• Full Name:
    William Moore
  • Role:
    Chemist, unregistered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Chemist, Homœopathic physician
  • State:
    New South Wales
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
    About 1858

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)



William Moore

Photograph Courtesy of David Hood


William Moore, son of William and Mary Moore, was born in 31st January, 1831 at Congham, Norfolk, England. William's father worked on farms in the area before obtaining his own farm in the 1850s.


According to an obituary, William arrived in Australia in 1857 when he was 26 years of age.


In December 1873 William stated that by that time (1873) he had now "lived by medical practice for the past sixteen years in N.S.W ... " Also, according to another statement by him in 1887, he had been a homœopathic practitioner and practising medicine for gain for 29 years, which would mean that he had commenced these activities around 1857 or 1858. Prior to that time he "used to practise the veterinary art". According to William, he had been connected with the cure of diseases since he was 12 years old, and had "practised the homœopathic system of the veterinary art". He studied medicine at Hull, in England. This was not an official course, however, but study with the assistance of a friend. He studied homœopathy and some ‘orthodox’ medicine, as well as hydropathy.


According to William's statement of 1873:


Sixteen years ago, shortly after arriving in this colony, I was introduced to Mr. Detman, "the late providore for the Parliament house," who was then in distress of mind about his child, then about to die from diarrhoea. Finding that two duly qualified doctors, after six weeks' trial, had exhausted their skill, and being desirous of acting the good Samaritan, I ventured to prescribe.


The child swiftly recovered. A few days later he was called to attend another case of a desperately ill child who was expected to die within hours. "The child made a rapid recovery, to the astonishment of his former attendant, who was a duly qualified M.D." According to William:


These and other cases soon so surrounded me with practice, that I found it expedient to either relinquish the acts of a good Samaritan or live by medical practice; but just at this time I caught the gold fever and prepared for Port Curtis, but fortune favoured me by a knowledge of the failure of others. Having a desire to see the country, I travelled to Goulburn, and there found two duly qualified doctors in full practice. Knowing that in all such instances there was always plenty of room for a practitioner of a better system, I hoisted homœopathic colours. My first patient in Goulburn was the town-crier's son, who had lain bed-fast for eighteeen months, and was considered incurable. Six weeks' treatment enabled this youth to walk round the town with his father. I soon found myself surrounded by plenty of supposed incurable patients, many of whom I cured.


By 1858 William had moved to Goulburn, New South Wales.  An advertisement for his new practice appeared in The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser on 30 October, 1858:




Begs to inform the Inhabitants of Goulburn and its vicinity that he intends treating all diseases of the human frame Homœopathically.  So mild is the treatment, that the most delicate, and infants, can be treated by it; and so confident is he of success, that he treats patients no cure no pay, with only a small charge for medicine.  Consultation free.  Advice daily from 9 to 12, and 6 to 8 in the evening, at Mr. J. CLAASSEN'S, Auburn-Street, opposite the Bazaar Hotel.

N.B. - Advice gratis to the poor, Tuesdays and Fridays.


A later advertisement in April 1860 announced that he would be touring the area to provide consultations at Collector, Gundaroo, Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Braidwood, Yass, Gunning, Marulan, Sutton Forest and Goulburn.


The Queanbeyan Age & General Advertiser published advertisements for him in 1861 and 1862, giving his address as 4 Clifford Street, Goulburn, New South Wales. The advertisements included the following:


Dr. Moore has always on hand a large assortment of Homœopathic Domestic Guides for family use, by the best authors, together with large sized Medicine Cases, filled with medicines prepared by Dr. M., of a strength which he has found most suitable for the diseases of the colonies. Residents in the bush, with one of these Guides, and a case of Medicine, will be able to cure many diseases themselves, where they have now to ride long distances for medical aid.


He provided consultations in person at his clinic, and via correspondence. He also prepared his own ointment, "Moore's Healing Ointment", which became famous:


Dr. M. has also prepared an invaluable Ointment for burns, scalds, bruises and wounds of every description. It should be kept in every house, for thousands who have tried it have pronounced it the best under the sun.


His medicines and ointments were sold by agents in Braidwood, Queanbeyan and Yass.


An entry in the NSW Immigration Deposit Journal for January 13, 1860 lists William Moore as being the sponsor of his brother, Miarus Moore, and Miarus' wife Alice, for emigration to Australia.  The Immigration Deposit Journal records money deposited in the Colony by persons wishing to sponsor the immigration of a nominated person or group, frequently members of their own family.


In December 1862 William married Fanny Eliza Taylor in Goulburn. They remained childless.


Fanny Moore (1844 - 1914)

Photograph courtesy David Hood



By  February 1863 William and Fanny had moved to West Maitland. According to a statement from William in 1873, he practised for four years in Goulburn before moving to West Maitland.


At West Maitland, William joined the practice of homœopath J. Gordon, who had previously been in partnership with T. Docking. They practised under the title "Gordon & Moore". William Moore continued the regular rounds to surrounding townships, previously conducted by Docking, with advertisements announcing when and where the clinics would be, and that the visits would occur every three months.


Initially Gordon & Moore's clinic was at their residence at Mr Weller's cottage, High Street, West Maitland. In March 1867 the practice moved to Elgin Street in the same township. According to advertisements of the time, this was about 150 yards from the railway station.


In March 1868 the Oddfellows' Lodge at Patterson announced that that they had retained Messrs Gordon & Moore, homœopathists, as their medical attendants.


William Moore practised in the Maitland area for about five years or so, before moving to Sydney. Several years later, commenting on his move, he said: "Seeing that success attended me so well [in providing excellent treatment and cures for local inhabitants, including people whom the medical practitioners had declared incurable], the question may be asked, why did I leave that district. I saw that the atmosphere of West Maitland was not genial to my family, and therefore ventured to try Sydney." A statement from him in 1873 said that he had arrived in Sydney in June 19, 1869. At that time he "began to look for a practice. Having no benefit society as a stepping-stone, I adopted that surest of all means to a successful practice - "cure the supposed incurables." "


In 1873, William Moore wrote a series of letters to the Sydney Morning Herald stating his objections to a Petition to Parliament which the public were being asked to sign, "to legislate for the protection of the members of the Medical Board of Sydney, and virtually to prohibit all medical practice not ruled by the said Medical Board." William stated:


The public are asked to consider before signing WHAT THEY ARE SIGNING; for the suppression of one class of Practitioners, means protection to the other class; and protection to that other class means the effectual destruction of the medical liberty of the subject, inasmuch as liberty of choice will be limited to the Medical Board of New South Wales; and in so doing the public will be retrograding, instead of being like our American cousins, who have their colleges for Allopathy, for Homœopathy, for Hydropathy, and for Thompson's Herbal System. The public there have a choice, and opposition tends to purge the dross from each system. The Medical Board of New South Wales have now a good share of protection - they have all the Goverment appointments, all the clubs, al the fees for inquests and for medical witnesses; and yet they want to suppress a few practitioners who are more successful than themselves, and against whom themselves nor the public have ever brought an accusation of maltreatment or want of skill on the part of medical practitioners not members of the Medical Board of N.S.W.


The Sand’s Sydney and Suburban Directory for 1875 lists William Moore as being a homœopathic chemist at 131 Elizabeth Street. The directory for 1875lists William Moore as being a homœopathic physician at 241 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. In 1886 he was at 154 Elizabeth Street, recorded as being a homœopathist and proprietor of Electric Baths.  In the NSW Directory for 1900 his Electric Baths were listed as being at 150 Elizabeth Street.


In the 1898 NSW Country Trade Register he was listed as a homoeopathist at Lawson. In the Sand’s Sydney and Suburban Directory for 1902 he was recorded as being a homœopathist at Lawson, although by this time he had retired.


During his lifetime William Moore became a man of considerable means, acquiring large tracts of land and other property,

                  Gravestone at Lawson General Cemetery
                                    Source:  Australian Cemetery Index

houses and shops. In addition, he owned a laboratory at Stanmore where his ointments were manufactured.


A deeply religious man, William Moore joined the Sydney Society of the New Church (Swedenborgians), and while in Lawson was associated with the Congregational Church there.


He provided money to help establish the Sydney Homœopathic Hospital in 1902. He died in May, 1911. He provided a further bequest to the Hospital in his will.


Other organisations to receive bequests from this will included the New Church, the Congregational Union of NSW, the Sydney City Mission, the Female Mission Home at Glebe, the Sydney Industrial Blind Institution, the Deaf & Dumb & Blind Institution (Sydney), the Animals Protection Society of Sydney, the NSW Bush Missionary Society, Dr Barnado's Homes (London) and the London Missionary Society (NSW Auxiliary).


William Moore obviously had a deep Christian commitment and practical concern for others.



With thanks to Barbara Merefield, a descendant of a relative of William Moore, for her contributions to this entry.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Sunday, 01 March 2009
  • Last modified:
    Tuesday, 04 April 2017