• Full Name:
    Dr Eben Colman Gould
  • Role:
    Registered practitioner
  • Occupation/s:
    Medical practitioner, homœopath
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1875 - 1947]


Eben Colman Gould, son of Charles Edwin and Adeline Gould, was born on 5 September 1875 at Leominster, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Dr Gould commenced his medical studies in 1901 and graduated from Boston University School of Homœopathic Medicine in 1905. He also became a member of the Hahnemann Society. In the 1911 edition of the Australasian Medical Directory, he was recorded as having worked at the Massachusetts Homœopathic Dispensary.


Immediately after his graduation, Dr Gould was invited to take a position at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital and therefore, as he did not intend practising in Massachusetts, he did not go to the trouble and expense of getting registered there. This omission was one reason for later problems when he attempted to become registered in Tasmania.


Dr Gould arrived in Sydney on 14 October 1905 aboard the 'Sierra' and became a Resident Medical Officer at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital during the same year.


Templeton's book about the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital described Gould as being 'dashing', 'very handsome' and 'very charming', a great lover of theatre and opera. 'He was also a person of great warmth and generosity who loved spending money and loved giving it away. Gould was forever handing out money to destitute patients so that they could buy themselves a square meal.'


After working in Melbourne for two years, Dr Gould travelled to Hobart where he was appointed as Resident Medical Officer at the Hobart Homœopathic Hospital.


As required, he submitted his application to be registered as a medical practitioner in Tasmania. In the meantime he was permitted to practise. However, after waiting nearly a year to be registered, he finally received notice that the Court of Medical Examiners had refused registration. As a result, Dr Gould let it be known that if his registration continued to be refused, he would leave Tasmania. The American Consul residing in Hobart took immediate action in requesting a meeting with the Premier and Attorney-General to prevent unjust discrimination against Dr Gould. The Hospital Board requested that they form part of the deputation. They stated:


They [i.e. the Hospital Board] feel that not only is such refusal a slur upon the undoubted testimonials as to his medical qualifications which Dr Gould brought with him from America, ably borne out during a two years' residence at the Homœopathic Hospital in Melbourne, and which since his arrival in Tasmania, nearly twelve months ago, has been fully maintained; but they most strongly resent the additional insult thus offered to an American citizen. They can assure the American Consul that he will receive the hearty sympathy and support of a large number of citizens who are not only firm believers in homœopathy, but are lovers of justice and fair play.


The Consul was offended by the implication that American universities were not to be recognised in countries around the world as providing a superior advantages for education. He was concerned that the matter be satisfactorily sorted, 'not only for the sake of Dr Gould himself, but of other American doctors who may receive invitations from the hospitals here to come out and practice, but who, under existing conditions, seem likely, after making long and expensive trips from America, find that there is an unwritten regulation against their being registered, at least if they are homœopaths'.


It appears that, rather than admitting that they had refused registration because Dr Gould was a homœopath, the Court of Medical Examiners used other excuses to justify his rejection:


  • that the Medical Court was not authorised to admit holders of foreign degrees other than those who were qualified in the United Kingdom (although non-homœopaths with other foreign degrees had been accepted in the past);
  • that Dr Gould had not been registered in America before he came to Australia; and
  • that he had qualified via a four year course rather than a five year course (when it was only recently, within the previous two years, that the Melbourne and Sydney Universities made their courses five years).


Because of the difficulties which the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital had in obtaining suitably qualified medical graduates of homœopathy, especially when most of the staff came from America, in 1906 the Victorian Government passed an act allowing one American doctor to come in each year, provided he stayed at least a year at the Hospital. It was suggested that an act of that nature was required in Tasmania. 'If Dr Gould or any other American doctor was refused admission the local Homœopathic Hospital must close down.'


The suspicion was expressed that the recent decision not to admit holders of foreign degrees was especially designed for the purpose of putting the Homœopathic Hospital out of business.


Dr Gould resigned his position at the Hospital and returned to Melbourne 22 September 1908. He became registered in Victoria on December 24 1908.


In the 1915 Directory he was listed as being Resident Medical Officer at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital. He then purchased a practice in Malvern and joined the Honorary Staff of the Hospital.


Dr Gould remained in Melbourne until the end of 1917, when he was employed as Medical Superintendant for the British Phosphate Company. From that time until 1933 he constantly travelled to and from Nauru and Ocean Island. According to Templeton's book his departure from the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital  'was a sad loss, for Gould's gaiety and kindness had endeared him to everyone.'  


According to the 1943 Electoral Roll, Dr Gould was a retired doctor living at Cotham Road, Kew, Victoria. He remained single. He died on 3 October 1947.


©   Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 22 March 2011
  • Last modified:
    Tuesday, 05 July 2016