Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Osborne R.N.

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Dr. John Osborne - Sydney Mail 20 March 1935
Date of Seniority Royal Navy 2 July 1810

John Osborne was one of the ten children of Archibald Osborne, Esq., of Dirnaseer, County Tyrone, Ireland. He was a brother of Royal Navy surgeon Alick Osborne and pastoralist Henry Osborne. He was probably a cousin of surgeon James Osborne.

John Osborne was appointed to the Calliope in 1810[1]

He was entered in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814.

Surgeon Superintendent

John Osborne was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on three convict ship voyages to Australia:

Lucy Davidson to NSW in 1829
Red Rover to VDL in 1831
John Barry to VDL in 1834


On 7th February 1836, there arrived in Sydney two ships, the James Pattison and the Clyde, carrying between them no less than 19 members of the extended Osborne family.

On the James Pattison, with 324 female immigrants came their surgeon superintendent John Osborne, accompanied by his wife Mary and their six children: Ann, Jane, Mary, William, John and Alexander, all bound for Garden Hill.

On the Clyde another group of eight consisted of Henry Osborne's cousin James with his wife Jane or Isabella who was Henry's sister, along with their six children: James (15), Archibald (14), Charles (12), Thomas (10), Jane (8) and Isabella (7). James' wife was shown on the shipping list as Jane but was always known to her family as Isabella


Mrs. H. F. Marr, of Bellevue Hill, who is a member of the Women's Pioneer Society, said that her ancestor, Dr. John Osborne, was a son of Archibald Osborne, of County Tyrone, Ireland. Dr. Osborne studied medicine and obtained his degree at the Dublin University. He entered the Royal Navy as surgeon during the Napoleonic wars. After peace was declared he left the Navy and came to Australia. Dr. Osborne acted in the capacity of surgeon super intendent on various trips to and from Australia.

Later he was given a grant of land, which originally contained 640 acres, in the Illawarra district in 1831. He called the estate first Glen Glosh, then later Tarder Hill. He returned to his native town, Strabane, in Ireland, and brought his wife and family to Australia in 1835, settling on his grant of land. They lived first of all in a cottage, which he built, where the Wollongong Railway Station now stands, and afterwards in a two-storied residence, which he called Tarder Hill, and which was on the site of the present Wollongong District Hospital. Dr. Osborne married Mary Clarke, a member of an old Irish family, and had a family of four sons and four daughters. The sons were Archibald, William, John, and Alick. One of the daughters (Jane) married William Devenish Meares, who was police magistrate of Mudgee for many years. Isabella, another daughter, married Rev. Cunningham Atchison, the second Presbyterian minister at Wollongong. Mary married William Shone, a surveyor.

Dr. Osborne died at Tarder Hill, Wollongong, on June 6, 1850. His wife survived him, and died in 1858. After his death part of the Tarder Hill Estate was left to his sons, William and Alick, who divided it. William called his part Garden Vale. Afterwards the name was changed to Gladstone. Alick named his half Mangerton, and it still has this name


[1] Naval Chronicle

[2] Osbornes in Illawarra - this is the text of an address delivered by Frank Osborne to the Illawarra Historical Society on 7th November, 1996. It is widely known that the first three Osbornes to come to lllawarra were the three illustrious brothers, Henry (1803-1859), Alick (c1793-1856) and John (c1791-1850).

[3] Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938) Wed 20 Mar 1935 Page 23