‘I held a court in the ward’: Dr Ayre and democracy at sea
By 1851, Dr John Ayre was a seasoned surgeon superintendent. He had managed voyages to New South Wales, South Australia, and Moreton May in three consecutive years from 1848, travelling respectively on the Tasman, the Cheapside, and the Duchess of Northumberland. Although his official logs have not survived, Dr Ayre’s personal diaries on board the Cheapside and the Duchess of Northumberland are richly evocative.
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