1832-1836 - Surgeon Superintendent and Settler

The year following his return to England, Thomas Braidwood Wilson was again commissioned as surgeon superintendent of a convict transport, his seventh such assignment. The ship England (2) sailed from Sheerness on 4 April 1832 taking the direct route and arrived in Hobart Town on 18 July 1832, taking 105 days to complete the journey. James Blyth was the master.1

Thomas sent a letter to his wife in 1832.2

Placeholder. Medical and surgical journal of HM convict ship England from 28 March to 24 July 1832 by T B Wilson, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage from England to Van Diemans Land.

Folios 1-3: Robert Pike, aged 42: case number 1; disease or hurt, febris. Put on sick list, 28 March 1832. Discharged 5 April 1832.

Folio 4: William Parrot, aged 44, prisoner: case number 2; disease or hurt, diarrhoea. Put on sick list, 30 March 1832. Discharged 3 April 1832 cured.

Folio 5: Thomas Thompson, aged 29, prisoner: case number 3; disease or hurt, catarrhus. Put on sick list, 9 April 1832. Discharged 12 April 1832 cured.

Folio 6: Thomas Briggs, aged 15, prisoner: case number 4; disease or hurt, atrophia. Put on sick list, 22 April 1832. Died 2 May 1832.

Folios 7-9: Richard Tomlin, aged 32, prisoner: case number 5; disease or hurt, hepatitis chronica. Put on sick list, 23 April 1832. By 2 May 1832 'the patient was relieved from all his suffering'.

Folio 10: S Gough, aged 42, corporal, 4th Regiment: case number 6; disease or hurt, pneumonia. Put on sick list, [?]. Discharged [?].

Folios 11-12: Letter by G Arthur dated 8 August 1832 to the Honourable the Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, that T B Wilson esquire, surgeon superintendent of the England, Mr T Blyth, Master, landed in Van Dieman's Land on 27 July 1832 198 male convicts in a clean and healthy state, two of the original number having died on the passage. Part of the military guard consisting of one subaltern of the 45th Regiment, nineteen rank and file of the 4th Regiment, three women and two children, proceed by the ship to New South Wales; and that one subaltern ten rank and file of the 63rd Regiment, with one woman, have been landed at Hobart Town together with their arms, ammunition, clothing, baggage etc.

Folio 13: a numerical abstract of the medical cases mentioned in the journal nosologically arranged.

Folios 14-15: Surgeon's general remarks.

Folios 16-17: A table showing daily the latitude and longitude and the state of the barometer and thermometer and also the direction on the wind from 5 April to 19 July 1832.3

While the England had been enroute the following details of a trial held in England the previous December were published in the Sydney Monitor:

THAMES OFFICE. THE DIAMOND RING. - On Tuesday, William Butler, the steward of the ship John, from Hobart Town Van Dieman's Land, and William Manning, a seaman, were brought before Mr. Broderip for examination, on a charge of having stolen at sea, a diamond ring, value 250 guineas; The ring was stolen from John Braidwood Wilson, M.D. of the royal navy (sic), who was a passenger in the ship John, and who had been intrusted with the ring by Mrs. Macquoid, the lady of the High Sheriff of New South Wales, for the purpose of conveying it to a lady of distinction in this country. Owing to the prevarication of an intoxicated witness [who swore him ?] the investigation was fruitless, and the prisoners were remanded.4

Back in Van Diemen's Land, Thomas was reported as landing with the prisoners of the ship England in late July 1832:

The prisoners just arrived by the Katherine Stewart Forbes, and the England, are, we are happy to learn, for the most part hardy agricultural labourers, and will (under the prudent management of reform that the settlers generally give them) prove of considerable advantage in promoting the improvement of the colony. They have come out in excellent order and healthy condition, much to the credit of the Surgeons Superintendent Drs. Wilson and Stephenson, under whose charge they were.

Dr. Wilson, to whom the colony is already so much indebted for the valuable introduction of the honey bee, brought out by him in the John last voyage, and many valuable seeds and plants at former times has again enriched us by what has never before been successfully attempted to bring to the island, namely, some genuine English partridges, in excellent healthy condition, as well as a large supply of the seeds of useful and ornamental plants, selected by the celebrated botanists Mr. Curtis and Mr. Cunningham, expressly for thc colony.

...The present voyage makes the seventh which Dr. Wilson has made to these colonies.5

In August it was reported that Thomas was a participant in a chess tournament whose purpose was to raise the profile of the game in the colony.

Chess-A challenge. We have the pleasure to announce that those distinguished players, Captain Forster, paymaster of the 63rd regiment, and Dr. Wilson, R. N. in order to encourage the advance of this noble game amongst us, have agreed to challenge the colony at a trial of skill. We cannot ourselves boast of much experience in the matter, but we trust for the honour of the colony, that we have numerous players amongst us, who will accept the challenge. Whoever is inclined to do so, will please to announce his name at the Courier Office, Liverpool-street, where an arrangement will be made, until our incipient club is fully organised, for carrying the match into effect. Each party will of course have to contend in the first instance, for the best of three games, with one of the champion adversaries, in which if he succeeds he will strive for the same superiority with the other, and whoever amongst us is so fortunate as to conquer both, will of course transfer the banner of championship to himself.6

Thomas was also reported as bringing out a pair of partridges and presenting them to Mr. Bisdee, no doubt Edward Bisdee who ...arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 29 April 1827 when his ship Hope was wrecked at the entrance to the River Derwent.7

We are happy to learn, that Dr, Wilson has most liberally presented to Mr. Bisdee, and the partridges which he has with such attention to the interests of the colony brought out in such fine condition in the England. In order to preserve and perpetuate the breed, they could not have been placed in better bands, for the sake of the colony at large, and if Mr. Bisdee succeeds with them as well as he has already and so liberally done with thc pheasants, a great acquisition will be conferred upon us. (Since writing the above, we have had the pleasure to receive the following for insertion, and which we learn has already received the signature of almost every well wisher of the colony):

To Dr. T. B. Wilson, R.N., &c. &e.
Hobart-town, Van Diemen's Land.

We, the undersigned, in behalf of ourselves and fellow colonists, beg leave to offer to you this public expression of our thanks and gratitude (sic) for the benefit conferred on this colony, by the importation of a hive of the honeybees, which had never before been accomplished, by any individual; and not only for this act of kindness, but also for the general interest you have taken in the welfare of our Island.

And we have the honour to request your acceptance of the herewith sent box, as a token of our regard, and the grateful recollection of the benefits conferred on the colony.

We have the honour to be Sir, your faithful humble Servants, the Committee.

Jocelyn Thomas, Samuel Hill, A. F. Kemp. Wm. Wilson. J.H. Moore, James Scott. James Ross, A.F. KEMP, Treasurer.8

Thomas Wilson rejoined the England as it sailed on from Hobart for Sydney in August 1832.

The England, Capt. Blyth, sailed on Saturday for Sydney. Passengers, Dr. Wilson, R. N. Mrs. Wilson, Miss M'Quoid, Capt. and Mrs. Davidson, child and 3 servants. Mr. A. Morrison, Lieut. Rose, 19 soldiers, 3 women and 2 children.9

Also in August, the Hobart Town Courier reported that descendants of Thomas' original hive of bees were sent to New South Wales, in Thomas' care, for establishing the species there.

We are pleased to learn that His Excellency Colonel Arthur, mindful of the interests of the sister colony, has sent a hive of bees, one of the progeny of that brought out by Dr. Wilson last year in the John, to Governor Bourke, for the benefit of the now very thriving colony under his Government; and what is a singular coincidence, the hive has gone up in the ship England, under the immediate care of Dr. Wilson, who originally and so successfully imported the original from which it was produced.

It is but just here to mention that so long ago as in the year 1821 Mr. Kermode no less mindful of the interests of the colony brought out a hive of bees from England in the finest possible condition, which he transferred on arrival to the care of the Lieut. Governor. Colonel Sorell, but owing to the want of such a person as Mr. Davidson at the head of the Government Garden to manage them so successfully as he has done those brought out by Dr. Wilson, they unfortunately perished. The gratitude of the colonists is the least that such active benefactors for their interests can expect, and we rejoice to find that a piece of plate, with an appropriate inscription, is now in course of preparation to Dr. Wilson, to which every well wisher of the colony is cheerfully and anxiously contributing. The colony is indebted to Dr. Wilson for the introduction of innumerable valuable English plants, as well as many useful animals, as the pheasant, the Guinea fowl, peacock &c. Indeed he has never performed one of his numerous voyages without bringing something that was wanting to supply our desiderata in this respect.10

That Thomas had an abiding interest in a wide range of the natural sciences is undoubted given these numerous examples of his actions. While we may abhor the introduction of foreign species today, at the time it was all about establishing a little piece of England on a foreign shore. That said, Thomas seemed to have a roving mind and found it hard to settle down. Details of his New South Wales land grant were published in the Sydney Herald on 12 November 1832.

ST. VINCENT. 162. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, 2,560, two thousand five hundred and sixty acres, at Monkitty; bounded on the east by a line south 80 chains, commencing at Mackellar's south boundary; on the south by a line west 320 chains; on the west by a line north 80 chains; and on the north by a line east 320 chains lo the commencing north east corner.

Promised by General Darling on 20th September, 1827. Quit rent 211. 6s. 8d. sterling per annum, commencing 1st January, 1835.

By command of Ills Excellency the Governor, ALEXANDER M'LEAY. 11

Thomas sent a letter to his wife in 1833.12

In early February 1833 Thomas and Jane sailed from Sydney to Hobart on the Norval.

We are happy to observe that Dr. and Mrs. Wilson have returned to us from Sydney by the Norval, we trust with an intention to remain amongst us as permanent settlers in a colony the interests of which Dr. Wilson has on so many occasions from first to last never lost no opportunity in his power of advancing and promoting.13

By the end of March they were back in Sydney as they sailed from there to London on the 28 March 1833.


For London direct, on Thursday last, the ship Sovereign, Captain M'Kellar, with a cargo of colonial produce. Passengers, Dr. Logan, Dr. Fairfowl, Dr. Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Spyer, Mr. Thomas Lawton, Mr. Clark, Mr. Young, Mrs. Frazer, and William Proves.14

As Patricia Clarke observed in her biography of Thomas' daughter, Thomas and Jane were-

...probably hoping that they would reach England before Jane, who had become pregnant toward the end of 1832, gave birth to their second child. This did not eventuate and their son, James, was born at sea aboard the Sovereign on 9 August 1833 at North Latitude 49.43 and Longitude 20.18 as the ship was approaching England from the south-west.15

In late 1833 Thomas was commissioned as the Surgeon Superintendant of the convict transport ship Moffatt (1) which sailed from Plymouth on 29 January 1834 and arrived in Hobart Town on 9 May 1834 (100 days). James Cromarty was the master.16 While they waited for the ship's arrival, the press in Van Diemen's Land was extolling his virtues in introducing species such as the bee, among others.

...We look forward to the arrival of Dr. Wilson, daily expected in the Moffatt prison ship, who never comes out without bringing with him some valuable acquisition to the colony to supply these and several other deficiencies which we still feel. It must be gratifying to gentlemen like him, who thus volunteer for the general good, to know that their exertions are so highly prized by the community, and are in so many instances successful.. Our gardens are now enriched and beautified through his, Mr. Sams's, Mr. H. James's, and other gentlemen's mindful contributions, with a large proportion of all the recent discoveries imported from America into Europe, and besides the bee in the animal creation, the partridge, nightingale, blackbird, and pheasant, are gradually becoming naturalised. The pheasants turned out last spring by Mr. Bisdee, at Whitehills, have multiplied considerably, though one numerous progeny was unfortunately prematurely disturbed in cutting down a field of corn. The lark which would luxuriate in this climate is still wanting amongst us.17

The male convict ship Moffat, is daily expected. Surgeon Superintendent Dr. Wilson, with D.A.C.G. Boyes, passenger.18

Whilst Thomas was sailing from London to Van Diemens Land on the Moffatt, his Braidwood estate received an assignment of convicts as follows:

Wilson T. B., Braidwood, a laborer, and a carter. 19

Many of our readers will not have forgotten the beautiful pair of Cape Barren geese that used for several years to enliven the lawn and pond in the front of Dr. Scott's suburban villa at Boa vista. We have now the pleasure of announcing that our esteemed friend Dr. Wilson (who seems to make a point in no one of his numerous voyages between London and this place, to pass either to or fro without making some mutual and desirable interchange of the native resources of each place, so remote as they are from one another), having received them from Dr. Scott for the purpose of being presented to their Majesties, succeeded in conveying them in fine condition to London, and had the honour of presenting them in person to the King and Queen, who were pleased to set a very high value upon them and very graciously to accept them. No bird of the kind had ever before been seen by their Majesties except one, which several years ago was at Frogmore, but which survived only a short time. When the present couple had been fairly introduced to the Londoners for a season on the Serpentine river, it was the intention of their Majesties to remove them to their enviable retreat at Virginia water.

Dr. Wilson has not forgotten us on the present occasion, but (besides about 400 male prisoners, a large proportion of whom are useful farming men, and who, though so large and unprecedented a number, have conducted themselves most quietly and orderly during the long voyage,) he has brought out a quantity of forest tree and other useful seeds in very fine condition, for the benefit of the colony. A collection of fine plants which he had also carefully tended during the voyage, was unfortunately overthrown in one of the heavy gales which took place when the vessel was only three days from the land. Dr. Wilson must be much gratified with the uncommon, and we may say, providential success that has attended his introduction, of the working bee into these Australasiatic regions, which though introduced many years ago by Mr. Kermode, and attempted we believe on one or two other occasions by other individuals, had always failed. Not only is Van Diemen's Land now completely stocked from the original hive brought out by Dr. Wilson in the Medway, but New South Wales, and latterly Swan River, have been successfully planted from the same source with this valuable insect.20

Thomas' VDL land grant, which he named "Janefield", was published for public notification; viz - J. H. Hughes - later c.1837 Map and Index

SURVEY OFFICE, May 16, 1834.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the undermentioned claims for grants will be forwarded for approval or investigation to the Commissioners appointed to examine into applications for titles to land, on the, 16th day of June next, before which day any caveat, which must be in wilting, will be received in his office.

Thomas Braidwood Wilson. Area 1100 acres - Cadbury parish.

Bounded on the southwest by the Macquarie river, northwest by 144 chains 87 links along a grant to S. T. Watson, northeast by 67 chains 02 links along another grant to S. T. Watson to a grant to Robert Stodart, and southeast by Ud chains along that grant to the Macquarie river.

G. FRANKLAND, Surveyor General. 21

The ship Moffat arrived on 8 May 1834 as reported in the Launceston Advertiser:

May 8.— Arrived the ship Moffat, with male prisoners from Plymouth, 28th January, Surgeon Superintendent Dr. Wilson, Passenger, C. W . Boyes, esq., Auditor.

Thomas Wilson's journal follows.

Placeholder. Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's transport ship Moffatt for 14 November 1833 to 16 May 1834 by T B Wilson, Surgeon, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying 400 prisoners from England to Van Dieman's Land. (This journal for the most part is written in Latin).

Folios 1-3: John Jenkins, aged 44; case number 1; disease or hurt, febris. Put on sick list, 26 November 1833. Discharged 25 December 1833.

Folios 3-6: George Marsden, aged 25, convict; case number 2; disease or hurt, pneumonia. Put on sick list, December 1833. Discharged May 1834.

Folios 7-9: William Kew, aged 18, seaman; case number 3; disease or hurt, febris. Put on sick list, 5 January 1834. Discharged February 1834.

Folios 9-10: Richard Dew, aged 26, seaman; case number 4; disease or hurt, pneumonia. Put on sick list, January 1834. Discharged February 1834.

Folio 11: William Wilson, aged 25; case number 5; disease or hurt, spasmus. Put on sick list, 18 February 1834. Discharged 10 February 1834.

Folios 12-13: William Smith, aged 72, convict; case number 6; disease or hurt, gangrene. Put on sick list, 8 February 1834. Discharged 9 March 1834.

Folio 13: Patrick Bryne, aged 23, marine; case number 7; disease or hurt, wound. Put on sick list, 8 March 1834. Discharged 1 April 1834.

Folios 14-15: Joseph Moss, aged 15, convict; case number 8; disease or hurt, pneumonia. Put on sick list, 6 February 1834. Discharged 16 March 1834.

Folios 15-16: Henry Penny, aged 45, convict; case number 9; disease or hurt, hallucinations. Put on sick list, 7 April 1834. Discharged 17 June 1834.

Folios 16-17: Thomas Hart, aged 30, convict; case number 10; disease or hurt, atrophia. Put on sick list, May 1834. Discharged May 1834.

Folios 17-18: Samuel Norman, aged 26, convict; case number 11; disease or hurt, rheumatism. Put on sick list, 1 March 1834. Discharged 3 April 1834.

Folio 18: Thomas Cave, aged 34; case number 12; disease or hurt, scorbutus. Put on sick list, 12 May 1834. Discharged [?].

Folio 19: Manoah Kirby, aged 42, convict; case number 13; disease or hurt, apoplexy. Put on sick list, May 1834. Discharged May 1834.

Folios 20-21: Thomas Duncan, aged 33, convict; case number 14; disease or hurt, febris. Put on sick list, [?]. Discharged [?].

Folio 22: Samuel Elsemore, aged 38, convict; case number 15; disease or hurt, diarrhoea. Put on sick list, May 1834. Discharged May 1834.

Folio 22: John Palmer, aged 24, convict; case number 16; disease or hurt, febris. Put on sick list, May 1834. Discharged May 1834.

Folio 23: A nosological synopsis of the journal.

Folios 24-26: Surgeon's general remarks.22

Between May and September Thomas made his way to New South Wales, and was reported as returning in the Hobart Town Courier.

Our friend Dr. Wilson, we learn, returns to the colony by the way of Launceston, with the troops of the 50th regt. daily expected.23

Once again, in November, the Hobart Town Courier reported on the success of the bees brought out by Thomas Wilson.

The bees from the hive originally brought out by Dr. Wilson, are now becoming so numerous as to put beyond question the great eligibility of this country for that valuable insect. We would strongly recommend to abstain from taking honey for some years to come at least, so as to allow the stocks to be more multiplied. With care and due attention we have little doubt but that in 5 or 10 years half the money now expended on sugar might be saved to the colony, to say nothing of the wax which is so expensive in Hobart town. 24

In November Thomas was reported as a passenger on the Princess Victoria sailing for Sydney.

The Princess Victoria sailed on Tuesday for Sydney with the remainder of her cargo intended for that port. Passengers from this place Dr. Wilson and Rolla O'Ferrall, esq.

...Dr. Wilson has gone to Sydney in the Princess Victoria, having taken his passage by the British Sovereign, which affords the first opportunity to England. He proposes we learn to make his next voyage out his final one, and to bring Mrs. Wilson and family with him in order to settle permanently in Van Diemen's Land.25

His Braidwood estate received another convict assignment:

Wilson Dr., Braidwood, a groom. 26

The Braidwood estate grows -

Colonial Secretary's Office. Sydney, 24th February 1835 - TITLE DEEDS.

The undermentioned Deeds of Grant have been this day transmitted from this Office to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, to be by him forwarded, through the Surveyor General, to the Collector of Internal Revenue, by whom notification of their receipt at his Office will be made to the Grantees by letter; after which, they will be delivered on application, viz.

PURCHASES UNDER EXISTING REGULATION; Town Allotments, Advertisement of 5th August, 1834.

PORTIONS OF LAND. Advertisement of 29th July, 1834

...Acres ....... Lots

14. Thos Braidwood Wilson... 1160... Murray... 9

By His Excellency's Command, ALEXANDER, M'LEAY. 27

The Braidwood estate received another convict assignment between October 1st and December 31st 1834:

Wilson T.B., Braidwood, 1 horse dealer. 28

...... and yet another convict assignment on the 24th of April 1835:

Wilson T.B., Braidwood, 1 nailer. 29

By this time, Thomas' Braidwood estate was well established, and even had a draught horse at stud. The advertisement ran in the Sydney Herald newspaper, until the 21st of January 1836.

TO COVER, THIS SEASON, The celebrated imported Suffolk Entire Draught Horse - SOVEREIGN;

HE is a chesnut colour, of great bone and substance, and stands seventeen hands and one inch high, and is now three years old and was selected by one of the Best Judges in

TERMS: £ s d

One mare. 5 5 0 Two mares, the property of the same person, 9 9 0

Three or more mares, the property of one person, each. 4 4 0

Groomage included.

SOVEREIGN will stand this season at Braidwood, County St. Vincent, and the Public are informed that extensive and secure Paddocks are provided gratis ; but the Proprietor will not be accountable for the safety of any Mares, or for any accidents that may befall them, but pledges himself that they shall receive every attention.

Money to be paid on or before the 1st January, 1836, or on the removal of the Mares.

JOSEPH TAYLOR, For Dr. T. B. Wilson, Braidwood, St Vincent, Sept. 1, 1835. 30

In October 1835 Thomas is in London publishing his Narrative of a Voyage Round the World:

The following narrative, written shortly after the occurrence of the events therein described, was intended for immediate publication; but, on my arrival in England, being again appointed Surgeon-Superintendent of a convict-ship, my sojourn at home was so limited—not exceeding ten days—that I could not carry my intention into effect; and having been, since that period, unremittingly employed in the same service, I have not had leisure to superintend the work through the Press until the present time.—Moreover, concluding that the interest in the subjects treated of, had greatly subsided, I abandoned all idea of giving publicity to the manuscript.

The great desire, however, still manifested by the Public, to obtain information relative to New Holland, has induced me to alter my opinion; and I now therefore publish these pages, in the hope that they may contain some information acceptable to those interested in Australian affairs, and afford some amusement to the general reader.

With the exception of an article in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of last year, there has been no account yet published, of Melville Island or Raffles Bay; and I still hope that, notwithstanding the unfavourable issue of former trials, the attention of the Government will be again directed to the manifold advantages likely to result from colonizing the north coast of New Holland: and should any remarks, which I have made, tend to accelerate so desirable an event, it will afford me much gratification.

Although the observations regarding Swan River, and King George's Sound, have been, in a great measure, superseded by more recent information; yet, as they give a sketch of these settlements in their infancy, I have deemed it expedient to retain them.

The remarks in the Appendix, relative to transportation, &c, may be entitled to some attention,—being derived from an experience of eight voyages to Australia, during which, I have had charge of nearly two thousand prisoners, without having met with any difficulty, or disturbance, worth mentioning.

It was my intention to give a detailed account of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; but as that subject has been so recently and ably treated of, I have restricted myself to offering a few words of advice to persons intending to become settlers in these colonies, to whom the hints I have given may, perhaps, prove advantageous.


October 20th, 1835.31

In November 1835 Thomas was appointed surgeon superintendant of the convict transport Strathfieldsaye. By that time he and his wife Jane had decided to emigrate to Australia permanently. The two of them with their children Mary and James, and two of Jane's brothers, Thomas and Edward Thompson, sailed on the Strathfieldsay (2) from Portsmouth on 18 February 1836. Thomas Thompson died just five days into the journey on 23 February. The ship stopped at Rio de Janeiro on 3 April 1836 and arrived in Port Jackson on 15 June 1836 after a journey of 118 days. Phillip Jones was the master. 32

28th - The Strathfieldsaye, with 270 male prisoners, under the superintendence of Dr. Wilson R.N., has arrived safe at Sydney. The guard consisted of Lieut. Cadell, Ensign Garland, and 28 rank and file. 33

Thomas Wilson journal follows.

MEDICAL and SURGICAL JOURNAL OF His Majesty's Hired Transport Strathfieldsay between the 16 December 1835 and 24 June 1836 during which time the said ship has been employed in conveying 270 Male Prisoners from England to New South Wales.


On the 28th of November, 1835 I was appointed by the Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, Surgeon and Superintendent of the Convict Ship Strathfieldsaye. On the 18th of December, I received my instructions and joined the Ship at Deptford where she was fitting to convey 270 male prisoners from England to New South Wales. Owing to various delays the ship was not ready for sea until the 27th of January 1836 on which day the guard (a detachment of the 28th Regt) embarked - on the 28th all being ready for sea, we left Deptford and brought up off Woolwich. We received, without delay seventy prisoners from the Justitia Hulk, & then made sail down the river, being bound to Portsmouth where we were to receive 200 prisoners - But in consequence of heavy weather & contrary winds we did not reach the Downs until the 3rd of February. The wind being fresh & fair, we continued our course, & at

We were detained at Spithead by strong adverse winds until the 18th of February, when, the winds being favorable we weighed anchor & made sail - all the Prisoners in pretty good health, but many of them, with broken constitutions & consequently unable to resist the attack of several diseases. We had a favorable passage down Channel & across the Bay of Biscay - We passed to the eastward of Madeira & approached rather too near to the coast of Africa & got entangled among the Canary Islands. We ultimately passed between the Grand Canary & Fuerte Ventura. We passed to the westward of the Cape Verde Islands & had a favorable passage across the line. The southeast trade hanging far to the southward carried us within sight of Cape Fria. It was therefore deemed prudent to touch at Rio de Janeiro rather than run the chance to being obliged to touch at the Cape of Good Hope - Accordingly on Sunday April 3rd we anchored off the entrance of the harbour & next day after a horror escape, we anchored near H M S Dublin. We just weathered the breakers on the starboard shore - this, second instance of want of caution or want of skill in this Master vexed me much - but he promised to pay in future more attention to my advice. We remained at Rio until the 10th April, having in the interval accrued a supply of water, fish, beef & vegetables & we also carried six bullocks to sea with us. We left Rio all in good health & had a fair average voyage to New South Wales where we arrived on the 15th of June & on the 24th 269 prisoners were landed in far better health than when they embarked. Having thus given a short outline of our voyage I shall proceed to give an account of the diseases which prevailed.

Shortly after the prisoners were embarked & until we got into mild latitude, many of the prisoners were affected with catarrhal complaints & affections of the bowels - but so slightly as easily to yield to simple means. While within the tropics, they were pretty generally affected with headache which gave way to smart cathartics - no sickness of the slightest consequence appeared. After leaving Rio, griping & bowel complaints were frequent, arising from too great indulgence in fruit. While off the Cape of Good Hope one prisoner died after a very short illness - this casualty excepted, all the prisoners continued well. Towards the end of the voyage, several were affected with Rheumatism catarrh & but the cases were all slight & not deserving of notice. In short, the prisoners enjoyed excellent health throughout the voyage of which, the fact ahead of mentioned (ie. that all the prisoners were landed in improved strength & condition) is a convincing proof. It afforded me much satisfaction that I had not occasion to send even one to the Hospital. I may likewise mention as a further proof of the healthiness which prevailed during the voyage that (tea, sugar & little barley excepted) I had no occasion to use any of the medical comforts - the wine -preserved meals were returned into stores untouched.

I may now say a few words respecting the provisions - they were all of excellent quality, particularly those received at Portsmouth & this voyage has added another proof of the correctness of the opinion I have invariably expressed viz that the scale of provisions for the prisoners is in all respects amply sufficient. With regard to the cocoa I may state that I found little difficulty in making all the prisoners partake of it. Those who disliked it I made come on the quarter deck & drink it in my presence after a few exhibitions of this kind, they drank it without reluctance. I found the oatmeal very agreeable as a change. In short, I have no hesitation in expressing my opinion that all the arrangements relating to convicts are as perfect as the nature of the service will admit.

In conclusion I may be permitted succinctly to state a few particulars as to my method of managing the prisoners. As soon as they are received onboard they are divided into messes (8 in each) & properly arranged in their berths. Cooks & others to assist in carrying the necessary arrangements into effect are selected from the most active among the prisoners. Their meals are issued as follows. Breakfast at

Finally, it affords me much satisfaction to state, that not the slightest disturbance occurred during the voyage, the prisoners behaved with becoming decorum & propriety so that there was no occasion to resort to personal punishment.

(Signed) Thomas Braidwood Wilson MD Surgeon Supt.34

Family established on Thomas Wilson's land grant, later named Braidwood. Thomas becomes a district magistrate and prominent local citizen.

In June 1836 Thomas received another assignment of a convict:

Wilson T. B., Braidwood, 1 farmer's boy. 35

After the publication and circulation of his book, it was reviewed and reported upon.

Colonial Politics.
We have been much gratified with the perusal of Dr. Wilson's Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. It is evidently the production of a man of a cultivated mind and a benevolent heart; of correct views of men and things, and especially of superior talents for observation, as to whatever meets the eye, both in the celestial world; and in the terraqueous globe. The style throughout is easy and flowing, and in some passages, especially in the interesting narrative of the author's shipwreck, it is highly eloquent. In short, Dr. Wilson's work is a book out of which, our contemporaries are aware, there is much to be stolen for their own private benefit under the pretext of purveying for the public. We are not much given to that sort of work ourselves as our readers can bear testimony; but from the remarkable accordance of Dr. Wilson's sentiments with our own, on a most important point of Australian policy, we are tempted on the present occasion to beg, borrow, or steal, three fourths of a leading article from Dr. Wilson's Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. It is the Australian World—our own little square world, bounded on the east by the Pacific and on the west by the Indian Ocean and not the big round world—that the Doctor means particularly when he speaks of "a voyage round the world." The voyage round the great world—we mean down the Atlantic, across from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn, and then up the Atlantic again, calling at Port Jackson, and staying a while by the way—is now become so common-place, so monotonous, and so uninteresting an affair to the general reader, especially in Australia; and Dr. WILSON has now made that voyage so often, as well for the benefit of his mother-country as for that of the land of his adoption, that he very prudently says very little about it, so that a paragraph or two suffices to bring us out to Sydney, and as many to take us home. But it is in the character of a voyager round the little Australian world—a voyage replete with incident and disaster, with "hair-breadth 'scapes and moving accidents by flood and field" that Dr. WILSON interests the reader, and especially the reader in Australia.

We shall not exhibit those larcenous propensities for which certain editors are remarkable, in regard to the Doctor's observations on the three Australian colonies of New South Wales, Van Dieman's Land, and Swan River, in all of which he has been a traveller, and in one a discoverer; trusting that our intelligent readers will buy and read for themselves. But we shall take all imaginable liberty with his remarks on the abandoned settlements of Melville Island and Raffles Bay on the North Coast of this Continent, not only because we happen to coincide with Dr WILSON in regard to the impolicy of that measure, but because the ground is almost entirely new to the Australian public, and because we entertain the hope that Dr. W.'s remarks may have the effect of again directing the attention of the authorities at home to the north coast of Australia, as a highly suitable locality for the formation of a British colony. We have heard, indeed, that the Home Government have actually concluded on forming a settlement on the north coast forthwith; but the information having come to us through an obviously inaccurate paragraph in a London news paper, we cannot place much dependence upon it; and we are, therefore, the more gratified at finding so many and so powerful reasons, some of which would never have suggested themselves to us, urged by so well qualified an observer as Dr. WILSON, for a measure which, with much less experience on the subject, and with much more limited knowledge, we had ventured to recommend. "With the exception of an article in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of last year," observes Dr. WILSON in his Preface, "there has been no account yet published of Melville Island or Raffles Bay; and I still hope that, notwithstanding the unfavourable issue of former trials, the attention of the Government will be again directed to the manifold advantages likely to result from colonizing the north coast of New Holland: and should any remarks, which I have made, tend to accelerate so desirable an event, it will afford me much gratification." 36

The review goes on to include some extracts from his published book.

A few copies of this very interesting and instructive work have just been received, and may be had for cash at the London price at the Courier office, Collins street, price 12s. The volume comprehends an account of the wreck of the ship Governor Ready in Torres' straits, a description of the British Settlements on the coasts of New Holland, more particularly Raffles' bay, Melville's island, Swan River, and King George's sound, with an Appendix, containing remarks on Transportation, and Advice to Em¡grants. It is embellished with a Chart of Australia, and several graphic illustrations on Stone by Perkin. 37

A newspaper reported on some of Thomas' work with indigenous aborigines in the north-west of Western Australia -

There is no subject upon which Dr. Wilson has touched that will prove more highly beneficial in the formation of future settlements upon this Continent, than his remarks respecting the aborigines. The able and philosophic manner in which he has treated the subject, and the true development he has given of their character, show, that none but a mind strongly imbued with a philanthropic sentiment, and closely given to. inquiry, could have exhibited the same secrets of nature and habits as he has done 'Tis grateful to the heart to see a man of talent and research, going beyond the beaten road, and searching into the mysteries of character, for causes which have often rendered this race of people a terror and a destruction to us, and awarded to them a course 0f treatment more severe than even could be offered to brutes themselves. Every settlement which has hitherto been formed upon this Continent has, at some period or other of its existence, been subject to the attacks of the savage, and in many cases these attacks have been attended with serious loss of life and property ; but if we examine into the cause, the fault will probably be found to lie with us. A savage, when found to be in a state of nature, is capable of being taught either good or evil, and it is dependent on the conduct of more civilized nations as to what shall be the future habits of his life. With them there is no morai relation, nor acknowledged duty; but experience has proved that even the Natives of this Continent, although considered to form the lowest scale among the inhabitants of the earth, are still capable of being taught some of the highest qualities of our nature. A portion of the vice and treachery of their lives has been taught by us, and we destroy them for becoming the very creatures we have formed them. Look at the account Dr. Wilson has given of a scene which took place at Hammond's Island, a place at the northern extremity of New Holland.

" From the master of the Admiral Gifford I learned the following particulars, which, if true, reflected but little credit on all concerned : — While off Hammond's Island, the natives made a signal for them to come on shore ; a boat was accordingly sent, and soon returned with two natives, who came without hesitation. ïhey were well treated on board, having received food and various presents. The boat was again sent on shore, and the crew were directed to procure tortoiseshell. " Shortly after they landed, the natives endeavoured to entice the sailors into the bush; but not succeeding, they attacked and knocked two of them down, and weie advancing towards the third, when he fired his musket and killed one of those who had been on board. Another of the sailors, while lying on the ground, being attacked by two natives, who were struggling to obtain possession of his pistol, discharged it and killed them both. After this, the other natives fled, and the boat returned ; when the master, hearing the account of the transaction from the mate and sailors, went immediately on shore, but could discover no trace of the natives, dead or alive. "

I have not the smallest doubt that this shameful transaction is widely different from the expert relation given of it ; and it is much to be regretted that cognizance of such occurrences is not taken before a competent Court of Justice. The outrageous behaviour of the greater part of those lawless vagabonds employed, or employing themselves along the coast in procuring seal-skins, towards the Aborigines, is quite notorious ; many well authenticated instances of their horrible cruelty have come to my knowledge. In the present instance, it is evident, that the story is exceedingly confused ; and this occurrence may be the cause of the destruction of the next Europeans who land on the island ; as the savages, cherishing revenge, will probably inflict it on the first Europeans that fall within their power.

" It is the duty of every one (and it ought to be enforced) to behave with great caution and mildness in his intercourse with the natives ; but more particularly with those whose abode lies in the track of ships, the crews of which, by a misfortune common in these seas, may be (as they frequently have been) entirely at the mercy of these ignorant, but not naturally evil-disposed savages." " It is not only a duty, but it becomes a policy, to conciliate the good-will of savages in every place, and under every circumstance ; but it is revolting to human nature to review the means taken .to destroy them ; and yet, after all, we find ourselves losers, and ever must be, for they have means of annoying us with which we can never compete, nor ever remove, unless by conciliation, "It appears, that up to the arrival of Captain Barker at Raffles Bay, as Commandant of the station, the hostility of the natives was such, that it was only by a judicious treatment of them by that excellent man, that they were conciliated. Dr. Wilson pays a just tribute to his worth, and shews how much can be effected by a proper treatment." "They are, like all uncivilized people, very irascible, but easily pacified ; in short, they require to be managed just like children. They were easily taught to distinguish conventional right from wrong, and many instances occurred, which proved their aptitude in this respect." "Miago, after having become honest himself, once detected one of his companions endeavouring to secrete a spoon, as they were about to partake of some rice prepared for them ; provoked with this ungraceful behaviour, he instantly took it from the delinquent, and sent him away, without permitting him to have any share of the food." " On first visiting the settlement, a native would invariably pilfer any thing that came in his way that he could secrete, but the article was always brought back by those who knew that such conduct was not tolerated by their civilized visiters."

On leaving the north-west coast of New Holland, Dr. Wilson touched at Swan River and King George's Sound, at both of which places he made long excursions into the interior, and has embodied in his work the result of his observations on the character of the country and its capabilities as to agriculture. Indeed, throughout, the reader will find that he is following the traces of a mind that could not fall into the listless apathy of silence, when passing over a country where none but the savage's foot had rested — and that none but a mind familiar with the sciences could embrace the various subjects which are unfolded to him — From a Correspondent.
[The publication of this article was unavoidably omitted in our last number.-Eds.] 38

Good quality land in the Braidwood area was still available for rent, nearby to Thomas' Braidwood, and other, Estates.

TO LET. FOR such Terms as may be agreed upon. 2000 ACRES of LAND in one of the best grazing districts in the whole Colony, having the advantage of a constant, and abundant supply of water in the driest seasons, and an unlimited brook run which is never likely to be taken up. This Land is near the Church Grant in the County of St. Vincent, and situate between Kurruducbidgee and Braidwood, at which latter place there is a Court House, and Police Station, and it is thus described by the Surveyor General. 2000 ACRES, County of St. Vincent, and Parish unnamed, near Braidwood bounded on the East by a line North 160 chains from M'Kellal's North East corner, on the North by a line West 135 chains, on the West by a line South 160 chains, and on the South by a line East 135 chains, to M'Keilars North East corner aforesaid. It is in the immediate neighbourhood of the large Estates and Grazing establishments of Dr. Wilson, Major Elrington, Commissary Kyrie, D. M'Kellar Esq, the late George Bunn,Captain Coghill. &c.

Apply to Mrs. Dixon, Adderstone Cottage, Castlereagh-street or to John Dillon, Solicitor. Elizabeth street, North, Sydney. 39

In August 1836 Thomas received another assignment of a convict:

Wilson T. B., Braidwood, 1 pearl button maker.40

Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, 27th September, 1836.

HIS Excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint the following Gentlemen to be Justices of the Peace of the territory, viz : ---

Thomas Braidwood Wilson, Esquire, M. D., of Braidwood, in the County of St. Vincent...41

  • 1. Bateson, Charles: The Convict Ships; Brown, Son & Ferguson Ltd, Glasgow. Uhl, Jean: ibid; incorrectly dates the sailing date to 5 April.
  • 2. Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986; p. 25
  • 3. The National Archives: Medical and surgical journal of HM convict ship England from 28 March to 24 July 1832 by T B Wilson; http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4106590 ADM 101/26/2
  • 4. The Sydney Monitor Wednesday 25 April 1832
  • 5. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 27 July 1832
  • 6. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 3 August 1832
  • 7. Ida McAulay, 'Bisdee, Edward (1802–1870)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bisdee-edward-1785/text2011, published in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 2 March 2014.
  • 8. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 10 August 1832
  • 9. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 17 August 1832
  • 10. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 24 August 1832
  • 11. The Sydney Herald Monday 12 November 1832
  • 12. Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986; pp. 27-29
  • 13. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 8 February 1833
  • 14. "Shipping Intelligence." The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) 30 Mar 1833: 2. Web. 21 Apr 2014; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2211401.
  • 15. Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986, p. 27
  • 16. Bateson, Charles: The Convict Ships; Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow.
  • 17. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 28 March 1834
  • 18. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 4 April 1834
  • 19. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 29 March 1834 page 3s
  • 20. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 16 May 1834
  • 21. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 23 May 1834 page 4
  • 22. The National Archives: Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's transport ship Moffatt for 14 November 1833 to 16 May 1834 by T B Wilson; http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4106817 ADM 101/55/1
  • 23. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 12 September 1834
  • 24. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 14 November 1834
  • 25. The Hobart Town Courier Friday 21 November 1834
  • 26. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 10 February 1835 page 4
  • 27. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 28 March 1835 page 4
  • 28. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 6 June 1835 page 4
  • 29. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 4 July 1835 page 4
  • 30. The Sydney Herald Tuesday 14 September 1835 page 4
  • 31. Wikisource: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Narrative_of_a_Voyage_Round_the_World_%28...
  • 32. Bateson, Charles: The Convict Ships; Brown and Son, Glasgow and Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986.
  • 33. THE ARMY. - Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), Thursday, December 8, 1836; Issue 18018. British Library Newspapers
  • 34. The National Archives: Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's hired transport Strathfieldsay for 16 December 1835 to 24 June 1836 by T B Wilson; http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4106945 ADM 101/69/8 and quoted on http://www.mssoft.com.au/robbins/genealogy/Convict2.htm (site no longer exists)
  • 35. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Saturday 6 August 1836 page 4.
  • 36. "Colonial Politics." - The Colonist (Sydney, NSW : 1835 - 1840) 14 July 1836: p1. Web. 17 May 2016
  • 37. "Classified Advertising" - The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839) 3 June 1836: p1. Web. 21 Jul 2016
  • 38. "DR. WILSON'S WORK." The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 - 1842) 21 July 1836: p2. Web. 17 May 2016
  • 39. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Thursday 28 July 1836 page 3
  • 40. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 23 August 1836
  • 41. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Thursday 29 September 1836



John Horton
John Horton's picture
James Armstrong Wilson

From Design & Art Australia:

...portrait and figure painter, born at Hawick, Scotland and drowned off Broken Bay, New South Wales in 1852, would be almost unknown but for the memoirs of his surviving daughter, Anne Hale Chapman, written in old age at Summer Hill at the turn of the century. She records that Wilson studied medicine but could not stomach dissection and became a portrait painter. After drawing classes, reputedly at Oxford and Cambridge colleges and (more convincingly) at Miss Graham’s boarding-school in London, he was said to be making about £400 a year when he married a French pupil, Aimée Louise Grandovinet, in 1829. The convict-ship’s surgeon and Braidwood pioneer Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson, who had wedding portraits taken on a marrying trip to England, persuaded the artist to improve his prospects by migrating to Australia.

The Wilsons sailed in the Fairlie in 1836 with 'a great many passengers and 300 emigrants’, as well as Sir John and Lady Franklin going out to govern Van Diemen’s Land.

See the full entry on Design & Art Australia.