• Full Name:
    Charles F. Fischer
    Carl Frank Fischer
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Homœopathic physician, medical practitioner
  • State:
    New South Wales
    New Zealand
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:
                         Dr Carl Fischer
The Sand’s Sydney and Suburban Directory for 1875 listed Charles Fischer as being a homœopathic physician at 251 Macquarie Street, Sydney. He was not included on the list of medical practitioners.


This was Dr Carl Frank Fischer who came from Germany to England, and then Australia via New Zealand. He claimed to have gained the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Martin Luther University of Halle in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1848, and a degree from the university of Berlin.


There is an entry for Dr Carl Fischer in the 1853 British and Foreign Homœopathic Medical Directory. At that time he practised at Upper Clapton in England. He was a Member of the Hahnemann Medical Society and author of a “Biographical Monument to Samuel Hahnemann”, published in 1852.


He settled in Auckland, New Zealand in 1853 or 1854. According to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography:


His Auckland practice was launched in 1854 with some priceless publicity after his treatment of Jane Graham, the wife of George Graham, a prominent Auckland entrepreneur and politician. Jane Graham had been crushed when the upper floor of a shop collapsed, and Fischer had been able to revive her after several other doctors had failed. The attendant publicity filled his waiting rooms and sparked an intense debate in the Daily Southern Cross between Fischer and other Auckland doctors over the merits of homœopathy. Fischer dismissed his attackers’ arguments as pique in the face of competition.


A Mr Hannken reported that:


The tall flight of steps going up the face of the cliff near Fort Britomart was known as Fischer’s steps because a great homœopathic doctor of that name lived at the top. There is no doubt he was a very clever man for while he was in Auckland he had many great cures to his credit.

fischer-bell echo1856-s

From March 1855 to February 1856 Fischer produced New Zealand’s first medical journal, The Homœopathic Echo, which ran for 12 issues. It was produced in conjunction with John Bell’s Homœopathic Pharmacy which was also in Auckland. (See also the entry for John Bell in the listing of homœopathic pharmacies.) An advertisement stated that it was “a journal of health and disease” containing “a most complete guide for Domestic and Veterinary Practice, as also a careful explanation of the principles and Theory of Homœopathy”. “This Book has since its Publication become the favourite guide amongst those who have adapted Homœopathy in preference to all other domestic works so that a reprint of the earlier Monthly parts had become necessary to complete a limited number of copies of the whole work.”


The Homœopathic Echo was also advertised in Melbourne’s The Argus newspaper in May 1855. The advertisement stated that “the object of this journal is to dispel the prejudices of those ignorant of homœopathy, and show openly to all the world the medicines which the homœopathic practitioner employs, the laws to which he adheres, and the principles he maintains.” The journal was available from a bookseller and stationer in Collins Street East in Melbourne.


Dr Fischer’s Homœopathic Medical Dispensary in New Zealand was located in Queen Street in Auckland, and was reported to be “elegantly decorated”. Dr Fischer ran the Auckland Homœopathic Hospital from 1858 to 1862, during which time the hospital treated 1,047 patients.


In 1866 he produced a second medical journal, Fischer’s Magazine of Homœopathy, but this appeared only briefly.


He invested in land, and established nurseries and a vineyard, and built a wine-cellar and brandy distillery. Although he was very prosperous, he was also a self-confessed spendthrift and by 1867 he was deeply in debt.


In 1869 he and his family moved to Sydney. (At this stage it is presumed that this was the same person as ‘Charles Fischer’, who graduated from the Homoeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1869, and was recorded as practising in Australia.)


The Homœopathic Directory of Great Britain & Ireland for 1872 and 1873 listed him as a practitioner in Sydney.


From 1877 to 1880 he was in Europe. While in Europe he graduated in medicine at the university of Würzburg and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1879. After his wife died, he returned to Sydney.


The Australian Medical Directory for 1883 had a listing for a “homoeopathist”, Dr Carl Fischer of 143 Macquarie St, along with his recent qualifications. In 1888 he was described as having had “for many years a very extensive practice as homœopathic physician in Sydney”.


Fischer was not listed in the Australian Medical Directory for 1886. This is probably because he had again travelled to Europe, where, at the suggestion of the members of the New South Wales Commercial, Pastoral, and Agricultural Association, he studied the subject of rabbit diseases with some of the leading scientists of Europe, including Professor Koch. In 1887 he wrote a letter from Berlin to the above association, providing suggestions his proposals for methods to exterminate rabbits, which involved the introduction of an infection and disease amongst the rabbits which would gradually destroy the rabbits without affecting other animals. His letters were published in The Brisbane Courier in 1888.


Dr Fischer died in 1893, after contracting a fever in China while visiting his daughter.


©   Barbara Armstrong     


  • Created:
    Monday, 25 May 2009
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 04 December 2016