• Full Name:
    Samuel James Way
  • Role:
  • Occupation/s:
    Barrister & solicitor
    Chief Justice
    Member Lower House South Australia
    Lieutenant-Governor South Australia
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
[1836 - 1916]

Samuel James Way was born in Devonshire, England, on 11 April 1836. His father was Rev. James Way, a minister of the Bible Christians, a small Methodist denomination.

                            Samuel James Way

                Photograph from "The Australasian" of 17 Dec 1898

In 1850 Rev James Way, his wife and four younger children emigrated to South Australia. Samuel, at that time aged 14, was left behind to continue his education. In 1853 Samuel joined his family in Adelaide. There he gained employment in a solicitor's office.


Eventually, in 1861, Samuel was admitted as a solicitor. In the next ten years he became a leader of the legal profession, appointed Queen's Council in 1871.


In the same year, Samuel Way was appointed to the committee of the Adelaide Homœopathic Dispensary, at the third annual meeting of the organisation. In 1876 he was still listed as a member of the committee. His other link to the Dispensary was the fact that his sister was married to one of the homœopathic doctors of the Dispensary, Dr Allan Campbell.


Way, along with his brother-in-law, Dr Campbell, was prominent among those who established the Adelaide Children's Hospital. He was also key to smoothing the way between the allopathic doctors and those doctors who had homœopathic leanings, assuring the public that it was not the purpose of the committee to conduct the Hospital exclusively according to the system of any particular school of medicine. Way laid the hospital’s foundation stone, was President of the Hospital Board from its foundation in 1876 until 1915., and the original 1897 building is named after him.


Way purchased his North Adelaide mansion, "Montefiore", in 1872.


               Montefiori - Private residence of Chief Justice Way

                        Photograph from "The Australasian" of 17 Dec 1898

In 1875 Samuel Way was elected to the South Australian Parliament and in 1876 he was appointed Chief Justice, just a few weeks before his 40th birthday.

               Sir Samuel James Way (1836-1916)
                     Monument in North Terrace Adelaide

                  (Photograph: Courtesy of Alison Hicks)


In 1874 Way was elected as a member of the University of Adelaide, and became its Chancellor in 1883. There is a statue of him in North Terrace, near the University.


He acted as Governor of South Australia in 1877, and was officially declared Leiutenant-Governor of South Australia in 1891.


In 1898 he married Katharine Blue, née Gordon, a 44 year old widow with a grown family. The following year he accepted a baronetcy.


Sir Samuel James Way died on 8 January, 1916.


See also the reference to Samuel Way in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.


© Barbara Armstrong

  • Created:
    Tuesday, 13 December 2011
  • Last modified:
    Tuesday, 12 August 2014