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Herbal Pioneers

Ruth Sharkey, Tallebudgera Herbals, herbs, herbal medicine

Mainstream society would call them nonconformists, as they have always unintentionally avoided the status quo and questioned how a particular system or train thought became the accepted rule.  The New Age philosophies of the 70’s intrigued them when they heard of the unconventional growing methods of the Findhorn Group in Scotland, they wholeheartedly embraced their concepts on our small organic farm in Auckland, and years later did get to visit Findhorn.

Family commitments in the early 80’s brought them to Australia, where they included alternative medicines into our studies of the healing powers of nature. After qualifying through Southern Cross Herbal College, they set up an modest clinic in their rented home in Currumbin.

At first Ruth ran the clinic while Dennis continued to work as an Accountant, then they bought their first Australian home in Tallebudgera. Here they became so busy that Dennis was fully employed developing the herb gardens and manufacturing medicines. Tallebudgera Herbals soon became a recognised brand, selling to therapist's and health food stores, and even though they sold this business in 1992, they still get requests for the ointments.

New manufacturing legislation introduced by the TGA instigated their move to Mermaid Beach. But the long term goal was to set up a Healing Centre where patients could stay and be taught methods of self healing, so they turned their attention to northern New South Wales. Meanwhile Ruth had also started writing for health magazines, including Nature & Health, The Good Life and Zest and was co-hosting a weekly talk-back radio programme on Radio97 in the tweed and regularly speaking on FM101

The clinic attracted national and inter-national media attention when it was found Ruth had a special affinity with helping infertile couples. When the politics of the Tweed area made it impossible for them to realise their dream of setting up in that location, they moved back to Queensland to establish the Narrowleaf Retreat & Healing Centre at Advancetown.

Continual media coverage of Ruth’s success led her to being named ‘One of Queensland’s Most Intriguing Women.’ The extra workload demanded they sell Narrowleaf and move the clinic to Nerang under the name Sharkey’s Healing Centre.


After working 7 days a week for twenty years, they sold Sharkeys Healing Centre in 2004 to retire to Tasmania.

They still have an active interest in helping people to use natural medicines in all forms of natural healing, but have no affiliation with their old clinic.    

Throughout the period 1990 to 2004, Ruth published eight books which detail their methods and philosophy re the usage of herbs and homoeophathics for treating many complaints, especially infertility. See Ruth's Books page for details, as these are all still available through us.

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