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Doctors At Sea
 
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Doctors At Sea
Emigrant Voyages to Colonial Australia
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
22 Nov 2005
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£68.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9781403986856
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

As well as their medical and supervisory duties, especially in relation to children and nursing mothers, we see doctors presiding over courts of law on board as they tried wayward emigrants whose punishment was meted out by a jury made up of their peers. We also see the kinds of penalties, including jail, dealt out by colonial authorities to incompetent surgeons for misdemeanours on board. Most of all, we discover how doctors saved lives by overseeing the daily sanitary and hygiene routines on board, and we see the astonishing ways in which emigrants submitted to their discipline in the knowledge that obedience was crucial for a healthy passage. So successful were these measures that less than two per cent of emigrants were buried at sea in an age when health officials on land could only dream about the authority vested in doctors on emigrant ships to control and regulate the lives of their civilian populations at sea.


Description

As well as their medical and supervisory duties, especially in relation to children and nursing mothers, we see doctors presiding over courts of law on board as they tried wayward emigrants whose punishment was meted out by a jury made up of their peers. We also see the kinds of penalties, including jail, dealt out by colonial authorities to incompetent surgeons for misdemeanours on board. Most of all, we discover how doctors saved lives by overseeing the daily sanitary and hygiene routines on board, and we see the astonishing ways in which emigrants submitted to their discipline in the knowledge that obedience was crucial for a healthy passage. So successful were these measures that less than two per cent of emigrants were buried at sea in an age when health officials on land could only dream about the authority vested in doctors on emigrant ships to control and regulate the lives of their civilian populations at sea.


Reviews

'Though the focus might seem narrow, this is an illuminating work of history. It contains within it glimpses and echoes of lives long-forgotten that speak across time with great power.' - Sydney Morning Herald

'Robin Haines' story is a microcosm of Victorian hierarchy: class, racial and sectarian feeling on the one hand, and on the other the integrity and generosity displayed by paternalism at its most high-minded.' - The Melbourne Age

'Robin Haines's excellent little study of nineteenth-century emigrant voyages to Australia from Britain cogently captures the perils of such expeditions...the book is rich in revealing anecdotes.' - Christopher Lawrence, Times Literary Supplement

'...I have realized, through reading Robin Haines's excellent study of oceanic voyages, how little I actually know about what happens in that long interval between ports...This is a slim, beautifully-written volume. One hopes that there is yet more to be gained from such carefully detailed studies.' - Maureen Lux, Medical History


Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Tables
'Some Respectable Body of Men': An Introduction
'May it be the Last of our Sorrows': Disease and Death at Sea
'The Obstinately Dirty Character of the People': Origins, Children, and Epidemics at Sea
'A Most Efficient Body of Officers': Surgeon Superintendents and their Responsibilities
'His Many Duties and Anxieties': Supervision and Discipline at Sea
'The Mother's Milk Generally Fails Them in about Six Weeks': Infant and Child Health
'The People Suffered Greatly in Consequence': Disease, Weather, and Great Circle Sailing
'The Dr is Supreame Over All on Board Bar the Capton and Officers': Matrons, Constables, and Emigrants
'Firmness and Indulgence, Consideration and Strictness': One Surgeon's Management of Families and Irish Girls
'I Held a Court in the Ward': Medicine and Democracy at Sea
'Set Sail with Fowl Wind and Head Sea': Storms, Routines, and Seasickness
'We have Lost Several Children but this was Quite Expected': Epidemics and Quarantine
Appendix 1: Individual Causes of Death Reported by Surgeons on Voyages to South Australia 1848-1885
Bibliography


Authors

ROBIN HAINES is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Social Science, Flinders University, Australia.