• Full Name:
    Dr Adolphe Frederick Seelenmeyer
    Adolf Frederick Seelenmeyer
    Adolphe Frederic Seeley
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Physician & homœopath
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)



                Dr Adolphe Frederick Seelenmeyer

Adolphe Frederick Seelenmeyer was born on 15 October 1855 in London.  He was one of the many children of Prussian-born George Samuel Seelenmeyer, bootmaker, and his wife, Sarah Needham.  He was also the youngest brother of Henry Seelenmeyer, who also migrated to Australia and became a chemist. 


According to the census for 1861, the family was living at Hammersmith in Middlesex, England.  Their mother had died in 1860.  George was a widower and invalid.  Henry was a shoemaker.  Adolphe was only 5 years of age.  Their father died the following year on 16 November 1862.


By 1870 Adolphe's older sister Catherine had moved to Bristol where she married William Henry Smalley.  According to England's 1871 census, Adolphe was also living in Bristol.  At age 15 he was working as a clerk and living as a boarder with the family of a bootmaker called William Watkins at York Road, Bristol. 


By 1875 Adolphe F. Seelenmeyer had emigrated to Melbourne,


               Nos. 88 and 86 Collins Street Melbourne

                       (left & right side respectively)

  Prior to the 1890s when Melbourne’s street numbers were

   altered, No. 88 was labelled No. 109 Collins Street East.

   From the late 1880s to the 1890s,No. 88 was occupied

   by Dr Adolphe F. Seelenmeyer, homœopathic physician.

             Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy


Australia.  He was listed in the 1875 Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory at 107 Albert Street, East Melbourne. In parenthesis are the words “(Education Branch)”. This might have meant the Education Branch of the Bible and Tract Depot, run by his older brother Henry Seelenmeyer, the chemist.


According to Henry's Will, written in 1877, Adolphe was a draftsman.  However, after Henry's death on 10 February 1879, and at the time of probate, Adolphe was described as being a chemist living in South Yarra.  Henry's pharmacy continued to be advertised under the name 'H. Seelenmeyer'.  It appears that Adolphe took over the pharmacy, but did not change its name.


Adolphe passed his Matriculation examinations in 1877, a special achievement in those times when Matriculation was intended for university entrance purposes.  At that time Matriculation included the compulsory study of Latin and Greek languages.  Instead of studying for his Matriculation with a 'regular school', he studied with a man called Mr Clezy.  After holding senior teaching positions at Wesley College followed by St Kilda College, Mr Clezy commenced his own business preparing young men for Matriculation and other entrance exams such as to the Public Service.  He ran individual and group classes.


In 1880 Adolphe passed first year medicine at Melbourne University.  However, it appears that he did not continue his studies, as he does not appear on the list of those completing second year medicine in the following year.  It is probable that his time was spent in maintaining the pharmacy.


Adolphe’s private residence frequently changed.  In 1878 he was in Darling Street. There was no listing for him in 1879 and 1880, but in 1881 and 1882 he lived at 7 Wodonga Terrace, Cardigan Street, Carlton.  In 1883 and 1884 he lived at 2 Goer Terrace, Lygon Street, Carlton.  At this stage Adolphe was not listed as a physician.


On 10 November 1883, Adolphe departed Melbourne aboard the 'South Australian' en route to England to study medicine.  On the passenger list he was referred to as 'Dr Seelenmeyer'.  He returned to Austrtalia aboard the 'Selkirkshire', which arrived in Maryborough, Queensland, on 16 December 1886.  He worked his passage as Ship's Surgeon, tending to the needs of the shipload of new immigrants. 


Adolphe became registered in Victoria on 7 January 1887, a graduate of Brussels and Edinburgh.  His qualifications were listed in the Australasian Medical Directory of 1892 as being “L et L. Mid. RCP et RCS, Edin. 1885; MD Brux 1885”. 


On 1 October 1887 he married Alexandra Mary Munster [1863-1947].  Their eldest child was Adolphe Henry Seelenmeyer, who also became a medical practitioner and eventually joined his father in his medical practice.


Adolphe Frederick was Surgeon at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital from 1886 to 1894.   On his resignation the Hospital wrote him the following letter:


Mr A F Seelenmeyer

Collins St



Dear Sir


I have the honor to inform you that, at a meeting of the board of Management of this Institution held on Wednesday evening last, your resignation of your position as Senior Honorary Surgeon to this hospital was received and accepted with great regret.


In conveying to you this information, I am to express to you the very sincere thanks of the Board for the many very valuable services you have rendered this Institution during your tenure of office extending over the past seven years.


It will no doubt be gratifying for you to know that by the conscientious and able discharge of your responsible duties – your uniform uprightness of character – the great interest you have always taken in the welfare of the Institution generally, as well as the departments under your immediate control, and last but not least, the kind and considerate manner in which you have always treated the patients under your care, have well earned for you the goodwill and sincere esteem of the Board.


The best wishes of the Board go with you in your new home, wherever it may be and they trust that you may long be spared to continue a useful and honorable career in the practice of your profession.


I have the honor to be

Dear Sir

Yours sincerely

E A Bennett [Signature]

Secretary and Superintendent.



                      Rear of No 88 & 86 Collins Street

                                   Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy


In 1888 he was recorded as being a homœopathic doctor

      Rear of No 88 & 86 Collins Street

      Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy


who occupied 109 Collins Street East, which became number 88 when the street numbering system changed in the 1890s. (This had been the premises of Dr G.T. Teague).  He was still there in 1896, but then moved to East Street, St Kilda in 1900, then 30 Collins Street in 1903.


In  the Launceston Examiner of 19 September 1896 Dr M.W. Gutteridge announced that he had arranged for his patients to be attended during his short temporary absence by Dr Seelenmeyer.  While Dr Seelenmeyer was in Launceston he gave a series of evangelistic talks at the Mechanics' Hall.



On 4 August 1904 the Table Talk publication included the following information:


Dr Seelenmeyer of Caulfield is another of the medical profession who has recently joined the ranks of the automobilists.  The Doctor has acquired a neat two-seated car from the Tarrant Motor Company.  The medicos find that they can cover a much larger area in quicker time by the new mode of progression. 


During 1906 Dr Seelenmeyer gave several evangelistic talks at a gospel tent mission in Western Australia, and gave similar talks at a gospel tent mission in Bendigo in 1907.


                                    'Landcox' now the Tara Institute (2014)

                                     Mavis Avenue (off Milroy St), Brighton



Melbourne's Post Office Directory for 1916 shows that Dr Seelenmeyer's eldest son, Dr Adolphe Henry Seelenmeyer had joined him in his practice at 30 Collins Street.


According to his descendants the brass name-plate of his clinic at 30 Collins Street was tarred and feathered during the First World War because the family name was associated with Germany.  As a result, on 22 March 1920, Adolphe Frederick and his 6 surviving sons changed their surnames by deed poll to Seeley. 


During 1911 Dr Seeley purchased a mansion named 'Landcox' situated on 10 acres of land in Milroy Street,  North Brighton.  The property has since been subdivided and is now part of a  Buddhist centre called the Tara Institute, situated in Mavis Avenue (off Milroy Street). 


Dr Seeley died suddenly on 8 November 1922.


©  Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Thursday, 24 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 16 April 2016