Nason, Edward - I24

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First Class Passenger 
Edward Nason
1823 – 1899
Nationality Unknown
Born 1823
Died 1899
Genealogy Data
Person ID I24
Voyage Data
Voyage to Adelaide in 1864
Personal role First Class Passenger
Name on list Dr. Nason
Age on voyage abt 41
Occupation Surgeon
Joined place London
Left place Adelaide

Sarah Ann Bray, in her last diary entry on Boxing Day 1864, recorded that she saw "Dr Nason and his brother" in Adelaide. If over the ten weeks of his stay in Adelaide, Edward was investigating the possibility of joining his brothers in Australia, he decided against it. When the City of Adelaide sailed from Port Adelaide in January 1865 on her return voyage to England, he remained the ship's surgeon.

Nasons in Nuneaton

Nuneaton, best known as the home of the 19th century author George Eliot, was the largest market town in the English county of Warwickshire before the Industrial Revolution. Textiles, hat-making, bricks & tiles, coal-mining, and brewing were the town's most important industries.

The Nasons had been a venerable and important line of vicars and doctors for many generations in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace in southern Warwickshire. After his graduation as a doctor Edward Nason snr (1800-1868), father of our ship's surgeon, moved to the north of the county, where he set up a practice in Nuneaton and founded a medical dynasty there.

He married Mary Iliffe in 1822, and they had eleven children, all born in Nuneaton - Edward jnr 1823-1899, William Samuel 1826, Mary Jane 1827, Richard Bird 1829-1896, John James 1832, Frederick Henry 1834-1909, George Stephen 1836-1910, Frances Elizabeth 1838, Thomas Robert 1840, Charles Arthur 1843, and another who died in infancy. Edward Nason snr practised initially in Market Place where the family lived with two or three house servants and a medical pupil or two. He then shifted their home to practice at 41 Abbey Street until he died there aged 68.

For the last 200 years the name Nason has been synonymous with medicine in Nuneaton. Dr Richard Bird Nason practised with his father at Abbey Street for many years, and was succeeded by his own sons Dr Edward N Nason (1860-1940) and Dr William S Nason (1863- ). They all struggled to alleviate the suffering of undernourished people who suffered horrific work injuries or diseases with no known cure, and who died early. It was Dr Richard B Nason who was instrumental in founding the town's major hospital.

Two of Edward and Mary Nason's other sons migrated to South Australia on the Charlotte Jane in 1854. Frederick H Nason worked his passage as the ship's surgeon, but soon abandoned the medical profession to visit the Victorian goldfields. He then returned to settle in Adelaide, where he married, had six children, and was an accountant for the rest of his life.

Frederick was accompanied on the voyage out by his younger brother George S Nason who was a chemist by profession. George first joined a SA Government exploration expedition into the interior beyond Lake Eyre, was married in SA in 1861, then tried mining in Victoria. He joined their education department as a teacher in 1864, became an esteemed head-master at Horsham in the western district of the state, and retired to live in Geelong where he died, leaving a widow and seven children.

Edward Nason jnr (1823-1899)

Edward Nason jnr (1823-1899), the eldest son of Edward & Mary, graduated in medicine after being apprenticed to his father, and joined him in the Abbey Street practice for some years. Throughout their lives both father and son, with the same name and identical qualifications, each insisted on being recorded as "Edward Nason, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons England, Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries London, General Practitioner".

The younger Edward then moved to a general practice near Warwick, in Leamington where he lived with a cook/housekeper and a domestic servant. This had been a small agricultural village until 'beneficial' spa waters were discovered in 1820, and the rich and fashionable people flocked there to visit or to live. The town grew rapidly, and although the spectacular 'boom' was over by the 1860s, it remained a location of valuable real estate. Today it is officially known as Royal Leamington Spa.

Unattached at 41 years of age, Edward then spent nearly twelve months away on his trip to South Australia on the City of Adelaide. After his return he moved to become the general practioner in Bampton, a small market town in a sheep-farming parish near Tiverton in north-east Devon. Here he retained one domestic servant to keep house for him.

During this period he met Charlotte Adelaide Fitzgerald (1824-1907) who had been born in London and now lived in Exeter, the county town of Devon. Most unusually for that time, Charlotte was a single career woman who practised as an accountant and funds manager, and who owned houses as well. She lived in Premier Place with a young domestic servant Mary Ann Potter who had already been with her for more than ten years.

Early in 1872 Dr Edward Nason 48 and 47 years old Charlotte Fitzgerald were married in Bath, the very place for lavish society weddings in the 19th century. Dr & Mrs Nason lived at his home in Castle Street, Bampton with Mary Potter joining Edward's cook to look after them.

When Edward retired from practice nearly twenty years later, the couple moved to Stratford-upon-Avon. They lived in Rother Street, a very prominent address, and took with them the faithful Mary Potter who served as housekeeper until 1907, when Charlotte died after surviving her husband by eight years. They left no children.

Complimentary Dinner

At the complimentary dinner held prior to sailing for London in 1865 "Mr. T. C. Bray proposed the health of the doctor of the vessel, Dr. Nason, and referred to the great satisfaction he had hitherto given by his skill and ability."[1]


Original research by Ron Roberts.



  1. "TOPICS OF THE DAY.". The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 20 January 1865. p. 2. Retrieved 21 November 2013.