Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Loris Ingamells (1892–1981)

by Jill Roe

This article was published:

Loris Ingamells (1892-1981), pharmacist and theosophist, was born on 24 May 1892 at Hawthorn, Melbourne, elder child of Ernest Ingamells, warehouseman, and his wife Otelia, née Lee, both English born. When the family moved to Sydney Loris attended Fort Street Superior Public School. Aged 15, he was apprenticed to a city chemist, J. C. Hallam. In 1911, having completed the prescribed course of study at the University of Sydney, he passed the final examination of the Pharmacy Board of New South Wales but, being under age, was obliged to wait until 1913 for registration as a pharmacist. Of slight build and sharp-featured, he had an activist’s temperament: as a student he had complained about the scheduling of botany classes; in 1915 he questioned the election procedures for the Pharmacy Board.

On 10 August 1915 Ingamells enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was allocated to the Australian Army Medical Corps. He worked as a dispenser in ships of the Sea Transport Service, and in April 1916 was promoted to staff sergeant. In 1918-19 he served with the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance in Palestine and Egypt. Granted leave, he was briefly attached to a firm of manufacturing chemists, Allen & Hanburys Ltd, London, before being discharged from the AIF in Sydney on 31 March 1920.

That year he was appointed chief dispenser at Sydney Hospital. In 1924 he went into private practice; his first shop was at Petersham. He married Madge Renetta Noble, also a chemist, on 28 April 1930 at St Mark’s Church of England, Darling Point; they had no children. They moved to Waverley in the Eastern Suburbs, where he later had land interests.

After serving as vice-president of the Pharmaceutical Society of New South Wales, in 1924 Ingamells was elected for a three-year term as president. He addressed the vexed issue of dangerous drugs legislation, with the strong support of the profession. Anxious for professional harmony, and an early champion of a national pharmacy guild, he became the first president (1928-32) of the New South Wales branch of the Federated Pharmaceutical Service Guild of Australia. This organisation soon superseded the New South Wales Association of Master Pharmacists, to which he had also belonged. Ingamells was a member (from 1926) of the Pharmacy Board of New South Wales and its president in 1933 when the University of Sydney decided to introduce a graduate diploma course in the field, but he did not survive the 1935 board elections. In the late 1940s he campaigned against `free medicine’ and in 1954 evinced concern about reductions in pensioner benefit provisions.

Like his father before him, Ingamells had joined (1909) the Sydney lodge of the Theosophical Society. In January 1921 he served as acting-editor of the Sydney journal of the Order of The Star in the East. He urged world reconstruction `on saner lines’ and opposition to detrimental postwar behaviour such as strikes. By late 1921 he was the honorary organiser of the Theosophical Society Loyalty League. Following the Sydney lodge’s agitation for an inquiry into Charles Leadbeater’s conduct, Ingamells, with others, was expelled from the Theosophical Society in 1923. He became a lecturer and the manager of the book depot for a new group, the Independent Theosophical Society.

A member of the Isis Lodge, Sydney, Ingamells published An Outline of Freemasonry (1933?). He was captain (1927-32) of the Moore Park Golf Club, Sydney’s first public course. Survived by his wife, he died on 23 September 1981 at Turramurra and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • G. Haines, `The Grains and Threepenn’orths of Pharmacy’ (1976)
  • J. Roe, Beyond Belief (1986)
  • G. Haines, A History of the Pharmacy Board of New South Wales (1997)
  • E. Huber, For the Common Good: Moore Park Golf Club 1920-2000 (2001)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Dec 1924, p 8, 19 Dec 1928, p 13, 13 Apr 1933, p 10, 14 June 1933, p 12, 27 Apr 1948, p 2, 8 June 1954, p 2
  • series B2455, item Ingamells Loris (National Archives of Australia).

Citation details

Jill Roe, 'Ingamells, Loris (1892–1981)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 24 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (Melbourne University Press), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


24 May, 1892
Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


23 September, 1981 (aged 89)
Turramurra, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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