• Full Name:
    Thomas William Charlesworth
  • Role:
    Unregistered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Minister of Religion
    Lay homœopath and accoucheur
  • State:
    South Australia
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1823 - 1879]


Thomas William Charlesworth was born about 1823 at Barking, Essex, the son of Thomas Charlesworth and Eliza Sophia Harmer. According to the English Census, Thomas senior was a grocer.

Before arriving in Australia, Thomas William obtained his qualifications (PhD, MA) at St Peter's College, Cambridge and was thereafter known as Reverend T.W. Charlesworth.

His first location in Australia was in Perth, arriving by 1852. In May 1853 he was present at the opening of the Independent (or Congregational) Chapel at Guildford.

Advertisements of July 1853 stated that he was a teacher at the Collegiate Institution, Perth, where the patron was the Governor of the colony. There he taught Philology, History and Geography. His future brother-in-law, Reverend James Leonard, was also a teacher at the Institution. However, by January 1854 it was announced that Thomas had withdrawn from the establishment, as the Government proposed to transfer him to Toodyay. Instead, he accepted a church position at the Congregational Church at Guildford. In February, 1854 he announced that at Guildford he would "receive a few gentlemen to give instruction in the usual branches of a liberal education".

In November 1854 he advertised that in January 1855 he would be opening a Classical, Commercial and General Academy in King William Street, Perth.

On 5 March 1854 he married Annie Helena Leonard at the Congregational Church in Perth. Her brother, Rev. James Leonard, performed the ceremony. Julius Charles Leonard Charlesworth was born at Perth on 9 April 1855. James Basil Everard Charlesworth was also born at Perth, on 18 October 1856.

In October 1857 Thomas and his brother-in-law were involved with public religious services in the Congregational Chapel, Gawler, South Australia.

By April 1858 the family had moved to Sandy Creek, South Australia, where Thomas was in charge of the school and the church.  Each year the school was assessed by the School Board.  The entry for December 1859 stated:


Mr Charlesworth, a highly qualified teacher, has succeeded in organizing an orderly and efficient school in a building recently erected in a new district under the provisions of the Board.


Two daughters were born at Sandy Creek - one on 14 November 1858, probably called Helena Blanche Jessie, and the other, Bessie Maud Mary, born on 28 January 1860.

By February, 1862, Charlesworth had become a business partner with wine-maker, Mr David Randall of Glen Para near Mount Crawford. There he was in charge of the cellar work. Newspapers carried advertisements for Randall and Charlesworth's Glen Para Wines.

Dora Rosalie Louisa was born on 11 June 1865 at Evandale in South Australia. Evandale was sometimes referred to as North Rhine (later re-named Keyneton), which was near Angaston. Vernon William Ralph was born on 27 September 1866. On 20 September 1869 a boy was delivered, stillborn.

In January 1867 Thomas spoke at a meeting to commemorate the public services of Henry Evans, after whom Evandale was named. Mr Evans was a son-in-law of George Fife Angas. Thomas Charlesworth must have had experience using homœopathy by 1867, as at that meeting he announced that the first article of his creed was "I believe in globules".

Sadly, during 1870 the eldest and youngest boys died. Vernon died on May 28, aged 3 years and 8 months, from 'inflammatory croup'. Shortly afterwards, on 7 June, Julius died from 'hydropericarditis', aged 15 years and 2 months.

An article in The South Australian Advertiser of 4 May 1871, which provided news from Angaston stated:

Mr T.W. Charlesworth, formerly of Evandale, has come to reside amongst us, and intends practising in homœopathy.

From 23 June 1871 he placed advertisements in the Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer:



Respectfully announces to the inhabitants of KAPUNDA that he purposes VISITING the TOWNSHIP EVERY SATURDAY.
Any communication left with Mr. PLEDGE (of Messrs. Stobie & Pledge) will be attended to.

Thomas continued to be involved with educational activities in the area. The Angaston school was conducted by his brother-in-law, and Thomas was involved with the half-yearly examination of the scholars in 1870 and 1871. In 1874 Thomas was also President of the Angaston Institute.

On 30 December 1872 Thomas applied for membership to the University Association of Adelaide, signing himself as T.W. Charlesworth, MA PhD, Homœopath and Accoucheur, Angaston. He was listed as a homœopath in the South Australian Directories from 1876 to 1880, the last entry being arranged in 1879, as he died of "dropsy" on 16 December 1879. In his death notice his family identified his occupation, not as a minister or teacher, but as a Homœopathic Practitioner.


In January 1880 Mrs Charlesworth advertised the sale of her deceased husband's business assets - drugs, medicines and surgical instruments.  Buyers were directed to apply to Mrs Charlesworth or her brother James Leonard.

©   Barbara Armstrong    


  • Created:
    Monday, 21 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Monday, 05 June 2017