Ballarat Homœopathic Pharmacy

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(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


On 8 May 1872, a notice appeared in the Ballarat Star advertising the opening of a new homœopathic chemist shop. The advertisement had been placed by C. Pleasance. It informed the readers that he had previously worked with Messrs Gould and Martin in Collins Street, Melbourne, and that he would be commencing business as a homœopathic chemist on 11th May at 5 Sturt Street in Ballarat.


A later advertisement stated that he had been assistant to Gould and Martin for several years. He announced that he 'intends devoting himself to the preparation of homœopathic medicines only; that their purity can be thoroughly relied on'.

The owner of the new shop was Charles Pleasance. Prescriptions for homœopathic medicines were made by Dr William J.R. Ray who had arrived in Ballarat in 1872 before moving to Bendigo, and by Dr William Ray who arrived in Ballarat in 1873.


For a period during 1873 and 1874 Dr Günst, the famous homœopath based in Melbourne, advertised that he would provide homœopathic consultations at the pharmacy every Saturday.


From 17 February 1874 Dr William J.R. Ray advertised that he had returned from Bendigo and that he had resumed practice in Ballarat. Consultations were provided from the homœopathic pharmacy.


There is evidence that the name of Charles Pleasance was associated with the pharmacy until September 1874. However, by March 1875 when Charles Pleasance married his wife Carrie Gibblings at Ballarat, the wedding notice stated that he was living in Melbourne. It is likely that he had re-joined the homœopathic pharmacy in Melbourne, now owned by Mr Martin and re-named Martin & Co.


By 1876 the Homœopathic Pharmacy in Ballarat had been purchased by Robert Dixon Bannister. Despite the fact that Mr Bannister was on the register as a pharmaceutical chemist of Victoria, there is no evidence to show that he was at all interested in running the Pharmacy. Instead, he devoted his time to running an Australian Juvenile Industrial Exhibition, followed by working with the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880.


While Mr Bannister was otherwise engaged, Mr Alfred Perkins, the pharmacy assistant, was left to run the business. The problem with this was that Mr Perkins was not a qualified chemist, although he had been studying for the last 5 years in order to pass the necessary examinations. In May 1882 Mr Perkins was charged under the Pharmacy Act of Victoria. The clause applied to 'any person not being a registered pharmaceutical chemist, who carries on or attempts to carry on business as a chemist and druggist or homœopathic chemist, or either'.


During the trial Mr Perkins stated that Mr Bannister had not been carrying on business there personally for the last 2 or 3 years and had not been in Ballarat since the Melbourne Exhibition. Mr Perkins also stated that the business was currently for sale.

Mr Perkins was not charged, on the grounds that while he had sold the medicine, he had not dispensed the medicine. Mr Gaunt stated that Mr Bannister had been contacted by telegram. It was reported that 'steps would at once be taken to obtain the services of a qualified gentleman until Mr Perkins had qualified himself by passing the necessary exams'.


In the event, it appears that the business was sold. On 5 July 1882 Martin & Co announced that they had taken over the business at 5 Sturt Street. They assured the public that they would have a qualified and competent manager to run the pharmacy. Several other advertisements for the pharmacy appeared over the months, the last one being on 7 April 1883. Subsequently No. 5 Sturt Street was taken over by a jeweller.


©   Barbara Armstrong     


  • Created:
    Saturday, 25 February 2017
  • Last modified:
    Saturday, 25 February 2017