• Full Name:
    Dr James Cook
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Homœopathic practitioner
    Local preacher
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1868 - 1938]


James Cook was born in 1868, one of the sons of Charles Cook, a homœopathic chemist in Bendigo. His mother was Sarah Jane Whitfield. According to the birth information, he was born at The Loddon in Victoria.


According to his obituary in The Argus of 19 December 1938, James Cook was a brilliant medical student at Melbourne University, which he entered on a scholarship. He later obtained his medical degrees in Scotland (L.L.Mid.R.C.P., R.C.S. (Edin.), L.F.P.S. (Glas.), 1892.


Probably because he had received his opportunities in life via a scholarship, he was a staunch advocate of granting State scholarships at the University to children of poor parents, and according to the obituary it was largely through his agitation that these scholarships were provided.


Upon his return to Australia, Dr Cook became a registered medical practitioner on 3 March, 1893. He was initially appointed to the junior position of resident medical officer of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital. In December of the same year (1893) the Bendigo Advertiser proudly announced that "the many friends of Dr James Cook, son of Mr C. Cook, chemist, High Street, will be pleased to hear that he has been promoted from the junior to the senior position of resident medical officer by the board of management and the honorary medical staff of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital.


Dr Cook resigned his position in March 1895, deciding to commence practice in his home town of Bendigo. Again, the Bendigo newspaper followed his progress, reporting that this "young Bendigonian, who is about to commence the practice of his profession in Bendigo" had been made the recipient of the following flattering testimonial from the Hospital.


To Dr James Cook, senior resident medical officer, Homœopathic Hospital. On the occasion of your leaving this institution, with which you have been connected during the past two years, we are instructed by the board of management to express their sincere regret at your departure and their high appreciation of the valuable services you have rendered to the hospital. It will no doubt be a source of gratification to you to know that during your tenure of office as resident medical officer, the honorary medical staff, who have had ample opportunities of judging, have formed a very favorable opinion of your professional abilities; whilst your character and conduct have been so exemplary as to meet with the highest commendation of the board of management. Your departure will also be viewed with feelings of regret by the many patients who have been under your care, and for whose welfare you have been ever so solicitous; whilst your cheerful disposition and generous nature have endeared you to the resident staff throughout the whole institution. Wishing you every happiness and prosperity in your future career, we are, dear sir, yours faithfully - J.W. Hunt, chairman, E. A. Bennett, superintendent and secretary.


This proof of good will was followed by another from the staff, who handed to their departing chief, a magnificent revolving book case, made from Australian blackwood, and a pretty card tray and paper knife.


Dr Cook commenced his practice at "Kincora" in View Street, Bendigo.


He became involved with the community, being a local preacher of the Church of Christ, member of the Young Men's Christian Association (of which he was twice president), and Honorary Surgeon of the fire brigade. He took a keen interest in all sporting activities.


In 1902 he moved to the corner of Rowan and Wattle Streets and around 1910 to 264 Boundary Street, to a house he called "Whitfield", presumably in memory of his mother.


In November 1907 Dr Cook advertised that he could be consulted every Thursday at 151 Collins Street, which was also the address for fellow homœopathic physicians Dr M.W. Gutteridge, Dr Seelenmeyer, and Dr W. Warren.


A few years before his death, Dr Cook moved to Torquay. He died on 18 December 1938 in a Geelong private hospital.


© Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 30 July 2013
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 10 August 2014