• Full Name:
    Samuel Kidner
  • Role:
    Chemist, unregistered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Homœopathic chemist & homœopathist, lay preacher
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
            Dr Samuel Kidner, homœopathist, c. 1870

                        Reproduction courtesy of State Library

                              of South Australia. SLSA: B45123

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)




Although others were using homœopathic medicines to treat people in Adelaide prior to Kidner’s arrival, Samuel Kidner's obituary described him as Adelaide’s first homœopath.  This is presumably because he was the first to establish a full-time practice as a trained (although unregistered) homœopathic practitioner in that city.


Samuel Kidner (1809–1883) was born on the south side of the Thames, London. His involvement with homœopathy started because of ill-health in the family. He studied homœopathic principles and then established himself as a homœopathic chemist in the London suburb of Bermondsey. Dr John Epps, a famous London medical practitioner and one of England’s first homœopaths, took Kidner on as one of his students and assisted him with his medical studies, although at that time Kidner failed to apply for formal recognition of his studies.


Samuel arrived in Australia in 1857. He had been promised a position as resident dispenser at one of Sydney’s hospitals. However, when he arrived he found that the position had already been filled. Therefore Samuel travelled south to Melbourne.


Kidner first arrived in Melbourne around February 1858. At that time he advertised as a homœopathic chemist at 44 Elizabeth Street, a premises which he shared with Henry Biers and Co, an estate agent. He sold domestic medicine cases and books, and provided advice daily from 9am to 5pm.


It appears that soon afterwards, however, he moved to St Kilda, where he set up practice as a homœopath and ran a homœopathic dispensary. His name was included in the Sands & Kenny Melbourne directory printed in 1860, which listed residents and businesses which were operating in 1859. Kidner was recorded as being a “homœopathist” at 123 High Street, St Kilda. (High Street was originally called Brighton Road.)


On 14 April, 1859, Samuel Kidner attended the first meeting of those who were interested in establishing a free homœopathic dispensary in Melbourne, and he was appointed to the committee which was formed as a result.


The Kidner & Gould Pharmacy appears to have been his next business venture, established shortly after Edward Gould’s arrival in Melbourne in May 1860.  (Note: the date of establishment was in 1860, and NOT in 1855.) For a few short months before moving to 90 Collins Street East, Kidner & Gould’s business was located at 102 Collins Street East. Interestingly, at that time a William Gould, lithographer, was also located at 102 Collins Street. Perhaps he was a relative of Edward Gould.


Kidner’s pharmacy was listed for the first time in the Sands and Kenny Melbourne directorypublished in 1861, which recorded businesses which were operating in 1860. The pharmacy’s address was 90 Collins Street East. The pharmacy moved there during the early days of October 1860.


As a result of a visit from Mr Thomas Magarey from Adelaide to Kidner’s church in Melbourne, Kidner decided to visit Adelaide. On October 30 1860 Kidner travelled to Adelaide, his daughter having already arrived there with Mr Magarey on October 7. On Sunday evening 11 November Kidner gave a lecture at the Christians’ Chapel in Grote Street.


Once in Adelaide, Kidner found that there was no resident homœopath. During November of 1860, several advertisements announced that Mr Kidner, Homœopathic Practitioner from Melbourne, would be in Adelaide during all November and could be consulted daily from 10 to 2 o'clock at Mr E.S. Wigg's, 12 Rundle Street.


 There he attended to the health needs of many patients and he eventually decided to stay in Adelaide. An advertisement of 19th December 1860 stated that he could be consulted at his residence at Dorsetta Terrace, Flinders Street. From 30 September 1861 to the end of December of the same year he submitted an almost daily advertisement in the South Australian Advertiser:




Samuel Kidner was a key figure in the move to establish the free homœopathic dispensary in Adelaide in 1867.  At that time the Adelaide Almanack, Town and Country Directory and Guide to South Australia of 1867 listed him as a homœopath at Flinders Street in Adelaide.


In 1869 Kidner travelled to England, where he donated several Aboriginal artefacts to the British Museum, including some clubs and a boomerang. It is unknown where he obtained these objects, whether it was via church missionaries or via his membership with the Adelaide Philosophical Society and his association with scientists and explorers who returned from the outback and reported their findings at the Society's meetings.


During his time in England, Kidner tried unsuccessfully to formalise his medical qualifications.


Following his return to South Australia, in February1870 it was announced that he had moved to Willunga, south of Adelaide "near the Bush Inn, Willunga". An news item in April stated: "Dr Kidner has settled amongst us, and I believe is getting a good practice, as the doctor's ability as a practitioner of homœopathy has long been known in this district before he visited England, and the new treatment has a great many stanch believers here."


However, in May 1871 it was announced that Kidner had moved from Willunga to Pitt Street, Adelaide, at the back of Maughan's Chapel. Next, Kidner practised in the vicinity of Bowden. At this time he lived at "Balcony House", Bowden.


At the beginning of 1875 he advertised that he had moved to "Mill House", Mill Terrace North Adelaide, "near the station". In the 1876 Directory of South Australia, he was listed as a homœopathist at Mill Terrace, North Adelaide. In 1881 he was in Howard Street, Hindmarsh, while in 1882 he was in Port Road, Hindmarsh. At Hindmarsh he was one of the pastors at the local church.


Kidner’s obituary concluded that:


             “He may be aptly termed the father of Homœopathy, so far as South Australia is concerned.”



Kidner is buried in Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery.


                                     Samuel Kidner's headstone

                               in Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery

                                     Photo courtesy of Alison Hicks




[For more information, see the article by Barbara Armstrong on The Introduction of Homœopathy to Adelaide in Similia December 2006, Vol 18:2, the journal of the Australian Homœopathic Association]


[Note that some documents incorrectly record Benjamin Kidner, of the Bank of Adelaide, as being a son of Samuel. Benjamin was a cousin whom Samuel visited during his trip to England. Samuel encouraged Benjamin to return with him to Australia. John, who is sometimes also incorrectly recorded as a son of Samuel, was brother of Benjamin.]



©   Barbara Armstrong     



  • Created:
    Tuesday, 22 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 07 November 2015