• Full Name:
    Mr Frederick C. Atkinson
  • Role:
  • Occupation/s:
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


Frederick C. Atkinson first appeared in Hobart's newspapers in May 1848, advertising as a chemist. Earlier that year, on 23 January 1848, a person called 'Dr Atkinson' arrived in Hobart from London aboard the 'Tasmanian'. It is possible that this was the same person.

Mr Atkinson opened The Homœopathic Establishment at Macquarie Street, Hobart. Given this early date of 1848, at this stage I believe that Mr Atkinson established Australia's first pharmacy specialising in homœopathy.

Mr Atkinson also advertised that he provided free advice to the poor every morning. Therefore, although it is well documented that Dr Ebernezer Atherton arrived in Tasmania in 1866 and was probably Hobart's first fully-qualified homœopathic practitioner, Mr Atkinson was a lay (unregistered) practitioner at least eighteen years prior to that time.

However, it appears that the pharmacy did not last very long, as there were no further advertisements for Mr Atkinson and his Homœopathic Establishment after September 1848. Thereafter Mr Atkinson disappeared from Tasmania's public records.

However, a man with the same surname, first name and initials appeared in the Melbourne records from 1852. Called Frederick Cox Atkinson, so far I have been unable to definitively prove that the Melbourne Frederick C. Atkinson is the same person as the Tasmanian Frederick C. Atkinson, although the available information tends to point that way.

Frederick Cox Atkinson, son of William Atkinson (a merchant) and his wife Ellen, was baptised on 29 April 1813 at Christ Church, Southwark, London. According to England's 1841 census he was a coal merchant living with his mother's sisters at Ripon, Yorkshire. From 1843 to 1848 he was listed in London's post office directories as being a coal merchant working for the firm of Weddell and Atkinson located at Cannon Wharf, Cannon Row, Westminster. According to the Commercial Gazette of August 1847 the partnership between Weddell and Atkinson was dissolved. (This would match the time period when Frederick C. Atkinson decided to depart on his journey to Tasmania.)

In the Melbourne post office directory Atkinson was initially listed as a surgeon, but in the next and subsequent years this was altered to listings as a chemist and druggist. He was located at 187 Stephen Street (now called Exhibition Street). Very little is known about him during his Melbourne years, as he did not advertise his services either as a chemist or as a practitioner.

Victoria's Medical Act of 1862 required medical practitioners to become registered and it was illegal for those who were not registered to use the title 'doctor'. While Atkinson did not have a recognised medical qualification, the Act included a clause which allowed the registration of people who did not have a diploma or licence, provided they had practised regularly in Victoria since January 1853 and had passed a regular course of medical or surgical instruction.

From 1862 Dr Atkinson was listed as a registered medical practitioner. It is not known how and where he had been able to pass a 'regular course of medical or surgical instruction'. He continued to be listed in the Trade Directory as a chemist as well as a medical practitioner until 1865. After that, he was listed solely as a medical practitioner. From 1869 to 1871 he was at Barkly Street, Carlton. He resided in Pelham Street, Carlton during 1872 and 1873, then 176 Madeline Street, Carlton during 1874.

Dr Atkinson died on 30th September, 1875 at Pelham Street, Carlton.  His death certificate stated that he had suffered from paralysis for two months.  According to his will, he had been blind for several years.  This is probably the reason why he did not appear in the list of physicians from 1872 onwards.


His wife, Isabella, whom he had married in Melbourne in 1852, died on 17 April 1879 at Essendon.



©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Monday, 25 May 2009
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 13 February 2021