Frederick Bastone advertised his
intention to commence a medical
practice with the following notice in Maitland in April 1849.
'Mr. Bastone, Surgeon and
accoucheur, begs to intimate to the inhabitants of Maitland and
its vicinity that he intends practising his profession in East
Maitland Mr. B. can be consulted daily between the hours of
eight and ten a.m. at the residence of Messrs. Peek and Calvert
East Maitland The Retail Druggist's business will be carried on
as usual at the above establishment conducted by an able
assistant, East Maitland'
Soon after placing the
above advertisement he must have decided to try his luck at the
gold fields. He arrived in San Francisco in December 1849 and
sent the following letter back to
William Patey Peek in Maitland
recording details of his voyage and the circumstances in San
" Dec., 1849 "After a fine run of eighty
one days we arrived here on Sunday last, safe and sound, having
but one death, that of
Capt. Pattison's brother, who died on the
7th November, after a second paralytic stroke, having been ill
since leaving Sydney. We had one birth on board, and plenty of
sickness, but nothing very serious.
I must now if
possible, endeavour to give you a faint view of some of the
wonders of this most wonderful place. I have been on shore but
twice yet, but have in those two trips seen more than I ever
before saw. I almost fear to write you half, for I really would
not believe it had I not seen it. Imagine to yourself 100,000
persons congregated together of all nations in the world all
intent on one great object, the gain of gold. Gambling is
carried on to a frightful extent every second house being a
gambling house; they gamble from morning till night, Sundays and
all, and all night also. I have seen 900 ounces of gold on a
single card or throw. There is one house that pays 25,000 a year
rent alone. Wages are fearful; a laboring man can earn 12
dollars a day, carpenters 30 dollars, and after their day's
work, if they can play the fiddle, 20 dollars more. Living is
fearful; 45 dollars a week; 4 dollars a night for a bed, 5 in a
room. The price of land and house rent you would not credit; in
fact, unless a person was on the spot he would not believe one
half. The retail price of every article is fearful, but the
wholesale is as cheap, and many things far less than Sydney; for
instance, a drink or fix, that is a glass of brandy, wine, etc.,
is half a dollar, and you can buy brandy at 4 1/2 dollars a
gallon, rum 9d. ditto; pickles are 4 dollars a bottle, beer 4
ditto, a pair of strong boots 60 to 100 dollars. Gold is as
plenty and more than ever; lumps of 20 and 30 lbs. weight are
found. But with all this wealth the misery is frightful.
Of sickness there is plenty, fever, ague etc., and people
are dying 20 and 30 a day; but to sum up all, and what will give
you a better view of the misery of the place than pages - people
die in the street, and are allowed to lie for days, no person
taking any notice of them. People are coming by hundreds daily.
It is just the west season and the streets are almost
A woman dare not appear in the streets; it
is a frightful place for females. A number of our passengers are
coming back immediately by the Spec; the misery here has quite
frightened them. I saw a piece of land sold today for 90,000
dollars about 25 feet square. I shall send this letter by
private hand or it will never reach you, for they keep all the
letters back that go through the post. Vessels from all parts of
the world are daily arriving, but few leaving for the south. I
had nearly forgotten to tell you that the boats I bought
realised a good price 270 dollars one, and 390 dollars the
other. The horses I had intended to come by the Chasely I sold
to advantage before leaving, and a good job I did so, there
being but few wanted here now, having plenty of mules, which are
far better for the roads and cheaper both to purchase and feed.
Hay is sold here by the lb., and is at present 3d or 6 cents per
Frederick Bastone was reported to have lost all
his belongings in the San Francisco fires. On 6th September
1850, less than nine months after arriving in San Francisco,
apparently he passed away at his residence in Washington Street
- 'a gentleman much respected by those who had the pleasure
of his acquaintance, both in San Francisco and Australia'.
He was 33 years old.
Notes and Links:
notes all pertain to a Frederick Bastone, surgeon in England.
April 24, at Minehead, Somerset, Mary Anne Cecilia, the
only daughter of Mr. Frederick Bastone, surgeon died age 18
months. - Bristol Mercury 12 May 1838.
1840 - Marriage of Frederick Bastone of Hackney Rd., widower,
Licentiate of Apothecaries, Surgeon, son of Francis Bastone,
solicitor, to Elizabeth Sarah Wellard of Rochester.
May 1860 - Marriage of Frederick Bastone of Lambeth, widower,
Apothecary son of Francis, to Hannah Amelia Daye.
1871 Census Frederick Bastone gives his age as 60. He resides
with his wife Hannah age 47 and daughter Mary age 17. They
reside at College St. Chelsea.
In the 1891 Census - St.
Paul Deptford, London - Frederick Bastone is listed as age 80
and a widower. Occupation Surgeon and Registered Medical
Practitioner. Place of birth Minehead, Somerset. He resided with
his daughters Isabella age 39 and Mary age 36
Medical Directory 1846
London Medical Directory 1878