Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Harry Goldney R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Harry Goldney was born at Clifton, Gloucestershire c. 1800, son of Gabriel Goldney and Mary Bracher.

He was appointed Assistant-Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 3 September 1824. [1]

At War

Harry Goldney was Assistant-Surgeon of the Glasgow at the Battle of Navarin in 1827. He was included on the List of Medical Officers who had served at War.

Appointed Surgeon

In September 1828 Assistant-surgeons Harry Goldney, late of the ship Glasgow and George Ellery Forman late of the Island of Ascension were both appointed to the rank of Surgeon [2]

Stag 1834

In 1834 Harry Goldney was appointed to the Stag.

Garrow 1839

In 1839 he was employed as Surgeon on the immigrant shop Garrow. He was on a statement of expenses defrayed by the Colonial Agent General in England for the voyage in March 1839. [3] He remained in the colony for four months, probably enjoying rounds of social engagements. In May 1839 in Sydney he was presented to the Governor at a levee held in Government House to celebrate the Queen's Birthday. [4]

In July he departed Sydney for London on the barque Andromache. Other surgeons on this vessel included Surgeons France and Osborne[5]

Spartan 1841

He was appointed to the Spartan in 25 August 1841 - in North America and West Indies [6]

Surgeon Superintendent

Adelaide 1846

In 1846 he was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Adelaide taking prisoners to Bermuda.

He kept a journal from 3 July 1846 to 2 September 1846....The journal is interesting in that he notes the difficult transition from prison to convict ship {Extract}Three hundred male convicts were embarked off Woolwich on the 3 and 4th July, their appearance on embarkation was pallid and dejected. The sudden change from the silence and quietude of a prison to the noise and bustle on board entirely interrupted sleep for several days producing an irritable state of mind amounting to a predisposition to mental derangement and occasioned many cases of fits of an epileptic character paroxysm requiring admitting the patient for about an hour into the hospital and afterwards administering a purgative. The cases were trivial and no application made for relief on the following day consequently no entry made on the sick list. The sensitivity to noise gradually subsided and their general health became much improved and no disease of any importance occurred during the passage. The whole of the prisoners landed at Bermuda on September 2nd in perfect health. [7]


He was appointed Surgeon-Superintendent on the Randolph in 1849.

He died on the Randolph on the voyage to Australia: The Morning Chronicle reported that the Randolph convict ship put into Simon's Bay, in the middle of July, for medical assistance, in consequence of the late surgeon superintendent Mr. Harry Goldney, having put a period to his existence by jumping overboard at sea, while labouring under temporary derangement, caused by erysipelas in the head. Mr. Walter Lawrance, senior assistant of the flag ship having been appointed acting surgeon superintendent, the Randolph proceeded on her destination to Australia. [8]

The United Services Magazine reported - Surgeon Harry Goldney, Esq., while in charge of the Randolph, convict-ship, with 300 male prisoners, proceeding to New South Wales, was attacked with erysipelas of the head, accompanied with paroxysms of delirium, in one of which he, unobserved, either fell or threw himself from the stern of the ship, and was drowned. [9]


[1] A list of the masters, medical officers, and pursers of his majesty's fleet

[2] - Hampshire Telegraph 29 September 1828

[3] Sydney Herald 14 June 1841

[4] Sydney Gazette 25 May 1839

[5] Sydney Herald 1 July 1839

[6] The Navy List

[7] UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 - National Archives UK

[8] The Morning Chronicle 17 September 1849

[9] United Services Magazine