Isabella Helen Ramsay and John Belisario
Isabella Helen Ramsay married John
Belisario in 1854 at Dobroyde. John Belisario was a Dental Surgeon who pioneered the use of anaesthetics in Australia.
In 1946, news reached Australia
from the US of the worlds first anaesthetic for a surgical procedure. Descriptions of the operations by Dr W T G Morton inspired
Dr William Pugh and John Belisario to publicly demonstrate the use of anaesthesia. On 7th June 1847, Dr William
Pugh in Launceston, removing two teeth and a tumour from a patient, and on the very same day, Sydney dentist John Belisario
demonstrated painless dentistry at the new Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary, which later became Sydney Hospital.
Another source credits Charles
Nathan, working at the new Sydney Infirmary, with being the first doctor along with Belisario to use the technique.
"Born and educated in London, Nathan
migrated to Sydney in 1841. In 1845 he was one of the original four doctors appointed to the new Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary
(later to become Sydney Hospital). In 1847 he and a Dr Belisario were the first doctors ever to administer an anaesthetic
in Australia. For this innovation he was bitterly attacked in the Australian Medical Journal, but defended in an editorial
in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Subsequent highlights in Dr Nathan's career include his use of ether anaesthetic when manipulating congenital dislocations
of the hip; his later preference for chloroform, which he administered to his own wife in childbirth; his attendance on His
Royal Highness Prince Alfred when he was wounded in 1868; and his part in the founding of the New South Wales branch of the
British Medical Association and a number of other important institutions in New South Wales. Nathan died from heart disease
in 1872 at the age of 56."
See the Powerhouse Museum house
concerning the early use of anaesthetics:-
Also an account of the life of
John Belisario , his grandson, dermatologist, John Colcquhoun Belisario , ans also Charles Nathan in the Australian Dictionary of Biography
In 1959 Blanche Mitchell wrote an account in her diary of having some teeth pulled by Dr Belisario under the influence of chloroform. Click here to
see what she wrote.
John Belisario had previously been
married to Mary Longfield in 1843. They had 4 children before Marys death in 1849, age 24. A child, John, was born and died
in 1849 to Mary and John Belisario, so it is probable that Mary died in childbirth.
Children of Isabella Helen
Ramsay and John Belisario
Isabella and John Belisario had
John E Belisario born 1855. There is a birth record for this child,
but no further records, which indicate he could have died at birth or in infancy. A later child was named John.
Clive Ramsay da Costa Belisario 1856 1897. Travelled to the US to
study Dentistry in 1875, returned in 1877 after the death of his brother, John Buchan (Jack). Married Daisy Elizabeth Mary
Comyns, there is no record of any children. Clive died age 40 in Manly, Sydney,
and is buried at the Ramsay Graveyard.
Ethel Margaret Belisario 1858-1917 Ethel was unmarried, she died
in Sydney and is buried in the Ramsay Graveyard.
Isabella Sarah Louise Belisario 1861-1862 Little Sallie died
age 14 months, and was buried in the Ramsay Graveyard.
Catherine Olive 1863-1867 Olive died age 4 and is buried in the
John Buchan (Jack) Belisario 1865-1887 Jack travelled to Philadelphia
on 13 August 1885, to study Dentistry, and died there on 11 Feb 1887 age 21.
There is a memorial to him in the Belisario section on the Ramsay Graveyard.
Guy Alexander Fernandez 1869-1940 Guy was a solicitor, and was the
only child to marry and have children. In 1889 he married Isobel Colquoun Fraser, and had one child, John Colquoun in 1900.
Guy later married Argia A C Samuel in 1922.
John Colquoun Belisario.
John C Belisario was born 30 April 1900 in Sydney. He was a noted dermatologist,
and consultant physician at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, specialising in skin diseases. He published numerous papers,
including a major study on Cancer of the Skin in 1959.
John Belisario was educated at the University of Sydney (MB, ChM 1926; DDM
1947; MD 1950)
He was awarded the OBE in 1941, CBE 1945, CMG 1968.
His career is summed up by the Bright
Sparcs web site as follows:
Resident medical officer, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 1926-28;
postgraduate dermatological studies, Europe; honorary assistant physician, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 1932-44, honorary
physician 1944-60, honorary consulting physician for diseases of the skin 1960-76; appointments at five other Sydney hospitals
concurrently and a busy private practice in Macquarie Street. War service, Greece, the Middle East and New Guinea 1940-44.
Lecturer in diseases of the skin, University of Sydney 1945-61; and the instigator and first supervisor (1946-56) of a training
course leading to the diploma of dermatological medicine. Established the John Belisario Institute of Dermatology at Royal
Prince Alfred Hospital 1959. Foundation president, Dermatological Association of Australia 1949 and of its successor, the
Australasian College of Dermatologists 1966.