Robert Anstruther Goodsir

1823 - 1895

Explorer and surgeon. Born in Anstruther Easter (Fife), the younger brother of Prof. John Goodsir (1814-67). He was educated at the University of St. Andrews. Another brother, Harry Goodsir (1819-48), disappeared with the Franklin Expedition and Robert joined a search party on the Dundee whaling ship Advice which went to the Arctic in 1849. He returned following year as part of an official search party on board the HMS Lady Franklin and again returned safely. He wrote An Arctic Voyage to Baffin's Bay and Lancaster Sound (1850) based on a journal he kept during the 1849 voyage. This described the region, the process of whaling, the various dangers encountered, such as icebergs, storms, and shipwrecks, as well as the wildlife observed, and interactions with the Inuit. Goodsir travelled to New Zealand to prospect for gold in the 1860s, set up a medical practice near Otago, and then moved to Australia where he ran a sheep farm, before returning to Edinburgh c.1880.

Goodsir lies buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh.

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