Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Haynes Gibbes Alleyne (1815–1882)

by Richard Refshauge

This article was published:

Haynes Gibbes Alleyne (1815?-1882), medical practitioner, was born at Barbados, son of John Alleyne, a planter in the West Indies, and his wife Joanna, daughter of General Sir Fitzroy Maclean. He spent his early years in 'a vagrant, Gypsy way, living in a world of romance', and then studied medicine at Edinburgh. Alleyne had made his will in October 1838 and soon afterwards sailed for New South Wales. He arrived in the Orient in April 1839 and seems to have joined a cousin on a cattle run near Yass. Probably because of drought and bad investments he was declared insolvent in June 1844 and left Sydney in the Margaret for the Marquesas. In New Zealand he changed his plans and joined a regiment. In the Hone Heke war he 'greatly distinguished himself for acts of gallantry as well as for medical skill'. He then returned to complete his studies at Edinburgh (M.D., 1846).

On 3 July 1848 he was registered as a practitioner by the Medical Board of New South Wales. He was appointed coroner at Liverpool in 1851 and in July 1852 health officer at Port Jackson. In that year he administered chloroform in New South Wales, using it successfully at the Sydney Infirmary on a girl whose left leg he amputated 'for strumous disease'. As health officer his duties were mainly with immigrants. He boarded all ships entering Port Jackson 'to ascertain their state of health and report it', and continued his medical charge of the newcomers while they were under the care of the immigration authorities. The quarantine station was also under his control. He was capable and fulfilled his duties with 'unwearying zeal, determination and a thorough devotion of time, strength and ability'. In 1876 and 1881 two outbreaks of smallpox were suppressed largely through his efforts. His ideas were progressive and he was considered a valuable member of the profession.

Alleyne did not confine himself to his government job. He was an honorary physician to the Sydney Infirmary in 1855-73 and honorary consulting physician in 1875-82. He was a member of the Medical Board in 1854-82 and its president in 1877-82, served on the Immigration Board in 1852-82 and as its chairman in 1879-80, and was president of the Pharmacy Board in 1877-81. He was also connected with the welfare of the city in other ways. He was an honorary member of the Government Benevolent Asylums Board for the Infirm and Destitute in 1862-76, the Board of Visitors to Lunatic Asylums in 1876-82 and a 'useful' trustee of the Australian Museum in 1880-82. He became an examiner in medicine at the University of Sydney in 1867, and in 1876 was appointed medical adviser to the government. His interests were scientific, but ranged widely. His knowledge of the ichthyology of Port Jackson was encyclopaedic and he compiled 'an excellent monograph' on the subject. In 1864 he gave evidence to a select committee about his analyses of water from the Lachlan swamp. He also had charge of the medical care of the boys in the training ship Vernon.

Alleyne was a good-hearted and genial bachelor, 'known in town, not as the Health Officer, but as the curious old gentleman with the shocking bad hat, who used to frequent the Australian Club'. Aged 68 he was preparing to go out on the morning of 9 September 1882 when he had an apoplectic fit; he died that afternoon. He was buried in the Church of England section of the St Leonard's cemetery. His estate was valued for probate at £17,500.

Select Bibliography

  • L. Bruck, Australasian Medical Directory and Hand Book, vol 1 (Syd, 1883)
  • J. F. Watson, History of the Sydney Hospital, 1811-1911 (Syd, 1911)
  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1858, 3, 349, 1863-64, 4, 722, 1868-69, 3, 913, 1873-74, 5, 134, 1882, 2, 1171, 1257, 1883, 2, 710
  • New South Wales Government Gazette, 3 Mar 1868
  • F. McCallum, ‘An Early Australian Quarantine Officer’, Health, 4 (1926)
  • N. J. Dunlop, ‘An Essay Relating Chiefly to Anaesthetics and their Introduction to Australia and Tasmania’, Medical Journal of Australia, 29 Jan 1927, pp 141-55
  • Bulletin, 16 Sept 1882
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Sept 1882, 23 Aug 1952.

Citation details

Richard Refshauge, 'Alleyne, Haynes Gibbes (1815–1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (Melbourne University Press), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]




9 September, 1882 (aged ~ 67)
New South Wales, Australia

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