Thursday 16 August 2018

Coronial Inquests - Dr Arthur Scouler

It was customary in the 1800s as it still is today, to hold coroner's inquests on unusual and accidental deaths. These required a coroner and medical witnesses to give testimony. One of these was Dr Arthur Scouler, who gave evidence at inquests in Campbelltown, Camden, Picton and Liverpool.
Born to William Scouler and Janet McArthur in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland, on March 10th 1810, Arthur went on to study medicine. He became house surgeon at the Glasgow Eye Infirmary under William Mackenzie.
In 1838, Arthur departed Scotland on board the barque "Renown", which departed from Greenock on June 11th, coming to Sydney via Hobart and arriving in Sydney on November 23rd.  Arthur wasted no time on his arrival in Sydney, advertising his services in the Sydney papers.

Dr Scouler's advertisement in the Sydney papers on his arrival
In 1839 and again in 1843 he was given eligibility as a medical witness at coroner's inquests and inquiries in New South Wales, having the necessary testimonials and qualifications.
Arthur found himself in the Campbelltown area, perhaps because his services as a medical witness were in high demand. As inquests were often reported in the newspaper, we are able to see the sort of incidents Dr Scouler was called to be witness to. In 1842 an inquest was held upon Mary Warner who suffered from "excessive indulgence in habits of intemperance". The jury's verdict was "Died by the Visitation of God". Others over the years included witnessing to assault cases, the accidental death of Thomas Hynes and later the murder of Thomas Hynes wife Ellen; the fall from a horse and resulting death of John Duross; Peter Finnamore's death from apoplexy; the early death of Catherine Hurley; the death of Patrick Tighe of asthenic apoplexy; the death of James Booth who fell from his horse and died from injuries exacerbated by a debilitated state due to intemperance; the railway accident of John Dawson losing both his legs; the murder in Picton of Elias Trapand; and perhaps one of his biggest cases - the murder of Constable Raymond at Picton.
Dr Scouler was also in practice looking after broken bones, amputations, accidents, and visiting the Immigrants Home with medicine and attending the sick. In 1845 he married Harriet Blackburn in Campbelltown. They had three children, Jane, James and Emma.
Arthur also took part in local affairs - donating to a reward for finding the person responsible for the burning of John Hurley's stables in 1851, attending local political meetings, appointed commissioner for Campbell Town's Water Works and appointed Medical Referee for the Australian Mutual Provident Life Assurance Society.
Dr Arthur Scouler passed away on Boxing day in 1868, and his library, which contained about 500 volumes, which included about 120 bound medical works, his museum of anatomy, his surgical instruments and a large collection of medicines and other requisites for a man in a large medical practice were sold by auction. His widow Harriet died in 1886. Both are buried at St John's Anglican Church Cemetery, Camden, but do not have headstones or a marker.

No comments:

Post a Comment