Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Benjamin Bynoe R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Birth: Barbados, West Indies c. 1803
Arrival: Beagle 1837; Blundell 1844
Occupation: Surgeon; Explorer; Naturalist
Qualifications: MRCS 1825; FRCS 1844
Marriage: Charlotte Ollard 1836
Death: Surrey 1865

Benjamin Bynoe was born in Barbados, West Indies c.1803 [1] He was on the list of new Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1825. [2]

Expedition of the Beagle 1831

Benjamin Bynoe joined Charles Darwin's expedition as Assistant-Surgeon on the Beagle in 1831.

In April 1832 he was appointed acting surgeon when Robert McCormick departed the Beagle.[3]


The voyage returned to England in October 1836 and Benjamin married Charlotte Ollard in December 1836 at St. Saviour, Southwark.[4] Charlotte was the daughter of John and Margaret Ollard. She was baptised with her brother in 1811 at Southwark.

Expedition on the Beagle 1837

Benjamin Bynoe was appointed Surgeon to the Beagle again on 21 February 1837. Others on the voyage included:
J.C. Wickham (Commander) app. 16 February 1837
James B. Emery (Lieutenant) app. 25 April 1837
Henry Eden (Lieutenant) app.21 February 1837
J. Lort Stokes (Additional Lieutenant) app. 25 February 1837
Charles J. Parker (Act. Master) app. 13 September 1839
Thomas Tait (Assistant Surgeon) app. 27 December 1837
J.E. Dring (Clerk in Charge) app. 25 February 1837
L.R. Fitzmaurice (Mate) A.T. Freese (Mate) [12]

The expedition departed England in July 1837 and returned to England in October 1843. [5]

The Bynoe mouth, one of the outlets of the Flinders River, about 200 yards wide was named by Captain Stokes R.N. of the Beagle in 1841 in honour of Bynoe.

John Gould was grateful for his assistance: -The greater number of the birds from which the following characters are taken are from the collection made by the officers of Her Majesty's ship the Beagle. To Captain Wickham and the other officers of that vessel I am indebted for much kindness and attention. By the exertions of Mr. Bynoe, surgeon of the Beagle, science has been enriched, not only by the discovery of these new species of birds but of several others and some quadrupeds of a most interesting description, the whole of which have been placed in my hands for the purpose of describing figuring etc. - [6]

Magnify the map by scrolling then click on the ship icons to read excerpts from the voyage of the Beagle on the first leg of a surveying and exploration voyage from Portsmouth to Sydney in 1837 from

'Discoveries in Australia; With an Account of the Coast and Rivers Explored and surveyed during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle by J. Lort Stokes, Commander - Read the full account at Project Gutenberg

To enlarge map click on the icon in the top right

Surgeon-Superintendent on the Blundell 1844

Benjamin Bynoe was appointed Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Blundell in 1844. The Blundell departed England in March 1844 with 324 people including the ships company, and arrived at Norfolk Island on 7th July 1844. There was little illness on the first part of this voyage until they reached the equator when catarrhal and other complaints emerged. The prisoners were mostly well behaved and only three men were punished, all for petty thefts. Bynoe kept a medical journal from 20 February 1844 to 1st August 1844.[7]


He was appointed to the Crocodile in April 1847 [8] and transferred to the Ocean guard ship in October 1847. He was appointed to the Ganges [9] and then to the Wellington in 1848 and the Monarch in December 1850.

Surgeon-Superintendent on the Aboukir in 1851

His appointment to the Aboukir was announced in November 1851. The Aboukir departed England on 28th December 1851 and arrived in Hobart with 279 male convicts.

1851 Census

Benjamin and Charlotte Bynoe can be found in the 1851 Census and resided at 5 Carleton Terrace, Peckham, Surrey. He is 46 years old and Charlotte 41. He is noted as being on half-pay, not practising. Their servant Eliza Parvhak age 19 resided with them.

Madagascar Store Ship

In September 1853 he was appointed to the Madagascar store ship


Benjamin Bynoe was employed as Staff-Surgeon when he died at 440 Old Kent Road, Surrey on 13th November 1865 [10]. He was buried at Norwood Cemetery, Lambeth[11]

He was survived by his widow Charlotte. His effects were valued at £450. Charlotte was listed as one of two elderly female lodgers living with a family at Albany Road Camberwell in the 1881 census.

Notes and Links

1). The quality of Bynoe's long, devoted, and adventurous service typified the careers of so many nineteenth century naval medical officers who made their contribution to the social history of their more about Benjamin Bynoe at the Journal of the History of Medicine.

2). Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-1836 Philip Parker King, Charles Darwin


[1] 1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 1581; Folio: ; Page: ; GSU roll: 174817. (Ancestry)

[2] Journal of British and Foreign Medicine

[3] Navy List

[4] London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Saviour, Southwark, Register of marriages, P92/SAV, Item 3051 (Ancestry)

[5] Discoveries in Australia

[6] Annals of Natural History

[7] Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[8] The Standard 5 April 1847 (London)

[9] United service magazine

[10] British Medical Journal

[11] London Metropolitan Archives, Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, Transcript of Burials, 1865, DW/T Item, 0926, DW/T/0926. (Ancestry)

[12] Haultain, C. (compiled), The New Navy List, 1840, p. 193