Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Frederick Joshua Beardmore

Hunter Valley Medical Practitioner

Frederick Joshua Beardmore was the second son of Joshua Beardmore of Green End House, Hemel-Hampstead, London.

Arrival in the Colony

He departed London on the 'Coromandel' arriving in Wellington on 30 August 1840 and from Port Nicholson to Sydney on the 'Lady Leith' arriving in Sydney on 1 October 1840. [4]


Early in 1842 Frederick Beardmore entered into partnership with George May Lee, opposite the Wesleyan Church in High St West Maitland, however this partnership was dissolved in February 1842. Dr. Beardmore continued to practice at the same residence, holding himself responsible for any debt incurred by the late partnership. He advertised his services stating that he was a 'Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London and a legally qualified Practitioner of New South Wales who had received his medical education at the London University and resided eight months in Paris in the diligent pursuit of his profession.' His diploma and certificate from the Board of Sydney with others from the Professors of the London University and some of the first Surgeons in Paris were open to the inspection of any person who wished to see them.


The marriage of Frederick Joshua Beardmore and Eleanor Nicholls took place in the Presbyterian Church in Maitland in 1843 and by October Eleanor had given birth to their first son Frederick.

Medical Cases

In October 1844 Frederick Beardmore attended Joseph Ferris who had been run over by his own bullock dray near the Long Bridge in Maitland. Ferris had fallen from the dray while attempting to strike one of the bullocks. Dr. Beardmore wasn't called until the next morning and as with many of the accidents involving bullock drays, there was little he could do. Ferris died from his injuries that evening.

Frederick Beardmore was probably a familiar site in the township of Maitland attending accidents and house calls in a second hand gig led by his chestnut horse. In June 1845 he attended Henry Incledon Pilcher who had suffered a stroke. Mr. Pilcher, a forty five year old solicitor, had collapsed suddenly and both Frederick Beardmore and another local doctor, David Sloane were called. Henry Pilcher was a long time resident of the district and had known his medical attendant for years [5]. The two Doctors consulted as to treatment however to no avail as Pilcher died later that evening. A luckier patient was George Glew who was treated by Frederick Beardmore after almost drowning when he rode his horse into a deep part of a nearby creek. Glew survived, although he continued to ail for some time.

In March 1846 Eleanor Beardmore gave birth to another son Francis. (Francis Beardmore died in Rockhampton in 1913.)


By January 1847, the practice had moved to Mr. Gorricks buildings (three doors from Henry Reeves hotel and opposite Mr. Owen's Stores. In May 1847 he decided to move the practice from West Maitland to Morpeth. He resigned from his position as visiting surgeon at Maitland Hospital in July that year and commenced private practice next door to the Morpeth Hotel. By September of that year he had also established a retail shop for the sale of drugs. He sold an assortment of other goods including hat brushes, tortoiseshell combs, camphorated tooth powder, pomatum, bears' grease, cold cream, bears' marrow and Essence of lavender.

Perhaps this was not a successful venture for by January of the following year he had decided to leave the district for South Australia and commenced selling his household furniture etc by auction : 'Jeremiah Ledsam is honoured with instructions from Dr. F.J. Beardmore, preparatory to his departure for Adelaide, to sell by public auction, at his residence in High Street, West Maitland on Tuesday 1 February 1848 at 12 o'clock, a quantity of excellent household furniture consisting of Cane seated chairs, dining and other tables, sofas, superior 4 post bedstead, children's bed, wash hand stands, parlour grate, fender, Kitchen utensils of the best description, Shop fixtures, - Counter, nest drawers, shelves, glass cases, patent scales etc after which a superior second hand gig, a good gig harness, brass mounted. One chestnut horse, 4 years old; its paces are good and is an excellent gig horse. One large black pony 6 years old. Walks fast and trots quick. Both horses are of great endurance, and of perfect docility of temper. Sale in consequence of the proprietor's determination to proceed forthwith to Adelaide.


It is not known whether the Beardmores travelled to Adelaide, however a daughter Fanny, was born to Frederick and Eleanor on 8th March 1849 at North Shore, Sydney, New South Wales.


The family returned to Maitland where Dr. Beardmore resumed his practice and was again associated with the Maitland hospital. He was reimbursed 13/6d by the hospital for the purchase of a stethoscope in 1851 and the leeches he provided for the hospital added 4/- to his income in July of that year.


Frederick Beardmore died 8 December 1853 at his residence in West Maitland leaving Eleanor with four children to raise. The Maitland Mercury gave an account of his death:

'Suicide of Mr. Beardmore, Surgeon - On Thursday morning early great sensation was produced in West Maitland by the statement that Mr. Frederick Joshua Beardmore, surgeon, an old and respected resident, had committed suicide. Mr. Beardmore had for many years successfully practised his profession in Maitland, but latterly had been at times afflicted with slight illness, which produced great depression of spirits. For the last three months this had been the case more particularly, although few had taken any notice of his occasional expressions that his life was a burthen to him, that he would be unable to provide for his family, etc., He was during the last few weeks under medical treatment, and had been too unwell to practise much himself, although he saw a patient so lately as Saturday last. On Wednesday he continued very much depressed in spirits, and remained in bed nearly all day, having had leeches to his head, but talked quite collectedly. On Thursday morning, after six o'clock, he got up and partly dressed himself, and went down stairs into his back yard; he was there seen and spoken to by his adjoining neighbour, and he returned into the house; and in a few minutes afterwards Mrs. Beardmore, going down stairs to answer a knock at the front door, was shocked to find her husband lying on the sofa in the parlour with his throat cut, and the floor covered with blood. Mr. Beardmore was still alive, but could not speak. Medical assistance was instantly sent for an obtained, but in a few minutes Mr. Beardmore expired. An inquest was held on the body the same day, by Mr. Parker, and a verdict returned that he died from a wound inflicted by his own hand, while laboring under a fit of temporary insanity. Notwithstanding considerable eccentricity of manner, Mr. Beardmore was much respected as a man of kindly disposition, and of strict probity and integrity, and a very general feeling of sorrow is expressed for the loss sustained by his bereaved wife and four young children.'

Eleanor Beardmore died in Cooktown, Queensland in July 1883 aged 70

Notes and Links

1. Campbell's Hill Cemetery - Grave stone of Frederick Beardmore

2. Beardmore genealogy

3. Select here to find some of the medical cases attended by Frederick Beardmore in Maitland and Morpeth