• Full Name:
    Charles Van Lear Florance
    Charles Van Lear Florence
  • Role:
    Chemist & seller of homœopathic medicines
  • Occupation/s:
    Museum attendant; Chemist; Unregistered medical practitioner
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
[1847- ? 1897]


Charles Florance was born in London, England on 26 December 1847. He was the 14th child of 17 children born to William Florance and Eliza Lola (nee Manasse), who had been married at Westham, Essex in 1827. William was a surgeon and apothecary, qualifying in 1825. Five of their children became medical practitioners or chemists.


William arrived in Melbourne on 30 October, 1853 aboard the "California". His wife and youngest three children, including Charles aged 5, arrived later aboard the "Maria Hay", on 17th August, 1855. According to the shipping records, Eliza's occupation was given as "schoolmistress". The family lived in the areas of Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy. William died on 17 July, 1867 at 3 Palmer Street, Fitzroy.


On 14 May, 1870 Charles, aged 23, married Alice Anne Thurgurland in Melbourne.


In 1873 Charles was listed in the Melbourne Directory as an attendant at the National Museum. He lived at 10 Barkly Street, Brunswick. However, in 1875 he was listed as a chemist at Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.


In May 1875 Charles was in the insolvency court, the cause of his problems being "the non-carrying out of an agreement for partnership, in consequence of which the insolvent did not receive a sum of money, and his stock in trade being partly destroyed through floods".


By 1872 one of Charles' brothers, Alfred Harrell Florance, was already living at George Street, Millicent, South Australia, where he was listed as a chemist and druggist, stationer and photographer. In 1874 Alfred was granted an auctioneer's license, after which he was listed as a chemist and auctioneer. Alfred sold his chemist shop in May 1875 and thereafter concentrated on his activities as auctioneer, accountant, and agent for the sale of stock and land.


Alfred may have informed his brother that Millicent was in need of a full-time chemist, as by 1876 Charles had moved to South Australia where he advertised as a chemist and dentist at Millicent.


After a short period in Millicent, Charles moved to Georgetown (1879), followed by work at Clarendon (1880), Goolwa (November 1882 to 1885) and Petersburg (1886). During his time in Georgetown he established a practice as a medical practitioner and started being called "Dr Florance". While at Petersburg he chaired a meeting to discuss the extension of the railway to the town.


Because Charles was not registered as a medical practitioner, his name appeared in Ludwick Bruck's List of Unregistered Practitioners, published in 1886. He may have provided the published details himself, as his entry was quite specific regarding his background.


FLORANCE, Charles V.L.   M.P.S. Vic; Pub.Vacc. Studied under his father the late William Florance, in Victoria, also under Dr W. Robert Roberts of the Birmingham Hospital (England). Was assistant to three qualified practitioners for six and a half years. Has practised in South Australia for ten years; was appointed Medical Officer to the Destitute Board for Georgetown in 1878, and in 1879 public vaccinator, which appointment he still holds. During the last nine years has held appointment as surgeon to various friendly societies at Goolwa, Eangarilla and other places in South Australia.


A newspaper item states that in 1887 he treated a patient at Teetulpa.


It is unknown whether he used homœopathy as part of his medical practice.


Mrs Alice Anne Florance died in Adelaide on 30 May 1904. There is an error in the transcribed record of her death certificate as it incorrectly gives her husband's name as being her father's name.


Some say that Charles Florance died at Cranbourne, Victoria on 28 July 1897. However, at this stage I have been unable to confirm these details from either the Australian or Victorian lists of births, deaths and marriages.


© Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 09 October 2012
  • Last modified:
    Thursday, 10 August 2017