Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Thomas Whitfield

Hunter Valley Medical Practitioner

Thomas Whitfield arrived from London on the brig Alice in May 1833. [1]


In October 1834 he travelled from Maitland to visit with Sir W. Edward Parry at Port Stephens shortly before Parry was to return to England. On this occasion Dr. Whitfield was accompanied by Lieutenant Caswell. At the meeting they discussed Dr. Whitfield's intention to cultivate medicinal drugs. He had already established gardens on the Maitland road behind Sempill's mill where he had great success with cabbages, one reported to be about six feet in circumference and five feet high; also a melon in the form of a semicircle, three feet in length. [2]

Visitors to Stroud

In July 1836 Thomas Whitfield was visited by James Backhouse...17 July....At Stroud we became the guests of Thomas Whitfield, who entertained us hospitably: he is an intelligent man, and has the superintendence of stock, stud, and agriculture under the company, which has three hundred acres of land in cultivation here, and two hundred at Booral. We sat down by ourselves in the forenoon for worship. In the afternoon we had some conversation with our host, and with Robert Rodgers, the assistant-surgeon, and Charles Keelz, the superintendent of flocks, who are inmates in this house; and in the evening we had a meeting in the chapel, built by Sir Edward Parry, in which, in the absence of W. M. Cowper, Thomas Lemon, a pious overseer, reads the Episcopal service[3]

Court Cases

By 1837 Lieutenant Caswell and Dr. Whitfield were no longer on speaking terms, Whitfield having been accused of dealing indecently with servants. For an account of the Court case dated 27 March 1837 that followed Lieutenant Caswell's accusations against Dr. Whitfield and Whitfield's action to recover compensation for defamation see R v. Dumaresq - Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales.

Whitfield countered with a charge of his own - See Whitfield v. Caswell. According to a surgeon named Russell who resided in Sydney and who was acquainted with Dr. Whitfield in London, Whitfield had kept a druggist shop in South Audley Street, London. [4]


[1] The Sydney Herald 16 May 1833

[2] Sydney Herald 7 April 1834

[3] Extracts from the letters of James Backhouse: whilst engaged in a Religious Visit to Van Diemen's Land, New South Wales and South Africa accompanied by George Washington Walker, London 1842