The surgeon's responsibilities were defined in instructions issued by the Admiralty in the early 1820s for Surgeon Superintendents on board convict ships to New South Wales or Van Diemens Land. He was required to ensure that the ship's master fully complied with the conditions of the charter, including a prohibition on shipping private goods for sale in the colony.
Although these regulations were promulgated relatively late in the period of transportation to New South Wales and Van Diemens Land, it is inconceivable, with the experience gained through 45 years of transportation of convicts to the new colonies and, before that, to North America and the West Indies, that some perhaps less formalised instructions had not been produced to guide officers undertaking this role for the first time in their careers.
Although numbering only five, closely confined on the last long leg from Cape Town to Van Diemens Land, it is inevitable that disputes should have arisen amongst women who may have walked across Portugal and Spain and accompanied their men to New Orleans and Waterloo, as tough and as hard as the veterans themselves, jealous of their rights and privileges and mindful of the welfare of their off-spring.
Cape Town to Van Diemens Land had not been so comfortable as the first part as the Albion rode the winds of the Roaring Forties eastward to Hobart Town.
The Sir Godfrey Webster sailed well south to clear the Cape of Good Hope and then rode the winds of the Roaring Forties towards Van Diemens Land; Christmas was celebrated in the cuddy in style with a fine dinner; the crew got drunk but the `soldiers kept themselves quite sober and of course behaved properly'.
As part of the reorganisation he had brought with him three clerks: Patrick Hogan was sent to Van Diemens Land as Deputy-Assistant-Commissary; Brodie and Hobson filled Commissary Clerk's positions.
Many of them, appointed from the half-pay lists, were to settle in New South Wales and Van Diemens Land and to become substantial members of the colonial society.
By 1817, commissary stores had been established in New South Wales at Sydney, Parramatta, Windsor, Liverpool, Newcastle and Bathurst, and in Van Diemens Land at Hobart and Port Dalrymple (Launceston).
One of Wemyss' early recommendations, in 1821, was to create a commissariat organisation in Van Diemens Land independent of the New South Wales commissariat in the event of the separation of the administration of the two components of the colony.