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Journal by itellya

John Murray Peck came from the town of Lebanon, near the Mascoma River in New Hampshire, U.S.A. With Freeman Cobb and two other young Yankees he set up the famous Cobb and Co. coachline to Mt. Alexander in 1854; Cobb was the man in the office while Peck, with his daring and commanding voice, took charge of huge teams of horses on their hair-raising trips along the poor roads. He once drove a 14 horse team which hauled 40 passengers to the Melbourne Cup. Before long the partners had sold out and the firm went on to cover many more routes. Peck had another brief period in the coach business but was later to establish himself as Australia?s foremost auctioneer of fat cattle, often travelling to other colonies to conduct sales. He was enticed into this occupation by Dal Campbell in 1862, and later teamed with William Hudson (who owned much of Peter McCracken?s Ardmillan from 1872) and T.R.Raynor, an accountant, to establish a stock firm which dissolved amicably in 1887 when John established Peck and Son with his son Harry.
He served as Mayor of Essendon and must have been the first American -born official of a (future) A.F.L. club, being a vice-president of the Essendon Football Club; his strong voice (which Mrs. McCracken could hear at Ailsa when he was conducting auctions at Newmarket Saleyards) and the Sturt desert pea he wore ensured that others in the crowd at the footy were left in no doubt about which team he supported. No doubt some of his grandchildren barracked for Essendon as in 1884 his daughter, Mary, married that club?s first secretary (and the first V.F.L. President from 1897 till his death in 1915), Alexander McCracken.

His son, Harry Huntington Peck, was born at Gisborne in 1860, left school on 1-1-1878 and in January 1884 became an auctioneer. When he retired in 1938, he had the longest-running licence among stock salesmen in Australia. Luckily, Harry was not content to fade away and started to write at the age of 81. His book MEMOIRS OF A STOCKMAN gives wonderful pen-pics of a great number of pioneers as well as providing extensive information about properties and is a much-used local history source.

John Murray Peck built a house called Mascoma in Ascot Vale (on part of lot 2 of section A in the parish of Doutta Galla). It consisted of 8 rooms and was situated on lots 29 and 30 of the Fernhill Estate on the south side of Mascoma St. The house was probably built shortly after April 1880 when William Fleming bought the estate. Peck must have wanted more land for (shortly after William Fletcher had converted Smith?s old land just south west of the Pascoe Vale bridge to Torrens in 1881) he bought 40 acres and in 1882 built his Italianate mansion, Lebanon, which is now a private residence in Wendora St., Strathmore. His son, Harry, built Hiawatha, still standing at the top of Kilburn St., on the Byron Vale Estate in 1891. It may have been designed by Harry?s brother, Solon.A.Peck, the resident architect of the Howie estate* in the city and was modelled on the lodge of the family home at Lebanon, New Hampshire-in which area the Pecks had been pioneers. (*Henry Howie was an early squatter near Gisborne, gaining in 1837 the licence for Cairn Hill which was taken over by J.C.Riddell and Hamilton later on. Howie and his family perished when the Sarah Jane foundered en route from Sydney in 1838 but he had obviously bought city land, which his relatives in England still owned in 1942.)

It is likely that J.M.Peck built Wanganui, a house later referred to as Cook?s Homestead, which was on the Red Rooster site at the East end of the footbridge over Pascoe Vale Rd. near Peck Ave. The house was said to have been built for Peck?s THREE boys and occupied by Harry for some time. It was later the home of Albert Cook, probably from about 1928 when Broadmeadows Shire, of which he was Secretary, opened new offices at the present site. In 1920-1, Richard O.Peck* had 7 ? acres in Norfolk Rd. (Gaffney St.) and it is likely that this was the same land owned a decade or so later by Miss Roberts, which extended south from Cook?s Homestead to the garage built by Fred Chisholm and his mechanic, Mr. O?Shea. (Peggy McKenzie, a resident of Gaffney St. from 1935.) The Roberts family was related by marriage.
(*Richard Osborne (Dick) Peck had started in the wool trade and had risen to the position of buyer for Edward Jowitt & Sons of Yorkshire but in the late 1890?s joined his father?s firm, its name changing to Peck and Sons.)
In 1920-1, Mrs. Louisa Ellen Peck owned a house and 38 acres (Lebanon) as well as a house and land which Mrs. M.McCracken (her daughter and Alex. McCracken?s widow) was renting from her, Harry owned 5 acres (Hiawatha) and with Richard owned 18 acres at the west end of the Byron Vale Estate (probably near Lincoln St. ie. Carnarvon Rd.) and 20 acres adjacent to Lebanon. Dick Peck had earlier owned land, which in 1914 was acquired to extend the army camp at Broadmeadows. (?Broadmeadows: A Forgotten history? A. Lemon. P. 131.)
Buried in the Will Will Rook Cemetery, just west of this piece of land are:
JOHN MURRAY PECK, born at Lebanon, New Hampshire,U.S.A. in January, 1830 and died at Lebanon, Pascoe Vale on 19-11-1903.
LOUISA ELLEN NEE? ROBERTS, wife of above, born Bond St., London 6-6-1840, died Lebanon, Pascoe Vale 5-7-1928
.ANNIE M.PECK, died at Hiawatha, Pascoe Vale 11-11-1940 (after which Harry moved to Bolobek at Macedon where he was living when Memoirs was published in 1942),wife of
HARRY HUNTINGTON PECK who died at Wangaratta on 24-7-1943 and their son
GUNNER HARRY HUNTINGTON PECK of the 4TH. F.A.B., 1st. A.I.F., who died on 6-10-1947.
In the equally historic Bulla Cemetery, in the 12th. Row of the C.of E. section lies SARAH SWINBORNE ROBERTS who died at Lebanon, Pascoe Vale on 31-1-1916.
(Sources as stated plus: Sam Merrifield?s House Index & Street names of Essendon by Lenore Frost, Essendon Conservation study by G.Butler, Kilts and Cow Dung Flats and Ardmillan by MYSELF and of course, Harry?s book.)

Who was Hugh Peck? He was obviously related to John Murray Peck because of an entry in Broadmeadows? rates of 1879-80 which throws into doubt the claim that John bought the Lebanon land in or shortly after 1881. The entry shows that Hugh Peck owned a house and 34 acres at Pascoe Vale with a nett annual value of 60 pounds. This was probably Lebanon. Hugh Peck was also leasing a house and land at Yuroke,N.A.V.12 pounds from Henry Papworth; this was probably in Section Rd., Greenvale.

In 1900, Hugh Peck, landowner, owned 6 acres on J.P. Fawkner?s grant, 11B of Doutta Galla between Milleara and Rachelle Rds. in East Keilor. This was probably a site Fawkner reserved for a school just south of Groves St. or a block east of that street labelled Fawkner Executors on a C.1890 map.
I also recall having seen a map 10 years ago, which showed Hugh Peck as the owner of section 19 of the parish of Maribyrnong. This accounts for the naming of Pecks Rd., Sydenham, which is its eastern boundary. As confirmation of this hazy recollection, I have found notes from a discussion with longtime Sydenham farmer, Merv Landers, in which he described the land west of Pecks Rd. as having been Bob Morton?s and earlier Peck?s.
Was Hugh an alternate name for J.M.Peck, an older son or a brother? I prefer the first theory.
On 30-7-1903, the late James Robertson?s Upper Keilor estate was sold by Pearson, Rowe and Smith in conjunction with J.M.Peck and Sons. This land was between Calder Highway and the river, and on the north side of the Melton Rd. from Calder Park Dr. to the Beattys (Sic!) Rd. corner. Just south of the Melton road was William Taylor?s Overnewton Estate, which was sold at about the same time*, probably by the same firms. If J.M. was indeed Hugh, he had only a few months left to buy the land near Pecks Rd. before he died.
(*Taylor died in 1903)

by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-02-02 08:13:35

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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by itellya on 2013-09-26 02:40:44

William Allison Blair (subject of one of my journals) lived in Buckley St, Essendon, and as shown below, his house was called Netherlea. A lime merchant, he bought much land west of Rosebud and south of Rye Township on the Mornington Peninsula, his main aim being to displace long-time lime burners who had leased lime stations from the Crown. In LIME LAND LEISURE, a history of the Shire of Flinders, Charles Hollinshed stated that Blair had settled near the site of the Moonee Valley Racecourse site in a house called Narvano. This error apparently came from an article about Blairgowrie (by Jack Ritchie if I remember correctly.) Ngarveno was the name of a house/estate in Essendon (Melway 28 K8) where John Davies J.P. planted a vineyard which was tended by his neighbour, McNae.

The swan is a beautiful bird but the mention of its name would have brought unpleasant memories for Blair in relation to Rye and Essendon. In the late 1860's, Blair was engaged in a land acquisition battle with Charles Gavan Duffy in the parish of Nepean (near Rye and Sorrento.) Early lime burners in the area named Swan were accused of acting as dummies to assist Blair in his land grab. The bad publicity and the time spent in court would not have pleased Blair. Later on, Alexander Swan, Essendon's butcher, caused such noxious smells that Blair had to shut all his windows when the wind blew from the west.

His son, William Allison Blair, married John Murray Peck's daughter.

BLAIR?PECK.?On the 12th inst., at St. John's Church, Essendon, by the Rev. Alexander Stewart, M.A., William Allison, elder son of W. A. Blair, of Netherlea, Essendon, to Minnie Waters, younger daughter of J. M. Peck, of Lebanon, Pascoevale.
(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Thursday 26 April 1888 p 1 Family Notices.)

The Pecks were also related by marriage to Alexander McCracken,the first secretary of the Essendon Football Club while still a student at Scotch College and foundation President of the Victorian Football League until shortly before his death in 1915.

McCRACKEN--PECK. -On the 19th inst., by the Rev. W.Groundwater Fraser, Alexander, second son of Robert McCracken, of Ailsa, Flemington, to Mary Elizabeth, eldest daughter of J. M. Peck, of Lebanon, Pascoe-vale.
(The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Friday 26 September 1884 p 1 Family Notices.)

by itellya on 2014-01-23 06:42:10

Harry Peck was a son of John Murray Peck and wrote the brilliant MEMOIRS OF A STOCKMAN (1942)while living in the heritage-listed Hiawatha in Strathmore. He married a Miss Wilson in 1887.

PECK?WILSON. Mr. and Mrs. Harry H.Peck announce with thankfulness the 50th anniversary of their wedding, celebrated at St.Thomas's Essendon by the late Rev. W. W.Mantell, on the 27th October, 1887. (Present address, Hiawatha, Pascoevale.)
(P.17, Argus, 27-10-1937.)

PECK?WILSON.?On the 27th ult., at St. Thomas's Church, Essendon, by the Rev. W. W. Mantell,assisted by the Rev. John Caton, Harry Huntington, eldest son of J. M. Peck, Lebanon, Pascoe-vale, to Annie, third daughter of Daniel Wilson, St. Olave's, Essendon. No cards. (P.1,Argus, 12-11-1887.)

See heritage studies re Lebanon and Hiawatha.

Lebanon - Victorian Heritage Database‎
Location. 27 Wendora Street,STRATHMORE

heritage overlay schedule - Planning Schemes Online‎
Mar 21, 2013 - The requirements of this overlay apply to both the heritage place and its associated land. PS. Map ..... formerly ?Hiawatha?, Strathmore.
The address of Hiawatha is 17-19 Kilburn St., Strathmore.

Harry Peck gave evidence about Sir John Franklin's forgotten 12 acres when John English, who had bought Lebanon, applied for the title through adverse possession after the death of Harry's father.

Extracts from my EARLY LANDOWNERS: PARISH OF DOUTTA GALLA. (Section 15.)
John Murray Peck built Lebanon (still standing in Wendora St ) in about 1882.
*As Lebanon consisted of 34 acres, it must have included Sir John Franklin?s 12 acres between Smith?s land and section 23. The Broadmeadows rate book did not state that Peck was leasing the 12 acres so I can only assume that the co-founder of Cobb and Co had just squatted on it and paid the rates, as J.M.English did from 1902. (See details under ?Franklin?s 12 Acres?.)

This land includes the Red Rooster site, where stood the illegally demolished ?Cook?s Homestead?. This name was bestowed on the house by Pascoe Vale kids of the 1930?s, such as the late Jim McKenzie and his future wife Peggy, because it was owned by Broadmeadows Shire Secretary Albert Cook. (See Kilts and Cow Dung Flats by R.Gibb.) Its name was actually Wanganui*, and it was said to have been built by J.M.Peck of Lebanon. (Sam Merrifield?s House Names Index P.37.) Peggy McKenzie told me that a Miss Roberts owned the Wanganui land (south to the garage site); she was probably related to J.M.Peck, whose wife, born in Bond St, London on 6-6-1840, was Louisa Ellen Roberts. (Gravestone, Will Will Rook cemetery.)
(*The source was wrong. Advertisements on trove show that the house was called Wannaeue,the name of the parish near Rosebud.)

When the 123 acre Dunn?s Farm was leased to Henry Mawbey for 5 years on 17-2-1862, it was wrongly described as being entirely in section 23. Significantly no boundaries of the farm were described in the memorial! (121 455).
I had intended to include a copy of Sketch of Title 46645 but the clerk?s scribble is so illegible that readers would not be able to make head or tail of it. Here?s what it says.
46645. John M.English.
Part allotment 15 Doutta Galla.
1080 pounds.
Claim by possession.
L.R.O. Sir John Franklin
(see D 847* set out on ??) also see 11578 from which it appears that his widow Jane Franklin is interested.
John Morgan English, the registered proprietor of abutting land in 9 T? Vol. 2209 Fol 441708 (records available only go to volume 999) from which the land applied for was with other land excised **thus necessitating this present application
(* D 847 records the sale of the 12 acres to Franklin by Brewster.)
(** Broadmeadows Rate books show that in 1900 Alex Robertson had just replaced dairyman, Robert G.Bryant as lessee of ?200 acres Doutta Galla? owned by the Hodgson executors. It is known that this was Thomas Kelly?s former eastern portion of section 23, which was roughly between the Strathaird/Menarra St corner and Lebanon Reserve.
His application states (inter alia)
That Crown Grantee was Edward Jones Brewster- But he conveyed
That he has never acknowledged ownership or been called on to do so and no rent or payment has been made by or claimed from him except rent under lease from Land Investment Coy to whom he has sold under contract of sale dated 4 Dec 1923
He occupies under Co lease-
That from 1902 or sometime prior unto: up to 26 June 1918 land was occupied by himself and his brother (probably Joseph English) for grazing purposes and since that date by himself as owner? or lessee as ###? for same purposes:
All rates paid by him or his brother till 1918 and from 1918 to 1923 by him since then by Co. ?? Coy.
Since 1902 a fence has always stood on south boundary of land on south of land applied for- red on survey plan (survey plan not enclosed) and was erected on line upon which an old fence had stood for at least 15 years prior to 1902.
19 Dec 1925 Staty Decl of Harry Huntington Peck
456830 He well knows land in survey plan ???A
(Of course the future author of ?Memoirs of a Stockman? should have known the land; his father had squatted on it for about 20 years.)
He is joint owner of land abutting (on portion of south side ) of red and blue and first became acquainted with (said?) land in 1882 when such land was enclosed by fences on south, west and north west sides shown on plan and land has been enclosed by fences from 1882 (to date?) except that about 1902 a new fence was erected on south on line on which original fence stood since 1882.

by itellya on 2014-01-23 07:36:54

Harry Huntington Peck (1860-1943), auctioneer and stock agent, was born on 9 October 1860 at Gisborne, Victoria, eldest son of American-born John Murray Peck and his wife Louisa Ellen, n?e Roberts. Harry was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne. He joined his father in the stock and station agency of Peck, Hudson & Raynor at the beginning of 1878, obtaining his auctioneer's licence in 1884 and holding it for a record fifty-four years; when the partnership was dissolved in 1887, the firm became J. M. Peck & Son. On 27 October 1887 at Essendon Harry married Annie Matilda Wilson. They lived at Hiawatha, adjoining his father's property at Pascoe Vale.

After their father's death in 1903, Harry and his brother R.O. (Dick), who had joined the agency in 1890, carried on the firm. In 1922 it was incorporated in the Australian Mercantile Land & Finance Co. Ltd. Harry managed its stock department until his retirement in December 1937, after which he was an adviser until 1940.

Regarded as the doyen of Victorian stock salesmen, Peck was greatly respected in the stock industry of his day, not only for his integrity but for his broad vision, his infinite capacity for work and attention to detail. Tall, with a commanding presence, distinctively dressed and usually sporting a flower in his buttonhole, he 'radiated the charm and vigour of a singularly magnetic and lovable personality'. For more than half a century he was a spectacular figure at Newmarket, Melbourne's huge central stockyards. He never refused help to those 'down on their luck'; though kindly and tolerant he was a shrewd but unmalicious observer of men and events. His sense of humour was displayed in his Memoirs of a Stockman (Melbourne, 1942), originally published in serial form in Stock and Land in 1939-41.

A member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (1900-42), Peck was a senior vice-president and chairman of the Associated Stock and Station Agents of Melbourne in 1932-39. For thirty-five years he was chief sheep steward at the Melbourne Royal Show, recognized as the leading authority on and well-known judge of British breeds in Australia. He was a member of the federal council of the Australian Society of Breeders of British Sheep, was prominent in establishing its flock book and founded the Shropshire section. He took a particular interest in the development of an export lamb trade. Peck also was familiar with most of the cattle properties in Victoria and the Riverina.

Peck travelled widely within Australia, making trips to Central Australia in 1910, and again in 1920 with W. T. Manifold and W. K. Mackinnon by car. In 1926 he visited Britain and the Continent. He died on 24 July 1943 at Wangaratta and was buried in the family grave at Will Will Rook cemetery, Broadmeadows. The funeral service was held at the Ascot Vale Presbyterian Church where Peck had worshipped during his lifetime. A son and three daughters survived him. A portrait by Aileen Dent is held by the family.
(Biography - Harry Huntington Peck - Australian Dictionary of ...‎)

by itellya on 2014-02-03 18:40:04

Elayne Brogan,Bev.Patullo and the few other dedicated members of the Friends Of Will Will Rook Cemetery are doing wonderful work in preserving our heritage. The Hume Leader is available online and on page 8 of its 4-2-2014 issue is a wonderful article about the work being done, including the restoration of John Murray Peck's headstone inscriptions. David Moore,the great great grandson of J.M.Peck (about whom some details are given),is pictured in front of the grave.

by itellya on 2014-08-31 18:04:44

newsletter april 2014 - Past Players and Officials Association

In search of the Essendon District Football League club for which John Coleman had played prior to his sensational two years at Hastings, I came across Essendon's past players' newsletter. Although I think Coleman's club was St John's (the word in an almost illegible article starting with S), I saw that someone had played for Douttas and in desperation gave it a try, but it was my teaching colleague at Gladstone Park, Rob Newton.

However, on page 13 of the newsletter, there is a gem. It is a photo of the "Same Olds" first team of 1873. John Murray Peck's future son-in-law, Alexander McCracken, is the only person in the photo that is named, but I have a feeling that John Murray Peck is second from left in the back row and that the elderly chap in the top hat at the other end is Alexander McCracken's father, Robert McCracken, Essendon's first President, on whose property "Aila" north of Kent St, the club played before moving to the East Melbourne ground.

My belief that John Murray Peck was as specified is based on Harry Peck's statement that his father always wore a Sturt's Desert Pea flower in his lapel. A flower can be clearly seen in the photo. The hat also seems to be more of an American style. It would be interesting to compare the chap specified with the photo of J.M.Peck in Harry's MEMOIRS OF A STOCKMAN, which is available online. Harry said that his dad was Vice President of the club but I don't think he specified when.

by itellya on 2014-08-31 18:06:55


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