• Full Name:
    Edward George Day
  • Role:
    Lay prescriber
  • Occupation/s:
    Minister, Teacher
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1810 - 1893]



                           Edward George Day


Edward George Day was born on 30 June 1810 at St Giles, Cripplegate, London, son of William and Ann Day.  While he was in London he married Elizabeth Chalklen on 5 February 1873. (She died 1889 in South Australia.) Mr Day had five children - 3 boys and 2 girls. As an adult, Mr Day was rebaptised into the Swedenborgian ("New") Church at Hatton Garden. He was lay reader, librarian and superintendent of the Sunday School at that church.


Mr Day and his family arrived in Adelaide in June 1850, aboard the Countess of Yarborough. His first contact upon his arrival in Adelaide was Mr Clisby, the father of Harriet Clisby who was to become Australia's first female homœopathic doctor. This contact is significant because of Mr Day's use of homœopathy in the treatment of fellow passengers during his voyage to Australia.


His diary (published in the Georgraphical Journal, Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, Vol. 28, 1927) reveals his activities aboard ship, including his attempts to study phonography (shorthand), and the treatment of ill patients. Some relevant extracts from the entries are as follows:


January 23 1850: We now being convinced that Amy had taken the measles, we consulted with Mr Palmer the Surgeon, informed him of our practice of homœopathy and desire to apply it, with his approbation, in this instance, and was delighted to find a seeming absence of prejudice in his mind. He gave his full consent to our treatment, which I explained, and showed "Laurie's Domestic Medicine" and the medicine chest. In order to isolate her as much as possible from the other children she was removed to the hospital, a large cabin under the forecastle.


I passed the night with Amy in the hospital administering pills every four hours. Had a little chat with the Doctor on homœopathy; told him of my little Arthur's case of hernia. He had read about homœopathy, but was fearful of trying it, being a young man and of no established reputation. He is evidently interested, and is watching closely my treatment. I hope on public as well as private grounds homœopathy may have a triumph in the speedy restoration of my dear girl and in the full protection of Walter.


Jan 25: Rough sea. Many sick. Mrs D. and Edward too ill to eat any dinner.  ... Both children in the hospital making rapid progress towards recovery. I am now doctor and nurse there, and also in No. 19 cabin, where I am trying "Petioleume" for the "seasickness".


Jan 27: My family in better health, Mrs D. still being the feeblest of the flock. Amy has had the measles very severely, and the cough is still troublesome, yet the progression to health is steady. Walter has had them but slightly. The Doctor is still very kind, and expressed himself satisfied with the sources of the homœopathic treatment in these instances.


Jan 30: I have consulted the Surgeon respecting Amy and Walter, who are now convalescent. He thinks they may be removed from the hospital tonight with safety. The homœopathic cure has been rapid, satisfactory, and complete.


Mar 21: My reputation as a wise physician is on the increase. Scarcely a day passes but I am applied to for remedies. Six cases of measles, two of tumours, sundry cured. Mr Palmer, the experienced Surgeon carried, as per advertisement, by the "Countess of Yarborough", is also gaining a reputation for general inattention, while some censure is arriving from want of medical skill. Almost the only thing he does regularly is come down at 10 pm and call "Lights out" in peculiar tone of voice, which excites a general laugh and many imitations.


April 5: My patients are on the increase, and will, I fear, do so, for the whooping-cough has made its appearance in one of the children who had measles. A case of atrophy, too, I have undertaken, a little child of about a year old, who lost its mother when a baby, and had its digestive powers injured by the ignorance and idleness of its nurse, administering opium.


April 9: Our voyage being half over, Mr Palmer, the Surgeon, appears to have awakened from his seven weeks' supineness, and is resolved to earn himself an easy reputation by devoting half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening to the passengers needing his assistance, this determination being intimated by a notice affixed to the aft hatch that he would attend daily in the hospital from 10 to half-past am and from 6 to half-past pm.


May 13: The weather is very cold, and the whooping-cough extensively prevalent. I have seven cases under treatment.


May 14: The Angel of Death has again spread his wings, "and the eye of the sleeper" has again waxed deadly and chill. Another child, Edwin Browning, ten months old, died at 3 am of bronchitis. This child had the measles at the time of his elder brother, both of whom I treated successfully with homœopathy, and Edwin afterwards had the thrush, and of this he also quite recovered. During the recent cold weather the disease of which he died was taken, and, lthough proof had been given of the successful treatment by homœopathy before, its aid was not sought now. The popular physic, like the popular Faith, promises more than it performs. "Homœopathy", like the faith of the New Church, vaunteth not herself, but evinces its possession of at least one of the elements of true sublimity, patient. They who would be its disciples must also wait, and at the same time labour.


May 17: We are all getting heartily "sick of the sea" now that all the cases of "seasickness" have subsided. Much anxiety is now blended with our position. Now several adults are very unwell, and there are ten children suffering from whooping-cough. I have seven under the homœopathic treatment, four of whom I think will have it slightly, the others are severe cases and give me much anxious thought. There are so many opposing elements to successful medical aid on shipboard.


May 26: Add to our other troubles, we are now nearly in darkness after sundown, for there is no more oil on board than will suffice to light the binnacle lamp to steer by. Happily, we are only ten days' sail from Kangaroo Island, but it is feared ... we may have stormy weather and be kept out of port. This surmise, with a report that we are to be put on half-allowance of water, flour and sugar, gives rise to some sadness when we think of the children. [A few days later some of the food was stolen during the night.]


May 31: Homœopathy has again been discarded, through the ignorance and impatience of uneducated women, aided by weak men, a neglect of the rules of diet, and the assumption that it must be a queer sort of medicine to be affected by spice, etc. Both cases were under treatment for whooping-cough, and had been for three weeks. The elder of the two was considerably better. The youngest, only two and a half years old, a weakly child, is getting thinner and thinner every day, and seems to be wasting away. I do not think there is any hope of ultimate recovery under allopathy; there is but little hope under homœopathy.


In the early days he was a school master and postmaster at Hope Valley. In 1851 he had a short attempt at mining for gold in Victoria, but was unsuccessful and wrote a letter, which was published in Adelaide, warning people about the true conditions on the gold fields. He therefore returned to South Australia. He was engaged in storekeeping at Norwood. He assisted in building the old GPO in King William Street.  In later years he was appointed accountant and storekeeper in the Survey Department, retiring after 25 years' service. He lived for many years in Luton Cottage in Brown Street.


He became minister of the New Church after the departure of Mr Pitman (brother of the inventor of Pitman's shorthand).


Mr Day died on 13 November 1893. A summary of his activities in Australia is contained within his obituary.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Wednesday, 31 August 2011
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 28 July 2019