• Full Name:
    Dr Matthew William Gutteridge
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Physician and surgeon, homœopath
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1859 - 1926]


Matthew Wilkins Gutteridge was born in 1859 at Leicester, England, son of Richard Sandon Gutteridge and Mary Ann Wilkins. Matthew's father, Richard, was a medical practitioner (MD Erlangen, LFPS, LM Glasgow 1858). According to Richard's obituary in 1899, 'By his decease homœopathy loses one of its most ardent followers in the old country.' The later editions of Laurie's well-known work on household medicine were edited by him. He was also the author of several works on cancer and consumption.


Matthew obtained his medical and surgical qualifications (MB, CM) in Edinburgh in 1883. After graduation Dr Gutteridge was engaged as House Surgeon at the Birmingham Homœopathic Hospital, and afterwards at Bradford, where he succeeded to the practice of Dr J. Maffey who had emigrated to Melbourne.


On 4 June, 1886 he married Mary Catherine Perry at Culross, Scotland. He and his wife then emigrated to Australia to take up the homœopathic practice in Launceston which had been commenced by Dr S. Brown two years previously. During the journey, Dr Gutteridge acted as surgeon aboard the 'Australasian'. At Melbourne they boarded the S.S. Flinders and arrived in Launceston on 13 August, 1886.


By November he advertised that he was providing consultations at Whitaker's Coffee Palace and daily at the Homœopathic Pharmacy in Brisbane Street. In April 1887 his residence was at Southgate, Frederick Street. In 1890 he moved his practice to 27 Cameron Street.


Dr Gutteridge involved himself in the local community, becoming President of the local golf club. He also used his medical background to contribute to many aspects of Launceston life. He helped form the Launceston Branch of the St John's Ambulance Association, where he provided a series of lectures for the nurses. He also became Surgeon to the Launceston Rifle Regiment. Eventually he became attached to the Tasmanian Army Medical Corp and left the forces with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was a public vaccinator. Dr Gutteridge was associated with the Benevolent Society and in 1893 announced that he would not charge any patient sent to him via the Society. Until its closure, he provided assistance for an institution called 'Hope Cottage', established to rehabilitate women who were victims of intemperance, vice and crime.


In May 1897 Mrs Styant Browne (wife of the homœopathic pharmacist F. Styant Browne) and several other women in Launceston announced that they wanted to establish a women's hospital as a memorial to Queen Victoria. It was to be called the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women. Dr Gutteridge was asked to speak in support of the hospital, and as a result supporters of homœopathy (among others) worked hard, subscribing liberally to the project.


Dr Gutteridge was asked to act as one of the honorary medical officers on the staff of the hospital. Because Dr Gutteridge was the only qualified homœopath in Launceston, the other honorary medical officers were allopaths. As a result of Dr Gutteridge's appointment, one of the other medical officers resigned. Then a Launceston sub-branch of the British Medical Association was formed by the local allopaths. The allopathic staff of the hospital stated that it would be impossible for them to work with Dr Gutteridge as their rules prevented them from consulting with a homœopath. Intended as a threat to the hospital committee to force them to sack Dr Gutteridge, this caused a furore throughout the north of Tasmania, and especially those subscribers who had believed that they would be able to receive homœopathic treatment at the hospital. The allopaths then said that they had been misunderstood and that they had no objections to there being a separate ward run by Dr Gutteridge, provided he could get at least two other doctors besides those on the staff to consult with him in cases of emergency. Dr Gutteridge announced that he had found three such doctors willing to work with him, one more than required; all that was needed was the rules of the hospital to be altered as per the suggestion of the allopathic members, such that he could select his consultants from the three doctors offering their services. In the end, the committee (without the support of their subscribers) refused to alter the rules and they rescinded the resolution to establish a homœopathic ward at the hospital, also withdrawing their offer of a medical position to Dr Gutteridge.


As a direct result of the above actions, on October 21, 1897, a meeting of supporters of homœopathy was held in the Mechanics' Institute, Launceston, where they decided to form a the Northern Tasmanian Homœopathic League. The meeting also proposed establishing a homœopathic hospital as soon as possible. F. Styant Browne was elected Honorary Secretary. Dr Gutteridge stated that the attempt at medical boycotting was a dismal failure. 'It consolidated our forces; brought out many new friends both medical and lay.'


In the following year, as a result of a similar boycott by the members of the British Medical Association in Hobart, the supporters of homœopathy there formed the Southern Tasmanian Homœopathic League. Shortly thereafter north and south joined together to form the Tasmanian Homœopathic Association.


Dr Gutteridge, along with Dr Philip Douglas Smith (who arrived in Launceston in 1898), did much to advance the cause of homœopathy in the north of Tasmania. Gutteridge, Smith and the pharmacist Mr Styant Browne, worked together in the formative years of the Launceston Homœopathic Hospital. Drs Gutteridge and Smith were the first two medical officers appointed to the Hospital.


During their time in Launceston, Dr Gutteridge and his wife had five children - 4 boys and one girl.


After 15 years' work in Tasmania, Dr Gutteridge decided to move to Melbourne where it was reported he had secured a large homœopathic practice in Collins Street. A farewell get-together was held at the Mechanics' Institute, where people spoke of the sadness and regret they felt in the departure of the doctor and his wife. It was like parting from a dearly loved brother to lose him, but they must remember that their loss was gain to many more in a larger centre of population.

Dr Gutteridge departed Launceston on 5 November 1901. On 27 November he was appointed to fill the vacancy at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital which was the result of the resignation of Dr William Warren, surgeon for diseases of the ears, nose and throat. Dr Gutteridge worked at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital to 1917.

From 1903 to 1910 his practice was at 151 Collins Street; according to the Post Office Directory he was at 30 Collins Street from 1911 to 1913; from 1914 he was at 167 Collins Street.

Dr Gutteridge died on 21 September, 1926 at Armadale, Victoria.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 22 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Wednesday, 08 October 2014