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Death of the first white resident of North Queensland

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The first white resident of North Queensland’s death certificate gives the final illness as ‘arthritis’. This examination of contemporary records and more recent reports, together with the results of discussion with colleagues interested in medicine and history, attempts to suggest the reasons for his various symptoms and his final demise. This life story is reminiscent of a ‘Boy’s own’ adventure with shipwrecks, survival at sea, coexistence with Aboriginal tribesmen before returning to ‘white society’, marriage and the start of a family.

Are there lessons here for the twenty-first century physician and rheumatologist? Would the commonplace illnesses of mid nineteenth-century Queensland be very different to the problems seen in our outpatient clinics today?
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Keywords: Queensland; medical history; rheumatic disease

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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