Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Davidson R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

John Davidson was appointed Surgeon-Superintendent on the Lord Auckland in 1852.

The Lord Auckland was fitted up at Deptford and sailed to Cork on 3 September where 248 prisoners were embarked on 22 and 24 September 1852.

The Lord Auckland departed Cork and arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 29 January 1853.

John Davidson kept a Medical Journal from 1 September 1852 to 12 April 1853

Excerpt :

The minds of the Prisoners were kept usefully employed in improving their education, School having been established, which met regularly both forenoon and afternoon on deck, and in the Prison as convenient, and in the evenings from 5 to half past 7 o’clock they were allowed to amuse and exercise themselves in dancing.

Lime Juice, Sugar and Wine were issued daily in the proportion of an ounce of each of the two former and half a gill of the latter to each person, issued with a gill of water. Gums were examined weekly, and whenever any sponginess or tendency to bleed was observed. The antiscorbutic mixture was administered for a few days with the happiest effect. By these means the health of the Prisoners was preserved during a rather long passage of 122 days. 'Tis true that a considerable number of cases were entered in the Sick List, but it will also be observed that the complaints were generally of a trifling character, and the majority were not more than five or six a day under treatment.

Naval Service

John Davidson was appointed Inspector-General at the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth.

He died 31 January 1881 aged 63 and was buried East Greenwich Pleasaunce, London.

Notes and Links

1). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/255/1E Description: Medical journal of the Lord Auckland, convict ship from 1 September 1852 to 12 April 1853 by John Davidson, Surgeon Superintendent, during which time the ship was employed in the passage from England to Van Diemen’s Land and from there to Norfolk Island