Dr. James Benjamin HarveyPrint Page Print this page

A headstone on grave erected by the Port Lincoln Caledonian Society commemorates Dr James Benjamin Harvey, the first doctor in Port Lincoln.

He was born in 1804 in Tottenham, England, married Sophie in 1830, aged 26, and set up practice as a surgeon in Devonshire. However , after 7 years the practice wasn’t doing that well and Sophie was beginning to show signs of chest trouble which wasn’t helped by the damp climate.

A fresh start in a new warmer country seemed a better option. Dr Harvey obtained a grant of land and the job of Harbour-Master at Port Lincoln in 1839. He was also permitted to practise privately as a surgeon. He died in 1843 and was buried on Boston Island where he had land.


Mr. J. D. Somerville has increased the debt which Port Lincoln owes to him. His latest work is to compile an account as far as the mat ter is available of the association of Dr. James Benjamin Harvey, M.R.C.S., with early Port Lincoln. We have been favored with the opportunity of reading the first section of Mr. Sommerville's work on Dr. Harvey. It treats Dr. Harvey as a naturalist. The doctor was an enthusiastic zoologist and' botanist.  

He must have been a man of exceptional energy and ability, and it was a great loss to Port Lincoln that such a man should have died before he had time to make tbe 'exhaustive investigations into local flora and fauna which would . have been his delight. Dr. Harvey died in 1841 and both he and his wife are buried on Boston Island. It appears that Dr. and Mrs. Harvey's home was the two-storey house on allotment No. 71 on the North road, so that this house is now over 100 years old and one of the oldest residences in Port Lincoln.

Harvey had a collection of 20,000 valuable natural history specimens which, he bad collected and used in his lectures at Teignmouth, England. His home in Port Lincoln would not accommodate this vast collection, but he selected the choicest of them to bring to Australia and disposed of the remainder to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Birmingham. He afterwards regretted that those which he brought were lost to science in Port Lincoln. Dr. Harvey had two sons and some time after his death the specimens, which he retained, augmented by 200 species of shells collected at Port Lincoln and 60 or 70 species of birds were sold by auction.

( Port Lincoln Times, Thursday 15 January 1942)


Address:Boston Island, Port Lincoln, 5606
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.695
Long: 135.930278
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1839
Approx. Event End Date:1843
Monument Designer:Caledonian Society


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1974
Front Inscription

James Benjamin Harvey first doctor Pt. Lincoln 1839 died 1843 also his wife who died 1842 buried here by request.

Erected by Pt. Lincoln Caledonian Society 1974

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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