• Full Name:
    Dr Edmund Alleyne Cook
    Dr E. Alleyne Cook
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Physician and surgeon, homœopath
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1844 - 1928]


Edmund Alleyne Cook was born in 1844 at Shoreditch, Middlesex, England, son of vintner William Thomas Cook and Hannah Elizabeth Cook. He spent his formative years in Hackney, Middlesex.


Prior to his marriage in July 1875 to Clara Lee Baylis at West Derby, Lancashire, Edmund had two sons, both born in Edinburgh according to Census records: Henry William James Cook in 1870 (Henry also became a doctor), and Edmund Ralph Cook in 1872. Edmund Ralph Cook became a lawyer. Henry's death certificate stated that his mother was Jessie Smith.


It appears that Cook's first occupation was as an analytical chemist, as there are references to Edmund Alleyne Cook receiving patents for chemical inventions. The London Gazette of 13 September, 1872 records a patent "to Edmund Alleyne Cook of Viewville House in the county of Mid-Lothian, North Britain, for the invention of improvements in treating animal charcoal". The Chemical News of June 10, 1874 stated that a provisional patent was granted to analytical chemist, Edmund Alleyne Cook of Liverpool, Lancaster, for improvements in the treatment of animal charcoal used in the de-colorisation of sugar solutions. The British Medical Journal of June 1883 published his article regarding "Experiments on the influence of drugs on the excretion of urea and uric acid".


This is an interesting background for his later entry into medical studies and his belief in the efficacy of homœopathy. Certainly, in later years as a doctor, he had a strong interest in the chemistry of drugs and homœopathic medicines. Templeton's book about the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital (later Prince Henry's) states that he was "a great experimenter". "Interested in studying new drugs, he was an avid reader of Merck's Journal, an Allopathic pharmaceutical journal. He was an earnest seeker, always trying out new cures."


At age 37 Dr Cook gained his medical qualifications in Scotland - L.F.P.S. (Glasgow, L.R.C.P (Edin.), 1880; L.R.C.S. (Edin.) 1881. According to him, he became disillusioned with his allopathic studies. When he encountered homœopathy, he decided to investigate it rather than condemn it out of ignorance. He received some training at the London Homœopathic Hospital. He also became a Member of the British Homœopathic Society.


In 1887 the Homœopathic Publishing Company, London, published a work by Edmund Alleyne Cook: Reproduction: Being the substance of a lecture delivered to non-medical students. It appears, therefore, that he was fully conversant with homœopathy and aligned with its promotion by that time.



In a pamphlet entitled A Study of Homœopathy, published by chemists Martin & Pleasance and EG Owen in 1894 (or 1895), he stated: “… and as I read and put into practice and got results, so gradually my faith became established that there was much good and that Homœopathy was an advance on the so-called regular system of medicine – an advance in that it cured quicker, more comfortably, with greater certainty.” He was revolted by the over-treatment he saw around him, where physicians “pour into the stomach of a patient in feeble health a quantity of medicine which according to all analogy of Nature, is in infinite excess.” A large part of this publication concerned the chemical aspects of medicines and treatment.


According to the 1881 Census, Dr Cook was a physician & surgeon residing at 1 Dunheld Place, Partick, Lanarkshire in Scotland.


At the time of the 1891 Census he was a widower, residing with his sons at Richmond, Surrey.


Dr Cook left London on September 14, 1893, bound for Melbourne aboard the "Massilia", his sons remaining in England. He arrived on 27 October 1893 and by December 1 he had become registered as a medical practitioner in Victoria. A few days later it was announced that Dr E. Alleyne Cook had joined Dr Seelenmeyer (also a homœopath) at 88 Collins Street East. He continued living at that address after Dr Seelenmeyer left. (This same location had been used by Dr Teague prior to Dr Seelenmeyer.)


According to Templeton, EA Cook was Honorary Surgeon at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital from 1894 to 1918. However, there seems to have been some confusion in this respect, as Dr James Cook (unrelated) held this position from 1893 to early 1895, followed by E.A. Cook's son, Dr Henry William James Cook, who held the position from early 1895 to 1896 or 1897.


While he believed in vaccination, Dr Cook gave several addresses at meetings of the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, as he believed that vaccination should not be compulsory.


After a journey via Canada to England during 1909, the family returned to Melbourne and their Collins Street address. The family moved to 21 Wolseley Street, Surrey Hills in 1912, where Dr Cook died on 14 June, 1928.


© Barbara Armstrong

  • Created:
    Monday, 21 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Wednesday, 05 October 2016