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Gordon Augustus Thomson (1799 - 1886):
Ethnologist


Gordon Thomson was born in Belfast and lived for a time in the West Indies and also visited South Africa, China and India. In 1834 he reached Australia and subsequently explored that country. He went to South America via New Zealand and the Sandwich Islands, travelled on horseback from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso with naval dispatches. From Valparaiso he travelled through Chile, Peru and Mexico to the United States of America. He returned to England by way of Canada and the Prince Edward Islands in 1842. During his journeys he made a collection of ethnological objects, some of which he donated to the Belfast Museum. He built his house 'Bedeque' on the site of the present Mater Hospital in Belfast, and was a regular vistor at the Royal Hospital before leaving in 1866 to explore Egypt, Palestine and part of Arabia. He returned to Australia in 1873 to live in Melbourne, which had been an Aboriginal village when he had seen it forty years earlier. On his death a monument was erected to his memory in Melbourne.

Born: 1799
Died: 1886
Kate Newmann