• Full Name:
    Thomas Hill Goodwin
    T H Goodwyn
  • Role:
    Chemist, lay practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Homœopathic dispenser, Lay practitioner, Missionary
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


At this stage it appears that Thomas Hill Goodwin was the first person in Victoria to advertise himself as a provider of homœopathic services.


Thomas Hill Goodwin was born 1 December 1824 at Holt Mill, Worcestershire. He was one of seven children born to John Goodwin, a miller, and Sarah Wagstaff. John senior became a Justice of the Peace and Alderman of the City of Worcester.


In October 1848 Thomas married Marian Elizabeth Baker [1825 - 1853]. According to the English census of 1851, Thomas was a book seller and stationer and they were living at Worcester, Worcestershire.


Thomas and Marian, and Thomas' brother Frederick, age 17, arrived in Melbourne on 15 September 1852 aboard the Deborah.  Thomas and Marian had one son, born on 22 July 1853. Very sadly, Marian died a few days later, on 27 July 1853, the death notice stating 'Her end was perfect peace'. Their son, Napier Clark Hamilton Goodwin, died the following year on 1 March, age 7 months. 


As mentioned above, at this stage, it appears that Thomas Hill Goodwin was the first person in Victoria to advertise himself as a provider of homœopathic services. His first advertisement appeared in The Argus soon after his arrival, on 14 October 1852.


On 18 July 1854 Mr Goodwin announced that the Homœopathic Dispensary would close on the following Wednesday, because he was leaving Melbourne. He advised that persons desirous of obtaining homœopathic medicines 'should apply without delay'. 


While Mr Goodwin had his premises at 17 Stephen Street, two doors away at 21 Stephen Street lived Rev. Septimus Lloyd Chase. Rev. Chase was a key figure in the founding the Church of England missions to the aborigines in 1853. It was not until 1854 that a missionary could be found who was willing to devote himself to the task. That person who had offered his services was his nearby neighbour, T.H. Goodwin.


Goodwin was given a licence as a lay reader from the Bishop of Melbourne, and then left Melbourne in


 Rev Goodwin's grave

(Melbourne General Cemetery)

Photo courtesy of Peter Torokfalvy

September to establish a missionary station at the junction of the Darling and Murray rivers. The aboriginal name for the station was Yelta, north of Wentworth. The district over which Goodwin travelled extended from Swan Hill to the South Australian border, and upwards of 300 miles up the River Darling. (By coincidence, during my research I discovered that one of my relatives, also a Church of England minister, had visited Rev Goodwin at Yelta during the 1800s and knew him well.)


The intention of the Committee was to engage the services of an ordained missionary. They also wanted to engage the services of another assistant, if possible a married man, who could help the missionaries in their work, 'and whose wife would attend to household affairs'. 


Goodwin must have continued to treat patients during his time on the station as, at the third annual meeting of the Missions, it was reported that 'Mr Goodwin's knowledge of medicine has proved very beneficial


Goodwin was ordained Deacon by the Bishop at St James' Church, Melbourne on 22 December 1861.


On 18 August 1864 he married Letitia E. Going née Pennefather [1832 - 1907]. They had 6 children.


Rev. Goodwin worked at Yelta for 14 years. By 1870 Rev. Goodwin and his family had moved from Yelta and he became minister of the parishes of Bacchus Marsh, Mansfield, Gisborne (twice) and Heathcote.


From 1880 to 1892 he was Church of England Chaplain at the Melbourne Cemetery. At age 91 he was living at 'Ballynira', Balmoral Avenue, East Kew. From around 1900 he became engaged in the transcription of books for the use of the blind, on behalf of the Braille Association. By 1916 he had transcribed nearly 190 books. He was given a life membership because of his work. 


Rev. Goodwin died on 7 October, 1917, aged 93 and was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Friday, 03 October 2008
  • Last modified:
    Monday, 29 June 2015