Hunter Valley Colonial Medical Practitioners


Rowland John Traill




Rowland Traill was on the list of Graduates in Medicine at the University of Edinburgh in August 1835 (Modus operandi of Remedial Agencies in the treatment of inflammation).

He arrived in Australia as Surgeon Superintendent on the vessel Susan arriving in March 1841......

The Susan, from London, arrived on Thursday last with 241 emigrants, under the superintendence of R J Traill, Esq., M.D. Great praise is due to the Surgeon and Captain of the ship for the healthy appearance and cleanliness of the emigrants. On the 4th. the Susan spoke the Royal Sovereign, in lat. 42  50's S., long. 137  E. On the 13th. inst., spoke the brig Christina, from this port to Port Phillip, 30 miles east of Cape Howe. The Susan made Bass Straits in 83 days from the Downes, but owing to a continuation of north-easterly winds she was detained for the remainder of the time between the Straits and this port. Between the 6th and 10th Feb. the Susan sighted no less than fourteen icebergs, between lat. 43 30' S. long. 34 E., and lat. 43  53' S. long. 30 E. They appeared to be about one mile in diameter and 600 feet in height. George Tilbery (native of Manilla), a seaman on board the Susan, attempted to take the lives of three of his fellow seamen on the 22d inst. about 4 p. m., While off duty below he availed himself of an opportunity, while his companions were asleep, to stab three of them, after which he attempted to take away his own life. One of the men died in consequence of the wounds received, but hopes are entertained that the other two will recover. (1)

Rowland Traill married Elizabeth Windeyer at Kinross, Raymond Terrace in 1851. 'Kinross' was an estate owned by Archibald Windeyer who also owned Deepwater near Glen Innes.

In May 1846 Dr. Traill was called on to assist Trooper Maher who had been shot by a bushranger. Trooper Maher and a party of Mounted Police had been in pursuit of Wilson's bushranging gang for some time. In the shootout that followed the discovery of their camp, Wilson had fired his blunderbuss at Maher, shooting him with buckshot in the fleshy part of the thigh.  Corporal Worsley in his report to the authorities stated 'We could get no medical aid up to the present, but I proceed tomorrow to New England for Dr. Frail (Traill), who is the nearest medical gentleman to this place.'  

Rowland John Traill was listed as a qualified medical practitioner in the Clarence River district in 1847.  In 1848 as Manager of Tenterfield station he was advertising for brick makers and horse breakers at the head station of Tenterfield.

He died in August 1873 at Collaroy. His obituary appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 11 March 1873......

Dr. Rowland John Traill, who died at Collaroy in August last, was emphatically a successful sheep-farmer, and his success is attributable only to his ability, energy, and perseverance.

The son of an Episcopal clergyman in East Lothian, the deceased took his degree as Doctor of Medicine at an early age at the University of Edinburgh and emigrated to New South Wales about the year ......., when he commenced the practice of his profession in the Clarence River district; but the impecuniosity of the colony at that time was such as to compel him soon to turn his attention to (under the circumstances) a pursuit more profitable than medical practice. After acquiring his first knowledge of pastoral affairs, Dr Traill for many years managed Tenterfield Station for the late Sir Stuart A. Donaldson (then Mr Donaldson), during which period he firmly established his reputation as one of the most able managers in the colony; and, on the retirement to England of Mr. Edward Hamilton, of Collaroy, Dr Traillís services were secured by that gentleman. After a few years spent as manager of Collaroy, Dr Traill became a partner, which position he held till his death, or for some fourteen years in all.

It was his intention, as he expressed in a letter written shortly before his death, to have soon retired to his own station of Llangollen; but this was not to be, and he closed a laborious life without the rest which most men look forward to as befitting the evening of their existence. His was not the mind or temperament, however, which, had his health remained to him, would have been content to have lived in idleness or inactivity, and, doubtless, had he been spared he would have gained still further repute amongst the wool-growers of Australia.

In reference to this, it may not be out of place here to note briefly the course pursued by him in raising the Collaroy flocks to their present high standard. On assuming the management (about 1854 or 1855) Dr Traill found these flocks to consist of good strong-constitutioned sheep, of large frame, but having a somewhat low character of wool, at least as compared with the flocks at present. The first infusion of new blood was from the Rambouillet flock, and from that of Mr. Sturgeon, of Essex. The latter sheep, being the descendants of the flock of merinos once the property of Royalty, and no doubt, by their strength of frame and vigour of constitution, assisted greatly to maintain those most requisite characteristics in the Collaroy flocks.

The Rambouillet sheep were, however, Dr Traillís favourites, and, after an importation of Negrettis, a step which he afterwards greatly regretted having taken, Dr Traill continued to use as imported stook the first-named sheep; but the writer is not aware that for some years past any stud sheep have been used at Collaroy other than those bred on the station, and it is to the careful selection for breeding purposes of members of the same "family " and type that we can attribute the present excellence of the flocks. Though averse from engaging in public life, Dr. Traill was, as may be readily imagined, a man of no mean ability and of cultivated mind. Like most intellectual men he was of the most genial disposition - a good friend, a kind master, always ready to assist the needy (but in the most unobtrusive manner), and to further to the utmost objects of religious or educational benefit to his district, his death may well be considered a public loss. As an old and successful colonist and most estimable man, Dr. Traill was - as to the past, a man of mark; as to the future, a stirling example.

Select here to find out more about Rowland Traill and the Collaroy Station private cemetery



(1) Sydney Gazette 27 March 1841






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