Stephen Simpson (1793-1869) was a student of Dr. Hahnemann, a homeopath and public servant. Born in Staffordshire, England, he joined the army as an ensign in 1813 and after service with the 14th Light Dragoons, resigned to qualify in medicine. He subsequently travelled extensively in Europe as personal physician to a member of the Russian nobility.
Simpson became a disciple of Hahnemann and practised homeopathy in Rome for a number of years. Returning to England with the Duchess of Sutherland’s son, whom he had successfully treated, he tried to set up a practice in London. In 1836 he published “A Practical View of Homoeopathy”, being an ‘Address to British Practitioners’, one of the earliest English books on the subject of homeopathy. His other publication was entitled, “General Rules for the Diet of Patients under treatment by the Homoeopathic or Specific Method”. However, because of opposition and ridicule from the medical profession, he left for New South Wales in 1838, after marrying Sophia Anne Simpson, a relation to whom he had been engaged for twenty years.
He arrived in Sydney in the Wilmot in January 1840, with a recommendation to Governor Sir George Gipps from the Colonial Office. His wife died shortly after their arrival. The next July he sailed in the Speculator to Moreton Bay, where in May 1841 he was appointed acting colonial surgeon in the absence of Dr. David Ballow, but thereafter never practised again. With the end of military government and the removal of Owen Gorman from office in May 1842, Simpson was appointed commissioner of crown lands for Moreton Bay and also acting administrator until the arrival of John Wickham the next year.
Simpson first lived in one of the empty cottages of the former female penitentiary at Eagle Farm but he later moved to Redbank where John Dunmore Lang reported dining with him in a slab hut. By 1845 he had built a cottage in Goodna, which proved a welcome overnight stop for Benjamin Glennie and others who travelled from Brisbane to Ipswich and the Darling Downs, and J. Watts avowed that Simpson’s stud of horses was the best in the colony. From 1851 Simpson made substantial land purchases in this area and there his nephew, J. M. Ommaney, after whom a nearby mountain was named, was killed by a fall from a horse in 1856.
Simpson was appointed a trustee of the Brisbane General Hospital in 1848, a returning officer in the 1851 elections, police magistrate for the Moreton district in 1853. He retired from government office in 1855. In May 1860 he became a life member of the first Legislative Council in the popular interest but attended only once before he left for Sydney in December. Although his non-attendance was questioned in parliament he was granted leave until September 1864. He died at Portland Square, London, on 11 March of 1869.
Dr. Stephen Simpson was known as ‘the most respected man in the colony’.
Source: Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 22-23; and, Sylvain Cazalet: