‘The doctors are out to get Mrs Snook!’
- Patricia Blundell of East Fremantle, ‘The West Australian’, May 26, 1990.
In late 1983, aged seventy, Dorothy (known publicly as Dorothea) Snook moved with her daughter Barbara to Peppertree House on a 24-acre property in an area known as Doctor’s Hill in Northam, the town where she had been born, and close by to where she spent her childhood on her family’s farm in Koorda.
Peppertree House was a large residence with a swimming pool and two acres of almond trees which was no doubt a selling point for Mrs Snook. The farm ran sheep, and fruit and vegetables grew in the farm’s gardens. Perhaps inspired by the Yungborn-type of retreat Alice Caporn ran in Nedlands, where Dorothy Snook had been nursed back to health, Mrs Snook used a guest wing adjoining the homestead to operate as an “Institute of Natural Healing and Private Hospital for Alternative Medicines”.
Here she offered services “for outpatients and live-in patients for Cancer Control, Arthritis and Asthmatics” at her Northam property – with approval from the Northam Town Council.
Mrs Snook was very proud of her newly-expanded Radiant Health Centre and considered it a unique facility in Australia. Just as Naturopathy’s founding father, Dr Benedict Lust, regarded his Yungborn retreat in New Jersey as his life’s achievement with the establishment of her Northam naturopathy operations, Dorothy Snook declared that “at last, after forty years of earnest endeavour, I have now achieved my purpose for living”.
Her greatest desire was to help chronically ill patients find rest between bouts of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other treatment. Her brochure states:
A lot of people with serious illness, such as cancer and arthritis, try to have them cured with drugs or operations… Treatment of this type puts the body in a debilitated state where it is difficult for it to heal itself. Oftentimes, patients are sent home from hospital and told there is nothing more medical science can do to help them. Many of these people are so weak they can barely walk. To help these people I opened the Radiant Health Centre in Northam, Western Australia.
She had once been given a similar diagnosis and survived – and she had helped others to survive.
While Mrs Snook had some supporters amongst the medical profession, she also had some influential enemies. No doubt, her forthright nature and stridently-held views about diet – which were considered extremely radical at the time – and her willingness to criticise medical processes and pharmaceuticals undoubtedly inflamed relations. The certainty of her beliefs was part of her success – she believed fear and doubt must be driven from the mind for healing to occur:
So often the patient hears the doctors’ verdict as a criminal hears his death sentence. Arise, dear soul, because you have just started to live and what you can do with the human body will be a living miracle even to you. So let us get started on a programme of good house-cleaning and see what Mother Nature is going to do for you…