Obituary - Dr Stephen Simpson

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


Brisbane Courier, 1869




By the English Mail just in hand we have received intelligence of the death of one, who was one of the oldest, if not the very oldest, of free settlers in what is now the East Moreton district of the colony of Queensland. The notification is to the following effect:-


“Died, March 11th at Bryanstone-street, Portman-square, Stephen Simpson Esq, late of Queensland, Australia.


Very few of the old residents in this part of the Colony will require to be told that this is the Dr Simpson who had charge of the Moreton Bay settlement for some years, under Sir George Gipps, and, until the late Captain Wickham’s appointment as Commandant, was afterwards appointed as the first Crown Lands Commissioner for this district, and left the colony about the time of Separation.


From what we can learn, Dr Simpson was born at Wolston in Warwickshire – in what year we could not ascertain; he entered the Army at an early age, but left it after a short time and studied Medicine. He went over to the continent, and studied Homœopathy under Homœopathy under Hahnemann; he afterwards visited Rome, St Petersburg, and other Cities. Subsequently he returned to London, where he was the first practitioner of homœopathy, with great success to his patients, and to the no small annoyance of the medical faculty. He published the first book on homœopathy that appeared in the English language, (*see below) and the reception it met with at the hands of the medical men of the day, was of such a vindictive nature that he determined on leaving the country.


Having married he came out we are informed, with his wife to Sydney in the ship Wilmot, which arrived in Port Jackson on 26th of January 1840, Mr R. Davidson and Mr Wiseman being fellow passengers in the same vessel. Mrs Simpson died shortly after their arrival in Sydney, and the same year Dr Simpson obtained permission from Sir George Gipps to settle at Moreton Bay, which was then a convict settlement.


He came up with Mr Wiseman, now Police Magistrate at Rockhampton, and took up his residence Eagle Farm, which had just before been occupied by the female convicts. In a very short time afterwards Sir George Gipps, finding occasion to remove the Commandant, placed Dr Simpson in charge of the settlement, and he held that office until the late Captain Wickham was  appointed Commandant. On Cap Wickham assuming his duties, Dr Simpson was offered the appointment of Police Magistrate, or ? Lands Commissioner, and he chose the latter office, which he held until about the year 1855, when Mr Rolleston, the present Auditor General of New South Wales, was appointed Commissioner for Darling Downs. Mr A.W. Manning, present Under Colonial Secretary, was appointed for the Moreton district.


Dr Simpson then accepted the appointment of Police Magistrate of Ipswich. About 1851, he purchased Woolson, near Woogaroo, and resided there until he was about to leave the colony, when he disposed of it to the present owner, Mr Matthew Goggs. Dr Simpson is said to have been the first white man who went overland from Brisbane to the Mary River with a dray. During his long residence in the district he succeeded in making a great number of personal friends; indeed he was an exceedingly popular man in every sense of the term. United to a liberal education, he had a strong, clear, and independent judgement, and as a Police Magistrate, was considered one of the ablest and most impartial man in the Commission of the Peace in this district at that time.


In politics, although not taking any active public part, he was known to be in favour of the “popular” when opposed to the “squatting” side, and in those days this was regarded by the non-pastoral settler as a great matter, and the doctor was considered a great friend of the people on that account, if for no other reason. Although he never pactised medicine as a profession after settling in Moreton Bay, he was looked upon as one of the cleverest medical men of the day, and one of the first professors of homœopathy in this part of the world.


Shortly after this colony was separated from New South Wales, Dr Simpson removed to London and remained there until his death on the 11th March 1869 last.


 *Note – Dr Simpson wrote one of the earliest books in English on the subject of homœopathy (in 1836), but it was not the first book.