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Biographical entry Smith, Alexander (1812 - 1872)

20 December 1812
Greenwich, United Kingdom
1 September 1872
Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia


Alexander Smith joined the Royal Navy at 15 and served for four years on HMS Thetis until she was wrecked off South America in 1830. In 1839 he was posted to HMS Erebus for James Ross Clark's 1839 - 1841 voyages of exploration in Antarctic waters. At the conclusion of the expedition he was promoted to Lieutenant and was given the senior Royal Navy position at the Rossbank Observatory in Hobart. He resigned from this post in 1852 and moved to Victoria.



Career position - Volunteer Midshipman, Royal Navy
1841 - 1852
Career position - Naval officer, Rossbank Observatory, Hobart, Tasmania
1853 - 1861
Career position - Goldfields Commissioner and warden, Castlemaine, Victoria

Published resources


  • Ramsland, John, From Antarctica to the Gold Rushes: in the Wake of the Erebus: the Explorations of Alexander Smith RN, Polar Voyager, Astronomer and Goldfields Comissioner, 1812-1872, Brolga Publishing, Melbourne, 2011, 376 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Ramsland, John, 'Alexander Smith RN (1812-1872): Antarctic Explorer and Goldfields Commissioner', The Great Circle: Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History, vol. 35, no. 1, 2013, pp. 6-28. Details

Helen Cohn