Sloan died in 1848.

David Sloan sold his premises in 1856 together with his furniture and surgical instruments and visited Melbourne. When he returned he lived in Paterson. In 1857 he returned to Maitland and set up practice in Devonshire Street, West Maitland.

His date and place of death have not yet been traced, however when his daughter Lydia married Henry Wyatt Radford, second son of Dr. Radford of 62nd regiment on 27th October 1864 at Christchurch, Newcastle, David Sloan had already passed away. (SMH 2 November 1864)


Notes & Links:

Marriage - On the 13th December 1869, at St. John's Church, Brisbane, Queensland by the Rev. T .Jones, Joseph Black, eldest son of the late Joseph Dickson, Esq., of Hobart, Tasmania to Louisa Jane second daughter of the late David Sloan Esq., M.D. of Maitland - Sydney Morning Herald 10 January 1870






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