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Another doctor arrives in Gippsland - Ffloyd Minter Peck, Anna Maria and Menie at Sale

Another doctor arrives in Gippsland - Ffloyd Minter Peck, Anna Maria and Menie at Sale

The eldest of the Peck siblings, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck (1820-1864) and his wife Anna Maria (née Robertson) (ca 1825-1859) migrated to Port Phillip in 1858, some eight years later than their relatives. Ffloyd qualified as a medical practitioner in 1841 with a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA) of London and a Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of London following a five year apprenticeship under his father, Dr Robert James Peck of Newmarket and eighteen months professional study at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Once qualified, Ffloyd worked in partnership with his father in Newmarket, and then as a surgeon at the Folkestone Dispensary in 1847 with his uncle, Dr Michael Minter. Ffloyd returned to Newmarket on his father’s sudden death in 1848 to continue the family medical practice.

Had his father not died unexpectedly in 1848, it seems possible that Ffloyd may have migrated with the earlier group in 1849. Ffloyd did not take up an option provided in his father’s will for him to purchase his father’s house where the Newmarket practice was sited. Instead, Ffloyd moved the practice further up the High Street into a house which he and his family rented until they emigrated in 18581. Ffloyd entered a partnership in 1858 with Dr William Day who then assumed sole responsibility for the practice on Ffloyd’s departure later that same year.

Anna Maria Robertson had grown up in St Peter’s Square, Hammersmith, at the time a village in the west of London. The youngest of three daughters and one brother, she was from a well-educated family. Her father, Charles John Robertson, was a portraitist of some note, specializing in miniatures, as well as undertaking several commissions for the Royal Horticultural Society. Anna Maria was herself a talented artist, having been awarded the silver medal (amateur) in 1841 by the Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her water colour drawing of fruit and flowers. (To see the image of an artwork by Anna Maria, check out her entry on this website.) Anna Maria’s mother, Mary Briarly, was from Lincolnshire2.

In 1858 the Ffloyd Peck family travelled from Liverpool on the four year old 1,042 ton ship Florine reaching Port Phillip in July, and continuing directly to Gippsland to join their siblings. It proved an eventful journey from England, described in some detail by blogger Angus Trumble, whose great great grandmother, Laura Travers, as a nineteen year old“… sailed as a cabin passenger in the company of her elder sister Henrietta, and the family of Peck: Dr. and Mrs. Ffloyd Minter Peck, of Newmarket in Suffolk, to be exact, their three daughters under ten and two sons under four, and a servant. Henrietta and Laura lived with the Pecks in Sale until they each got married ... These marriages had been prudently arranged in London ahead of time”.3

The Travers sisters appear to have been long standing friends and London neighbours of the Robertson family – indeed Henrietta had been a sponsor for the baptism of Ffloyd and Anna Maria’s eldest child, Mary. Also travelling with the Pecks on the Florine was Newmarket friend, William Pitt Phillips, who later married Ffloyd’s cousin Rosa Minter in Melbourne.

This group had an eventful voyage on their way to Australia: “The ship Florine … left Liverpool on the 3rd February, and proceeded prosperously on her voyage until the 5th April, when in lat. 33.20 south, long. 20.25 west, she was dismasted, and obliged to put into Table Bay, which she reached on the 24th of same month, and was detained refitting until the 22nd of May. A fatal accident occurred, a steerage passenger, named John Noer, a native of Germany, was knocked overboard by the jib-sheet, and although the vessel was rounded-to, boats lowered and life-buoys thrown overboard, he was drowned”.4

Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck n.d. [ca 1860] (Source: A&P Synan Collection)

Blogger Trumble believes the Florine was lucky to survive the loss of her mast, commending the extraordinary feat of seamanship on the part of Captain W. A. Curry in bringing the dismasted ship from the mid Atlantic to Table Bay in just nineteen days. Trumble observed that the ship carried “…an enormous cargo in addition to our nineteen-year-old great-great-grandmother … and her knitting5 – an impressive ballast that may well have made all the difference during that terrible gale in the South Atlantic”.6

After finally reaching the Heads of Port Phillip Bay in the middle of Tuesday or Wednesday night, June 29 or 30, the Florine had to wait there for some days – whether because of bad weather, overworked pilots, or too much shipping ahead of her. Finally the Florine reached the outside anchorage of Hobson’s Bay [Melbourne] at about 10 o’clock the following Saturday evening, July 3.

While their house Grassdale was being built in Sale, Anna Maria and the children stayed at Tarraville near Port Albert with her eldest sister, Mary Hedley and husband, Dr George Hedley. Ffloyd, meanwhile, stayed with his sister Mary Anne King and husband John King at The Ridge, Rosedale. Once Grassdale was completed, Anna Maria and the children had an eventful trip by stage coach from Tarraville to Sale – an overnight journey.

Letter dated 4th November, 1858 from Anna Maria Peck née Robertson to her mother describing the journey from Tarraville to Sale - extracts7

[Fuller text of letter in Appendix 3]

we breakfasted at six o’clock on Saturday morning and walked to Tarraville Hotel where the American coach was to pick us up at seven o’clock.

It is an open conveyance with black waterproof on top and curtains let down and very strong springs, and holds twelve people three on each seat. ….

The roads were worse than driving over ploughed fields; in one part we were jerked rapidly over the trunks of trees laid close together to mend the road, which led through the bush or forest, and when one track becomes too much cut up they make another winding in and out the trees most wonderfully. …

An exclamation drew my attention to the fact that a bullock dray seemed stuck in a creek before, and I was rather startled to find that we had to drive down one steep bank and through the creek and up another. But it was so, and it seemed done so easily, and the horses were so beautifully managed, that after that I thought no more of passing a creek than of driving close to the trees. …

After this came a succession of creeks. We were getting very tired of the jolting and shaking, but the later part of the way was lovely with shrubs and flowers in bloom; shrubs having white blossoms, flowers of all hues, blue, pink, yellow, deep orange, lilac and red. I was very glad on arriving at the rest, rooms ready for us and a cheerful fire. …

There was a long consultation how some dreadfully wet place was to be crossed. At last we drove completely into the water and went along satisfactorily until we came to the root of a tree which caught one wheel.

Two gentlemen were riding through to point the best way, and at last the horses managed to get the wheel over the root and then we were soon through the water and all difficulties were over, and we rattled into Sale at a great pace, and drove to the principal Inn, disturbing the congregations assembled for church. …

Ffloyd and Anna Maria brought to Victoria their five eldest children: Mary (b 1848); Annie (b. 1850); Alice Henrietta (b. 1851); Charles James (b. 1853) and Henry Ffloyd Rutherford (b. 1857). Their sixth child, Emily Frances, was born in April 1859 at Grassdale, Sale.

Grassdale, the house John King built for Ffloyd and family on the northern outskirts of Sale, remains a family home today, now on the National Trust register.

Grassdale, Sale in 2011 (Photos: Lucy Macdonald)

Grassdale was built to house a doctor’s surgery with a separate entry for its consulting rooms. It is a fine example of domestic wattle and daub construction. Notes from the National Trust indicate:

The homestead is styled in the colonial vernacular tradition, and is a long rectangular, rendered building with a steeply pitched corrugated iron hipped roof and a wide encircling verandah. Unusually the house lacks any internal corridor, with four main rooms located across the front, all contained within the main hipped section, and other rooms located across the rear, under a skillion roof. The verandah is more decorative at the front of the building, employing larger and more ornate timber posts, and a scalloped valance beneath the fascia which was possibly added at a later date. The roof was constructed using unsawn timbers and timber shingles remain in place beneath the existing corrugated iron roof.

The original entrance drive came off the Sale-Maffra Road and terminated at a circular rose garden in the front of the homestead, though none of this remains. However, there are a variety of remnant mature exotic trees on the property, including hawthorn hedges bordering the roads and a stand of elms around an old pond adjacent to the former route of the entrance drive which provide an appropriate setting for the homestead”.8

The Pecks appear to have integrated quickly into the pastoralists’ community around Sale. The Travers sisters stayed with the Pecks at Grassdale, and the wedding of Laura Travers and William Pearson, of the Kilmany Park squatting run near Sale, was held at Grassdale in August 18599. Henrietta Travers married Lemuel Bolden of the Strathfieldsaye squatting run, moving many years later to Queensland.

The type of demands of Ffloyd Peck’s professional life in early Sale were noted by diarist Jessie Harrison née Login: “…[I]t was Dr Peck who was in attendance [at the Login household] and stayed with us all night on that awful night in 1859 when our little darling two-years-old sister Marion was stricken with that dire disease, as it then was, diphtheria, and throughout the night lay at death’s door. We returned from evening church with our father, to be told by our weeping mother that there was no hope of her recovery. … She recovered…”10

On 1st May 1859, two weeks after the birth of her sixth child, Anna Maria tragically died from complications following the birth - puerperal peritonitis - less than a year after she arrived in Victoria.

In 1860 Ffloyd married Menie Campbell (1820-1887) who had been engaged by him to run his household. Menie was the eldest daughter of Duncan Campbell Esq of Rockside, Isle of Islay, Argyllshire in Scotland.11 She had been living for some time with her sister Margaret and brother-in-law Robert Thomson of Clydebank, a squatting run close to Sale. Robert Thomson, likewise a Highlander, had arrived in Australia in 1832 (see further below) and returned to Scotland in 1848 to collect an inheritance and a wife, Margaret Louisa Campbell12. It is most likely that Menie came to Gippsland at the same time as her sister, as she lived at Clydebank with the Thomsons and helped look after the Thomson children. Doubtless this was good preparation initially as Ffloyd’s housekeeper, and then as mother of an instant family of six young Peck children13. Diarist Jessie Harrison had obviously fond memories: “Miss Menie Campbell was everyone’s friend, so true and large-hearted, that she had a place in that heart for everyone, and never spared herself in service to all”.14

In 1862 Ffloyd and Menie sold Grassdale to the MacLachlan family who still own it today. The Pecks moved into the centre of Sale, to Islay Cottage, a twelve roomed house with detached kitchen, servant’s room and stable, on a half acre allotment at the southwest corner of Cunninghame and Marley Streets, Sale, fronting the then Market Reserve. This block had been the site of Sale’s first church built in 1855 on land owned by Robert Thomson: “…that bark church among the trees; its choir of three men who sat in front of the pulpit…” In the 1850s, Menie had written to a friend: “It is wonderful to see so many people turning up at the bark Church for service, there is not a house within sight and most of the congregation travel long distances to be present”. After a second more permanent church had been built elsewhere in 1859 for Sale’s Presbyterian congregation, Robert Thomson gave the land to his sister-in-law Menie. The bark building was pulled down and the material used to build a wash-house for Islay Cottage.15

Second “Mrs Dr Peck” n.d. [ca 1860](Source: A&P Synan Collection)

Around 1860, Harrison noted: “The site of Sale, now so open, was thick forest, and on the south and east sides shut in with masses of tea-tree. In places, around where we now see gaunt leafless dead skeletons of trees, there were then forests of stately gums in full foliage, interspersed with the she-oak and the native cherry-tree. So dense, indeed, were they that tracks had to be cut to approach rivers, and a traveller could hardly see more than a gun-shot ahead of him.16

In May 1863 a procession through Sale in celebration of the marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and the Danish princess Alexandra, wound its way along York Street, then past the Peck’s house en route to the Market Square. A tree was planted, an ox roasted, and various locals played music, including Ffloyd Peck on the violincello.17

Ffloyd established his medical practice first from his home, Grassdale, and then from Islay Cottage. “… [A] much loved doctor, a practicing Anglican, one of the first trustees and benefactors of the first Anglican Church in Sale according to Flora Johns18. Ffloyd became active in community affairs, in 1863 chairing a public meeting seeking municipal status for Sale. Once achieved, Ffloyd stood (unsuccessfully) later that year for election as Councillor of the Municipality of Sale.

In January 1864, Ffloyd, performing an autopsy, picked up an infection and five days later was dead from septicaemia19. He died just six years after migrating to Sale. After Ffloyd’s death, his brother-in-law Dr George Dixon Hedley moved to Sale to continue the medical practice, as discussed earlier.

A commemorative stained glass window to Ffloyd was funded by public subscription and placed in St Paul’s Anglican church on Raymond Street. When St Paul’s was rebuilt on a new site in 1884, the commemorative window was moved to the chancel of the new church, later to become the Anglican Cathedral of Sale. The window stands behind the Cathedral altar.

For many years after Ffloyd’s death Menie took in boarders at Islay Cottage:

[Newly arrived] Mr Cooper became a member of the Islay Cottage fraternity, Mrs. Peck’s most popular boarding-house for young men, Mrs. Peck’s great motherly heart mothering them all, as well as her own vivacious step-children. Islay Cottage was a great centre of social activity in Sale at this time.” 20 Menie died in 1887 at the age of 67 after considerable suffering with Bright’s disease.

Also in the Sale Cathedral is a plaque commemorating Menie in 1887: “Placed by her six children In loving remembrance of their beloved mother Menie [widow of the late Ffloyd Minter Peck] who filled the place of father and mother for 26 years”.

Top: Commemorative window in Sale Anglican cathedral to Ffloyd Minter Peck.

[Note: Flfoyd actually died in January 1864, not 1863 as on the window.] Below: Commemorative plaque in Sale Anglican cathedral to Menie Peck. (Photos: Helen Connell)

Jessie Harrison – daughter of the Revd Login – was a youthful friend of the Peck girls. She remembers her years at Miss Stretch’s school on the northern side of Sale: “As a rule we were driven to the Glebe in the morning, and walked home in the evening with the Pecks and Sibbalds as companions as far as Sale. …” Later she spent time as a day pupil at Mrs Ainslie’s school in East Melbourne21, along with her friends Annie Peck and Annie Thomson. Jessie Harrison obviously shared literary interests and enthusiasms with Alice Peck as she recounts how together they edited a manuscript newspaper: “…at the time of her [Alice’s] sister Annie’s marriage to Mr George Chomley, and at one of Mrs. Harry Chomley’s weekly sewing-parties was read aloud, to the delectation of Mr and Mrs Chomley and the assembled girls. It was a publication without fear or favour, or restraining libel restrictions, of the follies, foibles and idiosyncrasies of our friends and neighbours sarcastically treated. … Undeterred by [an] unappreciative attitude of some of our friends we, Alice Peck and I, both continued our literary efforts sub rosa, and found much private enjoyment in some of our poems and in their circulation amongst a very select circle of contemporary satirists, who also wrote lampoons with the joyous irresponsibility of youth”.22

In April 1870 in Sale Annie Peck (1850-1929) married George Hanna Chomley (1838-1921), who had migrated from Wicklow Ireland to Australia in 1847 with his widowed mother and his six brothers23. For the first fifteen years of their married life George and Annie lived at Woodstock Station near Avoca in northwestern Victoria where George was a pastoralist. Their eldest six children were born there. In 1880, Woodstock Station: “…principally consist[ed] of about 7,500 acres of purchased land, all grass with the exception of 25 acres under wheat, oats and hay”.24

Killeen homestead, ca.1880. The wisteria can be seen already in front of the centre of the homestead verandah. The walled garden on the left of the photo and the garden and trees to the right are still there today. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

In 1885 the Chomleys purchased Killeen Station near Longwood in the Strathbogie Ranges north of Melbourne, along with the freehold to several thousand acres of the land surrounding Killeen. Killeen is the pastoral station (sheep and cattle) where renowned flower painter, Ellis Rowan, had been born in 1848. Killeen homestead, built in 1849, is today a heritage site noted for both its buildings (pisé homestead (1849), and brick stables in flamboyant Cape style from the 1880s) and its garden25. The garden is said to have the oldest wisteria in country. By the time that George died in 1921, his second son, Campbell, had become manager of the property. Annie died in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton in 1929. Campbell Chomley, his wife and family retained Killeen until 195626.

Killeen homestead 2015 – front verandah and wisteria planted 1880s. (Photo: Helen Connell)

An insight into the busy life at Killeen in Annie and George’s time can be gained from several articles in the local newspaper of the time, the Euroa Advertiser. The Killeen Shearers’ Races of 1895 and the 1898 Harvest House dance in the brick woolshed were both accompanied by generous hospitality. February 1901, however, saw a devastating bushfire race through Killeen: “…Mr Chomley and assistants tried to muster the stock but had to flee for their lives. By great efforts the homestead, stables and wool sheds were saved, but all the other out houses including a hay-house full of hay, were destroyed. Mrs Chomley and three other ladies, when the fire came too close, were obliged to take to a swamp close by, where they had to remain in the mud for three hours, having as companions cats, dogs and other animals terrified by the fire…”27

In 1882 Alice Henrietta Peck (1851-1927) became the second wife of the flamboyant Dublin-born Hickman Molesworth (1842-1907), a barrister and later judge. Alice became stepmother to the four children of Hickman’s first marriage; Alice and Hickman became parents to a further four children. The family lived at “Edlington”, a substantial property on the eastern side of Melbourne established by Hickman’s father, Sir Robert Molesworth.

In her memoirs, Alice and Hickman’s youngest daughter Oenone described “Edlington” as a large roomy square house, old fashioned and surrounded, entirely, by gardens and paddocks. She paints a picture of a warm, lively and happy childhood at Edlington; it was evidently a privileged one with servants, and good education - in Oenone’s case nurturing her talents as a pianist. Oenone described her mother Alice as “good-looking, capable, artistic, musical, a great horsewoman – riding and driving.” Alice did a great deal of charity work and ran a soup kitchen in the village. (Memoirs of Oenone Palmer nee Molesworth, daughter of Hickman Molesworth unpub. undated [but written at age 87, hence in 1975] typescript. 19pp. digital copy courtesy W.M. Molesworth)

Alice Henrietta Molesworth nee Peck, undated (courtesy Philip H. Molesworth)

Painting by Alice Molesworth showing Eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering plant), Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood) and tree ferns
found in the luxuriant Dandenong ranges east of Melbourne and parts of Gippsland (courtesy Philip H. Molesworth, descendant and current custodian)

Hickman Molesworth QC was well known for defending criminal cases, and was the choice of the Kelly family to defend Ned. Hickman’s fee of 50 guineas per day paid up front, however, proved too high, and the Kellys had to look elsewhere. In 1883 Hickman was appointed to the County Court bench, and became a permanent judge of the Insolvency Court soon after. “Known for his lively personality and optimistic and cheerful nature, he was of a mediating and tolerant disposition. Picturesque and unconventional, especially in his dress, he refused to robe for court. Even as a judge he enjoyed socializing with the Bar and showed ‘palpable relief’ upon being ‘freed of the judicial harness’ when court rose.”28 Alice and Hickman’s eldest daughter Elaine married in Melbourne in February 1907, and in July of that year Alice, Hickman and their three youngest children travelled on the Omrah II north to Sydney and Brisbane for a rest cure for the ailing Hickman. Hickman died of cirrhosis of the liver on board the ship before even reaching Brisbane. 

Left: Judge Hickman Molesworth n.d.; Right: Judge Hickman and Lance [his youngest son Hickman Walter Lancelot] at Edlington, Hawthorn n.d. (Source of both photos: Phillip Molesworth.)

In March 1908 Alice and her two younger daughters, Lynette and Oenone, moved to London, sailing from Melbourne on board the China. These daughters both married in Paddington, London in 1910 and 1911 respectively. Alice’s son, Hickman Walter Lancelot, completed his schooling in Tonbridge, Kent, later becoming a surgeon probationer in the Royal Navy volunteer reserve based in Harwich during the First World War, and marrying in London in 1923. In a surprising twist, he subsequently made his career as a general surgeon in Folkestone, where his grandfather Ffloyd Minter Peck had practiced two generations before29. Of all the original emigrant party Alice was one of only two who moved permanently back to England. She died in Hove, West Sussex in 1927.

The oldest, Mary Peck (1848-1929), never married. Little is known of her younger adult life. She lived for many years in Sale, possibly being the prime carer for her step-mother Menie who suffered the painful Bright's disease at the end of her life. Menie's will granted Mary a lifetime income from her estate. Mary lived in East St Kilda later in life where her sister Emily and brother Ffloyd also lived towards the end of their lives. Mary was known to have taken a take a deep interest in church affairs during her many years in Sale. Her last address for census purposes was Longwood, Victoria, presumably living with her sister Annie Chomley and family.

Emily Frances Peck (1859-1927), the youngest of Ffloyd and Anna Maria’s children and born in Sale, married Peter Charles Macarthur of Bairnsdale who worked with the National Bank of Australasia, later becoming a bank manager. Emily and Peter lived at 1 Pilley Street in the Melbourne suburb of East St Kilda in their retirement.

Charles James Peck (1853-1893), described as “station employee”, died in Sale at the relatively young age of 39 from tubercular complications after a lingering illness. He never married and died intestate.

Henry Ffloyd Rutherford Peck (1857-1915), commonly known as Ffloyd, was for a number of years an assistant master at the Sale State School. At this time his home, "with a good orchard" was on the north side of Sale near the railway gates on the Maffra road.30.

On 4 December 1879, Ffloyd married Caroline Allan (ca 1854-1942) in Sale. The Pecks had six daughters: Leila Mary (Deed) (1880 - 1961); Muriel Anna (1882-1947); Marjorie Caroline (Madge) (1883-1940); Menie Frances Ffloyd (Peg) (1885 - 1970); Alice Marie Brierly (who died as an infant) (1892-1892); Mary Raphaela (Mollie) (1893 - 1944). The five surviving daughters were schooled at Our Lady of Sion College in Sale - becoming boarders once the family moved from Sale. Caroline's mother had been an Irish Catholic, and the family followed the Catholic faith. .

Henry Ffloyd Rutherford Peck, undated. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Some time after 1886 the family moved to Bruthen in the mountains of east Gippsland where Ffloyd became head teacher of the Bruthen State School. During his time in Bruthen he was also involved in agriculture. In 1890 he was a judge of dogs for the North Gippsland Agricultural Society31; in 27 Aug 1904 Ffloyd Peck of Bruthen advertised the services of his trotting pony, Masher32. In March that year he advertised a Blue Belton Setter Dog 10 months, beautifully marked Richmond Royal San and Ripple Shot, strain, for 2 pounds; or exchange for pure bred Irish Terrier, young. Census records show him still as school teacher, Bruthen in 1905. Shortly after leaving Bruthen Ffloyd had to relinquish his departmental position “owing to a breakdown caused through heart failure”33.

By 1909 the family had moved to just north of Melbourne, where census records list Ffloyd as a fruit grower in Upper Diamond Creek until 1913. On 7 October 1910 Ffloyd applied jointly with a James Harrison for a mining lease in the county of Evelyn, giving his address as "Cumbrae", Upper Diamond Creek (Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record). At the time of his daughter Mollie's marriage on 31st December 1910, he was referred to as H. Ffloyd Peck Esq., of Cumbrae, Cottle's Bridge. The area is between Diamond Creek and St Andrews on the present-day northern outskirts of Melbourne. By 1914 the family had moved to "Worton", Carroll Crescent, East Malvern, a suburb of Melbourne, where Floyd died on 9th May 1915 at the age of 58. .

View from front of house, Cumbrae, ca 1910. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Two daughters followed nursing careers. Muriel Peck, became prominent locally and state-wide for pioneering infant welfare work in the early 20th century. She was a state registered general nurse with certificates for infant welfare, school and tuberculosis, and sanitary inspection amongst others. She became Assistant to the Director of Infant Welfare in the Victorian Public Health Department. In 1917 she was in charge of the first Infant Welfare Centre in Richmond, later becoming Matron of the Victorian Baby Health Centres' Association Training School for Infant Welfare Nurses for four years. Her book Your Baby went through four editions34.

During the First World War, Madge became charge sister (Soeur-Major) of the Hôpital Croix Rouge Anglo-Française, No.4 Bir. Astoria Hotel in Paris. She served with distinction, being awarded the Médailles d'Honneur and de la Reconnaissance Française, and the Palmes of the French Red Cross35. On 11 October 1916 in London she married Dr Sydney Fancourt McDonald an Australian whom she met in France. They returned to Australia in 1920, living in Brisbane where her husband specialized in pediatrics. Madge died in 1940 after years of indifferent health. Over-work and under-nourishment endured during the War were said to have culminated in her lengthy illness36.

Madge in France during World War I. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Leila (known within the family as Deed) and Menie (known within the family as Peg) appear to have lived at home all their lives. When in Melbourne, Muriel also lived with them. Some time after Ffloyd's death, Caroline, Leila and Menie moved to live at Wandal, 35 William St, Balaclava (East St Kilda). In her younger years Leila worked as a governess and studied at Swinburne Art School; later she identified herself as a designer. Menie managed the house for her mother and sisters in later years.

The Peck family got to know anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski during the years he spent in Australia during the First World War. The connection seems to have been through Muriel who nursed Malinowski's then fiancée, Nina Stirling, through tuberculosis. Malinowski had met Nina in April 1915 when he stayed at the Adelaide home of her father, Sir Edward Stirling, director of the South Australian Museum. Malinowski's diary, A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term, has numerous references to the Peck family, to Leila/Lila and Mimi (Menie) during the period 1917-1918. At one point he talks of "those happy days in E. Malvern" (p.150) - he appears to have lived in East Malvern for a time, which raises the possibility that he may have boarded with the Peck family for a period37. Leila kept up a correspondence with Malinowski when he went to New Guinea on field work. Her great-niece, Stephanie Anderson, retains copies of two of Leila's, and also one of Madge's, letters to the anthropologist.

Menie (Peg) with cats at Worton, ca 1918. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

The youngest Peck daughter, Mollie, married Lindsay Meek Anderson on 31 Dec 1910 in Heidelberg, a northern suburb of Melbourne. Lindsay had bought a gold mine on land next door to that of the Pecks' then property Cumbrae at Cottle's Bridge38. Lindsay had been a talented cricketer and footballer during his school years at Scotch College, and later played for the Melbourne Football Club (1901-1906). Lindsay and Mollie Anderson moved to Mildura where their first five children were born, and then to Adelaide. In 1926 Lindsay was Adelaide manager of US Light and Heat Corporation Aust Ltd.; he later established Adelaide Motors. In 1939 the family lived at Henley Beach Road, Lockleys. Mollie was the only one of the sisters to have children. The Andersons had seven children: Lindsay (a girl); Betty; Bill; Geoffrey Fraser; Faerlie ffloyd; Peter Burnett; and David Allan. The two eldest died as infants, and Bill at the age of 21. Geoffrey, Faerlie and Peter all married and had families. As a young adult, although married, qualified in the law and on the verge of taking up a position in the Northern Territory, Geoffrey agreed to join his father in his business, Adelaide Motors. Peter went into farming, having a station near Keith, South Australia which was called Aberdour after the family home of his Anderson grandparents in Melbourne. Faerlie followed a nursing career until the time of her marriage to surgeon Mervyn Keith Smith.

Click on the following link to read the next section of the story: Mount Moriac - The Minters choose a different direction

1 Ffloyd’s father, RJ Peck, lived in and practiced from 30-32 High Street, Newmarket now known as Mentmore House (see above). Between ca. 1848 and 1858, Ffloyd lived in and practiced from 3 Park Terrace, High Street, Newmarket, now known as Cardigan Lodge, 113 High Street. (Paul Saban: Three centuries of medical practice in Newmarket. )

2 Mary Briarly and Charles John Robertson married in Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire in 1814 where their three eldest children – Mary Briarly, Henry and Frances - were born, before moving to Eton – where Anna Maria was born - and then settling in Charles’ home town of London.

3 Posted Sept 6, 2012.

4 The Argus Monday, July 5, 1858 p.4.

5The immense task that Laura Travers set for herself on that long voyage into the grip of an unforgiving southern winter was to create a bedspread consisting of 380 patterned oblongs (arranged 20 by 19), sewn together, the corners concealed beneath handmade knitted buttons, the whole surrounded by a ten-inch-wide continuous border. The finished object measures twelve by ten feet. “ This extraordinary bedspread remains in good order, and is illustrated on the blog.

6 Angus Trumble detailed: “ 237 hogsheads of Hale and Stuart ale; 20 hogsheads of beer; 200 cases of Callender and Caldwell spirits; 125 bundles of wire; 64 flagstones; 2,000 fire-bricks; a number of boilers; many packages of “machinery”; 50 barrels of salt; one case of seeds; five tierces of fish; 650 cases of bottled porter; 621 boxes of oilmen’s stores; 125 kegs of nails; one range; two trusses; eight cases of “hardware”; 2 pedestal clocks; 1,600 bushels of barley; 438 bars of iron; 30 firkins of butter; 5 casks of chicory; eight dog-carts; six bales of linen; 231 cast-iron pipes; 60 tons of pig iron; six casks of sausage skins; 13 tierces of hams; one bin of malt; 40 bags of refined sugar; 68,000 slates; 7,040 tiles; four Parkin and Wharton mangles; four crates of earthenware; four casks of horseshoes; six bales of paper; 42 grindstones; 117 tons of coal; 13 cases of plate-glass; 53 cases of pickles, and much else besides—leaning heavily towards alcohol, food, and building materials, most if not all intended for sale at the diggings.”  

7 O.S. Green (1979) Sale, the Early Years and Later. Sale, Vic. Southern Newspapers. pp.25-26.

8Grassdale, 8 Grassdale Road, Sale. Notes from National Trust indicating that the homestead is regarded as architecturally significant, as a remarkably intact example of colonial vernacular architecture of the mid nineteenth century. (National Trust Database ) The present owner, Alan MacLachlan, who showed us the property in 2011, told us that the red gum used in the verandah posts was off the property; the shingles were split green wattle; and the width of the house walls is approximately half a metre, so the house is well insulated.

9 The Tumbrel Diaries: Arsenal – story of William Pearson

10 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.62.

11 Duncan Campbell, Esq. was born about 1792 in Kilchoman Parish, Isle of Islay, and died 1874 in Portnahaven, Isle of Islay. Menie was born in 1820 in Kilchoman Parish, Isle of Islay, Argyll. Her mother was Catherine MacGregor. Possibly Catherine died in childbirth. In October 1821 Duncan Campbell married Ann McNeil, and they had at least thirteen children together, including Menie’s step-sister Margaret. Henry Campbell, Menie’s eldest step-brother, also migrated to Gippsland, as his obituary indicates that he died at his residence, Hillside, Maffra, aged 77 in 1899 (The Maffra Spectator Mon 6 Nov. 1899).

12 Watson, D. (2009) Caledonia Australis. Vintage. Pioneers. p.137.

13 Johns, F. op.cit. p.32.

14 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit.p.57

15 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.25.

16 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.26

17 Gippsland Guardian 29.5.1863. Details provided by Ann Synan.

18 Johns, F. op.cit. p.30.

19 Johns, F. op.cit. The family bible records cause of death as “Pyaemia [septicaemia] after 7 days illness”. Meryl Stanton notes that Ffloyd’s death certificate specifies “colic enteritis”.

20 Leslie, JW. and Cowie, H C. (eds) op.cit. p.85.

21 Miss Ainslie’s Seminary for Young Ladies was founded in East Melbourne in 1864. In 1868 it was purchased by Miss Nimmo, and in 1872 purchased by Dr John Singleton. It later moved to Mont Albert, at some point becoming known as Ormiston Ladies’ College. (Letter to Editor of The Argus by Jean DS Lewis, Toorak, May 7, 1934.)

22 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. pp.68-9, 71, 73. “Mrs Harry Chomley” was the wife of Harry Chomley, with the Sale branch of the Bank of Australasia. Harry was a brother of George Hanna Chomley who married Annie Peck.

23 George was one of seven sons of the Rev Francis Chomley of Merrion-square, Dublin, who left the army for the church. On her husband’s death, his widow came to Melbourne on the ship Stag in 1846 bringing with her seven sons. The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote) Thurs. 26 July 1906.

24 “The Crops in the Talbot and Avoca District” (by our agricultural reporter) The Australasian (Melbourne), Sat 24 Jan, 1880.

25Killeen Homestead is architecturally significant as a very rare and early example of a house of pisé [rammed earth] construction. Few comparable examples survive in Victoria...

The stable building is architecturally significant as a highly unusual and distinctive pastoral outbuilding. The building has a degree of architectural pretension not normally associated with rural stables, especially in the context of the vernacular and unpretentious Killeen homestead.

Killeen Homestead is historically significant as evidence of land settlement in rural Victoria before 1850. The house is unusual as evidence of a substantial improvement carried out by a squatter before the pre-emptive right was secured. The outbuildings demonstrate the later improvements carried out by squatters as part of their purchase of freehold land. The stables and shearing shed shows the evolution of the run, which was originally a cattle station but later became a large and important sheep station in the district.

Killeen Homestead is aesthetically significant for its landscape and garden plantings. The area of primary importance in the garden is the rectangular enclosure around the homestead and the dense perimeter planting of laurustinus, privet, roses, lilac, olive, a large Chinese Wisteria and three Irish Strawberry trees. One of the Irish Strawberry trees is an atypical example having grown to form a single trunk. It is the largest recorded in Victoria. The avenue of Italian Cypress at the front of the house is an impressive landscape feature and a planting of this scale is uncommon in Victoria.” Source: Killeen Homestead (Heritage Listed Location)

26 In 1956 the property was bought from the Chomleys by Ewen and Alison Cameron (from 1977-1993 Ewen was the local member of federal parliament). In 2003 the Camerons sold Killeen station to David and Joan Fowles, the current owners (2015). The Fowles have undertaken extensive restoration of both buildings and gardens, drawing on the services of garden designer Rick Eckersley.

27 “Longwood Fire” Euroa Advertiser 12 Feb 1901. Accessible online via

28 Biography – Hickman Molesworth. Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol.10, MUP, 1986.

29 Hickman Walter Lancelot Molesworth (1892-1969), Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Online, Royal College of Surgeons

30 Gippsland Times, 13 May, 1915

31 Gippsland Times, 17 Nov, 1890

32 Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle

33 Bruthen and Tambo Times, Wed 19 May 1915

34 Flora Johns, op.cit.

35 The Courier Mail, 29 Oct 1940

36 The Telegraph, Brisbane Mon 28 Oct 1940

37 The Pecks appear also to have known Elsie Masson, Malinowski's next girlfriend and who, in 1919, became his first wife. Elsie, daughter of Professor Orme Masson of the University of Melbourne, met Malinowski in Melbourne while she was nursing.

38 Source: letter of Faerlie Smith née Anderson