Voyage: 126 days
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
George Shaw Rutherford
George Shaw Rutherford kept a medical
journal from 30th December 1845 to 26 June 1846..........
I have the honor most respectfully to observe that 199 prisoners
of the Crown were embarked from the Milbank Prison and one from the
Justitia Hulk at Woolwich on board the convict ship China of which
ship I had the honor to be Surgeon Superintendent, on the 31st
December 1845 for a passage to Norfolk Island with a military guard
of 50 men, 6 women and 5 children under the orders of Captain
Johnson and Lieutenant Turner of the 65th regiment.
Woolwich on the 7th January 1846 and the Downs on the 10th January
1846 to commence our voyage to our distant port which we reached on
the 16th May on the 126th day from the Downs. On clearing the
Channel we fell in with strong gales from the south west for several
days which as usual occasioned considerable sea sickness amongst the
guard and prisoners On recovering from which diarrhoea began to
manifest itself amongst the prisoners to a considerable extent and
which continued more or less troublesome all the voyage. No fewer
than from 70 to 80 cases having come under medical treatment in the
course off the passage and which I must attribute to the use of
oaten meal porridge which they had daily for breakfast.
reached the Island of Teneriffe on the 5th February where we put
into for refreshments and sailed again on the 8th the Ship continued
generally healthy up to our passing the Cape of Good Hope when we
got into cold damp and blowing weather when typhus made its
appearance on board - first in one of the seamen who recovered and
subsequently in two of the prisoners, the first of whom named Peter
Gibson aged 21 died on the 14th day after he came on the sick list.
His was the only death which occurred in the passage when we arrived
at Norfolk Island we were perfectly free from disease there being
none then on the sick list. (1)
Examiner reported in June 1846 -
By the China, Dr.
Rutherford has returned to the colony, making his eighth trip. The
China conveyed prisoners and stores from England to Norfolk Island
direct and discharged there. Dr. Rutherford was specially selected
for the service, in consequence of the skill and care with which he
had conducted his former trips losing but six men in eight trips
The China and the Agincourt were taken
up for the conveyance of troops to India.
Notes & Links:
1). Select here to
find the location of George Shaw Rutherford's land in the Hunter
3). George Rutherford was also surgeon on the
Prince of Orange in 1821, Commodore Hayes in 1823
Marquis of Hastings in 1826,
Eliza in 1827,
in 1829, Royal
Admiral in 1830 and the
(1) Ancestry.com. UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857.
National Archives, Kew.
(2) The Launceston Examiner 17 June