Some time back, a visitor from Queensland arrived with a hard and fast agenda to visit one particular building at Port Arthur – the Junior Medical Officer’s House. Her determination for this particular building piqued the interest of our team. As it happened, this particular visitor was in fact Catherine Brownell Hand, a direct descendant of Dr Thomas Coke Brownell, the very first of the qualified medical staff appointed to the settlement in September 1832.
Following this visit, the Hand family made the decision to generously donate historical documents of their ancestor, Dr Thomas Coke Brownell, to Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority including:
- a daily journal from October 1832 with drafts of letters to Colonial Surgeon James Scott;
- a letter from the Comptroller Generals Office (Nairn) stating Brownell will undertake the duties of Assistant Magistrate at Port Arthur;
- certificates of Dr Brownell’s qualifications and appointments;
- notes on the Brownell family’s marriages and children; and
- a letter of appreciation presented to Dr Brownell signed by the Administrative Officers and staff of the settlement on the occasion of Brownell’s retirement from the Public Service.
Click here to read more about some of our other collection items.