Homeopathy Papers

Homeopathy in Australia

Written by Sarah Penrose

Homeopath Sarah Penrose discusses homeopathy in Australia, including early some history as well as current happenings. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century homeopathy was well accepted in Australia, and utilized at the Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, and Launceston homeopathic hospitals.[1]  The Sydney Homeopathic Hospital was originally established in Redfern, New South Wales in 1902, and relocated to Glebe Point Road in 1915.[2]

Dr. Leigh Feild Deck, the last Sydney Homeopathic Hospital doctor retired in 1941, and the matron administered the final doses of homeopathy in 1945.[3]  The Sydney  hospital operated as a general hospital under the public system until it closed in 1989, and under the 1911 bequest of William Moore a bed was always provided, and ensured, for homeopathic treatment.[4]

In 1990, after lobbying on behalf of Moore’s bequest by The Australian Medical Faculty of Homeopathy, a homeopathic outpatient clinic was opened at Balmain Hospital.[5]  ( With gratitude to Barbara Armstrong for the comprehensive compilation History of Homeopathy in Australia at www.historyofhomeopathy.au )

The Australian Federal Government established the National Competency Standards in Homeopathy in 1999, and homeopaths meeting these government-endorsed standards continue to qualify as registrants of the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH).

Australia in 2008 had degree programs in homeopathy at universities, and was awaiting the Federal Government to appropriately legislate, endorse, and regulate complementary medicine practitioners, including homoeopaths – after extensive investigation by a government expert committee and input from the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA).[6] The formation of Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) in 2010 ensured this did not come to fruition for homeopaths.[7]

The year 2019 was a BIG year for homeopathy in Australia, when:

  • The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia penned an open letter recommending pharmacies “cease all activities that encourage the stocking, promotion, recommendation or marketing of homoeopathy”[8] on the back of the failed King Review (2017) which recommended a ban on all natural medicine in pharmacies[9]and not adopted by the Federal Government suspected as likely due to ‘people power’ – over 80,000 oppositional signatories – via the AHA’s powerful Your Health Your Choice[10]
  • The Australian Federal Government cut private health insurance rebates for natural therapies[11]on the back of the NHMRC (2015) report.[12]
  • Followed(within the week) by an announcement of a ‘Natural Therapies Review’ (still in progress in 2024)[13] [14] for the sixteen natural therapies excluded from private health insurance rebates – the homeopathy research protocol can be accessed online.[15]
  • Due to sustained international pressure, the NHMRC finally released their hidden draft report of 2012 which concluded ‘encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy’in five medical conditions.[16]
  • Followed within the month by NHMRC CEO Prof Anne Kelso clarifying the finding of the 2015 report[17] stating: ‘Contrary to some claims, the review did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective.’[18]

During 2020, Australian Homeopathy charity and research peak body The Aurum Project conducted the First National Practice Survey of AROH registrants – which found Australians visited a registered homeopath most commonly for mental health.[19]

The First National Practice Survey reported the average Australian homeopath was 52 years old, and that just 14% of over 450 eligible AROH registered homeopaths participated in the survey. These findings coupled with no onshore homeopathy colleges* and the continued and sustained disparagement of homeopathy[20] [21] [22] led the researchers to conclude clear indications for a profession in undoubtable decline.

In 2023 the NHMRC Australian Review stakeholder complaint[23] lodged in 2016 with the Commonwealth Ombudsman concluded with the following press release:

Despite our best efforts, it was not possible to engage an expert (or experts) to provide independent advice to our Office on this subject. In the absence of independent, expert scientific expertise we have not been able to conclusively determine those matters of scientific methodology.”[24]

2024 commences with a growing cohort of graduate homeopaths and students of one of four AROH accredited courses[25] – a hopeful indicator for a revival of the profession of homeopathy in Australia. Time will tell.

 Sarah Penrose – 16 February 2024.

[1] https://www.historyofhomeopathy.au/hospitals.html

[2] https://www.historyofhomeopathy.au/hospitals/item/194-sydney-homopathic-hospital.html

[3] Armstrong, B. 2020. Letter to the Editor. Similia, The Australian Journal of Homeopathic Medicine. 32:1. The Australian Homeopathic Association. Hobart.

[4] https://www.historyofhomeopathy.au/hospitals/item/194-sydney-homopathic-hospital.html

[5] Armstrong, B. 2020. Letter to the Editor. Similia, The Australian Journal of Homeopathic Medicine. 32:1. The Australian Homeopathic Association. Hobart.

[6] Torokfalvy, P. 2008. Homeopathy in Australia. Hpathy. Mar 15. Available from: https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/homoeopathy-in-australia/

[7] https://ahpa.com.au/allied-health-professions/

[8] https://www.homeopathyoz.org/news-members/291-aha-media-release

[9] https://www.homeopathyoz.org/news-members/270-natural-medicines-will-remain-on-pharmacy-shelves

[10] https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au/

[11] https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au/

[12] https://sarahpenrose.substack.com/p/the-australian-report

[13] https://www.health.gov.au/topics/private-health-insurance/private-health-insurance-reforms/natural-therapies-review-2019-20

[14] https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-advice/public-health/complementary-medicines/natural-therapies-review

[15] Homeopathy for preventing and treating health conditions: a protocol for an evidence evaluation. https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=346433

[16] https://www.hri-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Draft-annotated-2012-homeopathy-report.pdf

[17] https://sarahpenrose.substack.com/p/the-australian-report

[18] https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/attachments/CEO-statement-signed.pdf

[19] Salter et al., 2020. Sustaining homeopathy in Australia: Results and Analysis of the First National Practice Survey. Similia, The Australian Journal of Homeopathic Medicine. 32:1. The Australian Homeopathic Association. Hobart.

[20] Lewis, M. 2019. De-legitimizing complementary medicine: framings of the Friends of Science in Medicine-CAM debate in Australian media reports. Sociology of Health & Illness. 41:(5):831-851. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30793332/

[21] Greenland, J. 2017. Marginalising homœopathy: an Australian case study. Prometheus. 35(3):171-192. Available from: https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.1080/08109028.2018.1472361

[22] Levy D, Gadd B, Kerridge I, Komesaroff PA. 2015. A gentle ethical defence of homeopathy. J Bioeth Inq. Jun;12(2):203-9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25037244/

[23] Australian Homeopathic Association. 2017. Executive Summary – Commonwealth Ombudsman Complaint. Hobart [online]. Available from http://www.nhmrchomeopathy.com/ombudsman-exec-summary.html

[24] https://www.hri-research.org/2023/08/hri-statement-on-closure-of-commonwealth-ombudsman-investigation/

[25] https://www.aroh.com.au/Accredited-Courses

About the author

Sarah Penrose

Sarah Penrose (BSc(hons) hom) is an Australasian homeopath. Sarah has three qualifications in homeopathy, oversees the Australian Homeopathic Association research portfolio, writes a Substack Evidence Based Complementary Medicine, and can be contacted via goodhealthforgreatlife.com


  • I propose the governing body of homoeopathic committee should invite the homeopathic doctors to submitted the cases of important nature with complete case history that i.s nature/disease name with patient name and his/her complete contact information along with case history along with medicine name till complete recovery as a proof that homeopathic also work like other medicines so that confidence should be developed to use the Homoeopathic medicines as and when required.

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