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Australia was entirely dependent on the supply of doctors from the British Isles until 1863 when a medical school was established at the University of Melbourne.
Surgeons and Physicians emigrated as officers on convict transports, warships and merchant vessels. Some, including William John Whitla, Thomas Parmeter and John Waugh Drysdale were transported as convicts.
They sometimes came with their wives or family and probably brought their collection of gallipots, lancets and other instruments with them. They sought Government employment or set up their own private practice and also established farms, vineyards and grazing properties. They were perhaps attracted to the colony hoping for economic prosperity, as were other immigrants.
Medical practitioners were often required to deal with the results of violent altercations and horrific accidents. Although advances in medical knowledge regarding disease and anatomy had been made by the 19th Century, effective treatments were not always available and there were no antibiotics. Doctors performed operations and post mortems. They treated the severe burns of children who had ventured too close to the open fires or pulled boiling kettles of water onto themselves. They tended injured bullock drivers who had fallen under drays and they patched up victims of assault. Until the mid 1840s they operated without anaesthetic and surgery was undertaken as a last resort.
A common treatment for many ailments was bleeding. Apothecaries in Maitland occasionally advertised to buy leeches and honey for treatments. Digitalis was given for heart treatment, opiates for pain; calomel as a purgative and aloes to treat chest complaints. They contributed to learning and politics and to the entertainment and cultural life in the colony. John Stewart and Richard Bowker gave lectures at the Mechanics Institutes. Others helped organise Race Days or special events. Alfred Edye joined others in planning for the visit of the Governor in 1847.
They were sometimes restless or adventurous - Adoniah Vallack travelled to Cape York as surgeon following Edmund Kennedy's surveying expedition. John Gill accompanied Edward Denny Day in pursuit of bushrangers the 'Jew Boy Gang'. Walter Scott accompanied John Oxley, Allan Cunningham and others to establish a penal colony at Moreton Bay in 1824.;Isaac Scott Nind accompanied the 39th Regiment to establish a settlement at King George's Sound in 1826.
They often gave their services freely - David Stolworthy and Adoniah Vallack worked on the committee of the Singleton Benevolent Society as well as offering assistance and advice to the Society's patients. Michael McCartney stayed constantly at the bedside of patient William Harper for several days after Harper had been gored by a cow. The above services were given freely, however when the Medical Witness Bill was passed it ensured that adequate remuneration for attendance at inquests and on trials was provided, although heavy penalties were attached to the refusal or neglect to attend when properly summoned.
In 1845 several members of the Medical Profession considered it was desirable to establish a Medical Society in the Hunter Valley and George Brooks issued a notice to that effect. In September of that year a meeting was held at Mrs. Muir's Hotel at East Maitland during the Criminal Court Sessions to form an Association for the 'diffusion of knowledge and the regulation of professionals business'
Medical practitioners were as vulnerable as any other settlers of the district - their farms suffered drought and flood, their young children died, their servants absconded and some, becoming insolvent in the depression of the 1840's, lost all but their surgical instruments. Dr. Mallon was more fortunate than others in 1843 as he was allowed to retain household furniture as well as his surgical instrument. All else was apparently lost to him.
Isaac Aaron(Raymond Terrace)
George Frederick Barnes (Hinton)
Frederick Bastone(East Maitland)
Frederick Beardmore(Maitland and Morpeth)
George Henry Bendall (Maitland)
John William Penn Blick (Black Creek)
Henry Bowe (Murrurundi)
Richard Ryther Steer Bowker(Newcastle)
William Brown (Maitland)
Colin Buchanan (Port Stephens)
James John Cadell(Raymond Terrace)
Francis Rawdon Hastings Campbell (Maitland)
William Bell Carlylse (Invermein)
William Peagan Coleman (Maitland and Paterson)
James Douglas (Stroud)
Joshua Dowe (Jerrys Plains)
John Waugh Drysdale (Maitland and Wollombi)
James Andrew Du Moulin (Wollombi)
Alfred Edye (Maitland)
William Evans (Hunter Valley Settler Map 2)
Abraham Fenton (Newcastle)
Thomas Hollingworth Fowler (Scone)
Alexander Gammack (Newcastle)
Henry Glennie (Singleton)
John Goodwin (Scone)
Charles Henry Hallett (Murrurundi)
Isaac Haig (New England)
Henry Turner Harrington (East Maitland)
John Inches(Port Stephens)
Richard Lewis Jenkins(Peel River)
George May Lee (West Maitland)
Henry George Lewis(Morpeth)
Henry John Lindeman(Gresford)
Francis Little (Invermein)
Patrick Walsh Mallon (Maitland)
Michael McCartney (West Maitland)
Ellar McKellar McKinlay (Dungog)/Newcastle)
Robert H. Milner (Pages River)
James Mitchell (Sydney and Newcastle)
Patrick/Peter Montgomery(Black Creek, Armidale)
Francis Moran(Patterson's Plains)
Cosby William Morgan (Newcastle)
George Bridge Mullins and Daniel Mullins (West Maitland)
Appin G. Nichol (Muswellbrook)
Isaac Scott Nind(Paterson)
Alick Osborne (Brisbane Water)
Robert Park (Paterson)
Thomas Parmeter(Cockfighter's Creek)
Montague Parnell (West Maitland)
Henry William Radford(Patrick Plains)
George Shaw Rutherford
John Scott (Maitland)
Walter Scott (Wollalaghn)
Alexander Skinner(Patrick Plains)
David Sloane (Maitland)
John Edward Stacy (Port Stephens and Newcastle)
John Stewart (Newcastle and Morpeth)
David Stolworthy (Singleton)
Charles Drew Street (Petwyn Vale)
Francis Gale Snelling Street (Hinton)
David Thomson(Raymond Terrace and Murrurundi)
Patrick Thomas Tighe (Newcastle)
Rowland John Traill(Cassilis)
Adoniah Vallack (Singleton)
Robert Porter Welch (Murrurundi and West Maitland)
John Boucher West (Muswellbrook)
Thomas Whitfield (Maitland and Port Stephens)
Henry White(Port Stephens)
William John Whitla (Port Stephens and Morpeth)
William Williamson (Morpeth)
William Wilton (Newcastle and Raymond Terrace and Maitland)