South Australian Medical Heritage Society Inc

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Ethnic medicine
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Surgical instruments at the Middleton Tavern, SA


The Middleton Tavern


Ship’s surgeon’s case & knives

Manufacture:    S. Mawson & Thompson, London circa 1790
    Container:    2 Tiered wooden box. 8.5” x 4.5”
      Contents:    Knives, bistuaries, hooks, & suture material
  Instruments;    Steel and ivory.
          Owner:    Mrs. Vicki Mack proprietor of the Middleton Tavern.


Ship’s surgical kit circa 1790

The case and contents were purchased by Mr Dennis Harding for $1,000 , and are stored at the Middleton Tavern Middleton S.A.

More precise details as to its source are not available. The instruments were used in minor operations, such as drainage of abscesses, treatment of sinuses & fistulae and excision of lesions.

The lid & lower layer of the ship’s surgical kit showing a coil of horse hair used as suture material


Display of surgical instruments including scalpels & retractors

Spring loaded forceps and horse hair & silk sutures

Ship’s pharmacy scales


Low denomination weights & forceps for applying same


Ship’s bible dated MDCCXCI = 1791



Frontispiece of the ship’s Bible (far left)

Seal skin Bible cover