Research Chapter 2

2-1    Boyce, J. Van Diemen’s Land, Black Inc., Victoria, 2009.

2-2   The Black Line  link

2-3 Ryan L. Aboriginal Tasmanians, Allen and Unwin, 2011.

2-4 Dr Cotter arrives

1830 Nov 7: Dr BC arrived in Hobart on the brig Juno from Liverpool, Captain Black, (Kev’s timeline Cus 30/1/1 p22. Custom’s Record).  Another reference for this is the Colonial Times (Hobart) Shipping News 12th November 1830 ‘Mr B. Cotton’. This is listed on the LINC Tasmania ‘Index to Passengers and Ship Arrivals, 19th Century.  Henry Steiglitz is also listed on this ship (his brother John Steiglitz was aboard the Norval with Dr BC in 1835. (John Helder Wedge says Dr BC arrived in VDL in 1832).


The Satirical Manuscript is in two parts, with comments by Dr Ian Wilson  in  between.  Dr Wilson, recognising the historical value of the document, kindly donated it to the State Library of Victoria, where it can be viewed by appointment. Both Dr Wilson and the State Library of Victoria have given permission for the document to be reproduced here in full. In order to differentiate the actual words of The Satirical Manuscript itself I have reproduced them here in brown.

Satirical Manuscript on Dr Cotter by John Whitefoord, 1872 (unpublished), held by the State Library of Victoria (MS 13741, Box 4054/6) Donated by Dr Ian Wilson, 1996

Manuscript scroll.  H1452 × W250 mm.

Coarse fibre paper with black ink ms. in a bold hand.  In the form of a scroll made by joining roy. 4to sheets with paste.  Declaration and address written on outside.  Postmark present but stamp torn off with slight loss of ms. at end.  Very good condition.


W. to Dr V. Greetings, for C. T. his information. Information is asked of that respected individual “the Oldest Inhabitant” In Re “Barry Cotter”. Declaration of Dr J. P. Slocum, Phil. Doc., taken before J. Wideawake  Esq., one of H. M. Justices of the Peace for Tasmania.  10 July 1872.

 W. to Dr  V.  Greeting

for  C. T.  his  information


Information is asked of that respected individual

“the Oldest Inhabitant”

In Re “Barry Cotter”

Now tho’ not as yet attained to that dignity, I have a Brother [1] who has, but being at present unfortunately “Non Composite” you would scarcely wish to have his “Random Recollections” – so as next in succession I will give you mine. – Barry Cotter! the name carries me back upwards of forty years.  I see him now a Fine young Irish gentleman.  Ah young Ladies you should have seen his beautiful curling rippled Hair – yes we had a nice young man for a Doctor in those days – we were not old fogies then – Never mind – we must now put up with it, and be content that we have had our day.  – Yes I remember Barry Cotter on a mettlesome Tit with fancy Cane, come riding from “Mona Towers” [2] (where he slaid c Mrs [3] on his first arrival – ) and how nearly he married a daughter from there.  Ah well I must not dwell on those days or ‘twill make me sad. – Yes Cotter he went, and was lost to my Gaze.


40 years one supposed to have Elapsed I from “the School Boy with Satchel and Shining morning face going to school” am become “The Justice [4] with Belly with fat Capon lined!”

Scene – J. W. in his Study

J.W. to [little devil]Now where’s Dr Slocum? –

[little devil] Please Sir He’s just blown hisself and me up! with his new exploder luckily we come down on the Muck heap and aint much hurted

J.W.      “off with yer, and call him.  (Enter Dr Slocum much begrimed) “Ah Slocum, still at yer Fumigator – I want you, as to your recollections of Dr Cotter in Victoria since he left here, you      are of Course, aware this is a Declaration taken under the Act “To avoid unnecessary and extra-judicial Oaths therefore use as far as you can help – I will take it down formally. – your name is “Jonas Panurgius Slocum?”-

Dr S (maketh oath & saith)

J.W. “now don’t Dr

[Dr Slocum]“Yes and am a duly qualified Medical Practitioner, and my fighting weight is 14 Stone 13 ½ lbs, and I am open to meet any one with any weapons – (barring Nitro Glycerine Bombs) who doubts my testimony –

J.W. (soothingly) “Dr S no one doubts either your weight, warlike proclivities or the evidence you are about to give”

Dr S (appeased) “Well then … about 1835 I knew Inez Fitzgerald [5] (or Fitzwilliams but I think the former but the great lapse of time and the trying task of tasting the various Brews of Breechen & Button I have just been engaged upon prevent one being positive on that point) in Launceston, a             pretty little plump Girl – (I cant a bear yer Scraggy ones) she was engaged at a Fancy Repository and tho’ I believe a strict Roman Catholic, much patronised by the Protestant young Gentry of the Period.  She went to Melbourne and was there married to Cotter (I saw the announcement of the fact in the papers) – who had a pharmaceutical place of Business in that [ … ] Township – but whether by a Roman Catholic Priest, or a Protestant Parson (we had no “Priests” in those good old days) deponent cannot say.  Dr C. was a regular Broth of a Boy, but as to what peculiar form of Belief he held (if any) Dr S knoweth not (He has heard some young Ladies of Dr C’s acquaintance aver that he was a strict Nothingarian”.

In 1841, Dr S being in London met Cotter in a Blackwall Buss – as far as he could make out from him, (it being after the Luncheon) Dr Cotter had been presiding at a Meeting of City Men to consider a Scheme for Crossing the Isthmus of Panama but whether by a Canal or Railroad Cotter was too “muzzy” to explicitly explain.

An Interval of 12 years is supposed

to elapse


In 1853, Dr S. being on Tom Tidlers ground trying to pick up the [damnatim?] gold and silver at Old Bendigo – Victoria.  Cotter called on Dr S. at his Tent attracted by the famous Red Flag with the Hamburgh Castle, to renew acquaintance & crush a Cup and drain a Horn – Dr S. returned Cotters Call at his Lodgings in a Tent “all on the Cold ground”  (Now comes the mysterious part) and was introduced by Cotter to a tall gaunt person of the female persuasion as Mrs C.!  This could never be the Lovely Inez? – No – Cotter on seeing Dr Slocum so struck aghast Called him privately aside and informed him the Lovely Inez had loved not wisely but another too well and left him!  This one he had chosen expressly for her Looks as no one seeing her would ever be tempted to break the 10thCommandt – by Coveting his neighbours wife.  But whether she was his wife or one acting as such tho’ not rated on the Books, Dr S. Cannot say of his own Knowledge or whether there were any little “Cotters” from the 1st or 2nd Mrs C’s – Here Dr S. broke off into such a series of Explosive Compound Expletives that J. W. did not think it safe to further examine him, so made these Notes for Dr V. his information.

Dated this 10 June 1872

J.[Bespectacled eyes] W. (his mark)


In the Press & shortly will be published

“Hints to Mothers and Others”

Shewing how we regulated & reformed

Our Nursery, The Kitchen & the Maids [ … ]

By J. W. annotated & Illustrated by Dr Slocum

With some Chapters on things in general

Random Recollections of the early days of Midlanders

By “the Oldest Inhabitant”

With occasional Notes by [piece missing]


For opinions of the Press See “The Midlands Puffer, The [piece missing], The Stony Creek Sentinel, The [piece missing], The Barton Mill Banner, The Ross Ram, The [piece missing]”.

 [Outside of scroll addressed as follows:]

Law Papers only from Wm Valentine

Charles Thomson Esq.

Bank V. D. L.



[Postmarked:]   Campbell Town  JU  11  1872

[Declaration on outside of scroll:]



Dr J. P. Slocum Phil. Doc.

Taken before Wideawake Esq.

one of H. M. Justices of the Peace for Tasmani

10 July 1872

The following comments accompany The Satirical Manuscript and have been made by Dr Ian Wilson, who donated the Satirical Manuscript to the State Library of Victoria.  Clearly, he has based his comments on the (sometimes inaccurate) newspaper articles of the early 20th Century.

[1] Likely to be Whitefoord’s brother-in-law, Malcolm Laing Smith, (1789 –

1892), at the time the longest serving magistrate in Tasmania having been

appointed in 1827, and living at George Town.

[2]   ‘Mona Towers’ is Mona Vale near Ross, the huge Italianate mansion, the

third house built on the property, and completed in 1868 to the design of

Tasmanian architect William Archer.  It features a prominent Italianate tower.

[3] Anne Quayle Kermode, wife of William Kermode of Mona Vale.

[4] In 1872 John Whitefoord was Recorder, Chairman of Quarter Sessions and

Commissioner of the Court of Requests in Launceston.

[5] Inez Seville Fitzgerald, only daughter of Hon. Thomas Fitzgerald (the son

of an Irish peer).  Her mother was Inez Isabel Seville, a Spanish actress.

The subject of the satire is Dr Barry Cotter.  He was the son of an Irish magistrate and was born at Limerick, County Cork, in 1807.  He sailed from England with a party that included Lieut-Colonel Kenneth Snodgrass whose family had as companion and governess one Inez Seville Fitzgerald.  Cotter arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1833 and practiced as a government medical officer in Campbell Town.  John Helder Wedge recorded in his diary on 10 January 1834 that he marked off Dr Cotter’s allotment, a government grant, at the north end of East Street.  In 1835, while assistant to Dr Strang, he was dismissed from government employment.  He moved to Port Phillip, arriving on 9 November 1835 on the Norval with John Batman and Joseph Tice Gellibrand’s party, becoming Melbourne’s first doctor.  Cotter purchased a block of land, no. 12, at the south-west corner of Burke and Swanston streets.  According to George Russell he was appointed storekeeper to the Port Phillip Association and lived in a very rough and uncomfortable way with only a few ‘black boys’ as servants.  Cotter fought Melbourne’s first duel with George Arden, editor of the Port Phillip Gazette, late in 1838.  His bullet pierced the beaver hat of Arden’s second, William Meek, solicitor and first secretary of the Melbourne Club (formed 17 November 1838).

Cotter imported from Van Diemen’s Land a prefabricated weatherboard house that he erected on the corner of Collins and Queen streets.  Garryowen describes the house as the most pretentious in Melbourne, ‘a small cobweb-like brick nogged and wattle and daub surgery’ which was ‘in reality a little more than a huckster’s stall where pills and lotions, powders and embrocations were mixed up with a miscellaneous stock of all sorts’.  Cotter casually carried out medical duties until the appointment of Dr Alexander Thomson in 1836.  He then paid attention to his business affairs with the Port Phillip Association and the Port Phillip Hotel.  In 1839 he entered a medical druggist partnership with Dr McCurdy and later Dr O’Mullane.  In 1841, Cotter was a wealthy man and travelled to England, perhaps to see his children.  While absent from Melbourne the great depression of the early 1840s struck and through mismanagement of his estates he was financially ruined.  Upon his return he left Melbourne for Adelaide and drifted to New South Wales.  In 1845 he was practicing in Goulburn, then Balranald and Swan Hill where he died in November 1877.  He evidently had a struggling life after the first few adventurous rich years of early Melbourne.

Of Mrs Barry Cotter (Inez Seville Fitzgerald) not much seems to be known.  A little can be gleaned from the Melbourne Age, 13 October 1934.  Her father, the Hon. Thomas Fitzgerald, died while she was young and her grandfather brought her up.  Colonel Snodgrass was her godfather.  She married Cotter in Melbourne in 1838 but returned to England a few years later with four children who were educated by her grandfather.  Subsequently, the children returned to Australia.  Frank Cotter lived in Melbourne and is mentioned by Garryowen.  Charles married a schoolmistress of Holbrook.  Helena Hayes married public servant John Keeling and Frances Annie married W. H. Smith, who became Under-Treasurer for Victoria.

The authors of the satire were J. W. and Dr Slocum while the recipients were Dr V. and C. T.  Clearly, the latter are Dr William Valentine and Charles Thomson.  William Valentine (1808–76) was a long-serving medical practitioner at Campbell Town, having arrived in 1839.  He became a highly respected citizen, and was an amateur scientist and organ maker-musician of some note.  He built the well-known Campbell Town landmark The Grange where he lived until his death in 1876.  Charles Thomson was one of Launceston’s leading citizens and manager of the Van Diemen’s Land Bank.  It is likely he was related to one of the Thomson families involved in the early settlement of Port Phillip and Geelong.

That brings us to J. W. and Dr Slocum..  We can be almost certain that J. W. is John Whitefoord, (1809–92), magistrate and son of Caleb Whitefoord, FRS, a wit and diplomat.  Whitefoord arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1832, attracted by letters from his brother-in-law, Malcolm Laing Smith.  He was placed on the Commission of the Peace and given the appointment of Police Magistrate at Oatlands in 1833.  He was transferred to Campbell Town in 1834 where he would have encountered Dr Barry Cotter.  The next year he returned to Oatlands where he filled the offices of Commissioner of the Court of Requests, Deputy-Chairman of Quarter Sessions and Coroner.  In 1847 he returned to England to cure a pulmonary complaint, returning to Oatlands in 1850.  In October 1857 his long service in the southern Midlands was rewarded with his appointment as Chairman of Quarter Sessions and Commissioner of the Court of Requests in Launceston.  Three months later the new office of Recorder was created to dispatch court hearings more efficiently and Whitefoord was empowered to preside at some criminal hearings and hold court whenever necessary.  In 1871 he became a Commissioner in Bankruptcy.

Dr Jonas Panurgius Slocum has not been identified and the name is certainly a pseudonym.  Panurgius no doubt derives from panurgic – able and ready to do anything.  We have been unable to find any registered medical practitioner from the period who might be Dr Slocum.  It is possible he is a fictitious character.  The following recollections, signed Panurges Slocum, appear to be written on the same paper and in the same hand as the present ms.  This suggests Slocum may be a character invented by John Whitefoord.

Just why Whitefoord, Valentine and Thomson were so interested in Cotter and his wives remains a mystery.  At the very least it was a form of amusement, however, we expect there are other dimensions to the story that future researchers may uncover.

The second part of The Satirical Manuscript repeats the content in a slightly different way.

References:  [Whitefoord], ADB, vol. 2, pp. 595 – 596.

Walch’s Tasmanian Almanac for 1872, Hobart Town (1872).

MacPhails National Directory of Tasmania for 1867 – 68, Hobart

Town (1867).

Provenance: Jack Maxwell Curtis collection (1995).

Acquisition:  Christie’s Australia, Sydney, 1995.  Part of a mixed lot $138

Manuscript.  Roy. 4to.  H317 × W254 mm.  Pp. [4].

Coarse fibre paper with purple ink ms. in a bold hand.  Wide left-hand margin.  Fine condition.


The All About it Series.  Part 924071.  What I know about Dr Cotter his wife or wives –

The All About it Series  Part 924071

What I know about Dr Cotter his wife or wives –

Inez Seville (Fitzwilliam)? was Her Name, Ireland was her Nation, and the Milliners Shop was her Dwelling place, a most lively Habitation – Parentage Birth & Education Unknown to deponent but said to be the result of one of those little accidents which will Happen in the best regulated Families – Especially when Lords of High Degree take to the Study of Natural History “as to vat yer Honor is pleased to call Her Morull Karaktur I knows nithinck about it, but she played on the Pieanor like a regular Hangel”.  As to the Lord of High degree Tradition is uncertain whether he was De Burgo De Milton or a Geraldine.  Nevertheless he consider’d her safe transit a matter of such Paramount Importance that he sent her out in the two Emigrant Ships which brought out the first Missionaries of the Female Persuasion to Launceston.  Indeed was an Event (P. A.’s arrival [Prince Albert, January 1868] was nothing to It).  Every Human being in town, Paddy Monaghans blind Monkey Included rushed to the wharf to see them Land.  If you Doubt the Fact! send me the Number of your Bore, Smooth or Rifled & state your Fighting Distance or else if you prefer it consult the Shipping Lists of the Period – Well about this time Melbourne was beginning to look up and was everywhere spoken of as Le veritable Fromage – Thither went La Belle Inez led either by Ambition, Fate, or the Odic Force – Cotter Met, Woo’ed & Wedded – Post Hoc She Flirted, He Scolded – She Bolted …… “Ay de Mi Alhama”

Now after Many Roving years near Blackwall Docks I chanc’d to roam.  And in a City omnibus I took my Homeward Ride.  And looking Round beside me there The Doctor’s Phiz I spied.  Old Cock what brings you here.  I thought you Far away in lonesome Australlee.  I’ve just come thence, I’m going back by the road I’v pointed out to the Isthmus Committee.  I’v Lunched with them a jolly Spree, a mighty spread of Divers Cakes & Ales.  Five Fathoms deep we + quaff’d the Healthes, Our Gracious Queen and Eke the Prince of Wales.  Of Tempores acti we conversed, of Friends who were Far away.  I would have asked of Mrs C. or little Cs she might have Haply Borne.  But Feared – For as with [   ] Gag he wiped his face, I saw – the Scars of Moulted Horns.


+  This Fixes the Date when I met him at Home.  [1841].


How I saw the Dr & his second wife –

When next I saw the Doctor it was upon the tented Field, not of Glory – but Bendigo the Golden.  I was on the War Path crossing the territory of the Terrible [Jagamore?] the great Bendigo Mac, and passing through the Vale of California I saw a Lodge and from the Scalp Pole were suspended the Doctor’s Fitter and Achievements.  He Invited me to Enter his Wigwam.  We smoked the Calumet & drank the Firewater – he then presented me to the Squaw who presided over his Domestic Hearth & Saucepan – She was Gaunt of stature Grey of Eye, Hair of yellowish subfusk Hue and attired in what appeared to be a Multicolour’s Dish Cloth – Alas was it not in His wine that Candide recognised Cunigunda?  Could this be the Dark Eyed plump little Inez run to Seed.  I departed making a profound reverence of Ceremony and taking the Dr aside asked him the question.  His answer, as in Admiral Bones Case, had better be given Euphemistically –

To wit.  That the little Female Dog had gone to a certain place of public resort to which naughty people advise those to go to with whome they may happen to differ in opinion, and that for his part he was determined to have a wife nobody would think of running away with – I think  he was correct.  Mr Alexander of the Customs [Portland?] knew the Cotters in Melbourne but I think he is like Dickens Copper Nosed Captain.

Panurges Slocum

 For an explanation of these recollections see previous ms. item.  It is believed Dr Panurges Slocum was a fictitious character invented by John Whitefoord.

Reference:    See previous item

Provenance: Jack Maxwell Curtis collection (1995).

Acquisition:  Christie’s Australia, Sydney, 1995.  Part of a mixed lot $1380.


2-6 London Emigration Committee

The Satirical Manuscript provided a wealth of new leads for research, chief among which was ‘the two emigrant ships that brought out the first female missionaries.’ This looked like a promising lead because research showed that fourteen ships containing 2700 single, free emigrant women were sent from Britain between 1833 and 1837 under the London Emigration Committee scheme.

There was little employment available in Britain for women and a shortage of female labour in the colonies. By ‘exporting’ females to colonies they not only would provide labour, it would be an important step towards addressing the gender imbalance. Men outnumbered women in settled colonial areas by three to one, and as much as twenty to one in some more remote areas.

These women were told that they would be protected, housed and found suitable employment on arrival in the colony, but they were, in fact, abandoned as soon as the ships arrived and had to fend for themselves. Caroline Chisholm worked with other gentlewomen of the colony to ensure their safety and survival and the stories of these women show enormous resilience and bravery.  In her book Single and Free: Female Migration to Australia 1833-1837, Elizabeth Rushen, gives accounts of the voyages and details of the passenger lists of each ship.  Of the fourteen ships, only two went to Launceston, they being the Amelia Thompson (arrived 28/08/1836) and the Charles Kerr. Inez was not listed on any of the ships and the closest entry was for Isabella Fitzgerald, aged 20, on theCharles Kerr which docked in Launceston on 20th November 1835.   The fact that Inez was not listed was to be expected really, as she did not fit the criteria to qualify for the assisted passage provided by the London Emigration Committee. These women were poor, sometimes widowed, often uneducated and with no prospect of employment in Britain.  Inez, on the other hand was born into a wealthy family, and although she was illegitimate and perhaps an embarrassment and not entitled to any inheritance, she was probably educated and raised with all the advantages of wealth.

2-6 Milliners of Launceston

There were at least five milliners working in Launceston in 1835. These can be found through the digital newspapers on Trove:

They were Miss Nixon, St Johns Square; Mrs Bennell, St John Street; Mrs Minchin, Elizabeth Street; MA Johnson, Brisbane Street opposite the bank; and Misses B Capon, Brisbane Street. The advertisements in the newspapers tell us quite a lot about the competitive nature of the women and their businesses

2-7 Arundel Wrighte link

2-8 Dr Cotter appointed  The Mercury Tuesday 5th April 1921, p6

(NLA Trove)

2-9 Campbell Town Letters from the Colonial Secretary’s Office

The forty-two letter in the three files from the Colonial Secretary’s Office give a new perspective on Dr Cotter’s role in Campbell Town.  As Assistant Surgeon (‘assistant’ to the Colonial Surgeon in Hobart) he was the ‘Government doctor’ in the area, on a Government salary and his first priority should have been the convicts in his charge.  The files were kindly sent to me by Mr Douglas Burbury, whose chief area of interest is the building of the Ross Bridge. Douglas has transcribed all forty-two letters from the original handwriting and has given me permission to reproduce them here.

2-9 The first set of letters from the Leake Collection

1834 April 10: This letter and the two associated replies are held in The Archives Office of N.S.W. 4/2334.5 bundle 36/10499

Letter 1

Police Office Campbell Town 10th April 1834

The Honourable, the Colonial Secretary, Hobart Town


In obedience to His Excellency’s commands conveyed in your letter of the 21st ultimo, I have very maturely examined the charges brought against Mr Cotter, the District Surgeon by Mr Atkinson the Superintendent at Ross.

 In the enquiry I was assisted by Messrs Willis and Hill, who were at the Police Office when the parties appeared with regard to the District Surgeon having neglected a man at Ross, who died on the 27th February. Mr Atkinson it appears had been under some misapprehension, and which was an explanation frankly admitted by that Gentleman, Mr Cotter had attended the man on an occasion with which fact Mr Atkinson was unacquainted, some delay took place but which arose from two very dangerous cases at Campbell Town, a woman in labour and a Mr Foster who it appears must have expired but for medical aid, these two cases came under our own observation, the very serious nature of the cases together with the statement by Mr Atkinson that the man at Ross was better, induced Mr Cotter to defer his visit till next day.  It appears to us that the belief on Mr Atkinson’s mind, that Mr Cotter had neglected his duty, was mainly attributable to the sick at Ross having been frequently visited without Mr Atkinson being made acquainted with the fact, and which apparent neglect was by Mr Atkinson in his zeal for the public since very properly reported.  I beg to assure His Excellency that as far as my observation goes and which opinion is supported by the Gentlemen of the neighbourhood that Mr Cotter is bothattentive to his patients and fulfils the duties of his office with kindness and humanity.

 I have etc. John Leake, Acting Police Magistrate.

 The annexed Report though principally alluding to the case of Thomas Bissell, applies equally to that of Private Malone.  Mr Cotter’s general attention to his patients being satisfactory.  In Malone’s case the messages were unfortunately not delivered to Mr Cotter

(Signed) J. Leake 10 April 1834

Letter 2

Colonial Secretary Office 14 April 1834 To the Colonial Surgeon


In transmitting the accompanying copy of a letter from the Acting Police Magistrate at Campbell Town reporting the result of his investigation of the charge of neglect of duty against Mr District Asst. Surgeon Cotter I am decided to request that you will transmit that document to him with the expression of the Dep. Governor’s satisfaction.  I have the honour to be Sir your very obedient servant. J. Burnett, Colonial Secretary.


Letter 3

Colonial Surgeon’s Office 22 April 1834

Deputy Asst. Surgeon Cotter, Campbell Town


In transmitting the accompanying communication which I have received from the Colonial Secretary I have the pleasure to intimate to you the expression of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor’s satisfaction.

I have the honour to be Sir Your most obedient servant, J. Scott, Colonial Surgeon

 Although Dr Cotter was acquitted of the charges against him, the whiff of scandal followed him for some time.  Three years later his first application for the position of Colonial Surgeon of Port Phillip was rejected by Governor Richard Bourke on two counts. 1. that he (Cotter) was too involved with the main players in the Port Phillip Association and Bourke would prefer someone more impartial and 2.  that “I think he was dismissed from government service in Van Diemen’s Land” (HRV Vol 3)

2-10 Second set of Campbell Town letters

The following three letters are held in the Morris Millar Library in Hobart in a collection of letters relating to the Leake family.  John Leake was The Acting Police Magistrate in Campbell Town at the time of a dispute between a person with the surname Hughes and Dr Barry Cotter around 1833-34. The letters refer to this dispute and include a letter of summons to court for Dr Barry Cotter.  In all there are about six pages worth. I have photocopies of these letters and they can be found at

L.1/F. 24                                                   Sherriff’s Office

                                                                 February 1st 1833


    I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, in the case of Mr Hughes and Dr Cotter.  The result of the inquiry is such as I expected – I regret that the disagreement of these parties should have occasioned you any trouble, but trust that the opinion you have given will prove a lesson to both.

With every best thanks for your attention in this matter

I have the honour to be


Your most obedient

Humble servant

Thomas [Bannister?]


L.1/F. 257                                                                       Tuesday Morning

Dear Sir,

The Assistant Police Magistrate and the Colonial Surgeon from Hobart Town will require your attendance at [Ross?] Bridge at [Wolbach?] to join in an investigation which is about to take place and to obtain what information they can upon the subject from you.

                                                                                      I have the honour

Leake Esq                                                                    Your obedient

   P.M.                                                                           Barry Cotter




L.1/F. 258                                                              Police Office , Campbell Town       

                                                                            4th October 1834, 6pm



I have the honour to request that you will bear in mind that you are an important and very essential witness on behalf of the Crown in the case of the King versus Cotter which is to come on at the Launceston Quarter Sessions on Monday morning the 6th Inst. I hope it may be convenient and agreeable to you to afford your attendance as you are aware that I had it not in my power to have you bound over to do so, as you did me this evening although at the eleventh hour.

I cannot but reject that it escaped your memory to say anything to me upon the subject before this [evening?] as I am taken rather aback, and the more so as you in=timated that you had been previously aware that Surgeon Cotter had proceeded to Launceston to defend himself.

I have the honour to be

Sir, your obedient and

Humble servant F.(?) W. Small

Letters from the Colonial Secretary’s Office 

These files are reproduced with permission from Douglas Burbury who transcribed the forty-two letters from the handwritten originals.  They concern the performance of Dr Barry Cotter in relation to the convicts at Ross Bridge.  He is accused of neglect of duty by Charles Atkinson, Supervisor of Works at Ross, and included in the ‘thread’ or chain of letters are responses by the Colonial Secretary, John Montagu and the Colonial Surgeon, James Scott as well as by Dr Barry Cotter himself. The first file contains seven letters, the second twenty-seven letters and the third, eight letters including the one dated 30/04/1835 which recommends Dr Cotter’s dismissal.

CSO 1-703-15388

CSO 1-760-16286

CSO 1-799-17080

Joseph Sunderland

 Some information about Joseph Sunderland can be found on the Founders and Survivors website. Founders & Survivors is a partnership between historians, genealogists, demographers and population health researchers which seeks to record and study the founding population of 73,000 men women and children who were transported to Tasmania as convicts. By compiling information from various sources, the website allows easier access to the history of each of these convicts.

Joseph Sunderland lived in Huddersfield, Yorkshire where he was born in 1791.    His brother was a Master Cooper in the same town and Joseph gives his own trade as Coachman and gentleman’s servant, but there is also a reference to him being a soldier in the 15th Light Dragoons. He had a wife and three children and left them there while he worked as a driver of a Hackney Coach in Whitechapel, London. His wife’s mother lived nearby at Empsey, so perhaps they stayed with her.  He was convicted in the Kent Assizes on 31st July 1823 of stealing £5.15.0 from a woman named Katherine Brown and sentenced to transportation for life. While awaiting transportation he may have been housed on a hulk moored at Portsmouth or in London as his ‘hulk report’ is ‘orderly’. He left Portsmouth and sailed for 114 days with 203 other male convicts on the Phoenix II, arriving in Van Diemen’s Land on 21st July 1824, almost exactly a year after his conviction.

The physical description given of him is that his eyes were grey, his hair brown and that he was 5’9” tall.  His right arm was crippled and his right side was ‘ruptured’. The convict musters held every New Year’s Eve record him being employed on public works in 1830, 1832 and 1833, though in what capacity is not clear. He died on 12th August 1835, aged forty four, in New Norfolk, Tasmania, just four months after his prosecution by Dr Cotter.

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