John Singleton

John Singleton (1808 – 1891) physician and philanthropist
From 1869 Dr John Singleton was honorary corresponding secretary of what became after 1884 the Society for the Promotion of Morality. Of the organizations commenced by the society, Singleton had most to do with the Model Lodging House for men in King Street, and the Retreat for Friendless and Fallen Women in Islington Street, Collingwood.

In 1851-56 Singleton practised in Collins Street, Melbourne, supporting an Anglican association for promoting temperance, the Victorian Liquor Law League and the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society. He and wife soon began gaol visiting; he was opposed to capital punishment and interceded with Lieutenant-Governor La Trobe on behalf of some condemned prisoners. In January 1855 he moved to a farm at Merri Creek and started visiting near-by Pentridge gaol, whose governor, J. G. Price, opposed his ideals of evangelism and reformation: their antagonism was noticeable in Singleton’s evidence in December 1856 to the select committee of the Legislative Council on penal establishments.

Not robust, Singleton had weak eyes and suffered from severe headaches. Partly for health reasons, he practised in Warrnambool in 1860-64, Mount Gambier in South Australia in 1865 and Maryborough in 1866-67, forming total abstinence societies. His active interest in Aboriginal welfare helped lead to the establishment of the Framlingham Reserve near Warrnambool. In Maryborough and near-by goldfields he organized a Bible society, conducted prayer meetings and distributed religious tracts in various languages. In August 1867 Singleton returned to Melbourne in very poor health. Recovering, he settled in Hawthorn and had his M.D. confirmed by the University of Melbourne in 1868. In early 1869 he established the Collingwood Free Medical Dispensary (now the Singleton Medical Welfare Centre), which had been first suggested by the Melbourne City Mission. The dispensary gave free attention to the poor and provided spiritual guidance from tracts. In 1876 a mission hall was established near by for prayer meetings, Bible classes, Sunday school, the annual old folks’ tea and working men’s meetings.

From 1869 Singleton was honorary corresponding secretary of what became after 1884 the Society for the Promotion of Morality, which was supported by prominent colonists and had been formed by Bishop Perry, Judge Pohlman, Sir W. F. Stawell and others. Of the organizations commenced by the society, Singleton had most to do with the Model Lodging House for men in King Street, and the Retreat for Friendless and Fallen Women in Islington Street, Collingwood (now Singleton Lodge). In September 1870 he joined the newly established children’s hospital as physician, but withdrew about a year later after religious differences with the managing committee. Singleton bought land in Little Bourke Street in 1879 to build a mission hall and in 1883 offered the use of it to the Salvation Army. Encouraging the army in its gaol visiting, he gave it the use of the Collingwood mission hall and laid the stone for their Collingwood citadel. In the 1870s he had initiated a public appeal known as the ‘Singleton Bread Fund’ for the unemployed; he also instituted a night shelter for destitute women, Widows’ Cottages in Collingwood, a mission to the blind, the West Melbourne overnight shelters for men and the Women’s Model Lodging House, Melbourne. His gaol visits continued until 1891.

Complete article :

see also :

Singleton’s Medical Welfare Centre noted in

refer also  John Singleton Monograph

Image obtained from

A further image of John Singleton :

NYCH Collingwood Centre – celebrating 25 years
While Community Health Centres in Victoria largely originate from the late 1970s, this Collingwood Centre is heir to a much longer tradition all the way back to 1869 when Dr. Singleton opened the Collingwood Free Medical Dispensary in a single storied cottage in Wellington Street.

These essays and reminiscences were submitted by clients of the Centre to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the current building in Hoddle Street.

These stories speak volumes about the important role that Singleton’s and its successors have played in the local area. They bring to life that sense of community, which the Centre has always aimed to promote.

High quality health and welfare services are a given, and many contributors refer to the quality of care which is offered. But, just as importantly, the voices in this collection highlight the intangibles, the connections, the “village well” atmosphere which is so much a part of our service.

Key Dates
1869 The “Collingwood Free Medical Dispensary” (Singletons) opens.
1884 Name changed to “Collingwood and Fitzroy Free Medical Mission Dispensary”.
1885 Dr Laura Morgan, first female doctor to practice in Victoria becomes a member of staff.
1889 Foundation stone laid at new (bigger) premises at 162 Wellington Street.
1936 The organisation is handed over to the Charities Board of Victoria.
1974 Name changed to “Singleton’s Community Health Centre”.
1977 New building opens on current site. Name changed to “Collingwood Community Health Centre”.
1991 Building extensions on existing site.
1993 Amalgamation with Fitzroy and Carlton Community Health Centres.
1995 Name changed to “North Yarra Community Health”.

Source (including essays and reminiscences) :

John Singleton and Ned Kelly
The parallel stories of Ned Kelly and John Singleton. One a bushranger, the other a doctor evangelist. One a sinner, the other a saint. One possibly Australia’s most well known outlaw, the other, almost unknown. These are the true stories of two men and their meeting in Melbourne Gaol in the 1880’s. One man’s life was possibly changed for eternity.
– also
– quoting

Further information and image:

Leave a Reply, comments are welcome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.