Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

George Imlay R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 20 November 1824

George Imlay was born in Aberdeen, Scotland c. 1794, son of Alexander and Agnes Imlay.

Assistant Surgeon

He was appointed to the position of Assistant-Surgeon on 5 April 1813; Assistant-Surgeon to Semiramis in 1818[1], and Satellite in 1821. [2]


On 20 November 1824 he was promoted to the position of Surgeon.[3]

George Imlay was stationed on the vessel Dover in March 1832 and gave an account of some of the cholera cases that were sent on board the Dover from various vessels in the river. [4]

Surgeon Superintendent

He was employed as surgeon-superintendent on the convict ship Roslin Castle which departed Cork on 8 October 1832 and arrived in Port Jackson on 5th February 1833.

The Imlay Brothers

Together with his enterprising brothers Alexander and Peter Imlay, also surgeons, he took up pastoral pursuits in Australia. They acquired several properties in Van Diemen's Land and also entered the whaling industry in the Bega district.

They were successful in their pursuits until the 1840's when they lost almost everything.


George Imlay died by his own hand in 1846 -

We have received intelligence from Bargo, in the Twofold Bay district, of the melancholy death of Dr George Imlay, which we regret to state took place under his own hand, under the following circumstances : On the morning of the 26th of December, he went out early, telling his family that he had received information of some bulls he had previously lost, and that he should go in search of them and might probably be absent four or five days. He declined taking his blankets or anything to eat with him, and would not allow any person or even his dogs to accompany him. He said he should go round the mountains at Bargo, but took quite a different direction, into a small thick scrub.

Suspicion having been aroused by his horse coming home, Mr. Peter Imlay, accompanied by twelve men, went in search of him, when, after a search of four days they by chance hit upon the body lying in a dreadful state. The unfortunate gentleman had apparently laid himself down, and tying the trigger of his gun to his spurs, had shot himself. There can he no doubt from the lonely nature of the place to which he retired to effect his deadly purpose, that he did not intend that his body should be found
. [5]

Notes and Links

1). George, Peter and Alexander Imlay Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

2). Imlay brothers resting place - Bega District News

3). Monument Australia

4). The Brothers Imlay - Sydney Morning Herald 28 June 1930


[1] Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine

[2] The Edinburgh Magazine.

[3] Navy List

[4] The Cholera Gazette

[5] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Mon 11 Jan 1847 Page 2