• Full Name:
    Charles Pleasance
  • Role:
  • Occupation/s:
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

[1850 - 1915]


Charles' real name was Charles PLEASANTS. Charles was born in 1850 at Beccles, Suffolk, son of George and Emma Pleasants. According to England's 1851 census, George was a 'shoeing smith', a master who employed a man and a boy. In August 1853, at the age of 31, George arrived in Melbourne. His wife and three children, including Charles who was aged 4 at the time, arrived two years later. They arrived in Port Phillip in July 1855 aboard the Kent.


George Pleasants became a journeyman blacksmith at Malmsbury in Victoria and one of Malmsbury's pioneers. In 1867 his name appeared on a list of new insolvents. The cause of his insolvency was stated as being 'losses while in business as a publican and through bad debts'.


By this time son Charles was about 17 years of age. According to his official biography in the Cyclopedia of Victoria 1903, Charles was educated at the Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne. After leaving school, he studied engineering at Langland's Foundry which was located in Flinders Lane in Melbourne, then decided to take up chemistry and became articled to the firm of Gould and Martin Homœopathic Pharmacy. Kidner and Gould had established this well-known pharmacy in 1860.


It is not known exactly when Charles commenced work with Gould and Martin. Given that he opened his own pharmacy in Ballarat in 1872 at about the age of 22, and he stated that he had been an assistant at Gould and Martin's 'for several years', it could have been around the time of his father's insolvency or soon afterwards. It is also unknown when Charles decided to change his name to 'Pleasance'. Perhaps this was also around the same time.


Contrary to statements on some websites, there is no evidence in his official biography that Charles 'studied medicine', implying that he intended to obtain qualifications as a medical practitioner. However, he would have studied the required subjects in order to pass the examinations necessary to be placed on the register as a pharmaceutical chemist in Victoria.

By 1872 Charles decided that he had sufficient qualifications, knowledge and experience to be able to establish his own homœopathic pharmacy in a large country town, away from the strong competition of the other homœopathic pharmacies in Melbourne.


On 8 May 1872, a notice appeared in the Ballarat Star advertising the opening of a new homœopathic chemist shop known as the Ballarat Homœopathic Pharmacy. The advertisement had been placed by C. Pleasance. It informed the readers that he had previously worked with Messrs Gould and Martin in Collins Street, Melbourne, and that he would be commencing business as a homœopathic chemist on 11th May at 5 Sturt Street in Ballarat.


A later advertisement stated that he had been assistant to Gould and Martin for several years. He announced that he 'intends devoting himself to the preparation of homœopathic medicines only; that their purity can be thoroughly relied on'.


A year later, Charles became involved with the establishment of the Ballarat Free Homœopathic Dispensary. Charles Pleasance's name was mentioned with reference to the Dispensary until July 1874. However, by March 1875 when he married his wife Carrie Gibblings at Ballarat, the wedding notice stated that he was living in Melbourne. It is likely that he had re-joined the homœopathic pharmacy in Melbourne, now owned by Mr Martin and re-named Martin & Co. In 1878 he became a formal partner in the firm before eventually becoming the sole owner in 1886. The pharmacy was re-named 'Martin & Pleasance'.


Mr Pleasance was elected the third Lord Mayor of Melbourne (1904 – 1905). In October 1905 he laid the foundation stone of the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue which is in the Queen Victoria Gardens, part of the Domain Parklands, a short walk from Melbourne’s CBD and Arts precinct.


He was keen on sport, and was associated with virtually every branch of sport (eg vice-president of the Cricket Association, Amateur Athletic Association, and Victorian Football Association). He took a prominent part in the inauguration and management of the Pharmaceutical Colleges and Institutes.


In the early 1900s Mr Pleasance lived at “Lyndhurst”, Kensington Road, South Yarra, which was the first residence erected in this part of Toorak, adjacent to “Como”.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Sunday, 01 March 2009
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 29 September 2018