Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Alexander Gamack

Hunter Valley Medical Practitioner

Alexander Gamack was employed as assistant surgeon at Norfolk Island in 1831. He was mentioned in dispatches for his exertions during an uprising of convicts at Norfolk Island in 1834 -
Colonial Secretary's Office,
Sydney, March 1834.
HIS Excellency the Governor directs it to be notified, that a despatch has been received at this Office, from Captain Foster Fyans, of the 4th or King's Own Regiment, Acting Commandant of Norfolk Island, dated 16th February, reporting that a Mutiny had broken out in that Island on the morning of the 15th January last, in which about one hundred and fifty convicts, comprising the gaol gang, capital respites, and others, were concerned ; but which was soon quelled, with the loss of five convicts killed, six wounded, and two soldiers wounded.

In addition to these numbers, a soldier and a constable were unfortunately shot by a military party, who were out in pursuit of certain convicts that had taken to the bush, and who unhappily mistook them for the runaways of whom they were in search.

His Excellency has much pleasure in expressing his approbation of the prompt and efficacious measures adopted by Captain Fyans upon this occasion, by which the settlement has been restored to a state of perfect tranquility. Nor can he omit noticing the activity and zeal displayed by Lieutenant Fortescue, and the steady discipline and good conduct of the men of the 4th Regiment under his command.

The Acting Commandant also mentions in terms of approbation the exertions of Mr. Assistant Surgeon Gamack, the overseers and constables generally, and of many of the prisoners whose names have been specially reported, and the particulars of whose cases will be immediately investigated, in order that they may respectively receive such rewards as their conduct merits.

By His Excellency's Command, Alexander MacLeay

MILITARY Wounded by the Mutineers. John Pike, and William Perham, privates 4th or King's Own Regiment. Accidentally shot while in pursuit of Bushrangers. Thomas York, private 4th or King's Own Regiment; Thomas Consterdine, per ship Recovery, acting constable.

CONVICTS. Killed in the Mutiny, or since dead of wounds then received. William Collins, per ship Florentia ;
George Wright Countess Harcourt;
Thomas Williams, Minerva(3);
Dominic McCoy, alias Boyce, Bussorah Merchant;
Robert May or Smith, Florentia.

Wounded and now Convalescent.
Henry Drummond, per ship Ocean (3);
John Butler, John (2);
James Brady, Mangles(4);
Samuel Wilson, Ocean (3) ;
Joseph Snell, Recovery ;
Thomas Freshwater, Manlius

Departure from Norfolk Island

Alexander Gamack returned to Sydney from Norfolk Island on the Governor Phillip in December 1836 [2]


He was employed as surgeon at Windsor Hospital when he married Anna (Blachford) Cox, widow of William Cox in 1837. The Gamacks were residing at Fairfield near Windsor in 1841 when a destructive fire destroyed much of their property [3].


After submitting the necessary testimonials of qualifications to the President and Members of the New South Wales Medical Board appointed by his Excellency the Governor, Doctors were certified 'Legally Qualified Medical Practitioners'. Dr. Alexander Gamack was listed as a Qualified Medical practitioner and Colonial surgeon in Newcastle in 1848. He was also appointed Magistrate in September of that year.


The Gamack family resided at Parramatta in 1850 -

'Merciful Preservation from Destruction by Lightning.-On Tuesday morning last, during the violence of the tempest, the electric fluid entered the dwelling house of Dr Gamack The description of the circumstance by the in-mates is as follows : A ball of brilliant fire, about the size of a cricket ball, entered the kitchen, where two men and a woman servant were occupied-the woman was thrown to a distance, and lost the power of speech ; the men were also thrown from their places, gasping for breath. The ball of fire played and flickered under the table for a perceptible space of time, clearing the stove dust off the floor, then made its exit out of the kitchen, round to the window of the breakfast room, where the doctor and Mrs. Gamack with their son, a lad of eleven years of years of age, were sitting; the fluid here exploded with an awful crack-the boy was sent from the table to a corner of the room, and Mrs. G. thrown violently back into her chair. The doctor received a blow, on the right side of the chest ; the table shook so much that one of the breakfast cups turned completely upside down ; and the poor boy, who was struck speech-less, when lie recovered his breath, shrieked most piteously. The family remained ill all day, especially the doctor. The postman, who was passing the house at the time, felt the shock, for his horse trembled under him. The family of Captain Chilcott, who reside near the spot, describe the shock to have been as if the house would burst asunder. - Maitland Mercury'

Port Macquarie

Alexander Gamack later resided in Port Macquarie and was employed in private practice. He died on Wednesday morning 15th February 1888 at Port Macquarie. - A very old resident of the district. For many years he was under a pension from the government, and acted as government officer for the asylum at Port Macquarie in the early days - [4]

Notes and Links

1). Convict Establishments in the Colony - Alexander Gamack employed as surgeon in Tasmania September 1850. Parliamentary Papers

2). The Gamack Boys. The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 - 1950) Sat 6 Jul 1918


[1] The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 - 1842) Mon 10 Mar 1834 Page 4

[2] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Sat 3 Dec 1836

[3] The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848) Thu 26 Aug 1841 Page 3

[4] Sydney Morning Herald 16 February 1888