• Full Name:
    Alexander Campbell
  • Role:
    Seller of homœopathic medicines
  • Occupation/s:
    Storekeeper; Druggist; Auctioneer & Commission Agent
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
[1828 - 1879]
Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

(Image courtesy of Robe Library)

Alexander Campbell was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on 18 June 1828. He was the son of Duncan Campbell, chemist and druggist of Glasgow.  At age 10 he left school and went into his father's pharmacy business.  


According to the Biographical Index of South Australians, he arrived in Australia on 27 October, 1849 aboard the "Isabella Hercus".  After his arrival he was initially employed as dispenser for a Dr Bayer of Adelaide.  However, he decided that there was insufficient income for him in that occupation, so in 1851 he moved to Robe in South Australia.  There he became known as "Sandie Campbell, hawker", taking goods to outback stations. 


Like many others he was drawn to the Victorian gold diggings where he ran an eating house.  He left the diggings in 1855 and returned to Robe, where initially he worked as a store hand before building his own large store in 1857 on the corner of Bagot and Smillie Streets in Robe.  The adjoining cottages, now called 'Campbell Cottages', were built about the same time to provide accommodation for workers and visitors.  A second storey was added, probably when the incoming Chinese brought booming trade conditions to Robe.


On 10 July 1856 he married local schoolteacher, Jane Draper (1833 - 1891).    According to the Biographical Index, Alexander and Jane had nine children.



Campbell Buildings, Robe Sth Australia

(Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy)

According to the Biography of Alexander Campbell, written by one of his sons, by 1868 Alexander had quit his business because he was insolvent.  His son stated that this was due to bad debts, inattention to business and carelessness.


By the beginning of 1874 the family had moved to Millicent, South Australia. There he advertised as an auctioneer and commission agent. He held fortnightly sales of horses, cattle, implement, &c at his "newly erected yards, Davenport Street".


In February 1874 he called a meeting "to consider the advisability of forming a district council for the areas of Mount Muirhead and Mayura".


In November 1874 Alexander announced:


Alexander Campbell begs to inform the inhavitants of Mount Muirhead and Mayura areas that he has commenced business in Davenport Street, Millicent as General Storekeeper, Druggist, Auctioneer and Commission Agent.


The advertisement also announced that:


Mrs Campbell having secured the services of a Milliner and Dressmaker from Adelaide will be happy to execute orders in that department.


In May 1877 Mr Campbell advertised that, being about to give up business as General Storekeeper, he was offering great reductions on his stock and the store and dwelling hoouse was to be sold or let. According to the advertisement, the stock was new and well-assorted, and the store was in the best position in town.


Marriage warning

'South Australian Government Gazette'


However, it appears that he did not cease business as a storekeeper as by August 1877 he advertised that his general store  in George Street, Millicent sold homœopathic medicines in addition to all his other goods.


One of Alexander and Jane's daughters, Amelia, was obviously very keen to marry young, as in 1876 he placed the following advertisement in the South Australian Government Gazette. (Amelia would have been fifteen years of age at the time.)


Alexander Campbell died on 11 February, 1879 aged 52.


The following report appeared in the newspaper:


Sudden Death

Alexander Campbell Dropped dead whilst looking for horses close to the township. He had been suffering for some time from heart disease. He leaves a large family, and was highly respected.


The report also noted that on the day of Alexander's death, the temperature was 1120 Fahrenheit in the shade.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Thursday, 11 October 2012
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 26 July 2015