• Full Name:
    Dr Robert Ray
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Physician and surgeon, homœopath
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


Robert Ray was born at Horsham, Sussex.  By 1851 he had emigrated to South Australia, where he married in 1854.  Initially he worked as a butcher in Adelaide.  He then moved to Clarendon where he farmed for a few years before returning to his original occupation in Adelaide.  His first 5 children were born in South Australia, although only 2 survived. 


By 1859 he had returned to England where he studied medicine in London.  In 1862 he became a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.


In 1862 he returned to Australia.  In September 1862 he advertised that he was a consulting homœopathic physician, surgeon, and accoucheur, late house-surgeon to the London Homœopathic Hospital, at 90 Collins Street East (the premises of the homœopathic pharmacy, Gould & Co). His private practice operated from 10am to 5pm.


At the same time, he provided free consultations before 10 o’clock at the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary, at its first location at 90 Collins Street East. He was its first consulting physician and surgeon.


In 1863 he is listed in the Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory at 90 Collins Street East, at the premises of the homœopathic pharmacy, Gould & Co.


The following year, in 1864, he moved to 105 Collins Street East, between Russell Street and Stephen Street (now Exhibition Street), next door to other homœopaths Henry Madden and Sidney R. Robinson. He remained there until 1869, when he returned to work from 90 Collins Street East (the pharmacy now called Gould & Martin). His private residence was on the corner of Chapel Street & Argyle Streets.  Melbourne. In 1867 he was specifically listed as a homœopathic physician.


The Homœopathic Directory of Great Britain & Ireland for 1872 and 1873 listed him as a practitioner in Melbourne. The 1873 edition also listed Dr Ray as practising at Ballarat.


                    52 Collins St (right side of pair), home & surgery of Dr Robert Ray

                                                    Photo courtesy Peter Torokfalvy


The directory of 1873 recorded him as being at 131 Collins Street East, described as “homoeop.”. He acquired the building in 1872, and he was also the owner of the 12 roomed house at 133 Collins Street East. In 1881 he had new houses build on the site – 2 three-storeyed terrace houses. Nos 54 and 52 Collins Street Melbourne (left & right side respectively).  Prior to the 1890s when Melbourne’s street numbers were altered, these were originally Nos 131 and 133 respectively.  They are next to the Melbourne Club, which is on the right hand side.  Originally there was an 1850s brick house, which in the mid-1870s was occupied by Dr Robert Ray, one of the founders & Honorary Medical Officer of both the Melbourne Homœopathic Dispensary and the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital.


This terraced pair was created in 1881 for Dr Ray by extensively altering the existing brick  house.  Each terrace offered house and surgery to a single practitioner.  Dr Ray occupied No 52 (on the right) until his death in 1883, after which it was occupied for a while by his son Dr William Robert Ray, who also provided services at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital.  In 1989 the front portions of these buildings were renovated & incorporated into a new office building.  It is now called Melville House.


He was one of the founders and honorary medical officers of the Homœopathic Dispensary in Collins Street Melbourne. He was also one of the first physicians of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital. His son, Dr William Robert Ray, gave a stained glass window to the hospital, in honour of his father.


He was killed in 1883 when he was travelling along St Kilda road. His horse bolted, and he fell off his horse and suffered a fractured skull.


©   Barbara Armstrong



  • Created:
    Tuesday, 22 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 25 February 2017