Frederick Bastone advertised his intention to commence a medical practice with the following notice in Maitland in April 1849.
'Mr. Bastone, Surgeon and accoucheur, begs to intimate to the inhabitants of Maitland and its vicinity that he intends practising his profession in East Maitland Mr. B. can be consulted daily between the hours of eight and ten a.m. at the residence of Messrs. Peek and Calvert East Maitland The Retail Druggist's business will be carried on as usual at the above establishment conducted by an able assistant, East Maitland'
Soon after placing the above advertisement he must have decided to try his luck at the gold fields. He arrived in San Francisco in December 1849 and sent the following letter back to William Patey Peek in Maitland recording details of his voyage and the circumstances in San Francisco.
' Dec., 1849 'After a fine run of eighty one days we arrived here on Sunday last, safe and sound, having but one death, that of Capt. Pattison's brother, who died on the 7th November, after a second paralytic stroke, having been ill since leaving Sydney. We had one birth on board, and plenty of sickness, but nothing very serious.
I must now if possible, endeavour to give you a faint view of some of the wonders of this most wonderful place. I have been on shore but twice yet, but have in those two trips seen more than I ever before saw. I almost fear to write you half, for I really would not believe it had I not seen it. Imagine to yourself 100,000 persons congregated together of all nations in the world all intent on one great object, the gain of gold. Gambling is carried on to a frightful extent every second house being a gambling house; they gamble from morning till night, Sundays and all, and all night also. I have seen 900 ounces of gold on a single card or throw. There is one house that pays 25,000 a year rent alone. Wages are fearful; a laboring man can earn 12 dollars a day, carpenters 30 dollars, and after their day's work, if they can play the fiddle, 20 dollars more. Living is fearful; 45 dollars a week; 4 dollars a night for a bed, 5 in a room. The price of land and house rent you would not credit; in fact, unless a person was on the spot he would not believe one half. The retail price of every article is fearful, but the wholesale is as cheap, and many things far less than Sydney; for instance, a drink or fix, that is a glass of brandy, wine, etc., is half a dollar, and you can buy brandy at 4 1/2 dollars a gallon, rum 9d. ditto; pickles are 4 dollars a bottle, beer 4 ditto, a pair of strong boots 60 to 100 dollars. Gold is as plenty and more than ever; lumps of 20 and 30 lbs. weight are found. But with all this wealth the misery is frightful.
Of sickness there is plenty, fever, ague etc., and people are dying 20 and 30 a day; but to sum up all, and what will give you a better view of the misery of the place than pages - people die in the street, and are allowed to lie for days, no person taking any notice of them. People are coming by hundreds daily. It is just the west season and the streets are almost impassable.
A woman dare not appear in the streets; it is a frightful place for females. A number of our passengers are coming back immediately by the Spec; the misery here has quite frightened them. I saw a piece of land sold today for 90,000 dollars about 25 feet square. I shall send this letter by private hand or it will never reach you, for they keep all the letters back that go through the post. Vessels from all parts of the world are daily arriving, but few leaving for the south. I had nearly forgotten to tell you that the boats I bought realised a good price 270 dollars one, and 390 dollars the other. The horses I had intended to come by the Chasely I sold to advantage before leaving, and a good job I did so, there being but few wanted here now, having plenty of mules, which are far better for the roads and cheaper both to purchase and feed. Hay is sold here by the lb., and is at present 3d or 6 cents per lb'
Frederick Bastone was reported to have lost all his belongings in the San Francisco fires. On 6th September 1850, less than nine months after arriving in San Francisco, apparently he passed away at his residence in Washington Street - 'a gentleman much respected by those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, both in San Francisco and Australia'. He was 33 years old.
Notes and Links
The following notes all pertain to a Frederick Bastone, surgeon in England.
April 24, at Minehead, Somerset, Mary Anne Cecilia, the only daughter of Mr. Frederick Bastone, surgeon died age 18 months. - Bristol Mercury 12 May 1838.
6th September 1840 - Marriage of Frederick Bastone of Hackney Rd., widower, Licentiate of Apothecaries, Surgeon, son of Francis Bastone, solicitor, to Elizabeth Sarah Wellard of Rochester.
1st May 1860 - Marriage of Frederick Bastone of Lambeth, widower, Apothecary son of Francis, to Hannah Amelia Daye.
In the 1871 Census Frederick Bastone gives his age as 60. He resides with his wife Hannah age 47 and daughter Mary age 17. They reside at College St. Chelsea.
In the 1891 Census - St. Paul Deptford, London - Frederick Bastone is listed as age 80 and a widower. Occupation Surgeon and Registered Medical Practitioner. Place of birth Minehead, Somerset. He resided with his daughters Isabella age 39 and Mary age 36