George Fordyce Story

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George Fordyce Story

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1800-1885

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Dr Story made his home with the Cotton family who had settled at Kelvedon near Swansea. He looked after the health of the large family and the farm servants but his main position was assistant district surgeon at the Waterloo Point (Swansea) convict station. His scientific knowledge was helpful in farm and sheep development, analysing patent scab cures etc. Francis Cotton and his wife Anna Maria (Tilney) formerly of Kelvedon, Essex, U.K. were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers)and Dr Story also became a Quaker and made some missionary visits on behalf of the Friends to South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. He was a keen botanist and naturalist and corresponded with and collected specimens for Dr. von Mueller of Melbourne Botanical Gardens. He also kept regular meteorological records for the Royal Society of Tasmania. He served as electoral officer for Glamorgan, was on the Glamorgan School Board and helped to found a Library in Swansea in 1862.
Dr George Fordyce Story (sometimes spelt Storey) {1800-1885), a medical practitioner, was born in Shoreditch, Middlesex [London] but was apprenticed to a doctor in Aberdeen, a George French M.D., also professor of chemistry, while he studied at Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he graduated M.A. in 1821. He then went to Edinburgh University to study for the doctorate in medicine which was conferred on him in 1824. Dr. Story spent three months at the Moorfields Opthalmic Institution, London, and then practised in London for three years. In 1828 he accompanied his friend Francis Cotton to Australia, travelling as surgeon on the "Mary". In April 1829 he was appointed assistant district surgeon at the Waterloo Point (Swansea) convict station until 1844 when the office was abolished. He also attended most of the East Coast settlers and to supplement his income he was also government store keeper at the Waterloo Point depot until 1834. In October 1844, through the interest of the Lieutenant Governor he was appointed secretary of the Royal Society of Tasmania and Superintendent of the Society's Botanical Gardens, at £200 p.a. until September 1845 when the Government reduced the grant to the Society and in November 1845 Dr Story resigned and F.W. Newman of Sydney was appointed at £80 p.a. In December 1845 he was appointed assistant surgeon to the Probation Party at Rocky Hills but in May 1848 this appointment also terminated. Dr Story then petitioned the Government for financial assistance, explaining that on his appointment in 1829 the scattered nature of the district made it impossible for him to supplement his small income as district surgeon by private practice. The district was inhabited by a hostile tribe of aborigines, making travelling on his duties dangerous, especially as there were no roads, only foot tracks. He also, therefore, took charge of the commissariat stores until 1834. In 1841 he resigned as district surgeon but it was impossible to replace him so he continued until November 1841 when Dr F. E. Teush was appointed. However under new regulations for probation most of the district duties were carried out by Dr Story, for 7 months without pay, and then as no other officer was appointed he continued as district surgeon until 1844 when the office was abolished. Dr Story made his home with the Cotton family who had settled at Kelvedon near Swansea and was known to the younger members of the family as the "little doctor", being of small stature. He looked after the health of the large family and the farm servants and his scientific knowledge was helpful in farm and sheep development, analysing patent scab cures etc. Francis Cotton {1801-1883) of London and his wife Anna Maria (Tilney) formerly of Kelvedon, Essex, U.K. were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers)and Dr Story also became a Quaker and made some missionary visits on behalf of the Friends to South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. He was a keen botanist and naturalist and corresponded with and collected specimens for Dr. von Mueller of Melbourne Botanical Gardens. He also kept regular meteorological records for the Royal Society of Tasmania. He served as electoral officer for Glamorgan, was on the Glamorgan School Board and helped to found a Library in Swansea in 1862. He went blind in his old age. Dr. Story's papers include medical case notes and accounts, student notes and exercises, botanical papers including some correspondence with Dr. von Mueller, copies of electoral returns etc. Some of his old medical study notes were later reused as waste paper for drying botanical specimens. Many of his books show signs of having been scorched, probably by a fire at Kelvedon which started when Dr Story was smoking hams. Some letters have had the signature cut out, including part of the letter on the other side. A collection of autographs of East Coast residents was found with Dr Parker's papers (P.1) but the appropriate pieces have not been found.
For more information see : http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/story-george-fordyce-2706

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