David Williams

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Dr D. J. and Jane Williams, with children, Ethel Mary, at Isabella Jane, at home, 26 Mercer St., Queenscliff. 1864. Courtesy Queenscliffe Historical Museum (PH3961)


Dr David John Williams was born in 1819 in Swansea[1], Glenmorganshire, Wales, Dr Williams studied Medicine in London, graduating in 1841. He practiced in London for three years, leaving for Sydney in 1844 as Surgeon-Superintendent on the Templar. He returned to england, joining the medical service and was appointed as a personal medical attendant to Tsar Nicholas I. He married Jane Walker and their son, Houlton Voss, was born on 14 September 1854. In 1842 Dr Williams was presented with an engraved jewel by the Czar, and the order of St Ann. The child died in March 1855 and is buried at Ballaarat Old Cemetery.[2]

Dr David Williams decided to moved to Victoria, and arrived in Melbourne on 17 May 1853 on the Bride, a vessel on which he served as Surgeon-Superintendent. In September 1853 he was appointed to the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean.[3]

Dr Williams took up the position of District Surgeon at Ballarat after the resignation of Dr Heise, arriving in Ballarat on 10 August 1854. The position was abolished on 31 December 1854.[4]

He died in 1902.[5]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Dr David Williams was a medical doctor who was at Eureka during the uprising and attended the the wounded at the Government Camp. He was the coroner in the inquest into the death of James Scobie on 07 October 1854, and on Henry Powell after the Eureka Stockade.[6]

Post 1854 Experiences

Dr David Williams visited in England settling at Queenscliff in 1855 after his return to Victoria. He he set up in practice, living at at 26 Mercer Street,[7] and served a term as Mayor.[8]

Dr Williams was the first mayor of the Borough of Queenscliffe serving in that role from 1863-1864. He was appointed Health Officer at the Heads in 1867.

In 1864 three stained glass windows by Feguson and Urie for St George's Anglican Church at Queensliff was donated by Dr David Williams. He was a trustee and verstryman of the church, and the 'west' windows depicts Evangelists Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Shield of the Trinity.

Williams Street in Point Lonsale was named after Dr David Williams.


An old resident of this peninsular, in the person of Dr. D. J. Williams, has joined the majority, paging away at his residence, Mercer-street, on the I8th instant, at the age of 83 years. The doctor had been ailing for a long time, and the fatal termination of his illness was not unexpected. Dr. Williams, when a young man, joined the English medi cal staff in the Russian navy. He was appointed medical officer to the Czar Nicholas, his particular duty being to attend the Czar on board the yacht Victoria in the summer months. This yacht was built in England, and christened by Her late Majesty Queen Victoria. The Russian military authorities made an alteration in the regulations, involving the performance by the English medical staff of all similar duties to those which were carried out by the Russian staff. The chief medical officer of the English surgeons then sent in the resignation of the whole staff. On leaving, Dr. Williams was personally presented by the Czar with the decoration of the Order of St. Ann - bearing the inscription, Presented to D. J. Williams by the Czar Nicholas, Emperor of all the Russias." He was also honored with the appointment of honorary surgeon in the Russian navy. En closed in the casket containing the decoration was a slip of paper, on which a large number of roubles was marked. The doctor went to the English court, and asked for an explanation of the figures. He was told that if he took the decoration to the Russian Treasury he would receive the full value of the diamonds, amounting to a large sum, in cash, and the diamonds would be replaced by English ones, which would look equally as well. The doctor decided to retain the real ones. On a frontier war nearly every man in the regiment in which Dr. Williams was enrolled prior to the resignation of the staff, were killed in a surprise attack. Dr. Williams also received the Victorian long service volunteer medal, but he never wore either this or the Order of St. Ann. On coming to Victoria he was appointed coroner for the Ballarat district, an extensive territory. He was present in Ballarat when the attack was made on the Eureka stockade, and professionally attended the wounded after the action. After visiting the old country he received the appointment of health officer at the Heads, holding this position for a number of years, ultimately retiring on a pension. Being of a retiring disposition, he did not take much interest in local affairs, although in the early days he was elected a member of the borough council and for some time was president of the local free library. He invested to a con siderable extent in building sites on Queens cliff, but never built on them. The funeral took place on Sunday. "Deceased leaves one son, Sir Gower Williams.[9]

The will of David John Williams, of Queenscliff, doctor of medicine, who died on the 18th of January, was filed in the Supreme Court yesterday. Testator was possessed of an estate valued at £3482, which he leaves to his son, Cyril Gower Vost Williams.[10]

See also

Peter Lalor

James Scobie

Further Reading


  1. Melbourne Leader, 02 December 1893.
  2. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  3. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  4. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  5. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  6. Corfield, J., Wickham, D. & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  7. Melbourne Leader, 02 December 1893.
  8. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  9. Geelong Advertiser, 22 January 1902.
  10. Geelong Advertiser, 18 February 1902.

External links