Henry Wooldridge was baptised in St Maurice's Church, Winchester on 29 January 1812. He was the eleventh of twelve children born to Winchester solicitor Charles Wooldridge and his wife Keziah (nee Weddell), then living in Upper Brook Street. His eldest brother Charles, also a solicitor, was mayor of Winchester in 1840/1 and 1860/1. A brother-in-law, the Reverend John Chitty Harper, became first Anglican bishop of Christchurch and, in 1867, primate of New Zealand. Henry entered the medical profession, admitted, whilst still residing in Winchester, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons on 28 November 1834. He later moved to Botley, marrying on 25 January 1838, by licence at Hound parish church, Sarah Ann Buckland, daughter of John Buckland, yeoman, of Satchell in Hound. Two children were baptised in Botley parish church: Henry John (8 December 1838: born on 7 November) and Annie (3 March 1840). By the time of the birth of their next child, the family had moved to Southampton, originally living at 6 Anglesea Place and subsequently at 7 Moira Place and 12 Portland Street. Five children were baptised in All Saints Church: Sarah Ann (12 March 1841), Arthur (19 August 1842), Cecilia (25 September 1844), Charles Buckland (18 September 1846) and Frederick Deacon (31 January 1849: died 5 May 1849). During the ten years that Wooldridge was in Southampton, he was a campaigner for the improved medical treatment of the poor and for the rights of the medical profession. He sat on both the board of waterworks and the improvement board, where he spoke on sanitation matters. He was a Tory town councillor for All Saints ward between 1844 and 1847, and served a year (1844-5) as a member of the board of guardians, a rare medical representative on that body. He campaigned against what he saw as the wretched management of the workhouse, attempted to introduce a new dietary regime and urged either enlargement or a new building to allow the proper classification of inmates. As a parish surgeon to the poor, he continued to fight for the rights of those doctors contracted to the guardians. In June 1848 he led a rebellion of nineteen colleagues against the "miserably low salaries" paid to medical officers for attendance on the poor. This led to an abortive charge of conspiracy and combination filed by the chairman of the Board (John Traffles Tucker): an action fuelled by party and personal feelings. Wooldridge stood for the vacant coronership of the borough in April 1846, withdrawing before the election when it was clear that the solicitor Edward Coxwell would be successful. He was actively opposed to Sir James Graham's Medical Reform Bill, being elected in 1845 joint secretary, with Joseph Bullar, of an association of general practitioners in south Hampshire campaigning against the bill. In September 1848 he helped to mobilise the medical profession in Southampton to meet the imminent cholera epidemic. Less contentiously, Wooldridge was joint secretary in September 1846 of the Zoology and Botany Sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Southampton.
The Wooldridge family left England on 30 August 1849 aboard the Simlah bound for Australia. Their first residence was in Adelaide, where Henry practiced as a surgeon and medical practitioner for nine years. The death of his wife in March 1850 led to the family returning briefly to England, but Henry was back in Australia in November 1851, followed over the next few years by his children. He married twice more in Australia, but without issue. By 1860, Henry is in South Yarra, near Melbourne, where he practised medicine for a further thirty years. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons on 16 December 1869. He was known for his pioneering treatment of snake bites by the injection of liquid ammonia into the vein. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Victoria in August 1860. He submitted a patent in the State of Victoria for 'An improved method of constructing the bulk-heads of ships'. On retirement in 1890 he made a brief return to England, recorded in the 1891 census at 8 St James's Street, Winchester, then aged 79 years, with his 42-year old wife Emily, born in Florence, Italy. Returning to Australia, he resided at Gleneig in South Australia for six years. He died, in South Australia, on 11 July 1902, aged 90 years. It was said that he had never had a serious illness in his life.


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