Peacock and Son

Peacock and Son

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Peacock & Son was a tanning and wool-brokering[1] business in the early days of South Australia. Three members of the family were notable public figures: William Peacock (c. 1790 – 20 January 1874) was a successful businessman and one of the colony's first parliamentarians.[2] His eldest son Joseph Peacock (c. 1825 – 25 July 1867) carried on the family business and was a member of parliament. His youngest son Caleb Peacock (13 April 1841 – 17 February 1896) was a member of parliament and Mayor of Adelaide from 1875 to 1877, the first such born in the Colony.

William and family sailed for South Australia on the "Glenalvon", a ship he chartered,[3] arriving at Holdfast Bay on 28 December 1838.

William Peacock

William commenced his tannery business in Grenfell Street in 1839, with a fellmongering facility at Adam Street, Hindmarsh.[4] He had moved by 1868 to Thebarton[5] His was the first major tannery, ahead of both Dench & Co. and G. W. Bean,[6] and the first to export acacia bark. The Adam Street property was sold in July 1903 to fellmongers Michell and Sons.[7]

He was one of the original investors in the South Australian Mining Association, which developed the lucrative Burra copper mines between 1845 and 1865, and a director (disqualified in 1860 through absence greater than 6 months but subsequently re-elected[8])

Religion and Education

He was associated with the Congregational Church in Freeman Street (now part of Gawler Place), funded the building of the chapel in Ebenezer Place (off Rundle Street east). He then helped organise the building of the Hindmarsh Square Congregational Church, which later became an office and orchestral studio for ABC Radio.[3] He was closely associated with J. L. Young and his Adelaide Educational Institution, which for many years used rooms at the Ebenezer Place and Freeman Street chapels.


He served on the Adelaide City Council as Councillor and Alderman from 1842

He won the seat of Noarlunga in the South Australian Legislative Council (then the only House) against Major O'Halloran in 1851[9] which he held to 1856. He won a Legislative Council seat in 1861, which he held until 1869 when he retired, a few days before parliament was prorogued.[10]


William Peacock married Elizabeth Everett, daughter of Joseph, another Bermondsey fellmonger, in 1816. He was widowed between 1834 and 1836 and remarried in 1836. His new wife was Maria Groch who accompanied him on the "Glenalvon" with their infant son William. The older children in the party were from his first marriage to Elizabeth.

  • Elizabeth Peacock (c. 1817 – 11 August 1870) married James Dobson. She died at East Richmond, Victoria.
  • Miriam Peacock (c. 1821 – 6 April 1901) married James Weston. She died at St. Kilda, Victoria.
  • Joseph Peacock (c. 1825 – 25 July 1867) appears below
  • Sarah Peacock (c. 1828 – 11 December 1843) drowned in River Torrens at her father's Walkerville farm.[11]
  • Henry Peacock (c. 1833 – 10 April 1868) Co-manager of tannery and bark mill. Left for rest cure early 1863[12] but died shortly after return. His widow Agnes married Thomas O'Neil on 9 December 1895.
  • Ebenezer Peacock (c. 1834 – 27 April 1868) married Jane Kerr Garie on 11 June 1863 lived at Gawler South then Prospect.

His children with Maria (c. 1802 – 13 February 1869) were:

  • William Peacock (c. 1838 – 19 July 1861) died in Emerald Hill, Victoria of consumption (tuberculosis). His widow, Jane Emily Peacock, married S. J. Jones on 7 March 1863.
  • Caleb Peacock (1841 – 17 February 1896) appears below

Their home for many years was "Palm House" in Hackney on what was known as "Peacock Hill", now St. Peter's College. He married Mary Ann Evans (1821–1908) on 15 June 1871. She was to marry Carrington Smedley on 4 March 1875.[13]

Joseph Peacock

Joseph Peacock (c. 1825 – 25 July 1867) lived at Glenelg and was M.P. for Sturt from 1860 until his death. He worked as co-manager of Peacock and Son in Grenfell Street,[14] was a trustee of the South Australian Mining Company and a director of the National Bank.[15]

He married Harriet Hope Gooch (c. 1832 – 27 August 1854) around 1850. They had two daughters who never survived childhood. He married again, to Maria Houghton (c. 1828 – 18 June 1901). A daughter, Kate Marian Lilian Peacock, married Dr. Harry Swift. Maria Peacock died at her residence "Newland House", 80 Brougham Place, North Adelaide.[16] "Newland House" was later purchased by Caleb Peacock, and is now owned by the South Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association.[17]

Caleb Peacock

Caleb Peacock when Mayor of Adelaide c. 1875-1877

Caleb Peacock, born in Adelaide on 13 April 1841, was educated at Adelaide Educational Institution, one of J. L. Young's two first students.

He was for some time manager of the tannery.[3]

He was associated with Beeby and Dunstan, millers and was an agent in Blanchetown.

  • He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1871.[18]
  • He was a trustee of the Savings Bank of South Australia[19]
  • and a director of the National Bank of Australasia, from 1873 to 1893 (when the bank was liquidated),[20] much of this time as chairman.
  • He was a prominent member of the Chamber of Commerce (including stints as chairman and vice-chairman).
  • He was Mayor of Adelaide 1875–1877
  • He was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly seat of North Adelaide in 1878 in a by-election forced by the resignation of Neville Blyth.[21] and retired with tho dissolution of 1881.[22]

He died at his home "Keston" on Barton Terrace, North Adelaide, from heat apoplexy (heat stroke), on 17 February 1896.[23]


In 1885 he was elected President of the Adelaide Rowing Club, a position he held until his death.[24]


  1. ^ Peacock & Son v. Jenkins South Australian Advertiser 8 April 1864 p.3 accessed 31 October 2011
    This article has interesting details of the wool dealing business.
  2. ^ "DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM PEACOCK". The South Australian Advertiser. South Australia. 31 January 1874. p. 6. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ a b c Obituary South Australian Register Saturday 31 January 1874 Supplement p.7 accessed 28 October 2011
  4. ^ South Australian Manufactures South Australian Register Saturday 29 October 1859 p.3 accessed 26 August 2011
    This article has interesting descriptions of Peacock's tannery.
  5. ^ South Australian Manufactures South Australian Advertiser 18 May 1868 p.2 accessed 25 August 2011
    This article has interesting descriptions of contemporary leather trades.
  6. ^ The factories of South Australia No.4 The Tanneries South Australian Register Monday 31 October 1859 p.2 accessed 31 October 2011
    Good descriptions of industry on the banks of the Torrens at Thebarton.
  7. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 1 September 1909. p. 2. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  8. ^ South Australian Mining Association South Australian Register 11 January 1860 p.2 accessed 31 October 2011
  9. ^ Noarlunga Election - Return of William Peacock South Australian Register 7 July 1851 p.2 accessed 31 October 2011
  10. ^ News of the Month - Political South Australian Register 2 March 1869 p.6 accessed 31 October 2011
  11. ^ A Melancholy Accident South Australian Register 13 December 1843 p.3 accessed 31 October 2011
  12. ^ Dinner &c to Mr. H. Peacock South Australian Register 26 January 1863 p.2 accessed 31 October 2011
  13. ^ "Death of Mrs C. Smedley". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 20 May 1895. p. 7. Retrieved 20 August 2012.  Mary Ann Cheetham (26 February 1821 – 27 April 1908) was the eldest daughter of Rev. Henry Cheetham (1801–1881). She married bridge contractor William Evans in England. He died and she emigrated with her three children in 1855.
  14. ^ Impure Water South Australian Advertiser 16 August 1861 p.3 accessed 31 Ontober 2011
  15. ^ Joseph Peacock Mercury (Hobart) 14 August 1867 p.3 accessed 31 October 2011
  16. ^ Personal Advertiser (Adelaide) 19 June 1901 p.5 accessed 31 October 2011
  17. ^ "AMA Newland House". 
  18. ^ The New Commission of the Peace South Australian Register 26 May 1871 p.5 accessed 31 October 2011
  19. ^ No. 22 The Savings Bank Act - 1875, "An Act to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to the Savings Bank of South Australia". Assented to, 15 October 1875. p.101
  20. ^ Banking South Australian Register 23 May 1893 p.3 accessed 31 October 2011
  21. ^ Proceedings in Parliament South Australian Register 30 May 1879 p.4 accessed 31 October 2011
  22. ^ Obituary, Adelaide Observer, 22 February 1896, p. 16, col. a-c
  23. ^ Peacock, Caleb (1841–1896), Obituaries Australia,
    Original: [1], The Australasion Pastoralists' Review, 16 March 1896, p.51
  24. ^ Captains & Presidents, History of the Adelaide Rowing Club,


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