Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Henry Glennie

Hunter Valley Medical Practitioner

Henry Glennie arrived in the colony as surgeon on the Royal Admiral in May 1832.

Among the cabin passengers on the Royal Admiral were three sisters - Miss Elizabeth Ferris, Miss Ann Ferris and Miss H. Ferris.[1]


Miss Elizabeth Ferris must have made an impression on the ship's surgeon as within a year of landing the two were married

The marriage of Henry Glennie and Elizabeth Ferris, the eldest daughter of Thomas Ferris, took place on 15th May, 1833. A daughter was born to the couple in December 1834 at Dulwich on the Hunter River.

The Glennie Brothers

Of Henry Glennie's twelve brothers, three also came to Australia. James Glennie arrived on the Guildford in 1824. Alfred Glennie arrived on the Marquis of Huntley in 1828 and younger brother Benjamin Glennie arrived on the Medway with Bishop Tyrrell in 1848. In 1836 Ann Ferris married Henry's brother Alfred Glennie.

James Backhouse

Henry Glennie was visited by Quaker James Backhouse in June 1836...... 24th June - We proceeded along the south side of the Hunter, to Patrick Plains; which is an extensive tract, partially cleared, and having several scattered houses upon it. At its western extremity, where there is a ford across the river, are the rudiments of a Town called Darlington, consisting of a store, two public houses, some smaller houses, and a few huts. Here we were kindly received by a young surgeon named Henry Glennie, and by his wife and their brother Alfred Glennie; they undertook to invite the people of the neighbourhood to a meeting, which we concluded to hold in the government school house, on First day the third of next month. Henry Glennie conveyed us across the river in his gig, and we pursued our journey over low gravelly hills, almost destitute of grass, but covered with forest of small size, to Dulwich.[3]


He was prominent in the community at Patrick Plains and attended meetings of the Patrick Plains Turf Club and later meetings to establish the best means of affording relief to the starving in Ireland. In 1847 Dr. Glennie was presented to Governor Charles Fitzroy on his visit to Singleton. [4]

Medical Duties

Henry Glennie was listed as a qualified medical practitioner in the Government Gazette and performed post mortem examinations as part of his duties. In 1847 he was called to Ravensworth by Edward Bowman to attend to Bernard Fox who had been attacked. Fox had been stabbed twice in the stomach and there was nothing Dr. Glennie could do to save him. After performing the post mortem he was later called to testify at the trial of Charles Cooper who had been charged with the murder.

In June 1847 arrangements were made to pay a visit to Jerry's Plains once a week, and more often in cases of emergency; for which he was to receive a stipulated annual remuneration from the principal householders, and would also enjoy the incidental practice arising from the requirements of non - subscribers.

In 1848 Dr. Glennie was appointed Coroner temporarily during the absence of Mr. Vallack who had left on a mission to search for Edmund Kennedy's party in northern Australia.


In 1849 Henry Glennie was the only Justice of the Peace to attend the annual licensing meeting for the district. Innkeepers were expected to be in attendance at these meetings with their sureties in hand, and no doubt some were unimpressed with the other Magistrates when only Dr. Glennie 'who sacrificed his professional time' attended, causing the meeting to be postponed for a week.


Henry Glennie spent the rest of his life in the district. He died in August 1880

Dr. Glennie, a well known resident of Singleton, who was known to fame as a rifle shot in the early days of volunteering met with an accident on Sunday last which resulted in his death early on Wednesday morning. The Singleton Argus gives the following particulars, of the sad occurrence: On Sunday last, between 9 and 10 am Dr. Glennie met with another very serious accident opposite the hospital in John Street. It appears that he was leaving Mrs. Kennedy's and turning his buggy the wheel came into contact with the palings and frightened the horse; the animal immediately bolted across the road. The doctor who was seated in the buggy, pulled the reins with the object of preventing a collision with the kerbing, but, unfortunately he was not successful and the vehicle was completely turned over, and its venerable occupant violently thrown against the kerbstone. He was picked up and carried into Mrs. McNulty's where he was laid upon a sofa, and shortly after was conveyed to his home upon it, as he was suffering so acutely that he could not be lifted into a buggy. It was found that the muscles of the left leg above the knee were contracted to a most painful degree. [5]

His obituary was printed in the Singleton Argus a few days later:

THE LATE DR. GLENNIE. While our Wednesday's issue was being printed the sad tidings reached us that one of the oldest and most venerable residents of the town had passed away to the Silent Land. There was time to state the bare fact of Dr. Glennie's decease and no more, so the machine was stopped and the addition made. But we cannot allow the death of one so intimately connected with the history and fortunes of this town and district for considerably more than a generation to pass without a further notice.

It is but seldom that accident terminates the career of one who has passed the Psalmist's limit of three score and ten years ; but such was the fate of the kind-hearted old gentleman upon whose devoted head the snows of the winter of life had long left their traces. The accident which so fatally terminated has already been chronicled. On Sunday morning last Dr. Glennie had occasion to make a professional visit to a patient living not far from the Hospital. While driving towards home again he was thrown from his buggy, and received internal injuries and a shock to the system too great for one of such an advanced age to bear, for the deceased was in his 73rd year. He died at 1 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, the 18th instant.

Dr. Henry Glennie, one of twelve sons of the celebrated Dr. Glennie, of Dulwich College Schools, county of Surrey, England, was born on the 26th November, 1807 ; and after completing his education in Edinburgh, he became surgeon of the merchant ship 'Royal Admiral,' and arrived in Sydney harbour about the month of May, 1832. Immediately afterwards he took up his residence at Singleton, in the neighbourhood, of which two other brothers who had preceded him, were residing on the now well-known estate of Dulwich. From that time to the date of the accident, with the exception of a short absence in Sydney, Dr. Glennie continued the practice of his profession as a physician and surgeon.

An ardent lover of all manly and invigorating sports and athletic exercises, the deceased in the earlier years of his life at Singleton did much for the promotion, of such necessary adjuncts to health and social enjoyment; and even up to the time of his death, though somewhat bowed by the weight of over seventy years, and unable to take part in his favourite game of cricket, his familiar and welcome voice was always to be heard amongst the local wielders of the willow. For many years the doctor was president of the Singleton Cricket Club. In all matters pertaining to the welfare and progress of the town the deceased took a prominent part, especially in remoter years. Of the recently established Philharmonic Society he was enrolled the first honorary member. The Northern Agricultural Association has lost a valuable member of its committee, and a consistent supporter by his death.

For many years past the duties of district coroner have been fulfilled by our departed friend, who also held the offices of surgeon in the lately disbanded Singleton Volunteer Rifles, Hospital surgeon, and medical attendant to the Loyal Lodge of Fidelity, I.O.O.F., M.U., and to the Happy Home Division of the Sons of Temperance. A few years ago the residents of the town and district, desirous of recognising the long and valuable services of the Doctor, presented him with an address and testimonial ; of this, strangely enough, the buggy through which he eventually met his death formed an important item.

For his kindness and consideration to the poor, Dr. Glennie was well-known and esteemed, and many an eloquent blessing been invoked on his venerable head as all the payment possible from the humbler recipients of the benefits of his gratuitous services. In the earlier straggles of the Mechanics' Institute, Dr. Glennie rendered valuable assistance in popularising the Institution in various ways more particularly by his lectures on chemistry. He also frequently appeared as a reader at the musical und literary entertainments in past years.

But now he rests from his labours, having died in a green old ago, full of years, and possessed of all his faculties, though necessarily in somewhat less vigorous exercise than when in his prime. The funeral took place on Thursday morning and was quite private, in accordance with deceased's own wish, the last sad rites being performed by the Rev. B. E. Shaw, B.A. The news of Dr. Glennie's death, occurring as it did just at the carnival time of the year, was received with a unanimous expression of regret, amounting in many instances to the sincerity and depth of personal bereavement outside the circles of relationship

Notes and Links

Lineage of William Wyndham showing marriages between the George Wyndham and Glennie families - A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland


[1] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood New South Wales, Australia; Persons on early migrant ships (Fair Copy); Series: 5310; Reel: 1286. (Ancestry)

[2] Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954) Sat 21 Aug 1880 Page 2

[3] Extracts from the Letters of James Backhouse

[4] The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893) Wed 10 Feb 1847

[5] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Fri 20 Aug 1880 Page 5