• Full Name:
    Alfred Reynolds Huntley
  • Role:
    Supporter of homœopathy
  • Occupation/s:
    Part-owner of grocery and druggist business; Engineer; Secretary
  • State:
    New South Wales
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
    By 1858

[1816 - 1868]


Alfred was born on 28 February 1816 at Staines, Middlesex. He was the eldest son of surgeon Dr Robert Huntley and his wife Isette Rachael Reynolds. (One of his younger brothers, Frederick Huntley, eventually became involved with the homœopathic pharmacy of Bell and Huntley.)


On 3 October 1836 Dr Robert Huntley and his family arrived in New South Wales, Australia. They travelled aboard the Duchess of Northumberland, Dr Huntley being the Surgeon Superintendent for the ship. Initially Dr Huntley and family lived on their property called 'Farringdon' near Braidwood, New South Wales, where he was Braidwood's doctor until 1853 before moving to Balmain.


On 19 April 1838 Alfred married Eleanor Sherwin, a sister of Dr William Sherwin, at Sherwin's Plains, Lake Bathurst in New South Wales. On the same day John Alabaster Edwards married Sarah, another sister of Dr Sherwin. (Several years later Dr Sherwin became Australia's first home-grown homœopath, and it is probably through his influence that Alfred and brother Frederick became supporters of homœopathy.)


According to the Commercial Journal and Advertiser, in October 1838 Alfred Huntley and John Alabaster Edwards purchased an existing drug and grocery warehouse business at 18 Pitt Street. In the same year they entered into a joint co-partnership with Dr Sherwin. The business ran under the name of Huntley and Edwards. There is no evidence that they sold homœopathic medicines, their advertisements being mainly concerned with grocery items and exotic fruits from overseas.


In 1840 the partnership was dissolved, but there was a disagreement about the terms and conditions of winding up the business. As a result, Dr Sherwin took the firm to court. Alfred was accused that he had 'carried off the books of the firm.' It also appeared that he had been 'collecting the moneys due to the firm, and applying them to his own private use; also that during the time of partnership he had appropriated the moneys of the firm to his own purposes, and had contracted private debts in the name of the firm.'


In 1841 Dr Sherwin took over the premises at Pitt Street, where he ran his medical practice and advertised for someone qualified to conduct the dispensing department of his medical establishment.


In 1844 Alfred was declared insolvent, with debts of 1,431 pounds and assets of only 30 pounds.


Alfred was involved with several other activities as well. In 1840 he was mentioned as a Director of the Mutual Fire Insurance Association, and by 1848 he was writing letters to the editor as Engineer of the Australian Gas Light Company.

In 1858 a meeting of influential people decided to establish the Sydney Homœopathic Dispensary and Alfred was appointed a member of the Committee. Homœopath Dr John Le Gay Brereton was appointed as one of the medical officers for the Dispensary.


In 1860 the Turkish Bath Company was formed, its aim being to collect subscriptions to create a purpose-built establishment, replacing Dr Brereton's smaller baths in Spring Street, Sydney.  Alfred became one of the directors and acting secretary for the company which eventually opened in Bligh Street, Sydney in 1861.  In 1865 Dr Brereton and Alfred Huntley became joint proprietors of the business.


Alfred and Dr Brereton opened coal mines and established collieries called the Cataract Coal Mine on land near Berrima. As a result, in 1867 the Cataract Coal Mine Railway Bill was passed 'to enable Alfred Reynolds Huntley and John Le Gay Brereton to construct a railway from land near Berrima belonging to them and to the Great Southern Railway.'

Alfred died the following year, on 15 July 1868 at Staines House, Brett Lane, Balmain. He had one son.


Huntley's Point on the western side of Gladesville Bridge was named by Alfred Huntley who purchased the land there and  built Point House in 1851.


©   Barbara Armstrong

  • Created:
    Friday, 03 October 2008
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 23 April 2017