The discipline of public health and preventive medicine in Australia and New Zealand had its genesis in the advocacy of 18th and 19th century military pioneers. Military (Royal Navy and British Army) surgeons were posted to Australia as part of their non-discretionary duty. Civilian doctors emigrated variously for adventure, escapism and gold fever. One group, a particularly influential group disproportionate to their numbers, came in one sense as forced emigrants because of chronic respiratory disease in general, and tuberculosis in particular. Tuberculosis was an occupational hazard of 19th century medical and surgical practice throughout western Europe. This paper analyses six examples of such emigration which had, perhaps unforeseen at the time, significant results in the advancement of public health. Such emigration was in one sense voluntary, but in another was forced upon the victims in their quest for personal survival. In Australia, such medical individuals became leading advocates and successful catalysts for change in such diverse fields as social welfare, public health, the preventive aspects of medical practice, child health, nutrition and medical education. A number of such public health pioneers today have no physical memorials; but their influence is to be seen in the ethos of medical practice in Australia and New Zealand today. Their memory is further perpetuated in the names of Australian native wildflowers and trees that symbolise not only a healthy environment but the longterm investment, accrued with interest, of the institution of public health measures for which their advocacy achieved much success.