Dr. Andrew Buchanan of Chingford


Andrew Buchanan was born in Jamaica 10 December 1807, the son of George Buchanan and his wife Jane Gowie.
The family left Jamaica for Britain in 1816 and settled in Sherborne in Dorset where Andrew was educated. After leaving school Andrew went to Paris where he studied medicine and surgery.In 1830 he joined the Polish army as a surgeon and remained with the army until the Polish uprising of the period was put down by the Russians. He returned to London and later went to Scotland where he studied and graduated from St. Andrews University with a degree in medicine. Back in London he was made public vaccinator in 1833 vaccinating more than 1000 people each year, and for the next 25 years carried a large and successful practice. Andrew married in 1835 Emma Harkness daughter of Dr. John Harkness. They lived at Stepney in London and had a small farm at Chingford in Essex. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Colonial Institute, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Andrew and Emma had eight children - Emma, Agnes, Edith Mary, Fanny Chaytor, Janet Curling, Arthur Vaudrey, Noel Lee, Emily Baston. All born between the years 1835 and 1850.
Andrew travelled with his wife and family to New Zealand on the Dinapore in 1857. Among the passengers were Two British Army officers Humphrey Jones and Alexander Clerk who married Emma Buchanan and Edith Buchanan respectively. Bishop Selwyn officiated at the double wedding ceremony on 1 December 1857. On his arrival in Auckland Andrew bought a property called Clovernook and on sold this to a Mr. Charles Stichbury in 1861. Hearing that there was good land in Otago to be had Andrew visited the region and in 1860 obtained a property called Patearoa - two years later he moved his family from Auckland to Otago arriving on the schooner Clutha.
The Buchanan's settled in the North East Valley suburb of Dunedin and their new house was named Chingford after their old home in England. Chingford was bequethed to the city of Dunedin in 1936 by the then owner Mr. P.C. Neill. It was allowed to fall into disrepair and was demolished in 1968. Andrew was nominated to a seat on the Legislative Council by Governor Gore Brown, and appointed to it in 1862. He spent twelve years in the Council and was active in improving the conditions of people in mental hospitals and other aspects of community life. It is to Andrew Buchanan that New Zealand is greatly indebted for the early introduction of the "humane method" of treatment of those who were mentally afflicted. He was mainly responsible for the wiping out in New Zealand of the system of "madhouses" often in the care of and entrusted to the tender mercies of ignorant , brutal, and often drunk officials. In 1871 The House of Representatives appointed Andrew to act as chairman to a joint committee to report on lunatic asylums.
Andrew was a staunch Anglican. He left New Zealand for England in 1873 on the ship Nebraska and never returned to New Zealand.