|Burial register ID:||1959|
|Cause of death:||Unknown|
|Date of death:||27-Dec-1876|
|Date of burial:||30-Dec-1876|
In Memory Of Edward Hulme, M.D.
born 18 May 1812 died 26 December 1876
Edward Hulme (1812-1876)
Hulme was a doctor and health administrator who emigrated to New Zealand to find a better lifestyle. In 1857 he accepted the appointment as Otago’s provincial surgeon, and, a year later, as Otago’s health officer. Hulme was well-qualified to handle the disorganised and unhealthy Dunedin environment during the gold-rush days, although he was reported to be short-tempered, abrupt, and distant in his manner.
Hulme was the provincial surgeon when smallpox broke out on board the clipper Victory. Smallpox was a deadly infectious disease that left victims who survived with disfigured faces ‘like the inner surface of a sliced muffin’. The Victory arrived in Port Chalmers in July 1863 carrying a large party of 200 young women. The ship’s surgeon said there was no disease on board when the immigration officer boarded, though there had been a case of modified smallpox 19 days before, but the patient had been vaccinated as a child. The immigration officer, fortunately, wanted the opinion of Hulme. Hulme said that the man was in fact still infectious and should be isolated immediately, as well as the rest of the people on board the Victory. The passengers were taken to what became known as ‘Quarantine Island’, now known as St Martin Island. Thirty-four new cases of smallpox occurred there but only three people died. If it had not been for Hulme’s recommendation of isolation, smallpox could have spread to the Dunedin population and many more people could have died.
Edward Hulme became New Zealand’s first full-time health administrator, and successfully lobbied for the creation of a separate mental hospital and the replacement of the city’s existing hospital.
— Source: The Maidservant Scandal by Olive Trotter.
— See also: Belgrave, Michael. ‘Hulme, Edward 1812 – 1876’. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.
Dr Edward HulmeSource: Otago Settlers Museum
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