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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Andrews, Arthur (1848–1925)

by W. W. Fielder

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

Arthur Andrews (1848-1925), medical practitioner, historian and numismatist, was born on 4 February 1848 at Brickendon, Hertfordshire, England, son of Samuel Andrews, contractor, and his wife Maria Ann, née Thornton. One of a large family, he studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital London (M.R.C.S., England; L.S.A., London, 1869). While resident physician there, he gained valuable experience in coping with a serious outbreak of smallpox and then practised at Farnham, Surrey. In 1872 he studied surgery, the ear, and skin diseases in Vienna, and travelled in Italy and Switzerland before returning to England to practise briefly at Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Worried about his health, Andrews left for Australia in the Yorkshire and arrived in Melbourne on 21 February 1874. Registered in New South Wales on 13 April, he became the partner of R. N. Cobbett at Albury and in June became public vaccinator. On 19 August 1875 he married Edith Emma Cookson (d.1876), and that year succeeded Cobbett as government medical officer and visiting surgeon to Albury gaol. In the 1880s he was honorary medical officer at Albury Hospital and Benevolent Asylum.

Andrews's practice extended over a wide area of the Riverina and upper Murray. He habitually travelled by buggy-and-pair, carrying a saddle in times of flood, and bred his own horses, chosen for speed and stamina. After a long fight he practically stamped out typhoid fever in the area and following a serious outbreak of smallpox in 1913, when only one case reached Albury, he met every train crossing the border to check passengers suspected of carrying the disease.

Involved in the life of the town, Andrews was deputy sheriff for fifteen years and served on the committee of the reformed Albury and Border Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society in 1879-1919, being several times president. He was also president of the Mechanics' Institute, the school board and the Parents' and Citizens' Association. He interested himself in the local co-operative butter factory and gas company, and was prominent in reconstituting the Albury District Hospital and Training School for Nurses. A skilful taxidermist, he was largely responsible for numerous specimens of wildlife mounted and exhibited in the town museum. A foundation member of the Albury Club, he was also a Freemason of high standing.

Fascinated by numismatics in general, Andrews collected Australian tokens in particular and contributed articles about them to the Antiquarian Gazette. He gave his collection to the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and in 1921, at the request of the trustees, published a handbook, Australasian Tokens and Coins. In 1914-17 he was first president of the Numismatic Society of Victoria and in 1921 became president of the Australian Numismatic Society. Andrews was also a local historian of repute. His publications included History of Albury (1912), First Settlement of the Upper Murray, 1835-1845, … (1920) and articles in the Victorian Historical Magazine. Enjoying carpentry, he made furniture for his house.

After retiring in 1919 Andrews lived at Cremorne, where he died of cerebro-vascular disease on 14 February 1925; he was buried in the Northern Suburbs (Church of England) cemetery. He was survived by his second wife Caroline Mary Lemarchand, whom he had married in Melbourne on 17 April 1879, and by their son and three daughters. His estate was valued for probate at £4959.

Select Bibliography

  • Numismatic Society of Victoria, Record of the Foundation of the Society (Melb, 1924)
  • W. A. Bayley, Border City (Albury, 1976)
  • private information.

Citation details

W. W. Fielder, 'Andrews, Arthur (1848–1925)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 27 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

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