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William Redfern

(c. 1775—1833) convict surgeon and pastoralist in Australia


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(?1774–1833) was a naval surgeon sentenced to transportation for life after sympathising with mutineers. He arrived in NSW in 1801 and worked as assistant surgeon on Norfolk Island. He received a pardon in 1803 and was later granted a licence to practise medicine, which he did at Sydney Hospital until 1819, when he resigned because he was not appointed chief surgeon. His 1814 report on deaths on convict ships, containing the recommendation that all convict ships carry a surgeon responsible for convict welfare, was crucial to the improvement of conditions and reduction in the convict death-rate. He was also instrumental in improving the status of emancipists with a petition to the king resulting in an act decreeing that pardons restored people to the full rights of a free person. Governor Macquarie appointed him a magistrate in 1819. The Sydney suburb of Redfern includes the area of his country estate.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.


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