Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

David Geddes R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

David Geddes was promoted from the position of surgeons' mate to assistant-surgeon in November 1822 [1]

The New Navy List records D. Geddes, served in the Burmese War as assistant-surgeon.

He was promoted to Surgeon in the Royal Navy in 1831.

Immigrant Ship Neptune 1839

He was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on the Neptune bringing immigrants to Australia in 1839. [7] The Neptune arrived in Sydney 28 September 1839. Alexander Geddes arrived as a cabin passenger on this vessel also.


David Geddes was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who were fit for service in 1841.[4] He was appointed Surgeon to the Belvidera in 1842 - 43 serving in the Mediterranean[3]


He was appointed to the Poictiers in 1847 [5]

He was mentioned in an article re cholera in the Medical Times - Our last extract is taken from the Journal of Dr. David Geddes. Surgeon of H.M.S. Poictiers:— 'I consider it my duty especially to state, that, as soon as the use of the disinfectant had been regularly established in this and the other ships belonging to the ordinary at Chatham, diarrhoea, which had been prevailing epidemically, began to subside, and in no instance did it subsequently pass on to the stage of confirmed cholera.' These extracts, taken from a large number of similar reports, are quite sufficient grounds for inducing us to recommend our readers to urge upon all with whom they have influence the benefit they may confer upon the community by having the chloride of zinc freely used in all the necessary operations for cleansing cesspools, privies, drains, etc., in the purification of unclean houses, and in all places where many people are crowded together, especially if any of them are suffering from the prevailing epidemic cholera.

Surgeon Superintendent - Convict Ships

David Geddes was employed on the following convict ships to Australia:

Palmyra departed Woolwich on 8 March 1846 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 22 August 1846. Medical Journal from 24 February 1846 to 28 August 1846.He returned to London on the Rajah in October 1846

Cornwall departed Portsmouth 24 February 1851 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land 11 June 1951. Medical Journal dated 3 February 1851 to 20 June 1851.

Oriental Queen[2]. The Oriental Queen departed Plymouth on 4 November 1852 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 19 February 1853.


David Geddes was on the List of Surgeons retired in 1864.


He died 18 February 1870 -

{Extract} - The Will of David Geddes, formerly of St. George's Terrace, Islington but late of 8 Kildare Gardens Westbourne Park both in Co. Middlesex, a Surgeon in the Royal Navy, deceased, who died 18 February 1870 at 8 Kildare Gardens. [6]

Notes and Links

1). A surgeon on H.M.S. Belvedere, he passed his examination on the 3rd March 1832 and had the doctorate conferred upon him on the 25th September 1832 by the Hon. John Hookham Frère. He retired from the Navy in 1856 and died in 1870. (Acta Acad. Melit. 1800-32, fol. 104.) - Oversea Medical Graduates and Students at the University of Malta in the Nineteenth Century Paul Cassar


[1] The Morning Post 3 January 1823

[2] Medical Times and Gazette

[3] New Navy List

[4] New Navy List

[5] Medical Times 1847 1847

[6] England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England.

[7] Australian Medical Pioneers Index Online