Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Thomas Robertson R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 14 April 1825

Thomas Robertson was appointed Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 9 July 1812 and Surgeon on 14 April 1825.


He is listed in the Medical Register 1865 -
Residence Burnt Ash villas, Lee, Kent.
Qualifications Lic. Royal College Surgeons, Edinburgh 1812.

Surgeon Superintendent

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on six convict ships to Australia:

William Bryan to VDL in 1833

Forth to NSW in 1835

Surry to NSW in 1836

James Pattison to NSW in 1837

Planter to NSW in 1839

Equestrian to VDL in 1845

A vivid and unflattering description of Thomas Robertson is included in the journal of Ensign Abel Dottin William Best of the 80th regiment who was a member of the Guard on the James Pattison in 1837 and met the surgeon when he first came on board at Deptford.....' The Surgeon' A raw boned sandy hair'd Sawney his appearance not by any means prepossessing; a kind of careworn countenance embellished with a small pair of grey eyes and a huge nose which I suppose nature intended for a Roman but the delicacy of its shape having been destroyed and its having a considerable inclination towards the left ear its effect is not good and it has the appearance of a handle to his whole person I strongly suspect that it has on some occasion been smashed, his disposition I should pronounce on so short an acquaintance to be a singular compound of easiness, obstinacy and peevishness, he has a wife at present on board and is anxious to arrive at Sheerness (I don't mean to insinuate) The name this animal rejoices in is Robertson. He is commanding officer. I will now introduce you to (in truth) his better half, one of the coarsest Irish women I ever met with, she is what a certain friend of ours would call a 'horrid great hog' of a woman she weighs I suppose 14 stone and has evidently a temper. I find some amusement in teasing her as she flares up like a flambeau. The subject is disagreeable & I shall dismiss it as I hope to dismiss her, shortly. She goes at Sheerness .[3]


Thomas Robertson was on the list of retired surgeons in 1847[1]


Thomas Robertson died on 30 March 1867. [2]

Notes and Links

[1] New Navy List

[2] Australian Medical Pioneer Index Online

[3] 1966 - Best, A. D. W. The Journal of Ensign Best, 1837-1843 (Ed. N. M. Taylor) - VOYAGE OUT, p 72-143 - University of Auckland.


[1] Naval Chronicle

[2] Sydney Gazette 24 May 1826