Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Joshua Dowe

Hunter Valley Medical Practitioner

Joshua Dowe was born in Ireland in 1813. Qualifications - MRCS England 1836; MD Glasgow 1836

Jerry's Plains

Joshua Dowe was listed as a qualified Medical Practitioner for the Jerry's Plains district in 1839.


In June 1839 he announced that he was entering into a partnership in Maitland with Patrick Walsh Mallon. They were planning to have a hospital in readiness for the reception of patients.

It is not known how long this partnership existed however by July 1840 a notice in the Sydney Gazette revealed that the partnership between Patrick Gray and Joshua Dowe in Windsor as Medical Practitioners would terminate. Patrick Gray was to carry on the business of Drug and Grocery departments alone.

In December 1842, Joshua Dowe married Sarah Loder, daughter of George and Mary Loder. The following children were born to Joshua and Sarah - Susan b. 1842; George b. 1845; Thomas b. 1846; Richard b. 1847; James b. 1849; William b. 1851; Susan b. 1852; William b. 1854.


In June 1842 he was appointed coroner for the district of Windsor a position he held until 1860. He was appointed medical officer of Windsor Hospital in 1848.

Bells Life reported in 1848 - Windsor' Joshua Dowe, who has for the last few years held the office of Coroner for the District, having removed from his estate at Portland Head has taken those spacious premises in George-street, lately occupied by John Panton Esq. We are sure the public will be happy to hear this, inasmuch as we have always considered the Doctor's residence inconveniently situated for the highly important office he holds. We also understand that it is this gentleman's intention to resume his practice; if so, we congratulate the profession upon the great acquisition to the present limited number. [1]

Joshua Dowe departed Windsor for Tamworth in 1860. A public dinner held in his honour was reported in the Sydney Herald.

Joshua Dowe being about to leave the district of Windsor, to engage in pastoral pursuits and reside in the district of Tamworth, a number of his friends determined upon inviting him to a public dinner, as a parting token of respect. The entertainment accordingly took place on Tuesday evening last, at Mr. Marsden's Fitzroy Hotel, when fifty-two gentlemen, most of whom were from the country, sat down to an excellent repast prepared in the usual satisfactory style of the worthy host and hostess.

Mr. Stephen Tuckerman (Sackville Reach) presided; on the right of whom sat the guest of the evening. Mr. Q. M. Pitt (of Richmond) filled the vice-chair. After the removal of the cloth, The Chairman requested them to fill their glasses for the first toast, ' The Queen' ; he was certain it would be enthusiastically responded to, and that there were no more loyal subjects in the world than in Australia. The toast was received with three times three. The Chairman again called upon company to charge whilst he gave, ' The Prince Consort, Prince of Wales and all the Royal Family.' Prince Albert had proved himself worthy of our gracious Queen; he was always foremost in promoting the arts and sciences, and assisted in every movement which was calculated to render her Majesty's subjects happy. The Prince of Wales was now on a visit to Canada, and had received an invitation from the President of the United States to visit the States of America, with which request, if he should comply, the chairman was sure the Americans would give him a hearty and welcome reception; it would also cement them more closely in friendship, and be the means of much good. And if Prince Alfred, who was then at the Cape of Good Hope, would visit Australia he would get an equally loyal reception. The toast was drank with time times three.

The Chairman requested another charge; the toast was 'The Governor-General'; during his residence in the colony the Governor had controlled its affairs with credit to himself and almost universal satisfaction; he had ruled with wisdom, and when he leaves the colony he will bear with him the good wishes of every one; he was foremost in every public movement, and did everything in his power likely to add to the prosperity and happiness of the colony. The toast was received with loud cheers. The Chairman again called upon the company to fill their glasses; he gave the 'Army and Navy.' The British troops had never lost their character for valour nor courage when before their foes. The navy was old England's wooden walls; she had always been pre-eminent on sea, and was more powerful now than ever she was; although a formidable fleet was starting up, if a collision should take place, the foe would be still shown that ' Britannia rules the wave.' The Rev. C. F. Garnsey responded on behalf of the army; he had once acted as assistant-chaplain to the XII Regiment, which was the only connection he had ever had with the army, and, therefore, he did not feel quite sure whether that fact alone would be a justification for his responding to the army part of the toast. It was gratifying to see the manner in which the toast was responded to ; the army and the navy were the great protection of Great Britain, and whilst they owed so much to Divine Providence, they must make use of the means at their command, and whilst they put their trust in God, they must also 'keep their powder dry.' (Cheers.) Mr. G. M. Pitt responded for the navy. It was the 'admired of all admirers'; Britain's protection at all times; Britons always had been and always would be, true to their country and their Queen.

The Chairman now called upon the company to fill their glasses to the brim, he had now come to the toast of the evening, and he was sure it would meet with a hearty response. (Cheers.) They had met that evening to pay a tribute of respect to Dr. Dowe. (Cheers.) He had been a long time in the district, and had won for himself many friends; he had come amongst them comparatively a stranger, but with a determination to settle down amongst them and to pursue his profession. He married an amiable young lady, a native of the district, and by whom he now had a nice family. As for the professional services which Dr. Dowe had rendered the district, he (the chairman) need scarce refer to them, as they all knew as well as him the great time and study which he had devoted to furthering the interests of the inhabitants ; he was ever attentive to his duties, and never complained if knocked up at any hour in the night and called away ten or twelve miles over their mountainous country in order to render assistance (Cheers.) By his courteous demeanour he had accomplished much ; he had secured the esteem and respect of a great many of the inhabitants of the district. By his straightforward conduct he had probably given offence to some persons, and thence an ill feeling existed ; but now when he was about to leave them, those to whom he had been opposed should have come forward and offered him the right hand of fellowship, and thereby displayed a Christian feeling. Dr. Dowe entertained no animosity against any one, but if he had given offence It could not be helped, and if any offended parties did not think him worthy of respect, let them keep their opinions.

He would refer to their worthy guest in his official capacity; he had been about eighteen years coroner of the district, and had always acted in such a manner as to give general satisfaction. No direct charge had ever been brought against him, and any indirect charges amounted to nothing; he had always been attentive to his duties. He was also surgeon of the asylum, and had been elected ten or twelve years successively; he was but once during that period opposed, but was elected by a large majority. Taking all these facts into consideration, they went to show that he had always acted on right principles, which had gained for him the esteem of all: and he (the chairman) felt certain that if any of the paupers of the asylum could rise from their graves they would go down on their bended knees and thank Dr. Dowe for his many ' kindnesses to them. They were therefore then performing a public duty, and now that he (Dr. D.) was about to leave them and take with him his amiable wife, he (the chairman) was sure they would all unite in drinking the health of Dr. Dowe. (Great cheering.)

Dr. Dowe, in rising to respond, was greeted with applause. He said his feelings upon that occasion were so great that he could not express his thanks sufficiently ; he was so unnerved as to almost forget the English language. The twenty years he had been amongst them were not thrown away when he could reckon upon having made so many friends : he had not reaped a golden harvest by his profession, but that which remunerated him much more than gold was having the true friends which he found he had. It was pleasing to have one friend, but when he saw sixty friends around him his pleasure was sixty times greater. He had been coroner for eighteen years last June, and he believed he had performed his duties to the satisfaction of the public; some person might have had fault to find with him, and he supposed they thought themselves right, but he believed himself to be right, and so matters remained. He wished to leave the district in charity with all men, and on account of the friendship which he had experienced his natural inclination would induce, him still to remain with them; but he had experienced many drawbacks lately, and he thought it was best to leave when he was able, as he had a large family to provide for. He had been thirteen years surgeon to the Hospital, and during that period had never had a dispute with either a committee-man or even a pauper. He never made complaints, and none were ever made of him. Although leaving the district, he would still subscribe to the institution as long as he was able. He hoped the day would soon come round when be would be able to return and end his days amongst them ; and as soon as his elder sons were fit to manage his business in the interior, he would consider it his duty to return and educate his younger children. Dr. Dowe, who was becoming overpowered by his feelings, again thanked them, and sat down amidst considerable applause


In 1864 Joshua Dowe was residing in Tamworth.

Death of Joshua Dowe

As a mark of respect at his when he died in September 1875 all the businesses closed their doors for the day.

Death of Sarah Dowe

Sarah Dowe outlived her husband by thirty-eight years. Her obituary was published in the Tamworth Observer in 1913......

We regret to record the death on Tuesday last at her residence, in White-street, of Mrs. Dowe, widow of the late Dr. Joshua Dowe, M.D., Dublin, after a sudden illness of a few hours' duration. The deceased lady, who had been a resident of Tamworth for very many years, was the youngest daughter of the late Mr George Loder, farmer and squatter, of Windsor, who was one of the pioneer settlers on the Liverpool Plains. Mrs. Dowe was born at Windsor on June 25 1827, and at the early age of 15, on December 31, 1842, she married the late Dr. Joshua Dowe. At Windsor the early years of her married life were passed, and most of her children were born. In the year 1860, the late Dr. and Mrs. Dowe settled in Tamworth, where Dr. Dowe, who passed away in 1876, practised his profession. Mrs. Dowe leaves a family of seven sons and one daughter, namely, George, Thomas, Richard, James, Susan, William, Ernest and Sydney Dowe, thirty-five grand-children, and twelve great-grand-children. The late Mrs. Dowe, who resided in White street, with her daughter, the widow of the late Dr. White, in spite of her advanced years, was a lady of active habits, and was frequently met going about the town. While at home work in her garden always afforded her keen interest and pleasure. During her long life at Windsor, and for the many years in which she was one of the most respected residents of the growing town of Tamworth, Mrs. Dowe was a consistent churchwoman, who rarely missed any of the regular services of the church. Her death removes another of the fast vanishing links with the past of the Tamworth town and district, though her extended family connections, the kindly hospitalities shown in earlier days to new-comers to the town will keep alive the memory of one who for so long a period was the centre of so large a family and social circle. [3]

Notes and Links

Select here to find the location of Joshua Dowe's residence at Windsor built in 1856.

The Loder Mansion - The Windsor and Richmond Gazette 25 November 1921

Obituary of Sydney Herbert Dowe, son of Joshua and Sarah Dowe - Northern Star 19 September 1936

One of the first five to be granted approval for Registration on the New South Wales Medical Board in 1838 Sydney Morning Herald - 29 December 1921


[1] Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860) Sat 11 Mar 1848 Page 1

[2] Sydney Morning Herald 5 October 1860.

[3] Tamworth Daily Observer on 13 February 1913