Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Andrew Henderson R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Andrew Henderson was appointed Assistant Surgeon on 21 May 1811; to be stationed at Plymouth[1]


He was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on nine convict ship voyages to Australia:

York to Van Diemen's Land in 1829

Florentia to New South Wales in 1830

Lord William Bentinck to Van Diemen's Land in 1832.

Royal Admiral to New South Wales in 1833

Aurora to Van Diemen's Land in 1835

St. Vincent to New South Wales in 1837

Royal Sovereign to Van Diemen's Land in 1838

Hindostan to Van Diemen's Land in 1841

Emily to Van Diemen's Land in 1842

Naval Service

He was appointed to the San Josef at Devonport in 1845[2].



The Result of Experience in Sea-Scurvy, with Remarks on its Prevention and Treatment. By Andrew Henderson, M.D. Surgeon, Royal Navy.

This paper contains some new matter, and a good deal of information that will be valuable to his junior brother officers in the navy, and to surgeons in ships of commerce. Dr. Henderson has performed seven voyages in charge of male convicts to Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales, with results as to health which testify strongly to the excellence of his arrangements. The author, like all well-informed surgeons and captains of the present day, trusts much more to good diet, good habits, and cleanliness, than to medicaments, for the prevention of scurvy. He denies all efficacy to lemon-juice, both as a preventive and means of cure. His remedy is nitre, which he gives to the amount of from two to four drachms in the course of the day, dissolved in six or eight ounces of water, in divided doses. 'In this way, I have often with much satisfaction remarked a visible improvement in three days; but, in general, a much longer time is required to bring about a favorable change. I have frequently known patients very much averse to the medicine at first, saying that it caused vomiting, purging, and so forth; but never knew one attempt to refuse it after the second or third day, all coming to the hospital cheerfully at the appointed time to get their allowance, and often pushing one another aside, trying to get first in for the expected dose. The relief it affords to the sinking at the pit of the stomach, so very much referred to in purpura, is almost incredible. Indeed, had I not so often witnessed the remarkable change for the better in a short time, I could not credit the accounts given by the patients themselves, raised as it were from death's door to a state of ease and returning health.' Edin. Med. and Sur. Journal. July, 1839 -
British and Foreign Medical Review: Or Quarterly Journal.


In 1845 he published Scraps and Facts of Convict Ships. - Andrew Henderson, M.D., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Surgeon of Her Majesty's Ship San Josef. -

Contains Education and Behaviour Lists kept by him on Convict Ships. 'These', he writes, 'were printed to show younger men in the service what has been done for Convicts during a voyage of no very long duration; and with the view of encouraging Surgeon Superintendents to use their utmost exertions to educate the unfortunate'. He described his system of convict education with observations on Hindostan voyage made to VDL with 200 boys without serious illness.


[1] Naval Chronicle

[2] Navy List