Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary

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(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)



Mr Edward Gardiner Gould, son of London homœopathic chemist, Edward Gould, arrived in Melbourne in 1860 and helped establish the Kidner and Gould homœopathic pharmacy in Collins Street. On October 5 1863, Mr Gould, previously dispenser to the London Homœopathic Hospital, opened a homœopathic pharmacy at Ryrie Street in Geelong, nearly opposite the Post Office. On the same day, the Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary opened. The notice in the Geelong Advertiser which advertised its opening stated:




NOTICE. – On and after Monday next, patients may attend with their tickets

of recommendation from subscribers, at the offices of the Institution in

Ryrie-street, nearly opposite the Post Office. The Dispensary will open for

The reception of patients from a quarter to nine o’clock until a quarter to

ten every morning (Sundays excepted).

The object of this Institution is to give gratuitous medical relief to the sick

poor. Intending subscribers may procure copies of the regulations of the

Dispensary and every other information connected therewith from the

Dispenser, at the offices of the Institution, as above.


Honorary Secretary.


At the same time, in a separate advertisement, Dr P. Teague advertised that he was a Homœopathic Physician and Surgeon whose premises were at 19 Ryrie-street, Geelong, “over Mr Crooks, late F. Bauer”. Dr Teague was an Englishman (from Perranuthnoe, Cornwall) who arrived in Australia in 1862 at the age of 25. (He was married on 15 May 1862 in Geelong.) Dr Teague had studied medicine in America, graduating from the College of Homoeopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania in 1859.



The first annual meeting of the governors and subscribers was held in November 1864. The committee stated that they had “much pleasure in assuring the subscribers of the institute that the small amount collected in support of the first year’s operations, has been productive of very extensive medical relief to the sick poor”. They reported that from October 1863 to 30th September 1864, 1,675 prescriptions had been made up.


A large number of chronic cases have throughout the year been successfully treated at the dispensary, and very many patients have gratefully acknowledged the beneficial results of homœopathic treatment, whilst out of the 196 cases only three have terminated fatally. Many patients have, in the course of medical treatment, been visited at their own residences, as although the rules do not contemplate affording medical relief to patients unable to attend at the dispensary, Dr Teague made upwards of fifty gratuitous visits to several whose illness became so developed as to prevent attendance at the dispensary.


The charitable objects of the promoters of the dispensary have not as yet been sustained by the majority of those resident in Geelong and its neighbourhood, who have received benefit from homœopathic treatment, and your committee, therefore, now appeal to all those favourable to the extension of the benefits of homœopathy to the poor, and trust that, notwithstanding the present generally depressed state of business, the subscription list for the ensuing year will be greatly augmented.


Only 60 pounds had been collected towards the establishment of the dispensary. Although the free services of Dr Teague had kept the costs of the dispensary’s operations down, there was a deficit of 15 pounds.


Still it is confidently expected, now that your committee are prepared to show that much good has been done with but a comparatively small amount of money, that further efforts, in the same direction, will surely obtain substantial encouragement not only from those who have subscribed for the past year, but also from the general body of the homoeopathists of Geelong, who are sufficiently numerous and respectable to support an institution involving much greater outlay than that already incurred by your committee.


The people elected as members of the committee for the following year were:

The Reverends T. McK. Fraser, James Henderson, and A.M. Moore, and Messrs A.M. Campbell, John Dennis, Silas Harding, George M. Hitchcock, T.M. Hall, T.B. Hunt, W.L. Lees, H. Speed, T.P. Teague [a typographical error, should be J.P. Teague], W.J. Thomas, and James Wood.



The committee thanked Dr Teague “for his gratuitous services and untiring zeal in furthering the usefulness of the dispensary. A daily attendance at the dispensary and many attendances elsewhere on dispensary patients would have proved wearisome to anyone less devoted to the well-being of the institution and the spread of homœopathy …”



Dr Sidney Rudge Robinson, who had received his medical qualifications in England, was recorded as being in Melbourne in 1862. However from 1865 he lived in Geelong, where he took over Dr Teague’s Ryrie Street practice.(Dr Teague moved to Melbourne.) Dr Robinson provided honorary services twice a week to the Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary. 


In 1866 it was reported that 1,968 prescriptions had been dispensed to 285 persons. There was an income 60 pounds, not sufficient to pay for a medical officer.



On 12 June 1867 an article in The Argus reported that the Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary had put in a claim to share in the grant of money annually voted by Parliament to charitable institutions. There was a deputation to the Treasurer by: Messrs Campbell, Hitchcock, Speed, Brown and others, introduced by Mr Richardson, MLA, and Mr Byrne, MLA. They urged the merits of homoeopathy, and evidence of success with cholera epidemics. Statistics were provided. Assistance was required so that they might extend the benefits of the establishment. However, the Treasurer did not believe the dispensary came within the meaning of the vote as worded by the Assembly. He believed that there was an even bigger issue – could the Government support two conflicting systems. Mr Campbell wanted the New Melbourne hospital to be homœopathic, to prove the system.



The Argus of 8 February 1869 provided a report of the 5th annual meeting of subscribers to the dispensary. There had been 214 cases for the year, which with 25 from 1867, made the total 239, for whom 2005 prescriptions were dispensed – an increase of 54 patients and 604 prescriptions. A grant of 50 pounds had been received from the government, which, with 20 pounds from the surplus of the NSW Flood Relief Fund, and a sum of 57 pounds, 16s 9d received from subscribers, made a total of 127 16 9 for the year, which had met the expenses, leaving a balance of 12 17 5 to the credit of 1869. The committee wanted to acknowledge the continued attention of the HMO Mr JR Robinson. They regretted their inability to remunerate him, but voted 15 guineas to him as a small present, with that sum he had devoted to the purchase of a microscope for the dispensary.



The annual meeting for 1870 reported that:


206 patients had been relieved during the past year, and that the total number received since October, 1863, amounted to 1298. The receipts for the year, including £13s. 2d. in hand at the commencement, were £13s.2d., of which £was the grant in aid for 1869, and £the grant for 1870. The amount of private subscriptions received during the same period was £46 10s. The expenditure for that time was £16s. 6d., including £53 10s. paid as liabilities of the previous year.


Subscriber tickets were available, with tickets for home visits for larger subscribers.



The Argus of 3 March 1870 reported that the application made to the authorities of the Geelong Hospital for the use of a ward for the treatment of patients homœopathically was refused by them as impracticable. The Committee, therefore, stated that it would therefore be the more necessary for the friends of homœopathy to subscribe liberally to the Dispensary in order that the greatest possible amount of benefit may be afforded it.



The 7th AGM of the Dispensary was held in January 1871. Dr Robinson, as Medical Officer, reported that:


The medical attendance at the Homœopathic Dispensary having been hitherto confined to such patients as were able to attend at the Institution, it follows that the majority of cases treated have been of a chronic nature, except when the patients were children who could be carried to the Dispensary, and have generally been treated with marked success. For the above cause severe cases of disease of the lungs are almost wholly absent from the report while diseases of the digestive organs preponderate greatly. As, however, the committee (by the aid of the Government grant) have made arrangements for the home visiting of the poor, it is expected that the medical attendant will, for the future, be called upon to treat more acute cases, which will be an immense advantage to the patients, and will give the public a greater opportunity of judging of the merits of the Homœopathic system.



The Dispensary was moved to Myer Street. In the Medical Registers for 1886 and 1892, Dr Robinson was listed as the Visiting Medical Officer of the Dispensary. By 1896 there was no mention of the Dispensary in the Medical Register.  The last mention of the Dispensary was in 1902.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Thursday, 09 April 2009
  • Last modified:
    Monday, 29 June 2015