John Wood ~ Geographer

John Wood (1811-1871) – geographer – educated at Perth Academy. He joined the East India Company and served in its navy, reaching the rank of lieutenant. After the River Indus was opened up for navigation and commerce, Wood oversaw the operation and the running of the steamship Indus. (1835). In this role, he conducted research into the topography and geography of the region. In November of 1836 he was sent to Afghanistan and served under Alexander Burns. Again Wood studied the region and claimed to have found the source of the Oxus; this was later shown to be incorrect. His research though scientific was primarily of commercial and military importance. Disagreement with the British government’s approach to Afghanistan saw Wood resign from the navy (at the level of captain) to undertake his geographical work. In 1841 he published, Journey to the Source of the Oxus and received a patron’s medal of the Royal Geographical Society. After a short time in New Zealand, Wood went to Australia, By 1857, he was back in Europe. From there he found employment in the Oriental Inland Steam Navigation Company (in Sind). After that company’s failure, Wood managed the Indus steam flotilla (1861-71). Wood died 13 November 1871 in North London.