Timeline - Homoeopathy in Australia

NSW Timeline  QLD Timeline  SA Timeline  TAS Timeline  VIC Timeline   WA Timeline  Australia Timeline



History of homœopathy in Australia - A brief summary:

(see also the article - "History of Homœopathy in Australia - A Brief Summary")



July 1830 – the first mention of homœopathy in an Australian newspaper. The Hobart Town Courier in Van Diemen’s Land (as Tasmania was known at that time) mentioned a review of a British article on this new system of medicine.


(See also Tasmania Timeline.)


Australia’s first homœopath, Dr Stephen Simpson, arrived in New South Wales on 26 January 1840. About 6 months later he moved to Queensland.


(See also New South Wales Timeline, and Queensland Timeline.)


NOTE: Websites which give credit for the introduction of homœopathy to Australia to Dr Thiennette de Bérigny, Dr Hickson or Dom Salvado are incorrect and out-of-date.


A letter to the editor of The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser complained about the system of homœopathy which was ‘springing up amongst us’, and the fact that standard druggists might have to shut their shops because of the popularity of homœopathy.

1842 Around this time (or earlier), Dr William Sherwin, a native-born Australian (born in New South Wales), started to seriously consider and experience the use of homœopathy. He may have met, and been inspired by, Dr Simpson, as they were both in Sydney during 1840.
1840s and early 1850s Many immigrants to Australia brought with them their domestic homœopathic medicine chests and used the medicines to treat their family and friends. After the gold rush, the knowledge and use of homœopathy became more wide-spread.

Dr Henry Backhaus, (doctor of divinity, not medicine), German Roman Catholic priest, arrived in Adelaide, South Australia. He became well-known for using homœopathy, both in Adelaide and later in the Victorian goldfields.


(See also South Australia Timeline.)


The earliest known advertisement for a pharmacy specialising in homœopathy - in Hobart Town’s newspaper, The Courier. It was called The Homœopathic Establishment, run by Mr F.C. Atkinson.


The Anglican Bishop Perry and his wife came to Melbourne, Victoria. In England in 1837, Bishop Perry had been treated by Dr Simpson, Australia’s first homœopath. Perry and his wife became keen supporters of homœopathy in Melbourne – Bishop Perry as Patron of the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary, and Mrs Perry as Patron of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital.


The Dean of Melbourne, Rev Hussey Burgh Macartney arrived on the same ship as Bishop Perry. He attended the inaugural meetings of the Dispensary, and was appointed to the Committee.


(See also Victoria Timeline.)


By 1849/1850, the Heuzenroeder family arrived in the Barossa Valley area of South Australia, and established the first pharmaceutical shop in Tanunda.


Charles Platts, Bookseller and Stationer in Adelaide, South Australia, advertised the sale of a homœopathic medicine chest.


Thomas Hill Goodwin was recorded as running a “homœopathic dispensary”. It was Victoria’s first publicised  homœopathic dispensary.


Dr Backhaus moved from Adelaide to Bendigo, in the gold fields. He became well-known for using homœopathy.


Richard Thomas Wallis, a veterinary surgeon, commenced advertising his homœopathic services in Geelong.


Although John Bell Hickson had arrived in Victoria in 1850, it was not until 1854 that he advertised his services as a homœopathic practitioner. He has been credited with being Victoria’s first homœopathic practitioner, although recent research has shown this not to be the case.


Friedrich Rechner arrived in South Australia, and advertised his services as a Homœopathic Physician.


Thiennette de Bérigny arrived from France via the Americas and practised homœopathy in Melbourne, Victoria.


Dr Francis Bellamy arrived in New South Wales.


John Bell’s Homœopathic Pharmacy was established in Sydney, New South Wales.

By 1857

SL Bensusan & Co, importers and merchants of Bridge Street Sydney, advertised the sale of homœopathic medicines in Adelaide, South Australia. These came from the Pharmacy of Mr Leath of London, for whom Bensusan’s declared that they were sole agents for Australasia.


Charles Platts commenced selling homœopathic medicines from his bookshop in Hindley Street.


Dom Salvado, a Benedictine monk, came to Western Australia in January 1846 and founded the monastery at New Norcia. After an extended stay in Rome and Perth beginning in 1848, he returned to New Norcia in 1857. Dom Salvado was probably the first person to introduce homœopathy to Western Australia. It appears that Dom Salvado’s knowledge of homœopathy was acquired some time after 1851 (and possibly as late as 1857 when he returned to New Norcia, or 1860 when Father Coll arrived at New Norcia), as prior to 1851 he claimed to be completely ignorant of medicine. Monastery records at New Norcia suggest that homœopathic medicine eventually became the main form of medicine used by the community.


(See also Western Australia Timeline.)


Dr Charles Meymott arrived in New South Wales.


The Sydney Homœopathic Dispensary was established, using the premises of Bell’s Homœopathic Pharmacy. Doctors Bellamy and Meymott provided the medical services.


About this time, William Moore arrived in Sydney.  He eventually moved to Goulburn, where he set up practice.


Samuel Kidner arrived in Melbourne and established a homœopathic pharmacy, initially in Melbourne until he moved to St Kilda where he established a Homœopathic Dispensary and a practice as a homœopathist.


Thomas Magarey received homœopathic treatment in Melbourne. Upon his return to Adelaide in South Australia, people who were part of Adelaide’s ‘establishment’ were amazed by his cure, and so became interested in homœopathy.


ES Wigg, bookseller and stationer in Adelaide, became involved in the sale of homœopathic medicines, and introduced them to his bookshop.


Around this time, Mr FC Singleton, Legislative Council Clerk in Adelaide, reported that he commenced reading information about homœopathy, and started to use it to help the sick poor.

In Melbourne, Victoria, the first meeting of a group which proposed the establishment of the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary. A committee was formed, but unfortunately the work did not continue as there was no duly qualified medical practitioner/homœopath in Melbourne at that time. The Dispensary was not established until ten years later.


Around this time, Harriet Clisby, Australia’s first female homœopathic doctor, commenced private studies in medicine.

The origins of Martin and Pleasance– Samuel Kidner & Edward G. Gould opened Melbourne’s first homœopathic pharmacy, named “Kidner and Gould”. (Note: 1860 NOT 1855) Towards the end of 1860, when Mr Kidner moved to Adelaide, Mr Gould became the sole owner of the pharmacy.


Mr Kidner moved from Melbourne to Adelaide in South Australia, where he set up practice as a homœopath. According to his obituary, there was no homœopath in Adelaide at that time. (Presumably this meant that he was the first full-time homœopathic practitioner, as opposed to lay prescribers and other people who were providing part-time assistance as a sideline to their normal job.)

Dr William Sherwin qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, and on his return to Sydney in 1862, announced his intention to establish a practice based on the use of homœopathy. He was Australia's first 'home-grown' homœopath.


Dr Henry Wheeler arrived in Adelaide and set up practice as South Australia’s first medically qualified homœopath.


Ephraim Stronell established Queensland’s first homœopathic pharmacy.


Dr Teague arrived in Geelong and commenced practice.


The Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary was established in country Victoria, with medical services provided by Dr Teague.

1865 Dr Harriet Clisby graduated from the New York Medical College for Women. She was Australia’s first female homœopathic doctor.
1866 Dr Ebenezer Atherton arrived in Hobart, Tasmania in 1866. He was the first known fully-qualified homœopath to practise in Tasmania.

Dr Allan Campbell arrived in Adelaide, South Australia.


The Adelaide Homœopathic Dispensary was established at 34 King William Street, next to the Beehive building.

1869 The opening of the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary to provide free service to the people of Melbourne.

Dr JW Günst published journal “The Homoeopathic Progress in Australia – A Monthly Journal of Record and Domestic Practice”. It ran for one year.


“Notes on Homœopathy”  was published, anonymously, in Tasmania. It was produced in Hobart in 12 numbers from September 1870 to August 1871. The editor was E.C. Nowell, a supporter of homœopathy.


The Ballarat Free Homœopathic Dispensary opened in country Victoria. It appears to have closed in 1876 or earlier.


Dr Sherwin, Australia’s first ‘home-grown’ homœopath, died.


The Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital committee was established. It consisted of 15 influential Melbourne women who raised money and awareness for the hospital. They persuaded the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary to join them in their efforts to build the hospital. In January 1875 the new institution named as the Homœopathic Hospital and Dispensary was established.
1876 While the new hospital was being built, the Homœopathic Hospital operated from a 3 storey terrace house at 17 Spring Street. It had an outpatient department and 14 beds. This was Australia’s first homœopathic hospital.

The Adelaide Children’s Hospital opened. The leading figure in its establishment was Dr Allan Campbell. Although it wasn’t a homœopathic hospital as such, three of the hospital’s six doctors were homœopaths: Dr Allan Campbell, his brother Dr WM Campbell, and Dr SJ Magarey, son of Thomas Magarey.


The British Medical Association took over the various Australian medical associations. They commenced a concerted attack on homœopathy and the rights of homœopaths to practise.


The BMA served the interests of allopathic, British-trained and registered practitioners and protected their interests against “foreign” (European and American) competition. Over time the medical acts in each State were altered to make it difficult for European and American practitioners to gain registration.


Even members of the BMA were systematically brought into line regarding the use of “unorthodox” treatment methods, through the use of exclusion and ostracism.


The Victorian Governor, the Marquis of Normandy, laid the foundation stone for the new Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital on St Kilda Road.


There was another attempt to establish a Sydney Homœopathic Dispensary in 1892, which, from the records, appears to have survived one year only.


By this time there were two homœopathic chemists in Perth, WA: Wigg & Co (head office in Adelaide) and Martin & Co.


The 1892 Tasmanian Post Office directory lists just 96 registered medical doctors for the entire State. Four were known to be homœopaths, three in Hobart and one in Launceston.


By this time there was a homœopathic chemist in Fremantle, WA: E. Parry & Co.


The last time that the Adelaide Homœopathic Dispensary was mentioned in the post office directory.


Dr William Adam Kennedy arrived in Perth and announced his intentions to practise as a homœopath. He was the first known fully-qualified homœopath to practise in Western Australia.
1897 In October practitioners, sympathisers, advocates and benefactors of homoeopathy from northern Tasmania formed the Launceston Homœopathic League. The purpose of forming the League was principally to advocate for a homoeopathic hospital in the city.

The practitioners, sympathisers, advocates and benefactors of homoeopathy in southern Tasmania came together to form the Hobart Homœopathic League.


Later in the same year, in a bid to consolidate the profession in Tasmania, the Launceston and Hobart groups came together to form the Homoeopathic Association of Tasmania (H.A.T.). Initial membership numbered 101.


Shortly after the amalgamation of the northern and southern leagues, a journal began publication, The Tasmanian Homœopathic Journal, which ran at 2000 prints for each free edition to 1901.


The Hobart Homœopathic Hospital was established.


The Launceston Homœopathic Hospital was established.


The British Medical Association drew up a code of ethics which excluded from membership those who “based their practice on an exclusive dogma, such as homœopathy”, and forbade its members to consult with those who did so.

The Australasian Medical Gazette issued an editorial calling for the “strict ostracism all over Australia of the men sho shall betray the interests of the profession…”


William Moore, a retired homœopath based at Lawson in New South Wales, donated money to establish the Sydney Homœopathic Hospital.


In the same year, Dr JF Deck wrote a Proposal for the establishment of a Homœopathic Hospital in Sydney.


The Sydney Homœopathic Hospital was founded. Its first location was at 301 Cleveland Street, Redfern.


The last mention of the Geelong Homœopathic Dispensary.


The Victorian Medical Act was amended to regulate the admission of medical practitioners who had qualified in other countries, and in particular those that had not complete a course of training equivalent to that of the Melbourne University where five years of study was required.


As the majority of medical appointments for the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital, at this stage, came from America where the courses did not meet this criterion, it would have cut off their supply of doctors.


As a result of pressure, a special exemption was obtained for the Hospital, permitting the importation of one doctor a year from either the Boston Homœopathic University and Medical College, or the New York Homœopathic Medical College and Hospital. However, often the practitioners would be disgusted with their treatment by other medical practitioners in Australia, and would return to America when their contract with the Hospital expired.

The Sydney Homœopathic Hospital moved to Glebe.


The treasurer of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital suggested that “in view of the increasing difficulty in obtaining duly qualified Homœopathic practitioners” the constitution of the Hospital should be altered and broadened “in order to enable the Board to invite the co-operation and assistance from the Medical Profession and the public generally”.


Eventually, the Hospital began to employ allopaths.


18 March 1931 that the Hobart Homœopathic Hospital officially changed hands, to become St Johns Hospital, Hobart.


At a special meeting in April, the contributors of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital gave their consent to a change of name. Thus the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital was renamed as “Prince Henry’s Hospital”.


Dr WK Bouton, the surgeon in charge at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital, died. He was probably the last “pure straight homœopath” to work at the Hospital.


The last homœopath providing services to the Sydney Homœopathic Hospital, Dr Leigh Feild Deck, retired.


The Tasmanian government put forward plans to turn the Launceston Homœopathic Hospital into a public institution. This was met with a public outcry by supporters of the hospital and homœopathy. The government responded by ceasing its subsidy to the hospital for the first time since its establishment 45 years previously.


The Sydney Homœopathic Hospital was increasingly used as a general community hospital, and it is believed that the use of homœopathic treatment within the Hospital had effectively ended by 1945. The hospital’s matron continued administering homœopathic treatment but left in 1945.


The Australian Institute of Homœopathy (AIH) was formed in New South Wales. Membership was open to qualified homœopaths, but students were allowed to attend meetings. Its aim was to promote interest in homœopathy and to teach and regulate its practice.


Over time, the number of qualified members dropped severely.

1949 AfterWorld War 2, there were very few remaining lay homœopathic practitioners who were still in practice. European refugee and Displaced Person doctors in Australia, although allopathically trained and registered in their own countries, faced numerous problems. The British Medical Association convinced the Australian government to strictly enforce quotas for entry to universities and not give any concessions to Displaced Person doctors. Displaced Person doctors were branded as quacks. The BMA was against any form of competition, and in this environment it was difficult for homœopaths to practise.

The Anglican synod of Launceston agreed to take control of the Launceston Homœopathic Hospital. On 18th of October 1951, the hospital was officially handed over and renamed St Luke’s Hospital.


The Australian Institute of Homœopathy established the first course in homœopathy, when the Nature Care College was formed in Sydney.


The Homœopathic Association of South Australia was formed, with Robert Oon as its first President. A steering committee was formed in February 1982, and a general meeting to accept the constitution was held in July 1982. The Association was incorporated in January 1983.

1983 Membership of the South Australian Association extended to Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. It was agreed that the South Australian Association would undergo a change of constitution and name change with provisions being made for a Federal Council with branches in each Australian state. The Association’s name was altered to the Australian Homœopathic Association and was incorporated in July 1983.

The first edition of the Australian Institute of Homœopathy’s journal, Similia, was produced.


The name of the Australian Homœopathic Association (originally the Homœopathic Association of South Australia) was changed to Australian Federation of Homœopaths and was formed as a national organisation of affiliated State branches. The Association was incorporated in October 1988. Denise Carrington-Smith was its first President.


The Australian Federation of Homœopaths changed its name to become the Australian Homœopathic Association Inc (AHA).


The Australian Homœopathic Association (AHA) ran the first National Case Conference. NSW was the first host Branch, and it has been hosted by different Branches every second year since then. It is now called the Australian Homœopathic Medicine Conference, and is open to all homœopaths from around Australia and overseas, whether they are members of the AHA or not.


The various homœopathic associations in Australia relinquished their role as registering bodies and formed the independent, national, registering body for Australian homœopaths – the Australian Register of Homœopaths (AROH).


The Federal Government endorsed the National Competency Standards in Homœopathy, in conjunction with the Australian National Training Authority.


The formulation of the Health Training Package in conjunction with the homœopathic profession and the federal Industry Training Advisory body. The Health Training Package defines the standards of homœopathic education for Registered Training Organisations.


The standards are reviewed and updated regularly. Graduates of courses meeting these standards are eligible for professional registration with the Australian Register of Homœopaths (AROH).

©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Wednesday, 12 January 2011
  • Last modified:
    Thursday, 16 June 2022