History of Homeopathy


‘HOMOEOPATHY’, ‘HOMEOPATHY’, ‘HOMŒOPATHY’, the different spellings ‘Homoeopathy’ is known is a gentle form of natural therapy widely used in Australia.


Homoeopathy was founded by Dr Samuel Hahnemann around 1796. Homoeopathy was created from the exhaustive findings, teachings and writings of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, son of a pottery painter was born in Meissen, Germany, on April 10, 1755. The word 'homoeopathy' is derived from the Greek words 'homoios' meaning similar and 'pathos' meaning 'suffering' - i.e.: similar suffering.

Nearly 180 years ago, Dr Samuel Hahnemann did exhaustive experiments and verified the therapeutic application. Based on his findings, he found homoeopathy based on the Law of Cure “Similia Similibus Curantur”. The Law of Similars simply means that a substance which creates symptoms in a healthy person will help treat a sick person with similar symptoms. ‘Similia Similibus Curantur' is a phrase coined by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy meaning “Like cures Like”.



Homeopathy was practiced in Australia as early as the 1840s by individual practitioners. This included people with formal qualifications as medical practitioners and self-trained home prescribers, to charlatans taking advantage of the lack of regulations in the society.

The first homeopath came to Sydney in Australia in 1840. He was Dr. Stephen Simpson, an Englishman, who wrote one of the earliest books on homeopathy in English(1). Dr.William Sherwin, born in Australia, was the first home-grown doctor to use homeopathy. He gained his qualifications in England. Later publications indicate that Dr Sherwin commenced examining and using homeopathy around 1842 or perhaps earlier(2).

Some missionaries deliberately learned homeopathy to help people with their physical and spiritual needs. Dom Salvado established the Benedictine monastery at New Norcia in Western Australia, where local aborigines were treated with homeopathy. Baptist clergyman, Rev Benjamin Wilson, studied homeopathic medicine in England. On his voyage to Brisbane he treated many conditions using homeopathic remedies. Rev Marcus Brownrigg, Church of England Minister, successfully used homeopathy for his family and the aboriginal people whom he met on his many journeys to the Furneaux group of islands in Bass Strait. Rev Holden, Church of England clergyman, studied medicine and homeopathy privately in England for seven years, and provided care to the poor in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Henry Backhaus, a Roman Catholic priest, used homeopathy for people in Victoria’s goldfields (3).

Soon free homeopathic dispensaries were established for the poor in Victoria, Adelaide and Sydney. The Melbourne Homeopathic Hospital, established in 1876, was the first homeopathic hospital in Australia which was eventually renamed as Prince Henry’s Hospital. There were other Homeopathic Hospitals in Hobart (1899), Launceston (1900), Sydney (1902). The leading figure in the establishment of the Adelaide Children’s Hospital was a homeopath, Dr Allan Campbell (4). These hospitals operated successfully for over 60 years until the late 1920s when they began to experience difficulties to function due to the advent of anti-biotics, increased opposition from the orthodox medical establishment and the difficulty of obtaining qualified homeopathic staff.

The Present Scenario of Homeopathy in Australia:

The homeopathic profession, in conjunction with the Federal Government, established the National Competency Standards in Homeopathy in 1999.

The most significant advance took place when the Australian Register of Homeopaths(ARoH) was established in 1999, for homeopaths who meet the government-endorsed standards. ARoH is the national register and self-regulation body for homeopaths throughout Australia.

The homeopathic profession is presently operating under a system of ‘self-regulation’ with government-endorsed competency standards in homeopathy, and a national registration system established by the profession.


1. Armstrong Barbara, Australia’s First Homeopath
2. Armstrong Barbara, Australia’s First ‘Home-Grown’ Homeopath
3. Armstrong Barbara, Early Knowledge of Homeopathy in the Australian Colonies
4. Armstrong Barbara, The Adelaide Homeopathic Dispensary
For further information refer to the website: 'History of Homeopathy in Australia'.

There are a number of homœopathic associations in Australia, all of which are members of the Australian Register of Homœopaths (ARoH). In order to become a Professional member of any of these associations, practitioners have to meet the criteria for entry into ARoH.

Most of AROH's member associations operate in different states, while the Australian Homœopathic Association is the largest and only national association with Branches in 5 states. All member associations of ARoH have a Constitution, a Code of Ethics and a Complaints Procedure.

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