• Full Name:
    Dr George Bollen
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Cooper, district council clerk, surveyor, agent, lay Methodist preacher, homœopathic physician, mayor of Port Adelaide, Justice of the Peace
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
    1861 or 1862
                                 Dr George Bollen

                           Photo courtesy of Michael Bollen

[12.4.1826 - 22.9.1892]

              Plaque on Dr Bollen's premises

                      (see shop below)

                Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

George Bollen was born in Brighton, England in 1826 and arrived in Australia in 1854. He lived for many years at Mt Barker, where his wife, Rebecca, gave birth to nine children. His house, which he designed, still survives there, usually called the “wedding cake house”. He also built the bridge over the Mount Barker Creek. There he had several occupations – as cooper, district council clerk, surveyor, and agent. As district clerk for Mt Barker, Bollen made applications to the Destitute Board for rations for those who were in dire circumstances, particularly women who had been abandoned or whose husbands had died. He also became a Methodist preacher.


At some stage several years after his arrival, he began private studies in medicine, paying particular attention to homœopathy. Reportedly, his training was provided by Dr Wheeler, a local registered medical practitioner who was also a homœopath.  In 1866 he stated that he had been practising for the past 5 years, implying that he had commenced in 1861 or 1862.  By 1869, the popularity of homœopathy in Adelaide was obvious to all, and the Adelaide Homœopathic Dispensary had been established. In the same year, Bollen’s occupation was listed in Boothby’s Directory as “homœopathist”.

                                              Dr Bollen's premises in Mt Barker

                                                            Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

In 1872, Bollen decided to obtain a formal medical degree, so he travelled to the United States, where he studied at the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, Illinois. In 1873 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Upon his return to Australia, he moved to Port Adelaide, where he conducted a medical practice at 77 St Vincent Street.


After a long fight with the Medical Board of South Australia, Dr Bollen was registered on 27 August 1889.


The Cyclopedia of South Australia of 1907 included the following entry regarding Dr George Bollen:


"The late Dr George Bollen. Among the names of those who have taken a leading part in building up the City of Port Adelaide and its kindred institutions that of Dr George Bollen must be given a foremost place. The late gentleman was born at Brighton, Sussex, England, on April 12, 1826, and in 1854 left England for South Australia in the sailing vessel "Albemarle," landing at Port Adelaide in December of the same year. In the following year he went to Mount Barker with his wife and family, and resided in that town until 1872. Dr Bollen then went to America, and entered the Hahnemann College of Chicago, where he gained his medical degree, which entitled him to practise in any portion of the United States. He subsequently returned to Australia via England and settled permanently at Port Adelaide. Dr Bollen soon acquired the reputation of being a highly-skilled physician, and gained much distinction as a homœopathist. In 1882 he came into conflict with the Medical Board, who refused to recognize his diploma, but on a resolution being passed in


                         Dr Bollen's residence in Mt Barker

                     (often called the "Wedding Cake House")

                                       Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

                                  Dr Bollen's residence in Mt Barker

                             (often called the "Wedding Cake House")

                                              Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

Parliament the Chief Secretary gave him authority to issue certificates of death, and later, by order of the Supreme Court, he was registered as a duly qualified medical practitioner under the Medical Act of 1880. The doctor was a member of the America Institute of Homœopathy, and was appointed consulting homœopathist in connection with the World's Convention at Chicago. He took an active part in public affairs, and contested the seat for Port Adelaide in 1890, but through the lack of an organizing committee suffered defeat. He then became a candidate for the Central District in the Legislative Council, but was unsuccessful.


With the early history of municipal affairs Dr Bollen's name will always be associated. He was a Councillor of the Port Adelaide Corporation for many years, and in the year 1883 was elected for the Mayoral chair. During the fulfilment of his term of office the Robinson Bridge was opened by His Excellency Sir W. C. F. Robinson, and to mark the event Dr Bollen gave a banquet, which was conducted on purely temperance principles. He was a well-known preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist denomination, and in addition to preaching at Port Adelaide he frequently occupied the pulpit of the Dunn Memorial Church at Mount Barker. He was one of the founders of the Port Adelaide Seamen's Mission, was its first President, and held that position up to the time of his decease. He was President of the British and Foreign Bible Society for several years, and was a staunch Rechabite, being a total abstainer.


He was a most original thinker and speaker, and whenever he appeared on the platform was heartily welcomed by friends and opponents alike, as his wit and sarcasm carried great force amongst his hearers. Dr Bollen, who was held in high esteem by all who knew him, was known for his many charitable acts, which were widely distributed, as the nature of his calling made him familiar with the necessities of a large number of deserving people. His death occurred in Adelaide on September 22, 1892."


For more details about Dr George Bollen see the article by Barbara Armstrong, "The Law and George Bollen: a man of influence."


Also see the account of his death and his obituary.


©   Barbara Armstrong     


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 03 May 2011
  • Last modified:
    Thursday, 25 June 2015