Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Thomas Galloway R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 4 September 1801

Thomas Galloway was born c. 1780 in Scotland. He was appointed to the position of Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 4 September 1801.

He was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on the following Convict Ships:

Persian 1830

Persian arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 7th November 1830 with 197 prisoners.

Isabella 1832

Isabella arrived in Sydney on 15 March 1832 with 224 prisoners.

Asia 1833

Asia arrived in Sydney on 27 June 1833 with 225 prisoners

Henry Porcher 1835

Henry Porcher arrived in Sydney on 1 January 1835 with 252 prisoners

Susan 1836

Susan arrived in Sydney 7 February 1836 with 294 prisoners. This was his last appointment to a convict ship.

Molesworth Report

Thomas Galloway gave evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Transportation

Sir William Molesworth, Bart., in the Chair
23 May 1837

Mr. Thomas Galloway, called in and Examined.
Sir G. Grey.

2708. Are you a surgeon in the navy ? I am.

2709. Of what standing ? Since the 4th September 1801.

2710. Have you been recently employed in the selection of emigrants who are to receive a free passage to New South Wales? I am employed at this moment. -

2711. In what part of the country have you been ?–I have been in the counties of Sussex, Hants, Wiltshire, and generally through Dorsetshire; I have also been down to Cornwall.

2712. What class of persons have you selected?—Chiefly agriculturists.

2713. Married people?—All married people.

2714. Have you a sufficient number now to fill a ship?—Yes.

2715. When is the ship to sail?—I suppose about the 8th or 10th of June at the latest.

2716. Are you acting under instructions received from the Governor of New South Wales, and confirmed in this country?—Yes.

2717. Have you ever been employed as surgeon superintendent of a convict ship, on its passage to New South Wales?—I have been five voyages since June 1830. - Read the full Report here

Surgeon-Superintendent Immigrant Ships

Thomas Galloway's next appointment was to the immigrant vessel Augusta Jessie. The Augusta Jessie arrived in New South Wales from Portsmouth on 11 October 1837. Several children were reported to have died on the voyage.

His next appointment was to the immigrant vessel Prince Regent in 1839.

In 1840 he was appointed to the immigrant vessel Margaret in 1841.Forty-one people died on the voyage. An enquiry later found that there was no blame attached to Thomas Galloway for the high mortality during the voyage -

Extract from the Report of the Board to inquire into the Cause of Sickness and Mortality on board the Immigrant ship “Margaret”.

Immigration Office, Sydney,
19 April 1841.
We are of opinion, that not the slightest shadow of blame can attach, either to the surgeon or commander of the Margaret, who indeed, appear to have used every exertion to mitigate and overcome the sickness, which prevailed. We found these opinions on the evidence which we have received; and we more especially beg to draw his Excellency's attention to the statement made by Dr. Galloway, a surgeon in the Royal Navy, which, from his having brought out seven vessels with convicts and immigrants to this colony, we consider to be particularly worthy of consideration.

That officer expressly states that the provisions of the ship were good, the medical comforts sufficient, and the height of the 'tween decks averaged nine feet, and that the great mortality is to be attributed to the immigrants themselves; this opinion is corroborated by the commander of the vessel, and by three of the most intelligent of the immigrants.

Under such circumstances we cannot but exonerate the affreighters from any wilful neglect in their arrangements towards ensuring a happy termination to the voyage; but we nevertheless consider it of the utmost importance that the necessity should be strongly impressed upon them, of using the greatest caution in the selection of the immigrants, who may in future be sent in their ships. It may be clearly inferred from the accompanying evidence, that the majority of the Margaret's immigrants were greatly deficient in the necessary articles of common clothing, so requisite for the preservation of cleanliness and health, to enable them to undergo the hardships of a long voyage. And we would more especially instance the family of Monahan, alluded to in the evidence of Mr. Wm. Mace.

Although, as has been before stated, no specific fault can be found with the ship, we are nevertheless of opinion that she is not of the class most suitable to the service last engaged in; though so lofty in the 'tween decks, she was but scantily supplied with side ports, and those of the least possible size; whilst at the same time she was entirely unprovided with what we consider to be of the utmost importance, viz., stern ports in the hospitals—a provision which cannot be too strongly insisted on, in all ships engaged for the conveyance of immigrants. She was also built in North America, where the spaces between the timbers are usually filled with salt to preserve the wood, and consequently from their dampness most unhealthy. We are unwilling to draw invidious comparisons, but it cannot be denied that immigrants sailing from Liverpool, are far inferior in every respect to those from other ports. We have, etc. (signed) J. Denham Pinnock, W. H. Christie, Arthur Savage, H. H. Browne.

The Honourable the Colonial Secretary.

Extract from the Statement referred to in the foregoing Extract.

Dr. Thomas Galloway, R. N., states to the court as follows:

During the voyage there were 41 deaths; he considers that 23 deaths out of the 41, were caused by scarlatina; in the remaining cases other diseases assisted in the mortality. He considers the fever to have been the result of natural causes, but it was greatly aggravated by the slothful habits of the immigrants, and their continued disobedience to the orders that were promulgated for the maintenance of their health and comfort.

He received every support from the captain and third mate; the first and second mates behaved as ill as it was possible to do, giving every opposition to him, and encouraging the discontented part of the community.

The height of the vessel between decks averages nine feet. Mr. William Mace, who acted as constable on board, states, that he considers a family of the name of Monahan brought the scarlatina on board, and that the disease was greatly aggravated by the filthy habits of the immigrants, by their refusing to take the medicines prescribed, and by their non-attendance to the order given by the doctor; he does not consider the vessel, or any one connected with it, to have either produced, or augmented the disease, as the provisions were good and plentiful, and the medical comforts sufficient; he lost a fine child on board, but is perfectly satisfied with Dr. Galloway's attention and mode of treatment.


Thomas Galloway was on the list of Retired Surgeons in the Royal Navy in 1841 and 1846

Death of Elizabeth Galloway

His wife Elizabeth Galloway died at Southsea, Hants on May 10 1848.

1851 Census

Thomas Galloway can be found in the 1851 Census. He is 71 years of age and resides at Landport Terrace, Portsea with his unmarried daughter Anne age 37 and a servant Elizabeth Hoare age 23. Thomas gives his occupation as retired surgeon R.N., place of birth as Scotland. Anne was born at Portsea.


Thomas Galloway died on 17th October 1852 at No. 12 Landport terrace, Southsea, Hants - (Morning Chronicle 20 October 1852)


Thomas Galloway's eldest daughter Ellen married Lieutenant Smyth Griffiths on 29 March 1834 and daughter Margaret married surgeon J.O. McWilliam. A Naval Biographical Dictionary, Volume 1 By William R. O'Byrne

Son John James Galloway became a surveyor in Australia. - Surveyor Galloway and Moreton Bay - Brinkmanship and Final Honours By Associate Professor J. S. Ryan University of New England, Armidale.

Daughter Amelia-Patricia Galloway died at Southsea 23 October 1843 - Gentleman's Magazine.

Daughter Margaret married J.O. McWilliam, M.D. Surgeon R.N. at St. Paul's Southsea - Nautical Magazine