Aims and scope of
AMPI is intended to assist and promote the study of Australian
medical history and biography, by providing access to a comprehensive database
of medical pioneers, along with educational background material.
AMPI aims to include every Australian doctor up to 1875. This includes
- registered or qualified in Australia before 1875,
- were resident here before 1875, or
- came here in a professional capacity before 1875
Those who were only in the last group (mostly professional ship's
surgeons) were perhaps not strictly-speaking "Australian",
but collectively they contributed a great deal to the exploration
and settlement of Australia.
Dr. Richards, the original compiler, worked mainly on the
period from settlement up to 1863 (75 years). However his researches
carried him in some cases beyond that date, and the present editor
decided to extend the database to 1875 so as to include the first
generation of Australian medical graduates.
Having a sharp cut-off date is artificial, but a moment's reflection
will show it cannot logically be avoided. There is no reason, however,
why we should not go back in time indefinitely, and so medical visitors
before settlement have also been included.
The amount of information recorded in AMPI varies considerably
from one doctor to another. Some doctors are known only from brief
entries in the shipping records or the medical registers, but the
lives of many are surprisingly well documented. It is hoped that
anyone who has further information about a doctor will contribute
data through the facility provided on this web site.
Every effort has been made to identify the sources of information
presented in the database. It should be noted, however, that the
editor has not always been able to identify the sources used by
the original compiler.
Editor of AMPI
Stephen Due B.A.(hons), Grad.Dip.Lib.
Stephen Due is a medical librarian (retired) and amateur medical biographer. His particular interests are colonial medical biography and bibliography. His publications include:
- Early medical journals of Australia. Med
J Aust 1994;161(5):340-2
- A Bibliography of Australian Doctors
at War. Geelong: The Author, 1994
- John Day : a colonial medical life. J
Med Biog 1995;3:99-104
- Stephen Mannington Caffyn : a colonial literary life.
J Med Biog 1996;4(2):148-53
- Australian doctors at war. Aust
Military Med 1997;6(3):10-5 and 1998;7(2):15-20
- G.E.Morrison : an Australian in China. J
Med Biog 1998;6(1):28-34
- Publications of Geelong and South-Western
District Doctors : Settlement to 1880. Geelong Hospital
- Anzac doctors. Aust Military Med
1999: 8(1): 9-13.
- Arthur Lynch: parliamentarian, physician and author.
J Med Biog 1999;7(2);93-99.
- Charles Broady Mingaye Syder (1797-1871): medical temperance
J Med Biog 2003 Feb;11(1):21-7
History and development of
AMPI began with the work of the late Dr. N. David Richards,
an English epidemiologist and social historian. During many years of research,
he produced a card file containing records of about 2,500 doctors
who emigrated from Britain to Australia in the first 65 years after
Settlement. This file provided the original data for AMPI, although
much has since been added, and the database now contains over 4,500
Dr. Richards searched systematically through the earliest historical
records, as well as records of the voyages of convict and immigrant
ships, early medical journals, selected history books, medical directories
and medical registers. A vast amount of material passed through
his hands, and consequently his card file constituted a substantial
record of Australia's medical pioneers.
A typical record in the card file contained the doctor's name,
qualifications, year of emigration, and name of ship. Sometimes
it included his addresses and positions held in Australia. If an
obituary had been found, or a later biography, or if the doctor
was mentioned in other sources, these were cited, and additional
information was added to the card.
Meanwhile, a design for a medical biography database had been developed
by the present editor, an Australian medical librarian then making
a special study of early doctors in Geelong. A chance meeting with
Dr. Richards, in 1997, ended with a tentative agreement to use this
software to computerise the card file, which was eventually shipped
to Geelong for this purpose.
In transferring the data from the original cards to the computer,
a large amount of editorial work was necessary, and a considerable
amount of additional data was added to the database records
as work has progressed. In addition, a number
of new records were added for doctors not in the original file.
Noel David Richards
M.A M.P.H. Ph.D. (1937-1998)
social historian and epidemiologist
Noel David Richards trained as a social scientist at Nottingham University.
He became a lecturer at the London Hospital Medical College, and
then went to the USA, where he worked at the National Institutes
of Health and at Harvard University. He then held various positions
in English universities, followed by a period in India as a WHO
consultant, before becoming head of the Department of Social Studies
at Nottingham University. He retired from this position, to engage
in cohort studies at Bristol, later returning to Nottingham University
where he joined the Department of Child Health, and was a Senior
Research Fellow. He published a wide range of books and articles
on socio-medical aspects of nineteenth century Britain, covering
topics such as dentistry, health promotion and cancer screening.
His interest in medical sociology generally, and particularly the
social history of medicine, was therefore well-established when
he began to publish in the field of Australian medical history.
His first article in that field appeared in the British Medical
Journal in 1987 (see below). He was at that time investigating early
medical migration from Britain to Australia, developing a particular
interest in medical men who were transported. His card file of early
Australian doctors, which later formed the basis of the AMPI database,
was a tool developed mainly to study medical migration from the
point of view of the social historian. He was still engaged in this
work at the time of his death.
David was a keen cricketer and cricket coach. He also served in
administrative positions, becoming president of the Nottingham Cricket
Club. He played soccer, and enjoyed quizzes, music and travel. He
developed a strong attachment to Australia, where he made many friends.
Sources: Pearn J. Outback Medicine.
Amphion Press, 1994 (xv); unpublished papers.
Publications by N. David Richards
on Australian medical history:
- Transported to New South Wales: medical convicts
1788-1850. Br Med J 1987;295:1609-12
- Medium red with a fruity nose...doctors and viniculture
in 19th century Australia. J Royal Soc Med
- Queensland's medical men 1824-1869. In: Pearn J
(ed). Health, History and Horizons.
Brisbane : Amphion Press, 1992: 193-213
- Pioneer medical men in Western Australia 1829-1870.
In: Winterton P, Gurry D. Impact of the Past
Upon the Present : Second National conference of the Australian
Society of the History of Medicine, Perth July 1991. Canberra
: The Society, 1992:21-5
- Medical men in Tasmania 1803-1870. In: Atkins S
et al (eds). Outpost Medicine : Australian
Studies in the History of Medicine : Third National Conference
of the Australian Society of the History of Medicine, Hobart,
February 1993. Hobart : The Society and the University
of Tasmania, 1993: 375-85.
- Medical convicts to New South Wales and Van Dieman's
Land 1788-1818. Med J Aust 1994;161(1):73-4,
- To minister to the sick : an historic socio-profile
of the medical profession in Northern Australia. In: Pearn J (ed).
Outback Medicine : Some vignettes of pioneering
Medicine. Brisbane : Amphion Press, 1994:23-42
- Medical transportees to Australian colonies: 1788-1868.
In: Covacevich J et al. History Heritage
and Health : Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of
the Australian society of the History of Medicine. Brisbane
: The Society, 1996
- Medical men at Norfolk Island : the first settlement,
1788-1814. In: Covacevich J et al. History
Heritage and Health : Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference
of the Australian society of the History of Medicine. Brisbane
: The Society, 1996