Collingwood Notables Database
Andrew Cairncross Livingston
Doctor of Medicine
Dr A C Livingston was a medical practitioner who also served as the Honorary Officer of Health for the Collingwood municipality from October 1856 until his death in 1884. He was a member of a family whose destiny has been shaped by medicine until the present day. The many generations of doctors and nurses range from his grandfather Dr Alexander Livingston, regimental surgeon in the 73rd Regiment of Foot, to the distinguished Brenan descendants of his brother James Cooper Livingston.
Like many early Australian doctors, Andrew Livingston arrived as a ship’s surgeon. Educated in Edinburgh, in 1852 he was surgeon-superintendent (in charge of passengers) on the ship Una and was paid ten shillings for every passenger delivered. The Una left Liverpool on 25 August 1852, arriving at Port Phillip seven months later, in February 1853. Also on board the ship were Andrew's brothers, James Cooper and Sydserff, as well as James' wife Agnes and daughter Ann. It is through Ann Bryce Cooper Livingston who married Joseph James Brenan in 1869 that the Brenan medical dynasty originated.
Livingston first practised in Melbourne at 48 Stephen Street (now Exhibition Street) and then 166 Collins Street East, a few doors away from another Collingwood notable, Dr John Singleton. He and Singleton certainly knew each other, as both were directors of the Universal Emigration Society in 1855. By September 1855 Livingston had moved to what was then numbered 200 Smith Street Collingwood, taking over from Dr Tovell’s practice. Here, in a brick house set in its own grounds on the corner of Otter Street, he practised until 1862. While at this address he was appointed Officer of Health for Collingwood, and appointed a public vaccinator for the Government vaccination program (co-ordinated by the Central Board of Health). He continued in these roles until his death. Smallpox vaccinations for children had been introduced in Port Phillip as early as 1839, and utilised Edward Jenner’s method of inoculating with a vaccine derived from cows. Vaccination of children was made compulsory in 1854, and was delivered free of charge.
Papers relating to Dr Livingston’s acceptance as a medical practitioner indicate the formal procedures in place to acknowledge medical qualifications conferring eligibility to be a doctor in Victoria in the mid-19th century, prior to the establishment of the Melbourne Medical School. First there was a certificate issued in 1853 by the Medical Board for the Colony of Victoria to Dr Andrew C. Livingston. The degree of doctor of medicine was awarded by the University of Melbourne in 1858. The testamur was signed by Chancellor Sir Redmond Barry and Vice-Chancellor A.C. Brownless four years before Brownless was successful in establishing a medical school at the University of Melbourne. It acknowledges the qualifications Livingston had received at the University of Edinburgh. Finally, in 1862 he was granted a certificate of registration from the Medical Board of Victoria.
In 1860 he was elected honorary physician of the Melbourne Hospital and continued to be successful in the annual election for a number of years. He lived and practised at 39 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy from 1863 until 1865, when he relocated to 18 Napier Street, Fitzroy, his address until his death on 9 August 1884.
Livingston’s name was frequently in the newspapers. He wrote letters to the editor about nuisances such as that caused by the odoriferous candle works in the former glass factory in Rokeby Street, reported regularly on the state of health of Collingwood inhabitants, and discussed the risks or otherwise to public health of sewage irrigation. His name appeared in reports of newsworthy cases such as rape and infanticide, where he had carried out examinations or post-mortems. He appeared as a witness in the 1872 Royal Commission on Diphtheria and the 1881 Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Vaccination.
Medical men were held in high esteem, and Livingston’s name was on the list of attendees at the governor’s levees. In 1867 he was present at the royal levee held on the occasion of the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh.
In August 1884 Livingston became seriously ill and just managed to sign his will on his deathbed, with his servant, Ellen Hastings, and his solicitor, James McKean, as witnesses. He left his small estate of around £700 to be divided among his sister in England, and his nieces and nephews in Australia and South Africa.
|8 February 1812
|Status of Building
|286-290 Smith Street
|9 August 1884
The Argus; Leader; The Age; Australasian; Ballarat Star; Bendigo Advertiser; Central Board of Health, Second Annual Report.