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April 4, 1966

The Contribution of Doctors to Early Australiana

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of New South Wales and Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

JAMA. 1966;196(1):63-66. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100140117031

The refusal of America to accept British convicts after the War of Independence led more or less directly to the colonization of New South Wales. In the First Fleet, which left England in May 1787, was John White (1757-1832), a naval surgeon of ten years' standing, Surgeon-General designate of the convict settlement to be established at Botany Bay—or, as it transpired, at Port Jackson (Sydney), a more satisfactory site a few miles to the north. It was on Jan 26, 1788, that "the English colours were displayed" for the first time on shore, and his Majesty's health and the settlement's success formally toasted. White kept a full diary from March 1787, before the fleet set sail, to November 1788. Entitled A Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales, it was published in London in 1790 (Fig 1), the third of a now-famous series of some half dozen books, composed