John Irving: The Best Surgeon Amongst Them

By Alexander Cameron-Smith

Supported by a Create NSW Arts and Cultural Grant – Old Parramattans & St. John’s First Fleeters


Sydney's First General Hospital, New South Wales, Australia, First Fleet, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving.
A plaque on the site of Sydney’s first hospital, where John Irving, the first convict emancipated in New South Wales, served as surgeon. He subsequently served in the first hospitals at Norfolk Island and Parramatta as well. Photo: Alexander Cameron-Smith (2019).

If being first is sometimes accorded a measure of historical significance, the convict surgeon and farmer John Irving (c.1765–1795) has not enjoyed the fame of James Ruse or other ‘pioneers’ of early colonial history. Irving was the first convict emancipated in New South Wales. When Governor Phillip publicly announced that he had remitted the remainder of Irving’s sentence on 28 February 1790, he did not yet have the full authority to do so.[1] That had to wait until Letters Patent issued in November 1790 and the arrival of the Great Seal of the Colony a year after that, whereupon Phillip sent warrants of emancipation back to London. Irving’s read:

I, Arthur Phillip, His Majesty’s Governor of the said Territory of New South Wales and the Islands thereunto adjacent, taking into consideration the unremitting good Conduct and Meritorious Behaviour of John Irving and deeming him the said John Irving a proper object of the Royal Mercy do hereby absolutely remit the remainder of the Time or Term which is yet unexpired of the original Sentence or order of Transportation passed on the said John Irving in the year of Our Lord One thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.[2]

Legal historian Charles H. Currey once claimed that authorities in England in fact never finalised this legal process.[3] Irving nevertheless has pride of place as the first name in the Register of Absolute Pardons, dated 16 December 1791.[4] Governor Phillip certainly regarded him as the first emancipist, whilst Watkin Tench, David Collins, and Ralph Clark all held him in high esteem as a valued member of colonial society.

It does not help Irving’s cause that the records of his life and work are scanty, nor does his untimely death in 1795, at around the age of 30, at Parramatta, which David Collins described as ‘much regretted, as his loss would be severely felt.’[5] Irving’s resting place at St. John’s is unmarked, yet his life and work do reflect important facets of early colonial society. As an emancipist, Irving embodied a belief that the hard work of colonisation could reform the hearts and minds of convicts. Immediately after first announcing Irving’s pardon in February 1790, Governor Phillip appointed him to aid Assistant-Surgeon Dennis Considen at Norfolk Island. His good conduct there culminated in his return to New South Wales, where he settled on a grant of 30 acres at Parramatta and worked with Assistant-Surgeon Thomas Arndell. Irving had become a responsible and valued member of colonial society, and would probably have continued his ascent had he lived to accept his promotion to Assistant-Surgeon at Parramatta on 50 pounds per annum.

Irving’s short life in New South Wales illustrates several facets of medical work and public health in early colonial life. The major health problems of the first colonial years reflected severe food shortages and sanitary problems in the camp at Warrane, in Gadigal country, which the English called Sydney Cove.[6] Except for scurvy and dysentery, no major epidemic or endemic diseases affected the colonisers in the 1790s. The surgeons did what they could to treat illness among the Aboriginal peoples they encountered, including the devastating smallpox epidemic that struck the region in 1789. But they were also responsible for treating injuries resulting from land clearing and wounds received in violence between colonists and Aboriginal people in the area. They also served as expert witnesses in trials for murder and assault in colonial society. The medical work and public duties that Irving and his surgeon colleagues performed thus provide a window onto how colonisation left impressions on the body.

Portsmouth and the Voyage of the First Fleet

John Irving’s colonial life did not necessarily begin with his trial, on 6 March 1784 at Lincoln Assizes, for the crime of stealing a silver cup from Frances Clark, a widow living in Grantham.[7] Mollie Gillen has suggested a sentence of death may have been commuted because the destination of his transportation was not set to Botany Bay until 15 July 1785.[8] One register of convicts on the Ceres hulk in fact listed ‘John Irwin,’ alias Law, as having been sentenced on that date, aged 24, to seven years transportation to ‘America.’[9] The convict muster of First Fleet contractor William Richard later listed John ‘Irvine,’ aliases Anderson and Law, as having boarded the Scarborough with a sentence of seven years.[10] Even so, it seems he might have been left out of the First Fleet if not for the intervention of Duncan Campbell, Superintendent of hulks at Woolwich. In a letter to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean in January 1787, Campbell described ‘Irwin’ as ‘the clever fellow I might mention to you’ and promised to ask his deputy, Stewart Erskine, ‘what other surgeons he had on board.’[11] ‘The man in question,’ Campbell noted, ‘was by you scratched out of the list’ of convicts intended for the Scarborough, and ‘not put into the King’s Warrant.’[12] This suggests Campbell was on the lookout for skilled convicts and so recommended that Irving be included in the Scarborough complement.

The discovery of Irving’s surgical abilities made him useful for a fleet lacking a complete medical staff.[13] At Portsmouth, marine John Easty boarded the all-female convict transport Lady Penrhyn on 20 March 1787 ‘with Ervin a Convict to be surgioens mate [sic].’[14] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, a surgeon who boarded the Lady Penrhyn two days later, noted that another surgeon, John Altree, had fallen ill with a ‘fever of the putrescent kind.’[15] Irving seems to have been transferred to assist the surgeons in Altree’s absence.[16] Whether Irving continued to serve as surgeon’s mate during the voyage is not clear. Historian A. J. Gray found a footnote on Richard’s return of 26 April 1787 stating that Irving was to be transferred to the Prince of Wales because that ship had no surgeon. Yet the Prince of Wales departed with only female convicts aboard, whilst Gray also argued that subsequent ship’s returns indicated Irving was probably returned to the Scarborough before departure.[17] The log book of the Alexander records an order to provide a ‘convict-surgeon’ with an issue of clothing in August 1787, so it is possible Irving accompanied the surgeons as they moved between ships whilst anchored in Rio.[18] David Collins later described Irving’s emancipation as a result of his ‘exemplary conduct and meritorious behaviour both in this country and on the passage to it,’ wording that Gray felt referred to a service beyond simple good behaviour.[19]

Eighteenth-Century Medicine

Isaac Cruikshank, Battle of the Barbers and Surgeons, S. W. Fore, London, 1797, Medicine, Medical History, Eighteenth-Century Medicine, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Isaac Cruikshank, “The Battle of the Barbers and Surgeons,” (London: S W Fores No. 50, Piccadilly, 14 August 1797). (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). © Trustees of the British Museum.

Although he was indicted as a surgeon, there is no evidence concerning the precise nature of Irving’s training or practice prior to his trial. In the eighteenth century, surgeons were claiming a more elevated status as a scientific profession that experimentally investigated inflammation, pathological and comparative anatomy, obstetrics and, in the naval context, diseases like scurvy.[20] Yet formally trained physicians and surgeons of the eighteenth century acknowledged that lay people could learn simple but important skills. William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine, for example, first published in 1769, identified bloodletting, dressing wounds, and setting fractures among such skills.[21] Even if Irving lacked formal training, he therefore could have ably assisted the qualified navy surgeons. He was on board the Lady Penrhyn at Portsmouth when Assistant-Surgeon William Balmain delivered a baby. He was also present when the convict Elizabeth Bruce broke her leg near the ankle, which gave him an opportunity to at least observe treatment of fractures.[22] As A. J. Gray has argued, the presence of Bowes-Smyth and Balmain implies that Irving’s work on board may have been restricted to routine tasks and not treatment of patients.[23]

James Gillray, Bloodletting, Breathing a Vein, Eighteenth-Century Medicine, Nineteenth-Century Medicine, Medical History, Medical Treatment, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. James Gillray, “Breathing a Vein,” i.e. bloodletting, (London: Hannah Humphrey, St. James’s Street, 28 January 1804). (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). © Trustees of the British Museum.

The First Fleet surgeons, some of whom became Irving’s supervisors and colleagues, drew upon a repertoire of updated classical theories, drugs, and surgical techniques to actively treat disease. There were a number of theories of disease in the eighteenth century, reflecting competing emphases on chemistry, hydrostatic pressure, vital spirit, and the nervous system.[24] These, and an increasing focus on localised pathology, had largely replaced the most orthodox versions of ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of disease.[25] Sickness had long been thought to result from environmental disturbances of blood, phlegm and bile, known as the humors. A fever was therefore a disease in itself, not a symptom, and physicians prescribed dietary changes and exercise to restore balance.[26] By the time Irving began working with the qualified naval surgeons, the proliferation of fever classifications like ‘putrid malignant’ and ‘slow nervous’ reflected contemporary scientific interest in specific anatomy and putrefaction.[27] Yet classical conceptions of sickness as internal imbalances in the body caused by various environmental factors continued to shape eighteenth-century understanding.[28] First Fleet surgeons like Bowes-Smyth thus spoke of ‘bilious disorders.’[29] Many practitioners also adhered to orthodox therapies that were very dangerous. Bloodletting, for example, was part of the British navy surgeon’s tool kit and aimed to correct harmful imbalances of heat or hydrostatic pressure.[30] When the convict Sarah MacCormack became seriously ill during the voyage, Ralph Clark recorded how Assistant-Surgeon Thomas Arndell, under whom Irving later served at Parramatta, bled her ‘Eight times Since She first taking with the Stoppages of her breath [sic].’[31]

Eighteenth-Century Medicine, Nineteenth-Century Medicine, Medical History, Satirical Sketch, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. James Gillray, “Gentle Emetic,” (London: Hannah Humphrey, St James’s Street, London, 28 January 1804). (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). © Trustees of the British Museum.

Irving and his fellow practitioners used an array of medicines for treating disease on sea and land, many of which First Fleet surgeon Arthur Bowes-Smyth listed in his journal.[32] Conventional drugs of the eighteenth century could be, but were not always, toxic, whilst purgatives or emetics were often given in dangerously large doses.[33] ‘Bark,’ taken from the Andean Cinchona tree, was used to treat fevers before the development of quinine from the same tree.[34] There were also several treatments for scurvy based on different principles: elixir of vitriol, a sulfuric acid solution made with wine, vinegar, and spices, designed to dissolve the excess salt of navy rations; essence of malt, a preparation based on the principle that fermenting substances could reverse putrefaction in scorbutic tissues; and portable soup, intended to provide vegetable food in the absence of fresh sources. James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, had conducted controlled tests of these scurvy therapies in the 1740s and found them all ineffective compared to citrus juice. Despite this, they all remained standard issue medicines, whilst lemon or lime juice were not regulation supplies until the mid-1790s.[35] For Bowes-Smyth these treatments were not guesswork—they were rational interventions in sickness, which made resistance from patients frustrating:

Every thing proposed to ignorant Sailors on board a Ship tho’ ever so calculated to promote their health, if it has the least appearance of Novelty, is sure to meet wt. an incorrigibly obstinate opposition nor is it in the power of the most potent Arguments to induce them to change their Notions till Death stares them in the face, when they will conform to anything proposed & are in general the greatest of Cowards.[36]

Bowes-Smyth’s frustration at irrational resistance to his authority as a learned and rational medical practitioner reflected the influence of Enlightenment confidence in applied scientific reason. Yet he also criticised naval authorities for their ‘sordid negligence’ in failing to supply the ships with enough medicine.[37] As scurvy worsened on the return journey of the Lady Penrhyn, Bowes-Smyth wrote with a sense of vindication that ‘All those who have taken medicines, & whose symptoms at first were as alarming as the Boatswain’s are now by no means in so bad a state as him: wh. plainly demonstrates that Medicines will check the progress of Scurvy at Sea.’[38]

James Gillray, Taking Physick, Eighteenth-Century Medicine, Nineteenth-Century Medicine, Medical History, Satirical Sketch, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. James Gillray, “Taking Physick,” (London: Hannah Humphrey, 27 St. James’s Street, 6 February 1800). (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). © The Trustees of the British Museum.

At Warrane (Sydney Cove), and later at Parramatta, Irving and the surgeons faced severe shortages of these medicines and the ‘want of necessaries to aid’ their operation. Principal Surgeon John White wrote to Governor Phillip and Lord Sydney in July 1788 insisting on the urgent need for fresh supplies.[39] When they eventually arrived in July 1790 and October 1791, they included sugar, ‘medicine salts,’ vinegar, portable soup, currants, ‘essence of spruce’ for spruce beer, and red wine.[40] Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and tamarind also arrived, which were often mixed with red wine to make medicinal concoctions for patients.[41] These supplies were all destined for the hospitals at Warrane and Norfolk Island, which left very little for the Parramatta hospital.[42] Collins mentioned that Irving used ‘volatile salts,’ or smelling salts, to treat the effects of snakebite, but the medical supplies at Parramatta seem to have been scarce.[43]

The surgeons and officers of the First Fleet attributed health and sickness to the influence of a variety of environmental factors, including climate. This reflected the enduring influence of classical theories, which British naval surgeons had refined in the context of imperial expansion. Benjamin Moseley, Richard Shannon, and James Lind, whose An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Europeans in Hot Climates went through five editions between 1768 and 1792, all wrote treatises attributing sickness in the British navy and army to the impact of foreign climates on English bodies. Swampy air, fog, extreme heat, humidity, and rapid temperature changes between day and night were all capable of disturbing the constitutions of Europeans in unfamiliar places.[44] When Lieutenant Ralph Clark got sick during the voyage to Botany Bay, Thomas Arndell ordered him to ‘take the bark,’ explaining to him that, his ‘ilness’ was ‘only from the change of climat’ and that he would ‘be well again in a day or two [sic].’[45] Particular places could be described as either healthy or unhealthy and First Fleet officers were confident that Warrane, Norfolk Island, and Burramatta, which the colonists renamed Rose Hill and later Parramatta, were essentially healthy places. Governor Phillip described the ‘situation’ of the first timber hospital at the foot of the Rocks, as both ‘clear of town’ and ‘healthy.’[46] Watkin Tench described the climate of Rose Hill, where Irving later lived and worked, as ‘very healthy,’ although he did note that some ‘inflammatory disorders’ arose from the change in temperature between day and night.[47] John Hunter referenced the same idea, but concluded it was not significant in the colony: ‘When the sudden vicissitudes of heat and cold are considered, we might be too apt to pronounce this country very unhealthy; but near four years experience has convinced us that it is not the case.’[48] Norfolk Island experienced similar variations in temperature, but Hunter insisted it was ‘remarkably healthy.’[49] King similarly claimed, ‘As proof of the salubrity and wholesomeness of the air’ on Norfolk Island ‘there had scarcely been any sickness since I landed, nor had we any illness whatever, except a few colds.’[50] Whatever other challenges Irving and his colleagues faced, endemic disease did not seem to threaten the future of the colony.

Early Colonial Health and Sickness

William Bradley, map, Sydney First General Hospital, First Fleet, Eighteenth-Century Sydney, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, New South Wales, Medical History, Eighteenth-Century Medicine, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Sydney’s first hospital is just below the middle on the right in William Bradley, “Sydney Cove, Port Jackson,” A Voyage to New South Wales, c. 1802. Z/M2 811.15/1788/4 / FL9149673. State Library of New South Wales. See also “Sketch & Description of the Settlement at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson in the County of Cumberland taken by a transported convict on the 16th of April, 1788,” M2 811.17/1788/2 / FL4228851. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Whether Irving absorbed the theoretical dimensions of medicine is hard to tell, as he left no writing of his own behind, but he clearly had a knack for the practical aspects of working in and around the first hospital at the Rocks. Governor Phillip described Irving as having been ‘bred to surgery’ and ‘a very useful man’ for the surgeons.[51] Other skilled and cooperative convicts, including brickmakers and the carpenters who built the first hospital, were similarly important to the early colony and so entrusted with responsibilities.[52] Thanks to Collins we know that Irving, ‘had since our landing in the country been employed as an assistant surgeon at the hospital. He was bred a surgeon, and in no instance whatever, since the commission of the offence for which he was transported, had he given cause of complaint.’[53] Irving would thus have aided and witnessed the care and treatment of the sick and injured at the first hospital under Surgeon-General John White and his Assistant-Surgeons William Balmain, Thomas Arndell, Dennis Considen, and George Worgan.

The health problems Irving and his fellow surgeons treated in the first few years of colonisation reflected food shortages and the rough living conditions of a people unfamiliar with their new environment. A devastating smallpox epidemic cruelly struck Aboriginal communities around Port Jackson, Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury, and elsewhere, while the main epidemic diseases that afflicted the colonists in these years were scurvy and dysentery.[54] The first sick tents erected after landing were immediately ‘filled with true camp dysentery and the scurvy,’ wrote White: ‘More pitiable objects were perhaps never seen. Not a comfort or convenience could be got for them.’[55] The increasing number of sick prompted construction of a timber hospital with fenced grounds for vegetable gardens, which can be seen in some of the early maps and landscapes of the English camp at Warrane.

Sydney's first General Hospital, Hospital, Sydney, Thomas Watling, View of Sydney Cove, West Side of Sydney Cove Behind the Hospital,
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Sydney’s first General Hospital with fenced vegetable gardens is depicted on the right. Thomas Watling, “View of Sydney Cove,” c.1794–1796, DL Pd 704 / FL3190258, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, after Watling’s sketch “Taken from the West Side of Sydney Cove Behind the Hospital,” DL Pd 704 / FL8794766, Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Failure to produce enough fresh vegetables and reliance on salted rations turned scurvy into a fatal epidemic that raged especially from May 1788.[56] White’s ‘Return of Sick’ on 30 June 1788 indicated that 26 marines or dependents and 66 convicts were either sick or convalescent in the hospital and the camp.[57] In July, White wrote to Governor Phillip about bedding at the hospital: ‘The want of them makes that observance and attention to cleanliness (a circumstance which among sick persons cannot be too much incalculated or attended to), utterly impossible.’[58] The lack of fresh vegetables, however, had a greater impact on health than anything else. In August, White wrote that scurvy, ‘still prevails with great violence, nor can we at present find any remedy against it, notwithstanding that the country produces several sorts of plants and shrubs, which, in this place, are considered as tolerable vegetables, and used in common.’[59] White and Considen identified a few effective scurvy treatments amongst native flora, yet there never seemed enough to control disease on an epidemic scale. That did not stop them from experimenting with local plants, however, that were already known to Aboriginal people. White described the ‘sweet tea’ convicts collected as a ‘good pectoral,’ whilst Considen wrote on its anti-scorbutic qualities in a letter that made its way to the illustrious Sir Joseph Banks.[60] White and Considen also endorsed a red Eucalyptus gum and infusions of wild myrtle as treatments for dysentery, which likewise remained a problem at the settlement.[61]

Port Jackson Painter, Aboriginal Hunting Implements and Weapons, First Fleet, Sydney, Port Jackson, New South Wales, Spears, First Peoples, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, Sydney First Hospital, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Port Jackson Painter, active 1788–1792, “Aboriginal Hunting Implements and Weapons,” PIC Solander Box B13 #T2132 NK144/F. National Library of Australia.

Relations between colonisers and Aboriginal peoples were an important aspect of medical life in these early years. Increasing violence between convicts and Aboriginal people meant that the surgeons had to treat wounds and conduct post-mortem examinations. Irving was probably present to assist when White performed a difficult operation on 21 May 1788 to remove a spear from convalescing convict William Ayres’s thigh: ‘The weapon was barbed; and stuck to very fast, that it would admit of no motion. After dilating the wound to a considerable length and depth, with some difficulty I extracted the spear, which had penetrated the flesh nearly three inches.’[62] White later treated another wounded convict who escaped his attackers by jumping into the harbour: ‘A piece of a broken spear had entered through the scalp and under his ear, so that the extraction gave him great pain.’[63] White described the spears, among other ethnographic observations, as being ten to twelve feet long and sometimes barbed with fish teeth.[64] Irving likely would have been present for these operations, too, as well as for the post-mortem examinations of William Okey and Samuel Davis, the first of the colonising outsiders killed by Aboriginal people.[65]

The hospital later became a focal point of less violent relations that developed at Warrane, where the surgeons treated Aboriginal people who followed Bennelong to the British settlement.[66] According to Captain John Hunter’s narrative, for example, the surgeons gave ‘Brimstone,’ or Sulphur solution, as a remedy for a skin disease they often observed among Aboriginal people.[67] If these relations involved more positive communication, they nevertheless provided the officers with grist for the mill of European discourse about racial difference. King, for example, described Bennelong’s attempt to treat his young wife’s stomach pains by warming his hands and applying them to her belly, whilst also chanting and blowing on the affected area: ‘How long this ceremony would have continued is uncertain, for Governor Phillip sent for the doctor, and she was persuaded to take a little tincture of rhubarb, which gave her relief, and so put an end to the business.’[68] King thus juxtaposed what he deemed to be ineffective and superstitious ‘charms’ of Aboriginal healing with supposedly more rational and effective British medicine, which in retrospect was far from being the case, either in theory or practice.[69] Watkin Tench, responding to European debates about the mentality of ‘savages,’ argued that Aboriginal ‘indifference’ to ‘our works of art’ did not reveal ‘stupidity.’[70] Instead, Aboriginal people understood and appreciated British things on their own terms, especially the value they placed on hunting, fishing, or fighting:

Our surgeons grew into their esteem from a like cause. In a very early stage of intercourse, several natives were present at the amputation of a leg; when they first penetrated the intention of the operator, they were confounded; not believing it possible that such an operation could be performed without loss of life; and they called aloud to desist: but when they saw the torrent of blood stopped, the vessels taken up, and the stump dressed, their horror and alarm yielded to astonishment and admiration, which they expressed by the loudest tokens.—If these instances bespeak not nature and good sense, I have yet to learn the meaning of the term.[71]

The problem of communication between British and Aboriginal peoples, and the challenges for historians in understanding what they communicated, has been fiercely debated.[72] It is certain, however, that medicine, the hospital at Sydney, and Irving and his colleagues there were often at the heart of these interactions.

Aboriginal Woman, First Peoples, Smallpox, Illness, Medicine, Medical History, John Hunter, Surgeon White, Governor Phillip, 1790s, Sydney, Port Jackson, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. According to John Hunter in An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson, the “distressed” Aboriginal woman depicted in this image had hidden in wet grass upon sighting European boats, as she was recovering from what Hunter identified as smallpox “and was very weak, and unable, from a swelling in one of her knees, to get off to any distance.” “Captains Hunter, Collins & Johnston, with Governor Phillip, Surgeon White, Visiting a Distressed Female Native of New South Wales, at a Hut, near Port Jackson,” in Michael Adams, The New Royal System of Universal Geography, (London: Published by Alexander Hogg, 31 August 1793). National Library of Australia.

Emancipation and Norfolk Island 

Irving was one of several convicts who were not only skilled but also willing to work with the officers. Many of these, including carpenters, seamen, and brickmakers, wanted to return to Britain at the expiration of their sentences.[73] Irving, however, was willing to remain as a settler. In February 1790, Governor Phillip issued a public order, which Tench included in his narrative:

The governor, in consequence of the unremitted good behaviour and meritorious conduct of John Irving, is pleased to remit the remainder of the term for which he was sentenced to transportation. He is therefore to be considered as restored to all those rights and privileges, which had been suspended in consequence of the sentence of the law. And as such, he is hereby appointed to act as an assistant to the surgeon at Norfolk Island.[74]

Many of the officers celebrated Irving’s emancipation and continuing service to the colony. Collins described Irving as ‘a person whose exemplary conduct had raised him from the situation of a convict to the privileges of a free man.’[75] Grace Karskens has argued that men like James Ruse, a convict whose 30-acre grant at Parramatta was known as ‘Experiment Farm,’ were themselves experiments in whether convicts could redeem themselves through the labour of colonising.[76] Irving similarly embodied such possibilities. For Tench, Irving’s emancipation was ‘too pleasing a proof that universal depravity did not prevail among the convicts, to be omitted.’[77] Ralph Clark, who was also part of the March 1790 expedition to Norfolk Island and rarely had anything positive to say about convicts, privately felt ‘very glad that Irvin goes with use for I think the best Surgeon amongst them [sic].’[78]

Irving’s time at Norfolk Island is almost completely undocumented, but he does seem to have crossed the gap between convicts and the respectable class. Clark’s journal recorded how Irving once encountered a convict, Samuel Benear, who had absconded, and brought him in to the officers. As A. J. Gray has argued, this suggests Irving’s new position had eclipsed any sense of convict solidarity that might have remained.[79] Governor Phillip certainly felt Irving was now entitled to some form of payment and requested a ‘moiety’ for Irving in July 1790.[80] Phillip wrote again in November 1791 about Irving’s inclination to ‘remain in the country,’ insisting that his status as the ‘first convict who was emancipated’ was ‘merited from his exemplary conduct.’[81] It was therefore important, Phillip felt, that an allowance be made for him.[82] It was in November 1791 that Phillip also formally sent the first warrants of emancipation to Britain and had Irving’s name entered at the top of the Register of Absolute Pardons.[83]

Parramatta

Governor John Hunter, Plan of the settlement of Parramatta, 1796, John Irving, Thomas Arndell, farms, eighteenth-century Parramatta, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Detail of John Hunter, “Plan of the settlement of Parramatta made by Governor Hunter, 20th August, 1796 much enlarged,” showing Irving and Arndell’s farms. M BT 36/Series 1/Map 17 / FL3688860. State Library of New South Wales.

Governor Phillip’s inquiry about an allowance for Irving in November 1791 is perhaps an indication that Irving was about to receive a grant of 30 acres at Parramatta amongst the first such grants for emancipists. John Hunter returned from Norfolk Island in late 1791, most likely with Irving, and visited Parramatta, ‘where great improvements were carrying on; a considerable town was laid out, many good buildings were erected, roads cut, with about two hundred and thirteen acres of land cleared for corn.’[84] Irving formally received a grant of 30 acres on 22 February 1792, described as ‘Laying on the North side of the Creek leading to Parramatta and crossed by a public road of one hundred feet in breadth.’[85] This public road is clearly visible running through allotments north of the river in one copy of John Hunter’s plan of Parramatta, as is a farm labelled ‘Irvin who does a surgeons Duty [sic].’ Right alongside is a plot for Arndell, the ‘Assistant Surgeon who is to become a Settler.’[86]

Cottages were being built for both Irving and Arndell in July that year and by October 1792, Irving had nine acres under maize and another two acres prepared for cultivation—a respectable effort compared to his neighbours.[87] This would have been hard work for Irving, since emancipist settlers tilled the soil with hand tools and sowed their maize and wheat by scattering the grain between the tree stumps they usually left in the ground.[88] At some point Irving began living here with Ann Mash, a convict transported on the Lady Juliana of the Second Fleet. According to Michael Flynn, Mash had previously developed a relationship with Surgeon Richard Alley and fallen pregnant. Their daughter, Charlotte Maria, sadly died five days after her baptism in June 1791.[89] One narrative of Irving’s life, published in Parramatta and Hills News in 1969 and apparently based on an oral family history, claimed Irving had vied with another unnamed man for the affection of an unnamed convict woman who worked as a kitchen-hand in Governor Phillip’s staff. It was said that Irving had even asked for a transfer to Parramatta to be with her. Unfortunately, there is no evidence for this romantic story of Irving’s relationship with the ‘girl he loved’ until the baptism of their son in 1796.[90]

In addition to farming, Irving continued to aid Assistant-Surgeon Thomas Arndell at the Parramatta General Hospital. Arndell had been at Rose Hill for some time, having accompanied Tench’s expedition, which encountered and named the Nepean River in June 1789.[91] Tench had then considered the settlement very healthy, but in December 1791 he described the area as ‘less healthy than it used to be.’[92] A hastily constructed timber and thatch hospital, which from 1789 stood to the north of present-day Jeffery House, Parramatta overlooking the Parramatta River, could not accommodate the 382 people on the sick list.[93]  What these patients suffered from is unclear, but Tench reported that the spread of ‘one very violent putrid fever’ had been prevented by isolating one patient. Ideas about the contagious nature of some diseases, especially plague, had been around since the sixteenth century, but remained controversial well into the nineteenth due to controversies around the impact of quarantine on commerce.[94] Colonial officers in New South Wales evidently incorporated the idea into public health practice, alongside environmental conceptions of disease. In June 1792, however, Collins felt much more optimistic:

With much satisfaction it was observed at the beginning of the month, that the mortality and sickness among the people had very much decreased. This was attributed by the medical gentlemen to the quantities of fresh meat which had been obtained at Parramatta by the people who were employed to shoot for the hospital…Great quantities of vegetables had also been given to those who were in health, as well as to the sick, both from the public ground at the father settlement (which had been sown, and produced some excellent turnips) and from the governor’s garden.[95]

A preventive attitude to public health, and perhaps the prior experience of scurvy epidemics, is evident in Collins’s account. A new brick hospital replaced the timber and thatch one in November, behind the old ‘Tent Hospital.’[96] To prevent ‘any improper communication with the other convicts’ it featured a fenced-in yard that also allowed for fresh air and exercise.[97]

There was thus a belief amongst the officers that Parramatta would become the progressive hub of the colony. As Karskens notes, however, the image of progress at Parramatta rested in large measure on the wealth that officers accumulated by monopolising trade in household goods.[98] Land grants were not supposed to be treated like commodities, but officers like John Macarthur and John Harris not only received much larger grants than emancipists but also bought and sold from them to accumulate thousands of acres beyond the first plots at Parramatta. Irving’s superior Thomas Arndell, in fact, requested permission to retire from his service in 1793 in order to focus on cultivating his land as a settler, and the following year received a grant of 70 acres slightly further north of Parramatta.[99] Irving remained on his own land at Parramatta and assisted Arndell’s replacements James Thomson and John Harris.[100]

Relationships between medical staff and the community of emancipists and free settlers at Parramatta could at times be tense, especially when it came to medical knowledge and the authority of surgeons over colonists. In early 1792, one emancipist settler, William Parish, threatened Thomas Arndell’s life over a disagreement concerning Parish’s sick wife Phoebe. Arndell had ordered that Phoebe be brought to the hospital if Parish did not bring her in voluntarily. Parish objected to this strongly, expressing a desire to have another convict, who had some medical skill, see to her. Not only did Parish complain that Arndell had mixed herbs with the red wine he prescribed for her, he explicitly rejected the notion that Arndell’s position as surgeon gave him authority over him or his wife.[101] There were very few official public health regulations to give surgeons specific powers prior to the 1830s, with medical authority resting on the broader authoritarian nature of the penal colony.[102] Colonists would have been responsible for their own medical treatment quite often, given the small number of surgeons present in New South Wales.[103] Values of self-reliance and a strong sense of rights and freedoms amongst emancipists and free settlers were thus important parts of the social context for Irving’s work and the health problems with which he dealt.

Violence and Health

Irving and the other surgeons had to deal with the trauma of violence. Clearing land for farming involved its own kinds of violence, including both the felling of trees and the traumatic injuries sustained in doing so. The colony’s tools were even then old fashioned and inefficient, which made land clearing laborious and dangerous.[104] Whilst serving on Norfolk Island, Irving probably treated such injuries regularly. In May 1790, for example, soon after Irving’s arrival at Norfolk Island, Ralph Clark recorded an incident there in which a young convict, Charles ‘McFarlain,’ was trying to fell a tree when the ‘Axe Slipt in his hand and Rebounded back from the hardness of the wood against his forehead and fractered his Scull So much that there is a great chance if he will Recover [sic].’[105] In November, Clark ordered a group of convicts to clear some trees from around Charlotte’s Field (Queensborough) ‘to let more air into the corn.’[106] An unfortunate convict, Henry Palmer, was struck by a falling tree. The surgeons, Considen and Irving, ‘have Traponded him,’ Clark wrote, referring to a procedure that involved drilling into the skull, ‘and find that his brain is injured and that he could not live.’[107] Trauma also resulted from domestic violence, sexual assault, robbery, and murder. Irving probably assisted during Arndell’s amputation of Rose Burk’s arm, which had been shattered by gun shot during a domestic assault later on in May 1793 at Parramatta.[108]

Trepanning, Trepanation, Trephination, Eighteenth-Century neurosurgery, surgery, surgeon, Eighteenth-Century Medicine, Medical History, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, John Irving
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. B. L. Prevost after Louis-Jacques Goussier, Surgery: above, a skull being trepanned; below, various instruments used in trepanation, (publication details unknown, French, Chirurgie. Goussier del. Prevost fecit). (CC BY 4.0). Courtesy Wellcome Collection.

Instances of assault and murder meant Irving and his fellow surgeons played an important role as expert witnesses in court. Arndell, for example, examined victims and gave evidence in a number of cases, including the trial of Henry Wright for the rape of Elizabeth Chapman.[109] Irving gave evidence in the trial of John Hill for the murder of Simon Burn, held in October 1794 at Parramatta. Burn had intervened to stop Hill from assaulting a woman that Hill had been living with, only to become the victim himself. Irving testified in court that he had attended the scene of the incident, where he found Burn ‘laying in a state of insensibility.’[110] Burn died within half an hour of his arrival, and during a preliminary examination Irving discovered ‘a wound of some size under the left breast, rather inclined towards the back,…[which] extended to some of the Vital Organs.’[111] Irving ordered the body be taken to the hospital for a post-mortem the next day, which he performed with Assistant-Surgeon John Harris present. They found ‘a considerable wound in the heart, which exactly corresponded with the external wound.’[112] Irving,

supposes the wound in the heart to have been the cause of Simon Burns’ death – and the shape of the wound in the heart as well as the external wound, seemed to indicate that the wound must have been given by some sharp pointed flat instrument. The instrument must have been blunt on one side, the other side sharp – and one side of the wound that next the Breast, must have been severed by the blunt side, that next the back by the sharp side – one side was evidently cut, the other torn. The wound was rather nearer to the spine, than to the centre of the Breast.[113]

Irving was thus called on to go beyond healing and treatment and use his skills and knowledge to perform a civic duty. Hill was sentenced to death and hanged at Sydney in October 1794, but on another occasion, Irving was instrumental in the acquittal of five men accused of raping Mary Hartley in the Hawkesbury river region. The five men on trial were just a few of a group of sixteen who allegedly participated in the assault. Irving stated in court, ‘when Mary Hartley was brought to the hospital, she appeared to have sustained so little injury, that she did not order any Medicines. Her face was slightly scratched, and she had a small bruise on one of her Thighs. She had no other Home to go to, therefore remained there about 3 weeks.’[114] Collins later wrote that the court had been ‘obliged to acquit the prisoners’ due to glaring inconsistences in other witness testimony.[115] Yet he also suggested everyone knew an assault had occurred. ‘Such a crime could not be passed with impunity,’ he wrote, so the men were immediately retried for assault.[116] The trial of Mary Hartley’s attackers prompted Collins to reflect on the deterioration of other convict settlers in New South Wales:

This was a most infamous transaction; and, though the sufferer was of bad character, would have well warranted the infliction of capital punishment on one of the offenders, if the witnesses had not prevaricated in their testimony. They appear to have cast off all the feelings of civilised humanity, adopting as closely as they could follow them the manners of the savage inhabitants of the country.[117]

While Irving seemed to prove that colonial life could reform and elevate some convicts, Collins’s commentary shows that anxieties about racial degeneration in an unfamiliar environment began early in the history of colonisation. The trial of Mary Hartley’s assault in May 1795 is the last documented trace of Irving during his lifetime.

There is no record of Irving having suffered any physical or mental ill health, so his death in September 1795 appears to have been sudden.[118] The cause of death was not recorded, which was not unusual at the time, and he was buried at St. John’s on 13 September.[119] The biography published in Parramatta and Hills News claimed that Irving had descended into debt and alcoholism after falling afoul of the ‘corrupt Rum Corp clique.’[120] There is no direct evidence to support this story though. A reference in the last paragraph to the Hawkesbury-area descendants of Ann Mash, who remarried twice after Irving’s death, suggests this was an inventive yet plausible family legend.[121] The Rum Corps officers did indeed control the trade in household goods, which they sold at grossly inflated prices. This generated profits for the officers and often crippling debt for many emancipists and free settlers.[122] Four months after Irving died a son was born on 11 January 1796 and baptised ‘John Irvin’ at St. John’s, Parramatta in May, with the father listed as ‘John Irvin’ and the mother as ‘Ann Marsh.’[123] Mash went on to become an entrepreneur, much like several other convict women in this period. She notably owned and operated a ferry service between Sydney and Parramatta, whilst also running several businesses on High Street, Sydney, with her husband William Chapman.[124]

St. John's Cemetery Parramatta, St. John's Cemetery Project, The Gateway to Old Parramatta, Australian History
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. John Irving’s grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta is unmarked, its exact location unknown. However, the earliest burials tend to be located in “Section 4,” i.e. the back right quarter of the square-shaped cemetery. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron (2019).

Collins described Irving’s death as ‘much regretted, as his loss would be severely felt.’[125] As Judge-Advocate, Collins would have been quite familiar with Irving, who had served as a witness in two criminal cases. He also noted that Irving died without learning of his impending promotion to Assistant-Surgeon at Parramatta on 50 pounds per annum. Other officials expressed their dismay over Irving’s death in terms of the strain it would put on the already minimal medical services of the colony. In October, Principal Surgeon William Balmain impressed on the new governor, John Hunter, the need for more surgeons:

The distressed state of these settlements for the want of a due proportion of medical assistance renders it incumbent in me to state the same to your Excellency, and to request that you be pleased to use such means as shall appear to yourself most proper to be adopted for the better accommodation of the colony in that respect.[126]

There were only four surgeons, Balmain noted, and medical services along the Hawkesbury had been entrusted to a convict with little skill.[127]

Hunter would later insist that the colony was in a serious state of disrepair when he arrived as governor in 1795. ‘Instead of those buildings which were necessary being raised whilst there were artificers in the colony, and at the disposal of Government,’ he wrote in January 1798, ‘I found those formerly erected for various purposes in ruins; the whole towns of Parramatta and Toongabbie, which were built for the reception of convicts, upon their arrival, were absolutely in decay.’[128] The environment in which Irving worked at Parramatta under the Grose and Paterson regime would thus have been a challenging one. When Hunter informed the Home Secretary, the Duke of Portland, of John Irving’s death he emphasised the ‘considerable inconvenience’ it imposed on the colony.[129] Hunter in fact tied the success of colonial expansion to an adequate medical staff: ‘The extension of the settlement…renders an increase of assistance in this…unavoidably necessary.’[130] The colony struggled to replace Irving, though. In August 1796, Portland promised to send another surgeon for ‘the room of Mr. J. Irving’ via the Britannia, but they did not arrive with the ship in June the following year.[131] Two years later, Balmain again requested more staff, including an Assistant-Surgeon ‘in addition to the assistant promised in the room of the late Mr. Irvin [sic].’[132] Parramatta needed more than one because it was, he wrote, ‘a populous place, where constant watchfullness and attention is required [sic].’[133] As a stop gap measure, he suggested Arndell be brought out of retirement as an apothecary.

As a skilled convict who had risen to a position of respect and responsibility, Irving does seem to have made an impression on Governor Hunter’s attitude to medical recruitment. In 1796, Hunter proposed to Under-Secretary King that it would be better to appoint ‘ingenious people who are sometimes to be found here, whether convicts or free.’[134] It was the failure of another surgeon sent from Britain to adjust to colonial life, Mr. Samuel Leeds, that had prompted Hunter’s proposal. Leeds, an ‘incorrigible drunkard’ in Hunter’s view, claimed that his health had declined to the point where his life was in danger and had to be sent home, ‘for he is of no sort of use, whilst we suffer much in the surgeon’s department.’[135] Hunter thus thought it better to find someone who could emulate John Irving:

Convicts who have a profession which might be highly serviceable in any case of immergency wou’d not be so cautious to conceal their ability if it was such as might be applied to the superintending any very necessary work, and be allow’d a little reward for their ability and exertion; we shou’d in this way save some of those ill-bestow’d sallerys [sic].[136]

Hunter in fact appointed D’Arcy Wentworth as a replacement, a man who, having escaped conviction for charges of highway robbery, cooperated with officers at Norfolk Island with ambitions of self-improvement and continued on to establish an illustrious family and legacy that Irving never had.

*          *          *

Around 1838, Conrad Martens produced a number of landscapes of Parramatta, in watercolour and paint, three of which depict at least some of the land Irving once cultivated. His farm had been situated directly across the river from the larger estates of John Macarthur and John Harris, who had purchased Experiment Farm from ex-convict James Ruse in 1793.[137] Like most of the emancipists’ land at Parramatta, Irving’s farm had also been absorbed into the growing estates of Marsden, Macarthur, Harris and other officers.[138] Today, Irving Street and its small reserve, surrounded by James Ruse Drive, Victoria Road, and Pemberton Street, mark where Irving’s farm stood.[139]

Conrad Martens, View of Parramatta, 1838, Samuel Marsden, Macarthur, James Ruse, John Irving, Thomas Arndell, Vineyards, Parramatta, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Conrad Martens landscape, “View of Parramatta,” (1838) was painted from the viewpoint of Vineyards, the property of H. H. Macarthur. The two-storied house on the far right of the picture is purportedly Newlands House, which Samuel Marsden had built in the mid-1830s on the farmland he had purchased on the north side of the river, with Harris’s Experiment Cottage on the far left. Irving’s farm is also depicted here, as it was absorbed into these estates. DL Pg 15 / FL3238706. Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales.

John Irving, the first emancipated convict, was clearly known and well-regarded in the community at Parramatta. If he had lived, he might have further climbed the social ladder in the same fashion as D’Arcy Wentworth. Instead, the memory of Irving has been partially obscured by larger figures in Australian history, much like his farm in Martens’s painting, his unmarked grave at St. John’s, and the street and small reserve that bear his name. Yet a smaller figure like Irving helps us to remember a past that can sometimes be forgotten and to illustrate many important facets of early colonial life—from the hope that convicts could be transformed by the work of colonisation to the ways in which the deprivation, labour, and violence of colonisation left its marks on the body.


CITE THIS

Alexander Cameron-Smith, “John Irving: The Best Surgeon Amongst Them,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2019), https://stjohnscemeteryproject.org/bio/john-irving, accessed [insert current date]


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NOTES

[1] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to the Right Hon. W. W. Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, 14 July 1790,” in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 190.

[2] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, 16th December, 1791,” in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), pp. 324–5.

[3] See Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 312.

[4] New South Wales Government, Register of Absolute Pardons, Series: NRS 1177; Item: 4/4486; Page: 1, (State Records of Authority of New South Wales State Archives, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[5] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 430.

[6] Harold Koch and Luise Hercus (eds.), Aboriginal Placenames: Naming and Re-naming the Australian Landscape, (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2009), https://books.google.com.au/books?id=HyHh-OrnRGoC&lpg=PR1&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed 26 August 2019. For a general discussion about giving prime position to indigenous endonyms and subordinating European imposed exonyms in both the colonial Australian and colonial American contexts as a mark of respect and to “sound” language, see “Name-Calling: Notes on Terminology,” in Michaela Ann Cameron (Ph.D. Diss.), “Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation,” (Sydney: Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, 2018), pp. 25–35, http://bit.ly/stealingturtle, accessed 25 August 2019.

[7] “Derby, March 18,” The Derby Mercury, Thursday 11 March 1784, p. 4, The British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/), accessed 9 August 2019; John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 144.

[8] “IRVINE/IRVING/ADERSON/ANDERSON/LAW, John (c1760–1795),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 189.

[9] Duncan Campbell, “D. Campbell: Account for Maintaining Convicts on Board the Ceres Hulk at Woolwich,” Records of Treasury (as filmed by the AJCP), Treasury Board Papers – Nos 703–853, 1787, Series: T1; Pieces 587–3031; File: 644; AJCP Reel: 3550; Item: 862, National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1271297020, accessed 25 August 2019.

[10] “Irvine, John alias Anderson alias Law, Where Convicted: Lincoln, Crime: Grand Larceny, Vessel: Scarborough,” in “Convicts Embarked, 1787” Home Office, Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania, Class: HO 10; Pieces: 6 and 7, (The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England).

[11] Duncan Campbell, “Duncan Campbell to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean, 18 January 1787,” Duncan Campbell Papers, 1766–1802, Series 1: Duncan Campbell Business Letter Books, 2 March 1772–31 December 1794, SAFE/A 3229 (Safe 1/417); Reel: CY 644, p. 260, State Library of New South Wales.

[12] Duncan Campbell, “Duncan Campbell to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean, 18 January 1787,” Duncan Campbell Papers, 1766–1802, Series 1: Duncan Campbell Business Letter Books, 2 March 1772–31 December 1794, SAFE/A 3229 (Safe 1/417); Reel: CY 644, p. 260, State Library of New South Wales.

[13] A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 319.

[14] John Easty, Memorandum of Transactions of a Voyage from England to Botany Bay, 1787–1791: A First Fleet Journal, (Sydney: Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales, 1965), p. 4, original held at State Library of New South Wales https://digital.sl.nsw.gov.au/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?embedded=true&toolbar=false&dps_pid=FL1607633, transcript also online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2007/D00007/a1145.html

[15] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), p. 11. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[16] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), p. 12. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[17] A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 318.

[18] Duncan Sinclair, Master, “Extract from the Log-Book of the Alexander, Transport,” F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), pp. 399–400.

[19] A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 318; David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), pp. 98–99, 225.

[20] Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), pp. 132–4.

[21] John Pearn, “‘Where There is No Doctor’: Self-Help and Pre-Hospital Care in Colonial Australia,” Health and History, Vol. 14, No. 2, (2012): 166.

[22] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), pp. 12–3. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[23] A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 317–18.

[24] Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 246–54.

[25] Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), pp. 133–4.

[26] Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 258–9; Wouter Klein and Toine Pieters, “The Hidden History of a Famous Drug: Tracing the Medical and Public Acculturation of Peruvian Bark,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Vol. 71, No. 4, (2016): 400–421.

[27] Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), pp. 129–31.

[28] Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 259–62.

[29] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), p. 25. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[30] Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 144; Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 266.

[31] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 33, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[32] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), pp. 98–9, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[33] Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 144.

[34] Wouter Klein and Toine Pieters, “The Hidden History of a Famous Drug: Tracing the Medical and Public Acculturation of Peruvian Bark,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Vol. 71, No. 4, (2016): 400–421.

[35] C. C. Lloyd, “The Conquest of Scurvy,” The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 1, No. 4, (1963): 359–60; William McBride, “‘Normal’ Medical Science and British Treatment of the Sea Scurvy,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Science, Vol. 46, No. 2, (1991): 162; Janet Macdonald, “A New Myth of Naval History? Confusing Magnitude with Significance in British Naval Victualling Purchases, 1750–1815,” International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 21, No. 2, (2009): 166; A. B. McLeod, British Naval Captains of the Seven Years War: The View from the Quarterdeck, (Rochester, New York: Boydell Press, 2012), pp. 55, 109; Gary L. Sturgess, “A Government Affair? Reassessing the Contractual Arrangements for Australia’s First Fleet,” The Great Circle, Vol. 38, No. 2, (2016): 16.

[36] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), p. 94. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[37] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), p. 93. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[38] Arthur Bowes-Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes-Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787–1789, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1979), pp. 98–99. See also Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787 (1787–1789)National Library of Australia, MS 4568, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-233345951, accessed 18 June 2019; Arthur Bowes Smyth, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon – 1787–1788–1789; being a fair copy compiled ca. 1790, (1790), Safe 1 / 15, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and transcript online http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2015/D36405/a1085.html, accessed 25 August 2019.

[39] John White, “Surgeon White to Governor Phillip, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, July the 4th, 1788,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 142; John White, “Surgeon White to Lord Sydney, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, New South Wales, July, 1788,” Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 175.

[40] New South Wales Government, “An Account of Medicines and Hospital Necessaries Remaining in His Majesties Stores at Sydney and Parramatta in New South Wales the 10 Dec. 1792,” Series: NRS 1331, Item: 10, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[41] Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia: The Beginning, (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2016), pp. 194–5.

[42] New South Wales Government, “An Account of Hospital Necessaries Received and Expended, April 1790-December 1792,” Series: NRS 1331; Item: 21, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[43] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 413.

[44] James Lind, An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Europeans in Hot Climates: With the Method of Preventing their Fatal Consequences, 5th edition, (London: J. Murray, 1792). See also Richard Shannon, Practical Observations on the Operations and Effects of Certain Medicines in the Prevention and Cure of Diseases to Which Europeans are Subjects in Hot Climates and in these Kingdoms, (London: Vernor and Hood, 1794); Benjamin Moseley, A Treatise on Tropical Diseases on Military Operations and on the Climate of the West Indies, 3rd edition, (London: G. G. and J. Robinson, 1795). See also Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 259.

[45] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 25, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[46] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Sydney, Sydney Cove, New South Wales, July the 9th, 1788,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 148.

[47] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 196.

[48] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), p. 203. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf accessed 26 August 2019.

[49] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), pp. 203–4. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[50] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), p. 389. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[51]Governor Phillip to the Right Hon. W. W. Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, 14 July 1790,” in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 190; Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, November 5th, 1791,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 535.

[52] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Sydney, Sydney Cove, New South Wales, May 15th, 1788,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 124; Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, November 5th, 1791,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 535; Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), p. 164.

[53] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 99.

[54] Milton J. Lewis, The People’s Health: Public Health in Australia, 1788–1950, (Westport: Praeger, 2003), pp. 28–9.

[55] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), p. 122.

[56] John White, “Surgeon White to Lord Sydney, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, New South Wales, July, 1788,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 175; John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), p. 78. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[57] Arthur Phillip, The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, (Melbourne: Hutchinson Group, 1982), pp. 120–21.

[58] John White, “Surgeon White to Governor Phillip, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, July the 4th, 1788,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 142.

[59] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), p. 196.

[60] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), pp. 195–6; Dennis Considen, “Dennis Considen to Dr. Anthony Hamilton, 18 November 1788,” Series 23.26: Copy of a letter received by Dr Anthony Hamilton from Dennis Considen, 18 November 1788, Call Number: SAFE/Banks Papers/Series 23.26; File Number: FL3134904, State Library of New South Wales.

[61] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), pp. 178–9; Dennis Considen, “Dennis Considen to Dr. Anthony Hamilton, 18 November 1788,” Series 23.26: Copy of a letter received by Dr Anthony Hamilton from Dennis Considen, 18 November 1788, Call Number: SAFE/Banks Papers/Series 23.26; File Number: FL3134904, State Library of New South Wales.

[62] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), pp. 156–7.

[63] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), pp. 188–9.

[64] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), pp. 188–9.

[65] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, (New York: Arno Press, 1971), p. 160.

[66] Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia: The Beginning, (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2016), p. 223.

[67] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), p. 545. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[68] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), p. 476. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[69] Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 245–6.

[70] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 282.

[71] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 282.

[72] See Inga Clendinnen, Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Shino Konishi, “‘Wanton with Plenty’: Questioning Ethno-historical Constructions of Sexual Savagery in Aboriginal Societies,” Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3, (2008): 356–72.

[73] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, November 5th, 1791,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), pp. 534–5.

[74] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), pp. 167–8.

[75] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), pp. 98–9.

[76] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), p. 99.

[77] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), pp. 167–8.

[78] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 115, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[79] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 175, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019; See also A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 323.

[80]Governor Phillip to the Right Hon. W. W. Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, 14 July 1790,” in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 190.

[81] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, November 5th, 1791,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 535.

[82] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, November 5th, 1791,” in Alexander Britton (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2.—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 535.

[83] Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville, Sydney, New South Wales, 16th December, 1791,” in in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), pp. 324–5; New South Wales Government, Register of Absolute Pardons, Series: NRS 1177; Reel: 800; Item: 4/4486, Page: 1, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[84] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968), pp. 201–2. Original John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793), Call Number: C 689, held at State Library of New South Wales. Transcript also online http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/hunhist.pdf, accessed 26 August 2019.

[85] New South Wales Government, Register of Land Grants, Series: NRS 13836; Reel: 2560; Item: 7/445, Page: 7 (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[86] The map was copied by James Bonwick from an original made somewhere between 1792 and 1795. Thomas Arndell’s farm was described in one Register of Land Grants as being bound on the east side by the creek separating it from Paul Schaffer’s vineyard and on the west side by Irving’s Farm. New South Wales Government, Register of Land Grants, Series: NRS 13836; Reel: 2560; Item: 7/445, Page: 9 (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia). G. W. Evans, Acting Surveyor, Plan of the Settlement of Parramatta made by John Hunter 20th August, 1796, Call Number: M BT 36/Series 1/Map 17; Microfilm Reel: CY 1378; File Number: FL3688860, State Library of New South Wales. Similar descriptions show Irving’s grant lay alongside those made to Robert Webb, Philip Schaffer, William Reid, and Thomas Arndell, the Assistant-Surgeon stationed at Rose Hill. See also A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 326.

[87] For the reference to the building of Irving and Arndell’s cottages see David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), pp. 225–26; Arthur Phillip, “Governor Phillip to Under-Secretary King, Sydney, New South Wales, 17th October, 1792,” in Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. I, 1788–1796, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), pp. 401–402.

[88] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), p. 112.

[89] Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 2001), p. 429.

[90] “Australia’s First Emancipated Convict Was a Parramattan,” Parramatta & Hills News, Thursday 8 May 1969, p. 11.

[91] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 153.

[92] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 246.

[93] Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of a Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and a Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1962), p. 246.

[94] Margaret Pelling, “The Meaning of Contagion: Reproduction, Medicine, and Metaphor,” in Alison Bashford and Claire Hooker (eds.), Contagion: Epidemics, History, and Culture from Smallpox to Anthrax, (Sydney: Pluto Press, 2002), p. 25–9; Milton J. Lewis, The People’s Health: Public Health in Australia, 1788–1950, (Westport: Praeger, 2003), pp. 1–2; Christopher Hamlin, Cholera: The Biography, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp 152–77.

[95] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 215.

[96] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 247.

[97] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 247.

[98] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), pp. 147–9.

[99] Henry Dundas, “The Right Hon. Henry Dundas to Lieutenant-Governor Grose, Whitehall, 30th June 1793,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 51; “[Enclosure]: Return of Lands Granted in New South Wales Since the Date of the last Return per Kitty,” in Francis Grose, “Lieutenant-Governor Grose to The Right Hon. Henry Dundas, Sydney, New South Wales, 30th April, 1794,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 213.

[100] Henry Dundas, “The Right Hon. Henry Dundas to Lieutenant-Governor Grose, Whitehall, 15th November 1793,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 81.

[101] Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia: The Beginning, (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2016), pp. 194–6.

[102] Milton J. Lewis, The People’s Health: Public Health in Australia, 1788–1950, (Westport: Praeger, 2003), pp. 35–6.

[103] John Pearn, “‘Where There is No Doctor’: Self-Help and Pre-Hospital Care in Colonial Australia,” Health and History, Vol. 14, No. 2, (2012): 162–80.

[104] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), p. 66.

[105] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 131, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019; Mollie Gillen identified “McFarlain” as Charles MacLaulin, who was sent with the first mission to Norfolk Island and whose named was also written as McClellan, McLennan and other versions, see Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 232.

[106] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 171, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[107] Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787–1792, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981), p. 171, transcript also online http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/setis/id/clajour, accessed 27 August 2019.

[108] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 287.

[109] John Cobley, Lesser Known Surgeons of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Australasian Medical Publishing, 1967), p. 300.

[110] New South Wales Government, Minutes, Court of Criminal Judicature, Series: 2700; Item: 5/1147A; Page: 421, (State Records of Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia). Simon Burn was buried in the Parramatta Burial Ground (St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta) on 5 October 1794. See “Burial of Simon Burn, Settler, 5 October 1794,” Parish Burial Registers, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[111] New South Wales Government, Minutes, Court of Criminal Judicature, Series: 2700; Item: 5/1147A; Page: 421, (State Records of Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[112] New South Wales Government, Minutes, Court of Criminal Judicature, Series: 2700; Item: 5/1147A; Page: 422, (State Records of Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[113] New South Wales Government, Minutes, Court of Criminal Judicature, Series: 2700; Item: 5/1147A; Page: 422, (State Records of Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[114] John Cobley, Lesser Known Surgeons of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Australasian Medical Publishing, 1967), p. 300.

[115] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 414.

[116] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 414.

[117] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 414.

[118]Account of Births and Deaths, 1795,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 347. There are some discrepancies in the records concerning the date of Irving’s death. The Historical Records of Australia indicate he died on the 5th of September; see Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. II, 1797–1800, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 718. Since Irving’s burial at St. John’s is listed as the 13th of September and burials usually happened soon after death it is possible that the earlier dates are transcription errors in HRNSW and HRA.

[119] Parish Burial Registers, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[120] “Australia’s First Emancipated Convict Was a Parramattan,” Parramatta & Hills News, Thursday 8 May 1969, p. 11.

[121] “Australia’s First Emancipated Convict Was a Parramattan,” Parramatta & Hills News, Thursday 8 May 1969, p. 11.

[122] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), pp. 148–9.

[123] Parish Baptism Registers, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[124] Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 2001), p. 430; Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), pp. 165–6.

[125] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), p. 430.

[126] William Balmain, “Acting Principal-Surgeon Balmain to Governor Hunter, General Hospital at Sydney, New South Wales, 16th October, 1795,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 333.

[127] William Balmain, “Acting Principal-Surgeon Balmain to Governor Hunter, General Hospital at Sydney, New South Wales, 16th October, 1795,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 333.

[128] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland, Sydney, New South Wales, 10th January, 1798,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), p. 349.

[129] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland, Sydney, New South Wales, 25th October 1795,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 331.

[130] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland, Sydney, New South Wales, 25th October, 1795,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. II.—GROSE AND PATERSON, 1793–1795, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1893), p. 332.

[131] William Bentinck, “The Duke of Portland to Governor Hunter, Whitehall, August, 1796,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), p. 97; John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland, Sydney, New South Wales, 25th June, 1797,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), p. 235.

[132] William Balmain, “Surgeon Balmain to Governor Hunter, Sydney, New South Wales, 1st August, 1798,” Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. II, 1797–1800, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 197.

[133] William Balmain, “Surgeon Balmain to Governor Hunter, Sydney, New South Wales, 1st August, 1798,” Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. II, 1797–1800, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1914), p. 197.

[134] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to Under-Secretary King, Sydney, N. S. Wales, 20th Aug., 1796,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), p. 73.

[135] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to Under-Secretary King, Sydney, N. S. Wales, 20th Aug., 1796,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), p. 74.

[136] John Hunter, “Governor Hunter to Under-Secretary King, Sydney, N. S. Wales, 20th Aug., 1796,” in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. III.—HUNTER, 1796–1799, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1895), pp. 73–4.

[137] Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), p. 137.

[138] Terry Kass, Carol Liston, and John McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, (Parramatta: Parramatta City Council, 1996), p. 52.

[139] A. J. Gray, “John Irving: The First Australian Emancipist,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, Part 6, (1954): 326.

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