The Southern School of Natural Therapies (SSNT) is Australia's longest-running school of its kind. This year, we're celebrating 60 years, honouring Alfred and Judy Jacka, who have played such an integral role in its legacy.
About Southern School of Natural Therapies
SSNT was founded in 1961 by Alfred Jacka with support from Maurice Blackmore, founder of Blackmores, both pioneers of Naturopathy in Australia. At the time there weren't any other accredited courses in Australia quite like the ones offered here, so it was something incredibly special - and still is.
Maurice Blackmore, 1906-1977, Pioneer of natural therapies in Queensland
Alfred Jacka, 1920-1998, Pioneer of natural therapies in Victoria
Over the years SSNT has grown from strength to strength. In 1997, it became the first college to gain degree accreditation for naturopathy in Victoria. It's also played host to some rather fascinating scenarios - a radio station used to be housed in the same building, so top artists such as Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey have performed on the rooftop!
In 2014, SSNT became part of Torrens University Australia, continuing as a major player in complementary medicine on the global stage. Through this relationship, we have been able to play a key role in developing complementary medicine in Australia and around the world.
Who Is Judy Jacka?
Judy Jacka (OAM)
In the 1960’s, shortly after graduating from General Nursing Training at Prince Henry's Hospital, Judy Jacka found herself "appalled" (in her words) at certain elements of the traditional medical model.
There were so few books on alternative options, but Judy was excited to learn more. So, she met with the late Alfred Jacka, founder of SSNT. Judy was fascinated by the idea that vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathy could be used to help treat a range of chronic disorders, and got her diploma from SSNT in 1971.
That was just the beginning of her relationship with the school. She was director in 1972, principal between 1974 and 1985, and chairperson until 1996. Her core focus became helping graduates become established in practice using a core synthesis of naturopathic modalities. During this time, her and Alfred (18 years her senior) were married in March 1976 and continued to have a 17 year partnership, both personally and professionally.
As an Australian Naturopathic Legend, Judy has an impressive resume and the list goes on. After being in clinical practice for over 40 years, lecturing and assisting with the successful growth of SSNT, giving talks, publishing several books and publications, in addition to being an integral part of the development of natural therapies in Victoria, she became vice-chairperson of the Jacka Foundation of Natural Therapies.
Through Judy and Alfred's dedication to their work and SSNT, they will forever be pioneers in raising the standards in natural medicine. As such Judy was awarded a posthumous OAM in 2022.
Judy on her 60th birthday 1998
Celebrating SSNT & Judy's Legacy
With over 60 years of experience behind us, SSNT continues to welcome the next generation of natural therapy practitioners through the doors. If you're interested in studying here, check out our courses now.
Jacka, J. (1998). Natural Therapies : The Politics and Passion : A Personal Story of a New Profession. Ringwood, Vic.: Ringwood Natural Therapies
SSNT interviews with Judy Jacka, 2018