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Biographical entry Considen, Denis (c. 1760 - 1815)

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    Eucalyptus piperita Sm. (1790), Sydney Peppermint, 23 January 2013

c. 1760
29 December 1815
Natural history collector and Surgeon


Denis Considen was surgeon on board the "Scarborough" of the First Fleet (1788) to New South Wales and collected plants for Joseph Banks. He used eucalyptus oil, distilled from Eucalyptus piperita, to treat the sick and declared himself, in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, as the pioneer in pharmaceutical applications of eucalyptus oil.
Considen graduated in 1804 from his studies in medicine with his thesis De Tetano, which referred to his discovery of eucalyptus oil as an antiseptic and disinfectant for wounds. Botanist Joseph Maiden named Eucalyptus consideriana (1904) for Denis Considen.



Career position - Assistant surgeon of the First Fleet, aboard the Scarborough. Considen treated the sick using Eucalyptus oil, distilled from Eucalyptus piperita Sm. (1790)
Life event - Returned to England from New South Wales, due to ill health
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus consideniana Maiden was named in honour of Denis Considen

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Powerhouse Museum

  • Joseph Banks - Records, 1766 - 1820, ML MSS 2144; Powerhouse Museum. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Wrigley, J. and Fagg, M., Eucalypts: A Celebration (Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2010), 344 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Considen, D., 'Tetanus - De Tetano. [1804]' in The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal: Exhibiting a Concise View of the Latest and Most Important Discoveries in Medicine, Surgery, and Pharmacy [Index], vol. 20 (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Co., 1824), p. 363. Details
  • Gilbert, L. A., 'Considen, Dennis (-1815)' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Douglas Pike, ed., vol. 1 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1966), pp. 242-243. Details

Journal Articles

  • Evans, Sue, 'Joseph Banks and the continuing influence of European colonisation on Australian herbal practice.', Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, 21 (3) (2009), 63-65. Details
  • MacPherson, J., 'Denis Considen, Assistant Surgeon of the First Fleet', Medical Journal of Australia (1927), 770-773. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'On four new species of Eucalyptus.', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 29 (3) (1904), 469-. Eucalyptus consideneana, pp. 475 - 478 " would appear that Considen was the founder of the Eucalyptus oil industry." (p. 477). Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'Records of Australian Botanists - (a) General, (b) New South Wales', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, xlii (1908), 60-132. Details
  • Pearson, Michael, 'The good oil: eucalyptus oil distilleries in Australia.', Australasian Historical Archaeology, 11 (1993), 99-107. Details


See also

  • Hall, Norman, Botanists of the Eucalypts: short biographies of people who have named eucalypts, whose names have been given to species or who have collected type material (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1978), 101 pp. Details

Digital resources

Eucalyptus piperita Sm. (1790), Sydney Peppermint
23 January 2013
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
In 1788, Denis Considen, ship surgeon on the First Fleet, distilled eucalyptus oil from Eucalyptus piperita to treat the sick.


McCarthy, G.J. & Moje, C.