Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Joseph Docker - Surgeon and Settler

Thornthwaite - Map 9

Joseph Docker arrived in New South Wales as surgeon on the immigrant ship David Scott in 1834. He acquired a 10,000 acre estate on Dartbrook named Thornthwaite shortly after his arrival.

Map showing the location of Thornthwaite 1837

Governor Gipps to Thornthwaite

In November 1844 Governor Sir George Gipps and Lady Gipps made a visit to the upper Hunter River district.

With their entourage, they travelled from Aberdeen, passed through St. Aubin's and proceeded to the parsonage at Scone. Here they inspected the church and proceeded to the court house where several gentlemen of the district were in waiting to receive them with a suitable address. His Excellency made a brief reply and remained about twenty minutes before driving off in the directions of Mr. Docker's 'Thornthwaite', calling on his way at John Bingle's 'Puen Buen'.

The Governor arrived at 'Thornthwaite' in the afternoon with the intention of leaving Lady Gipps there while he and a few gentlemen proceeded over the Cedar Brush to 'Warrah' to 'have a peep at the Liverpool Plains', however the Governor became seriously indisposed while at 'Thornthwaite. He was confined to his bed where he remained until he was well enough to make the journey home.

Arrival of Joseph Docker on the David Scott in 1834 - Sydney Gazette 25 October 1834
Governor Gipps would have been well cared for here as Joseph Docker had long ago qualified as a medical practitioner, having being apprenticed when he was 13 years old. He had previously been engaged by the East India Company and arrived in Australia as Surgeon Superintendent of the female immigrant ship David Scott in October 1834.

The Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of The Time gives an account of his life - ' Joseph Docker has spent a large portion of his life in this country having lived chiefly on his estate near Scone in the Hunter river district. He was once a candidate for election to the Legislature but was defeated. He was, however appointed a Member of the Upper House. Mr. Docker was made Postmaster-General in the first Martin Administration, in January 1866; and just before the close of that Administration, in September 1868, he was appointed Colonial Secretary....


Thornthwaite - State Library of NSW
State Library of NSW

Notes and Links

1). Images of Thornthwaite from State Library of NSW - Album of views of 'Thornthwaite', Dartbrook, N.S.W., ca. 1860-1869 / photographed by Joseph Docker and Judge E. B. Docker ; Floral album of Docker family portraits; small album of New England views, ca. 1900-1911

2). Ernest Brougham Docker born at Thornthwaite in 1842 - Australian Town and Country Journal 22 March 1890

3). Genesis of the Post Office - Old Sydney Town