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George Henry Peck and family

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "George Henry Peck and family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 17 December 2018

PECK, George Henry

Violinist, composer, music seller, music publisher, artist, craftsman, fine-arts dealer

Born Hull, Yorkshire, England, baptised Holy Trinity, Hull, 24 October 1810
Arrived (1) Hobart, 27 June 1833 (passenger on the Warrior)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 2 December 1839 (on the barque Bardaster, for London)
Arrived (2) Melbourne, 20 April 1853 (on the ship Kent, from London, 27 January)
Died Petersham, NSW, 20 September 1863, aged 52 (NLA persistent identifier) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

In this site, see also

George Peck's Theatre of the Arts (by Robyn Lake)

PECK, Sophia Winifred

(Mrs. George PECK; Mrs. Robert SHOOBRIDGE)

Music seller

Born 1819
Died Picton, NSW, 2 November 1882, aged 63

PECK, Felix

Violinist, professor of music, music publisher, music seller

Born Hull, ? 1847
Died St Leonards on Sea, England, 29 January 1932

George Peck, pew end carving, Holy Trinity Hull, c.1845


A pew end, at Holy Trinity Hull, England, carved by George Peck, c. 1845; possibly a self-portrait (courtesy of Robyn Lake; © Bill Marsden, Hull)


George Henry Peck was an English-born Australian settler colonist, who, by inherited trade, was an arts-and-craft worker, but who, during his two lengthy sojourns in Australia (1833-39, and 1853 until his death) was at first equally well-known, and latterly better known, as a professional musician, violinist, composer, improvisor, orchestra leader, music publisher and retailer.

On his first arrival in Hobart in 1833, he was (apart perhaps from some unidentified military bandsmen), the first professional violinist in the colony effectively to import aspects of Paganini's style of playing, as popularised in Britain during his (Paganini's) tour of 1831-32, probably as a direct result of his own eye-witness experience, and thus preceding by almost two years William Vincent Wallace (in Australia 1835-38), to whom he (Peck) was placed equal by one Sydney reviewer in 1839:

Mr. Peck has never had a fair trial as a violinist. He is a beautiful player - he has a great command of the instrument - he produces tones rich and true. With the utmost attention we could not detect a false note. His playing was "true as the needle to the pole." He is equal to Wallace ...

Though Wallace was dubbed "the Australian Paganini" in Sydney in the mid 1830s, Peck arrived back in Melbourne in the middle of 1853 to find that another recently arrived Englishman, Edward Tucker, a member of John Winterbottom's orchestra, was performing Paganini locally, and at least once (in Maitland, NSW, in June 1853) even billed himself as the [second] "Australian Paganini". Peck himself was billed the "Australian Paganini" several times in Melbourne in 1857, though by then the same title was being more freely bestowed on Miska Hauser (1858), and before Peck died in 1863 he would see it being appropriated to describe the young native prodigy, George Weston.

In Australia in the 1830s, and later less so in the 1850s, Peck was renowned for what he billed as "imitations" and "reminiscences" of Paganini's playing, but which he probably partly composed, arranged, or improvised. He appears to have moved beyond Paganini's influence in his published compositions, all of which date from the last period of his life (1852-60).

Several reviews of the 1830s (quoted above) provide quite detailed testimony to Peck's technique as a soloist, while his concert programs are probably a good indication of his wider musical interests. Less closely documented are his theatrical activities.

On a couple of occasions he took to singing and speaking roles on stage, but his main impact on the musical profession in Australia, during both his 1830s and 1850s sojourns here, was as an orchestral leader and player.

As his death notice claims, for most of his Australian career, he did indeed appear to be "greatly esteemed and respected", at least by his senior colleagues. By the 1850s, however, he probably often found himself outranked and displaced professionally by younger and more talented violinists.

The last theatrical position he claimed to have held, leader of the orchestra at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Sydney, must have been a very brief engagement, perhaps for no longer than a few weeks shortly after his arrival back in Sydney late in 1858. Nevertheless, presumably as a sign of the esteem in which he was held, he was chosen to lead the second violins in the orchestra of the 1859 Sydney University Music Festival.

To date (2015), the major sources of information on Peck's life and work have been the biographical entry by Margaret Glover (1992, 2011), and the biographical articles by Robyn Lake (one of which is republished here). Both researchers were too early to benefit from digitisation of sources, but both nevertheless traced a documentary record of his multiple artistic, musical, and theatrical activities, as a "carver & gilder, ornamental draftsman, designer, violinist and orchestra leader" (Lake, 125). Records of his visual arts activity collected by Glover and Lake are mostly now also freely accessible online. As Lake also demonstrated, Peck's involvement in theatre was a common denominator of his work as a musical and visual artist, and it is interesting that at least one of his artist-collaborators, Edward Shribbs, was a theatrical scene painter in both Hobart and Sydney.

England (1810-33, 1840-c.1850) and California (1851-52)

Peck (death notice 1863) was born in Hull c.1810, eighth and youngest son of local cabinetmaker and merchant Thomas Peck (c.1769-1845). He probably remained in Hull until he emigrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1833, and returned to live there for most of his time back in England in the 1840s (1840-1851).

Lake (2003) found no documentary evidence of his early musical training or other activities, but reasonably suggests that Nicolo Paganini's concert appearance at Hull, on 13 February 1832, was a formative musical experience for the 21-year-old Peck. Paganini was presented in Hull by local musician George J. Skelton, a pupil of Henry Bishop, and later organist of Trinity Church, Hull. During the 1830s Skelton largely took over music in the town, which a decade earlier had been led by a "celebrated" local violinist, Mons. Aldy (Gardiner 1838, 1, 110, and 2, 715).

Only once, on the cover of the 1858 print of his Australian masonic waltzes, is Peck's name followed by the initials "R.A.M." [Royal Academy of Music], suggesting (probably untruthfully) that he studied there, presumably before he first came to Australia.

Later in Australia (1853), Peck himself advertised that he had been a pupil of Camillo Sivori ("latterly") and John Thirwall, senior, and elsewhere (1860) also of John Camidge. Camidge (1790-1859), awarded a Cambridge D.Mus in 1819, was the son and in 1848 successor of Matthew Camidge, organist of York Minster, and Peck may well have had contact with him and his father both before and after his first Australian stay (1833-39). Lake found that the violinist John Wade Thirwall (1809-1875) visited Hull in 1827 and 1828 to lead the orchestra for the Hull Choral Society, also from Yorkshire, came to national note early in 1844 when he presented his 11-year-old son, William, a violin prodigy, in concerts. The Musical World noted (1844):

Mr. Thirwall, the father of this truly clever boy, is a man of no ordinary genius himself. Independent of his being the sole instructor of his son, which argues 'a foregone conclusion' of his own proficiency in the art and practice of music, he has courted, and not in vain, her sister poesy, who has bestowed some of her sweetest favours upon him; and although little known beyond the immediate sphere of his intimate acquaintance, can boast of having written some exquisite ballads. He is an excellent violinist, and can write a song as well as he can play a solo.

Peck's encounter with Sivori (1815-1894) must date from after his return to England in 1840. Sivori played in Hull in 1843 and again on 26 September 1846, when he was soloist in a concert presented by Louis Jullien (Staverley 1999, Lake 2003). Also of later Australian interest, in Norwich in 1844, Sivori appeared in several concerts with Lewis Lavenu and Sara Flower.

Lake reliably fixed Peck's brief stay in San Francisco from early in 1851, thanks to a short notice she found in the Hull Advertiser (March 1851) reporting that the paper had received a copy of the Daily Balance, "forwarded from San Francisco by Mr. George Peck, formerly carver and gilder, Saville-street, Hull". Digitised newspaper advertisements and articles more closely date his musical activities there to between September 1851 and May 1852.

Peck's close contacts there appear to have been with the music publisher Joseph Atwill, and with pianist and harpist William McKorkell. In April 1852 Atwill issued Peck's first known published musical work, the San Francisco quadrilles, and their first public performance followed on 9 May, at a concert, "A la Jullien", that Peck presented in association with another violinist who would also shortly go to Australia, Martin Simonsen.

Also of future Australian interest, in February Peck appeared in a concert presented by the comic and sentimental vocalist Stephen C. Massett, and in April with composer and pianist Geogre Loder and the vocalist Emile-Georges Coulon.

Peck must have turned his back on what was clearly, for him, the mostly unrealised promise of the California gold rush and left San Francsico to return to England in the early summer of 1852, only then to succumb to the lure of the Australian gold rush and sail finally from London in January 1853 for Melbourne.

Felix and Sophia Peck

Master Felix Peck made his first Sydney appearance in public as a solo violinist at his father, George Peck's concert in December 1862. On George Peck's death in September 1863, his widow Sophia (Wilkins) took over the running of his music business as "Mrs. George Peck and Son" for several months. Later Mrs. Robert Shoobridge, she died in 1882 in Picton.

The Pecks' daughter, Rosetta (1839-1921), was from 1864 Mrs. H. T. Clarke, of Hunter's Hill.

Shortly after George's death, Felix advertised as a violin teacher. Despite his apparent youth (probably no older than 16), by August 1864 he was advertising the family business under his own name alone, first from 103 Elizabeth Street, and by November from 178 Pitt Street. In October 1864, the St John's Church, Darlinghurst Young Men's Society gave a "Grand complimentary benefit . . . to their musical director, Mr. Felix Peck". He reportedly built new business premises in mid-1868.

In the 1881 UK census Felix Peck is listed as a "professor of music", aged 33, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne; in the 1901 census as a "music publisher" in Yorkshire; and in 1911 he was in London, now admitting only to the age of 59, a "Music traveller retired".

Family historian, Andrew Tomlinson (Felix's great great grandson) found that he was born in Hull in 1847, and posted (18 May 2014) the following notice dated 30 January 1933:

NOTICE is hereby given that all creditors and other persons having any claims or demands against the estate of Felix Peck, late of 35, St. Margarets Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea, in the county of Sussex, deceased (who died on the 29th day of January, 1932; and whose Will was proved in the Principal Registry of the Probate Division of His Majesty's High Court of Justice on the 23rd day of May, 1932, by Robert William Stebbings, of " Newiholme," 49, Abercorn Road, Coventry, in the county of Warwick, the executor therein named), are hereby required to send the particulars, in writing, of their claims or demands to Godfrey, Robertson & Brend, of 40, Chancery Lane, London, W.C.2, the undersigned ... Dated this 30th day of January, 1933.

Further information kindly supplied by Andrew Tomlinson (August 2015):

My mother's great grandfather was Felix, but he never knew (as far as we can ascertain) that he had a daughter (Florence Eveyln Bond) in February 1869. He was giving music lessons to Hannah Bond in Hull, when she fell pregnant, and Hannah named him as the father on Florence's birth certificate. Florence was brought up by a couple with whom Hannah was still living at the time of the 1871 census; in the 1881 census Florence is listed as their adopted daughter. On George's death certificate, his cause of death is noted as a skin complaint. I wondered if this was actually skin cancer. The 1891 census shows Felix in Kendal in the Lake District as a visitor and an occupation of a music publisher. The 1901 and 1911 census show Felix living in central London (in a side road in Knightsbridge, close to Bond St); in 1901 as a lodger to Emily Clarke, and operating his music publishing business from there; and in 1911 he is the owner of the property after Emily Clarke bequeathed it to him. Perhaps Clarke was related to his sister's husband. There are numerous newspapers in which Felix advertises his music publishing. At some point he moved to St Leonards on Sea, along with the cook who probably looked after him in his later years. His will directs that he was to be buried in Highgate Cemetery in London, "a suitable monument be erected in his memory and not exceed £50 ..." As directed, he was buried in a family/shared grave, but no monument was erected. Nevertheless, the gross value of Felix's estate was £3828. Felix's sister (Rosetta Susannah) was born at sea (off the Brazilian coast) on the Bardaster, en route to London from Sydney in 1840. She was baptised in Islington in 1842. At some point the Pecks then returned to Hull.


George Peck (active Hobart, 1840s-50s)

George Huntington Peck (also active in San Francisco 1850s)

George Washington Peck (American journalist and musician, briefly visited in 1853, see Peck 1854)


William Gardiner, Music and friends; or, Pleasant recollections of a dilettante, volume 1 (London: Longmans, Orme, Brown, and Longman, 1838), 110

William Gardiner, Music and friends: or, Pleasant recollections of a dilettante, volume 2 (London: Longmans, Orme, Brown, and Longman, 1838), 715

"MR. A. MITCHELL'S CONCERT", and "MASTER THIRWALL", The Musical World 19/3 (18 January 1844), 21-22

"NORWICH", The Musical World 19/35 (29 August 1844), 290

James Joseph Sheehan, General and concise history and description of the town and port of Kingston-upon-Hull (London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1864), 649-50

John Wade Thirwall, Songs and poems (London: Samuel French, 1872)

Norman Staverley, Two centuries of music in Hull (Beverley: Hutton Press, 1999), cited in Lake 2003

"Edward Shribbs", Design and Art Australia Online (DAAO)


Hobart (1833-38)

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (28 June 1833), 2

The arrival of the Strathfieldsay and the Warrior, serving to enliven the tedium that, in spite of our best exertions, we fear in the estimation of many readers must have pervaded our journal during the blank of news which has prevailed for the last few weeks, compels us for the present to cut short our original comments on passing events ...

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (5 July 1833), 2

The colony has recently acquired a considerable accession of musical talent in the bandmaster of the 21st fusileers who on the removal of the regiment to India, proposes, we learn, to remain and become a settler in the colony; and Mr. Peck, an experienced performer on the violin, who, we learn, has acquired most of the peculiar talents of Paganani. These being added, to our old and tried favourites Messrs. Reichenberg, Deane, Russel, Marshall, Williams, of the 63d., with several others not actual professors, in conjunction with Mrs. Davis, and other ladies of vocal acquirement, will shortly, we are glad to learn, unite their talents and delight the inhabitants of Hobart-town with a concert inferior to none out of London. Since writing the above, we observe a concert is fixed for Monday next.

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (5 July 1833), 3

Edward Markham (1801-1865), diary, Hobart, 8 July 1833, MS, SL-NSW (ed. Stieglitz 1952, unpaginated; quoted in Lake 2003, 127)

Monday, walked out, fell in with a number of people, found Hewett's counting-house a convenient house of call. Went to my shipmate's concert, C. Peack [sic], the Modern Paganini and to patronise him, paid five shillings.

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (2 August 1833), 2

A grand concert of all our professional musical talent was given in the Court house on Monday evening. The house was crammed throughout and the performance especially the instrumental was of the first order ... Mr. Peck performed a concerto on the violin, composed by the husband of Madame Malibran. We recollect De Beriot's performance, and Mr. Peck does not discredit the style of the master. The arpeggio movement on the four strings, was brilliantly executed. After the concerto he played the air of "My lodgings on the cold ground," with the pizzicato accompaniment after the manner of Paganini; likewise the "Carnival of Venice," the conversation in this air in imitation of the voice was peculiarly curious.

[News], Launceston Advertiser (22 August 1833), 3

Last night, a Concert was held in Mr. Davis's New Rooms, at which Mr. Peck, assisted by several gentlemen of the town, gave much entertainment to a numerous audience. Mr. Peck's performance on the violin excited general admiration.

[Advertisement]: "CONCERT", The Hobart Town Courier (25 October 1833), 3

"At Mr. Peck's concert ...", The Hobart Town Courier (1 November 1833), 2

"Mr. Peck's concert ...", Colonial Times (5 November 1833), 2

[Advertisement], Trumpeter General (24 December 1833), 4

THEATRE. MRS. CAMERON begs to announce to the gentry and inhabitants of Hobart Town and its vicinity, that Tuesday next, the 24th instant, has been fixed upon for opening the THEATRE, on which occasion will be presented Kotzebue's celebrated play of THE STRANGER ... To conclude with the laughable farce of the MARRIED BACHELOR ... Stage Manager, Mr. Taylor; Ballet Master, Mr. Lewis; Leader of the Orchestra, Mr. Peck, Tickets, 6s. each; children under 12 years of age, half price, (not transferable,) issued from the bar of the Freemason's Tavern. Doors open at 6 o'clock, performance to commence at 7 o'clock.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (7 January 1834), 1

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (10 January 1834), 1

FINE ARTS. GEORGE PECK, Carver, Gilder, Ornamental Drawer, Binder and Designer, respect-fully informs the public, that he has commenced business in the above branches, in his newly erected shop in Liverpool street, opposite the Messrs. Sadgroves' Store, where he hopes, by persevering attention, to merit a share of public patronage. Pictures mounted and varnished, and frames made to order, looking glass and picture frames, &c. regilded in the most elegant manner. Wood carving, in all its various branches, executed in the first style of the art. Ornaments for sideboards, sofas, cheffoniers, tables, chairs, &c. G. P. bas on hand for sale, - A choice collection of lithographic and other prints, suitable for albums, scrap books, transferring, &c. Drawing paper and drawing boards manufactured on a new principle of a very superior description. Writing paper, Morocco and colour do., of every tint, Burnished gold do. and gold borders, Plain and fancy cards, all sizes, &c. An apprentice wanted to the carving and gilding business, in addition to which, he will be taught drawing and music, and kindly treated. None but a youth of genius, and of the most respectable parentage and education need apply. A premium required. G. P. takes this opportunity of informing his friends and the public, that he gives instruction on the violin, according to the principles adopted by the conservatories of Paris, Milan, &c. on the most moderate terms, which may be known by application at his residence.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (14 January 1834), 2

[carries advertisement as above, and another on the same page] Theatre, Hobart Town, THIS EVENING, January 14, 1834, will be performed, for the last time this Season, the Melodrama of CLARI, OR, THE MAID OF MILAN .... After which, (first time) the favourite Interlude of THE DAY AFTER THE WEDDING .... To conclude with (second time) the Farce of THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM ... Leader of the Orchestra, Mr. Peck. Tickets, (not transferable) 6s each ; children under 12 years of age, 4s. each, issued from the bar of the Freemasons' Tavern only. Doors open at 6 o'clock-performance to commence at seven o'clock. *** No money taken at the doors. VIVANT REX ET REGINA. January 14, 1834.

"THE VIOLIN", The Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (15 April 1834), 2 

As a proof of the extraordinary effect of this instrument, when well played, we may mention that among the grand and splendid music at the late Oratorio, nothing seemed to excite an extacy, if we so express ourselves, in the Lieutenant-Governor, but Mayseders Concerto, played by Mr. PECK, which His Excellency rapturously enchored, evidently under very strongly-excited feelings. We are happy to find this instrument becoming a fashionable one ; it has too long been in use only by professors and "fiddlers."

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (25 September 1834), 2

THEATRE, LAUNCESTON. FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. JORDAN. TO-MORROW EVENING, September 2, Will be presented the Comedy of A CURE FOR THE HEART-ACHE. Young Rapid - Mr. Peck ... Favorite New Song - "No more amongst the Mountains" - Mr. Peck ...

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (2 October 1834), 2 

Artium Pecciano. THE Theatre of Arts, which has been sometime in preparation, will shortly be opened to the Public At the Cornwall Hotel Assembly Room. This delightful entertaining and strictly moral amusement will be well calculated to delight ALL, from CHILDHOOD to DECREPIT AGE, and is very particularly recommended to the notice of those families whose RELIGIOUS tenets forbid their participation in the AMUSEMENTS of the STAGE. The Scenery will consist of choice selections from la Belle Italie and other celelebrated places. The Mechanical arrangements will put into motion vessels, troops, processions, &c.; which movements will be accompanied by choice and appropriate Music. ARTISTE AND LEADER OF THE BAND MR. GEO. PECK. Thus will open, a new Era in the page of the History of Tasmania. JOHN FAWKNER, JUN. P. S. - Further, particulars will be announced in the Launceston Papers.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (18 November 1834), 8

Morning Star and Commercial Advertiser (28 November 1834), quoted Lake 2003, 128

The piece [A cure for the Heartache] went very well, but Young Rapid [Peck] must abandon his Yorkshire dialect in gentlemanly characters, and not play it in a style but seldom seen at home. As it was his first attempt on this stage to sing, we hope that it will be his last. He may fiddle, but both singing and dancing, two of its great accompaniments he is most deficient in. Genteel comedy requires the knowledge and experience of a well educated and gentlemanly bred man ...

[Letter] "To the Editor", Trumpeter General (5 December 1834), 2

Sir, - I enclose you the copy of a letter, rejected by the Morning Star ... To the Editor of the Morning Star. Sir , - A misrepresentation had appeared in the first number of your Journal, which, in justice to the individual to whom it adverts, I feel it my duty to correct. The author, under a cover of a critique upon an entertainment lately given at the Argyle Rooms has made a most ungenerous, unwarrantable, and ignorant attack upon the party, under whose superintendence the piece was got up. Mr. Peck is a gentleman who stands high in public estimation, and is quite unworthy to loose vulgar and idle prattle of your correspondent. I was present upon the evening in question, and so far from Mr. Peck's performance deserving the malicious remarks contained in the article alluded to, I can assert that Mr Peck, in the character of Young Rapid, received from the audience several bursts of applause - that he conceived the character with judgment, and supported it with respectability. - Your's, &c.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (20 January 1835), 3 

"Delectando pater que moriendo." Theatre of Arts. In active preparation, and will be opened in a short time at Messrs. Russell and Ray's Large Room, in Elizabeth-street. MR. GEORGE PECK begs to announce to his numerous Friends and the Public in general, that he has, after great pains and expense, succeeded in completing an Entertainment of the most novel and amusing description, on the plan of the celebrated Monsieur Thiodon's Theatre of Fine Arts, which consists of a Series of beautiful Views, varied from time to time, of all the most celebrated places in the world, not on a flat surface, but by absolute scenic models, retiring from the spectator, Ships, Boats, Figures, &c, moving by mechanical means, forming a charming coup d'ail, that will delight and surprise the beholder. The whole will be interspersed with, and accompanied by, choice and appropriate Music. This Entertainment, from its innocent and highly moral character (being totally distinct from anything of a dramatic nature) is particularly recommended to the notice of those families whose religious tenets forbid their participation m Thespian amusements. Further particulars will appear in future advertisements. Jan. 20, 1835.

"Domestic Intelligence", Colonial Times (5 May 1835), 7 

On Friday last, Colonel Arthur, accompanied by a full suite, paid a visit to Mr. Peck's Theatre of Arts, and was highly delighted with the evening's entertainment. Such a visit was the cause of considerable discussion: some people asked why he should attend such a place, and not the Oratorio, his Government being a religious Government. The only satisfactory answer given, was, because the Oratorio cost five, and Peck's only two shillings entrance. By the bye, talking of Oratorios, it puts us in mind of having seen a letter enclosing two pounds, sent by order of the Governor, two years since; the two pounds were for the admittance of Colonel Arthur and his suite - only about twenty were admitted for this two pounds ! What a noble thing it is for the Colony to have a Governor so liberal, and so determined to support public measures. That article in the Trumpeter, of Tuesday week, about the Governor importing sour porter, was a mere invention - Colonel Arthur's known liberal sentiments would not allow him to import, as was there stated, twelve dozen of brown stout!

Marriages solemnized in the parish of Trinity in the county of Buckingham in the year 1836; Tasmanian Names Index; NAME_INDEXES:822573; RGD36/1/3 no 3276 

No. 280 / 3276 / George Henry Peck ... / Sophia Mildred Wilkinson / married in this Church ... this Twenty Eighth day of June in the year 1836 . . .

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (23 August 1836), 1

[Advertisement], Tasmanian and Austral-Asiatic Review (26 August 1836), 8 

Theatre Royal, Hobart Town. MR. G. H. PECK's NIGHT On Saturday evening, August 27, 1836 ... The evening's entertainment will commence with, for the first time in this Colony, the celebrated Old English Domestic Drama, with appropriate Music, Scenery, Decorations, &c, called


After which a MELANGE Of Vocal and Instrumental Music, in which some Amateurs of celebrity have kindly offered their services.

Song, Maid of Judah. Mr. TAYLOR.
Song, Chapter of Accidents. Mr. MEREDITH.
Solo, Flute (Swiss Air with Variations). MR. REICHENBERG.
Song, The Gypsy Prince. Mr. FALCHON.
Recitations, Bucks have at ye all, in character. Mrs. MEREDITH.
SOLO VIOLIN. Reminiscences of Paganini, BY MR. PECK, In which will be introduced one of his favourite Airs on the Fourth String.
Finale Overture to the MANIAC.

To conclude, for the first and only time, with the favorite comic farce of

The Irish Tutor ...

In which [Mr. SIMMONS] will introduce the favorite comic songs of "St. Patrick was a Gentleman," AND "'Twas Murphy Delaney" ... Mr. G. H. PECK pledges that the Curtain will positively rise at Seven o'Clock and the Performance terminate at Eleven ...

Tasmanian and Austral Asiatic Review (23 December 1836), 7 

. . . Mr. Peck is a violinist of great merit. He is most attentive to his business as "leader," upon which so much depends in rendering every assistance to the singer, giving the melody powerfully when he finds it necessary, taking care that the combinations of harmony are properly attended to . . .

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (14 April 1837), 2 

On Thursday a numerous and highly respectable company of ladies and gentlemen entertained Sir John, Lady Franklin and suite, at a dejeuné à la fourchette, at Mr. Buscombe's, at Richmond ... There was a ball in the evening, dancing commenced at ten, and was kept up with great hilarity till four o'clock. Mr. Peck's band was in attendance during both the dinner and ball.

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (8 August 1837), 1

Eligible Opportunity. THE Advertiser being about to engage in other pursuits, would be willing to treat with any person who may be desirous of embarking in the Stationary and Music line, for the sale of the good-will stock and fixtures of the well known establishment called the "Repository of Arts," on liberal terms. The situation in the very heart of the town, adjoining the general Post Office, and within five minutes walk of all the public offices, is not to be surpassed. The house and out offices are roomy and convenient. The stock in trade, which is ample for carrying on a first rate Stationary business, although not heavy, being well selected and assorted, will be sold at a fair valuation, and a moderate premium required for the good will, &c. Every particular will be given to applicants. N. B.-None but principals will be treated with. Applications by letter, containing real name and address, must be post-paid! GEORGE H. PECK. August 1, 1837.

Bent's News (13 January 1838), 2 

. . . And last, though not least, we cannot omit to bestow our meed of praise on Mr. Peck, for the great attention and trouble he has paid and taken, in arranging the melodramatic music for the Theatre. In the piece of Faustus, he was indefatigable in is exertions; and much of the success attendant on it may be attributed to him. In the song "I come love to thee," by Miss Thomson, Mr. Peck accompanied this Lady on the Harp; it had a beautiful effect, and consequently, the song went off much better than it otherwise would have done . . .

Sydney (29 April 1838 to 20 January 1839)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE: ARRIVALS", The Sydney Herald (30 April 1838), 2

... From Hobart Town, yesterday, having sailed on the 20th instant, the brig William ... Passengers ... Mr and Mrs Peck and one child ...

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (1 May 1838), 2

We understand it is the intention of Mr. George Peck - the talented professor who, as a violinist (now that Mr. Wallace has deserted the colony), is inferior to none we have yet heard play - to pay us a visit shortly, and we can assure the lovers of the arts that he will prove a most valuable acquisition to the many departments of science in this colony. Since the above was in type, Mr. Peck has arrived in Sydney.- CORRESPONDENT.

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (3 May 1838), 2

Mr. Peck, the musician, who arrived in the William, from Hobart Town, on Sunday Morning, made his first appearance at the Theatre on Monday Evening. In addition to his own musical abilities, Mr. Peck, we understand, has added largely to the stock-pieces of music at the Victoria. We shall give our readers the benefit of our opinion of his musical talent, so soon as we have an opportunity to forth our judgment.

[News], The Australian (4 May 1838), 3

By the late arrivals, we perceive that Mr. Peck, the artist, has arrived from Hobart Town. It is said that Mr. Peck intends to open his school of arts at the house occupied by Mrs. Williamson, at the corner of Hunter and Phillip-streets. Mr P. has been eminently successful in his panoramic sketches, and especially in his models, which are well worthy the attention of the curious.

"The Theatre", The Australian (8 May 1838), 3

It cannot be denied that in the present new theatre the drama itself assumes a more legitimate and invigorated form than that in which it had been previously presented to us ... The orchestra has received an almost invaluable addition in the services of Mr Peck, the violinist, from Hobart Town; his taste and talent as a musician, place him in very near proximity to Mr Wallace, and to those who have heard the latter gentleman, this cursory notice of Mr P. will be sufficient to place him in the rank he is qualified to hold; indeed it were injustice to each and every one of the orchestra not to say, that as a body, their labours are most effective.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor (14 September 1838), 3

Royal Victoria Theatre. PITT STREET. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15. MR. G. PECK HAS to apprise his Friends and the Public in general; that his first BENEFIT in this Colony takes place on the above Evening, and trusts that his humble efforts in his Department may give him confidence in soliciting and ensuring the support of all the Patrons of the Drama and Music. As he is but partially known, he relies upon the acknowledged merit and celebrity of the Pieces he has chosen; and presumes to hope, that the circumstance of his producing the first REAL OPERA, will be met with that encouragement, which it will always be his pride to merit. The Performance will commence with the celebrated Grand Operatic Legendary Drama, with the original Music, by CARL MARIA VON WEBER, in three Acts, entitled DER FREISCHUTZ: OR, THE SEVENTH CHARMED BULLET. Caspar - Mr. Lazar; Rodolph - Mr. Peck - His first appearance on the Stage. Zamiel (Demon Huntsman) - Mr. Lee; Agnes, Daughter of Kuno - Mrs. Clarke; Ann, her Cousen - Mrs. Taylor ...

"THE VICTORIA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 September 1838), 2

Mr. Peck's benefit, on Saturday evening, was well attended to witness the first attempt in this Colony at performing an opera. It is not our custom, neither would it be fair, to criticise the performances on benefit nights, but we may state that, making ample allowances for the disadvantages under which Mr. Peck labored; in bringing out an opera like DER FREISCHUTZ, and the want of necessary machinery, so essential to the successful reception of such a piece, we think Mr. Peck's attempt creditable to himself and to the Colony. We must remark, however, that Mr. Peck's playing the character of Rodolph while Simmons was to be had, was in the worst possible taste, and tended more to spoil the effect of the play than anything else. Mr. P. is no singer, and a worse actor, although a good musician. The music was excellent, and the choruses very fairly executed ...

"DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Herald (19 September 1838), 2

... The opera of Der Freischutz (though "got up" for a benefit - that of Mr. Peck) has, all things considered, been produced in a very creditable manner. With respect to plot, this piece is a rich specimen of outrageous denouement; but it is well worth a long walk to listen to the beautiful, wild music of Weber, which is performed, even in the Sydney theatre, in a very creditable style. We could not help admiring the manner in which Mr. Deane (but let not Mr. Wallace's delightful flute be forgotten) led the orchestra through the intricate mazes of some of the most extraordinary music ever composed. Mr. Peck's (Rodolph) voice is thin and inharmonious; but these natural imperfections arc greatly relieved by the musical science which he brings to his aid. The grand scena in the second act, by Mrs. Clarke, surpassed any musical display ever heard on the Sydney stage. It is extremely difficult, and requires powers of no ordinary degree to compass. We need hardly add that it was greatly applauded. Caspar is a part suited to Mr. Lazar, and he was successful both in the acting and the music.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (20 September 1838), 3

... For the Benefit of Mr. J. P. Deane, Leader of the Orchestra, and his Four Sons ... Saturday next, the 22nd inst. DER FREISCHUTZ ... Rodolph - Mr. Peck ...

[News], The Australian (11 October 1838), 3

The Inhabitants of Maitland experienced much gratification from the first Theatrical performance which has taken place in that rising Town, on the evening of the 8th instant. The spirited manner in which Mrs Cameron enacted her part, met with much applause - Mr Peck's Solo on the Violin was performed with taste and feeling, and received the encouragement it deserved ...

"MODEL OF HOBART TOWN", The Sydney Monitor (14 January 1839), 1s

[News], The Australian (22 January 1839), 2

The Farlie will proceed to Hobart Town during the day; by this vessel, Mr Peck, the ex-leader of the Victoria Theatre, an ex-reporter to the Monitor, and an ex-performer, proceed to the sister colony.

Hobart (30 January to 27 April 1839)

"Shipping Intelligence", Colonial Times (5 February 1839), 4

"CONCERT", Colonial Times (12 February 1839), 6

Mr. Peck, the violinist, who has lately returned from Sydney, contemplates getting up a concert in the theatre, which has been kindly offered by Mr. Moses, of the St. John's Tavern, for that purpose. Mr. Peck is gradually gathering around him, professors and amateurs, of vocal and instrumental music, so that the affair may be expected to come off with eclat. Really something is wanting to give a fillip to the dull monotony of the times.

"The Intended Concert", Colonial Times (5 March 1839), 4

"Shipping Intelligence", Colonial Times (30 April 1839), 4

April 27. - Sailed the schooner Susannah Anne ... for Sydney. Passengers- Mr. George Peck ...

Sydney (May to December 1839)

[Letter], "To the Editor", Colonial Times (14 May 1839), 6

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (8 June 1839), 3

Royal Victoria Theatre, LOTS OF FUN, ON MONDAY, JUNE 10, 1839 ... The Evening's Entertainments to commence with the Pantomime, or a Tale of Enchantment, entitled THE FAIRY KING; OR, HARLEQUIN THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR ... The business of the Pantomime is made up with many Decorations never before attempted, also a fine specimen of Anatomical Figures, by Mr. Shribbs. Cashier Exibitor, and principal Cat-gut-scraper to the Model of Hobart Town in large letters, Mr. Shribbs ... Scene l8 - Grand Exhibition and MODEL OF HOBART TOWN, with a new scene on a large scale, painted expressly for the purpose ...

"THE MUSICAL WORLD", The Colonist (25 September 1839), 2

We understand ... that Mr. Peck, one of the leading orchestra musicians of the Victoria theatre, will soon be setting out for England to exhibit his model of Hobart Town there, and that he intends before his departure to get up a farewell Concert. The lovers of music know and appreciate Mr. Peck's talents as a musician, and will no doubt testify their good wishes for his welfare ...

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", The Sydney Herald (7 October 1839), 1 Supplement

We derived great pleasure from our attendance at this concert. Being familiar with such performances "at home," we may venture an opinion, and state that the arrangement, (especially of the orchestra), of Mr. Peck's concert surpassed any thing of the kind which has hitherto been seen in the Colony ... It is not our purpose to catalogue the performances - but it would be unjust in making mention at all of the concert to omit special notice of the duet "harp and violin," by Mrs. Curtis and Mr. Peck. It was the most elegant - the most drawing-room-like of any performance we have ever heard in the Colony. There was no particular display about it - but there was an immensity of refinement. It was elegant - it was (yes we will use the word) it was classical. Hearing it, you forgot that you were in a public concert-room, to which all might obtain admittance who paid at the door, - you felt as if carried back upon the wings of memory - while memory called up the "light of other days," to your home. It was, certainly, the most elegant performance of the evening. Until this concert, Mr. Peck has never had a fair trial as a violinist. He is a beautiful player - he has a great command of the instrument - he produces tones rich and true. With the utmost attention we could not detect a false note. His playing was "true as the needle to the pole." He is equal to Wallace. He played the air "Hope told a flattering tale," (nel cor piu) beautifully; and the tricks (that's the word) which he played in the variations must have been as surprising to the uninitiated, as they were laughable to the amateur performer. We heard one gentleman - evidently a matter-of-fact man - ask another whether the player did not intend to burlesque the music! ...

[Advertisement], The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (8 November 1839), 3

[Advertisement], The Colonist (16 November 1839), 4

To Musical Amateurs, or Others requiring a first-rate Violin. MR. PECK will be happy to treat with any Gentleman requiring a really superior Violin, he being about leaving, is desirous of disposing of his favourite Instrument, which for purity and brilliancy of tone, has rarely been equalled. The above may be seen, and Terms known, by applying to Mr. Barlow or Mr. Peck, No. 3, Colonade, Bridge-street. N. B. This is an opportunity which seldom occurs for securing an instrument of acknowledged excellence, at a very moderate price.

"DEPARTURES", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (4 December 1839), 3

England (1840- ? c.1851)

"MR. G. PECK'S MAGNIFICENT MODEL OF HOBART TOWN . . .": advertising bill, Gallery of the Society of British Artists, London, [1840]; State Library of New South Wales; [Collection of 19th century theatre playbills . . . many with Australian themes . . . [also] for exhibitions and lectures, mostly relating to Australia] (COLLECTION) (DIGITISED IMAGE)

"MODEL OF HOBART TOWN, ETC.", The Literary Gazette 24 (29 August 1840), 566

AN exhibition of this model, just opened in the Suffolk Street Gallery, offers a new subject of interest among the sights of London. It is more than 1000 square feet in extent, and on the scale of 20 feet to an inch; so that every object is not only distinctly indicated, but represented. The streets at right angles, the public buildings, the country around; the rivers, with wharfs; high grounds, with windmills; and mountains covered with snow, are all laid down with the most accurate minuteness; so that that the spectator acquires at a glance a perfect idea of the place and its environs. Mr. G. Peck, who has executed this really extraordinary work, is, we believe, a native of Hull, but spent several years in Australia, and must have given most of that time to the execution of this task. We have read many a volume on the colony, and, what is more, we have reviewed them; but we can safely say, that we never obtained so satisfactory an idea of it as by an hour's visit to this Exhibition. Were we thinking of emigration, we should examine it very carefully. After all, it does not look so tempting as the Company advertisements, prospectuses, &c. &c., make out. The fields are greenish, no doubt, and the water clear; but there is no richness of hedgerow, exuberance of vegetation, grandeur of forest scenery. The trees are not pleasing, and they look scattering and unsocial. In short, we in dear old England must see that it is another land. In addition to the model, there are two moving panoramic views of Sydney and of the environs of Hobart Town; and these are well worth notice, as tending to complete the idea which the whole combined together afford of this very important and rapidly rising new world.

[Advertisement], Old England and Gardeners' Journal (5 September 1840), 1 (pictured below)

"SHIP NEWS", The Sydney Herald (6 October 1840), 2 

We have been favoured by Messrs. Halliday and Dowseley of Pernambuco [Brazil] with the following list of vessels connected with these Colonies ... April 7th, Bardaster, 126 days, from Sydney - since arrived home ...

"Ship News", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (6 October 1840), 2 

The Bardaster from this port, arrived off Margate on the 30th of May.

[News], The Australian (21 January 1841), 2

"BURTON AGNES CHURCH", The Antiquarian and Architectural Yearbook for 1844 (London: Newby, 1845), 361

... Stalls are placed in the chancel; they are of oak, finely carved by Mr. G. Peck, of Saville street, Hull ...

"RESTORATION OF HOLY TRINITY CHURCH AT HULL", London Morning Post (24 November 1845), 3

The whole of the nave is now fitted up with oak stalls, beautifully enriched with poppy heads, carved in a very superior manner by George Peck, of this town. Most of them are executed from casts of ecisting models in Lincoln Cathedral, taken by Mr. Keyworth, sculptor, the Yorkshire Architectural Society's modeller.

"RESTORATION OF HOLY TRINITY CHURCH", Hull Advertiser (5 December 1845), quoted in Lake 2003, 134

Although we speak of this church as restored, it must be borne in mind that the interior of the nave only has been rescued from misarrangement, mutilation, and progressive decay; and restored to good order and decent splendour ... For some distance eastward of the font, the seats, or stalls, run transverse; so that the standards of solid oak (no other timber having been permitted to be used in the work) with elegantly carved 'poppy heads' from designs at York and Lincoln Minsters, executed by Mr. Peck, of this town, abut upon the aisles.

[Advertisement], Stephenson's Directory of Kingston upon Hull and its environs, 1848; quoted in Lake 2003, 134


San Francisco (c.1851-52)

[Advertisement], Daily Alta California (12 September 1851), 3

PARKER HOUSE, PLAZA. These highly favorite and popular artists, Messrs. PECK and McKORKELL, Violinist and Pianist, are engaged, and will perform every evening, at the Parker House Saloon. Admission Free. The Sunday Evening Concerts under their direction will be continued as soon as the Grand Assembly Room above is finished.

[Advertisement], Daily Alta California (12 January 1852), 2

GRAND PIANO FORTE, FROM the celebrated house of Collard & Collard, London ... This Magnificent Piano - valued at $1000 - is to be disposed of by Raffle, in fifty shares of $20 each ... Apply to Mr. PECK, Violinist, ATWILL'S Music Store, Plaza.

[Advertisement], Daily Alta California (22 February 1852), 3

"MADAME BISCACCIANTI'S FIFTH GRAND CONCERT", Daily Alta California (1 April 1852), 2

... Monsieur G. Coulon made his second appearance, and sang two selections from popular operas. That from Le Philtre was admirably performed, and won much applause. A Quartette from Semiramide was executed by Mr. Peck, on the violin, Mr. Ehrich on the violoncello, and Messrs. McKorkell and Loder on the piano ...

"MUSIC", Daily Alta California (17 April 1852), 2

We have received from Messrs. Atwill & Co. several songs, quadrilles, &c, among which are Jenny Lind's "Greeting to America," "The Bayadere," "Love's Twilight Star." "The Old Pine Tree," "Lament of the Irish Emigrant," "Casta Diva," Schubert's celebrated serenade for the guitar, the "Musical Casket," and the "San Francisco Quadrilles," "arranged from the most favorite negro melodies, including 'The Old Folks at Home,' and dedicated to the ladies of Sea Francisco, by their sincere admirer, George Peck." These last are lithographed by Mr. B. F. Butler, of this city, and are ornamented with a beautiful vignette title.

[Advertisement], Daily Alta California (7 May 1852), 3

PROMENADE CONCERTS A LA JULIEN [sic]. Messrs. SIMONSEN & PECK have the pleasure to announce that their first Promenade Concert having been completely successful, they will give their second concert on SUNDAY EVENING next, May 9, at the elegant Saloon of the ARCADE, Commercial and Clay streets, on which occasion, with considerable addition to their force, they will perform a selection of the most beautiful classic and lively music; interspersed with songs, solos and a variety of new musical effect, never before heard in this country. The orchestration will consist of the following, viz: Mr. SIMONSEN, the astonishing Violinist; Two Piano Fortes, played by those esteemed artists, Messrs. LINDEN and McKORKELL; Mr. EHRICH, the favorite Violincellist; Mr. PECK, the admirable Violinist ... [Programme - Part 1 - final item] San Francisco Quadrilles (first time). Peck.

Melbourne (1853-58)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Argus (21 April 1853), 4

[Advertisement], The Argus (6 May 1853), 3

GEO. PECK, Carver, late of Hull. - Leave your old friend, G. Morgan, your address, at the Shepherds' Arms, Collingwood, before Monday next, as I am going out of town.

[Advertisement], The Argus (2 June 1853), 6

MUSIC AND MUSICAL TUITION. GEORGE PECK, violinist and Professor of Music, from London, pupil of Thirlwall and latterly of the celebrated Sivori, formerly leader of the orchestra of the Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney, theatres and concerts Hobart Town and Launceston, and member of many musical societies, begs leave to announce to his old friends and patrons in the Colony, and the public of Victoria, his arrival in Melbourne, and his intention of establishing himself as a teacher of the Violin, Concertina, Guitar, etc.; also to undertake the management or leading of concerts or orchestra for theatres, or other public entertainments where music is required, or to perform his popular solos on the violin. George Peck is now making arrangements for his FIRST GRAND OPENING CONCERT, Which he hopes to produce in a style hitherto unapproached in Melbourne, and will be happy to receive communications from any lady or gentleman of really superior vocal or instrumental abilities, wishing for a favorable opportunity of making their debut; address GEO. PECK, No. 117, Swanston-street, Dr. Ford's cottage, two doors north of Great Bourke-street.

[Advertisement], The Argus (30 August 1853), 3

A CARD - George Peck. Professional Violinist and Pianoforte Tuner. Peck's Music Warehouse, 117, Swanston street.

[Advertisement], The Argus (23 December 1854), 8

GRAND OPENING of the Lower Saloons and Superb Entrance Hall to the New Theatre Royal, Bourke-street east. The above premises will be opened to the public on Saturday, December 23rd, with a scries of Grand Operatic and Classic Concerts, when the Lower Saloon and Entrance Hall will be opened as a Promenade Concert Room. The following artistes have been engaged for the occasion: Mrs. Hancock, Miss Octavia Hamilton, Miss Minnie Clifford (the extraordinary infant performer on the pianoforte), Miss Stewart (pupil or Miss Dolby), Mons. Emile Coulon (the able coadjutor of Miss Catherine Hayes), Mr. George Clifford (from the Royal Academy, Italian and English Opera, Drury-lane), Mr. George Peck (the favorite English violinist), And Mr. Hackett. Mons. Bial, Pianist and Accompanyist ... [program includes] Fantasia (violin) on the favorite German song, "When the Swallows Homeward Fly," with original Introduction, variations, and finale, composed and executed by Mr. George Peck ...

Peck 1854, 123-34 [George Washington Peck, reporting on his visit to Melbourne in 1853]

There are some very good concerts in Melbourne. The advertisement of one in a paper before me, opens with the first movement of Beethoven's second symphony, followed by airs from Masaniello and Lucia, second part Zampa, Adelaide, ballads, and God save the Queen. There are not wanting good violinists, and the wind instruments from the band of the fortieth regiment, are as respectable as those in most of our orchestras. At the theatre was a German double bass player, whom I had known in Boston. Some time in June, a solo violinist arrived, whose name was like my own, and my few American friends began to fancy from his advertisement, that I was about to make my debut, a step higher in that branch of art, than I ever reached. I called on my namesake, found him to be from London, and about commencing business as a dealer in music, and instruments; he was amused at the coincidence of name, and what was most singular, had found near him still another namesake, a stranger to him also, as both were to me, so that there were almost a bushel of us. We called upon the third Richmond, and said "when shall we three meet again!" My artist double furnished me with the arms of the family; according to the authorities, we go back to a knight who fought in the Holy Land, and the effigies of some of our ancestors may still be seen in churches in Derby and Lincolnshire. The name is in Shakspeare, where its possessor is attached for high treason - a gentlemanlike sort of crime. In old Massachusetts I am the fourth from the same root, and trace right back to Plymouth and 1638 - more than two centuries. And I intend to shed such lustre on the name that with me shall commence for it a new era; the next ages shall date from me instead of the crusader!

[Advertisement], The Argus (14 February 1855), 8

PROMENADE CONCERTS a la Julien [Jullien] - The first Concert will take place this Evening at the new Music Hall, corner of Napier-street, Collingwood. Principal Performers, Mrs. C. Weston, (pupil of Miss. Louisa Pyne), Mons. Emile de Granville, Mr. George Peck, Solo Violin, Herr Richty, Leader and Violino Primo. A full and complete Orchestra of solo performers. Pianoforte and Organ Expressive, Mr. A. Oakey. Commence at eight precisely. Promenade, one shilling; reserved seats, half-a-crown.

"THE DISTRICT", Ovens and Murray Advertiser (28 April 1855), 4

We have nothing new to communicate concerning Reid's Creek or the Buckland, want of water being the cry as elsewhere; and we no doubt but that the rain, of which we here have had a rather plentiful supply during the past week, will be very gratefully received. On the evening of Tuesday last, after threatening all day, the rain commenced falling, and continued almost without intermission throughout the night, and up to noon of the following day. The night was very boisterous, the wind coming at times in heavy gusts, which was severely felt at Snake Valley, laying, as it does, considerably higher than this, several of the tents being completely levelled. Many of the old canvas houses about the township (Beechworth) lost their upper roofs, or flys, and the inmates of a restaurant in High street were most unceremoniously ousted from their winter quarters by the forcible intrusion of both wind and water, the roof having been entirely blown away. Thursday proved fine, but again yesterday the rain has been pouring in torrents almost incessantly. A grand vocal and instrumental concert was to take place yesterday evening, at the Salle de Valentino, but has been postponed until Tuesday evening, owing to the inclemency of the weather. We have really some excellent musical artistes now at Beechworth, an addition having been made to their number during the past week, by the arrival of Messrs. Peck and Saqui, the former a violinist of some celebrity; and we anticipate a great treat at their first concert. The health of the district still continues good.

"GOLD FIELDS OF THE OVENS DISTRICT", Portland Guardian (7 May 1855), 3

"MR. PECK'S ART UNION", The Argus (3 July 1855), 5

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser (7 February 1856), 3

THEATRE ROYAL. Geelong. Manager, Mr James Simmonds. Leader of the Orchestra, Mr Peck ...

[Advertisement], The Argus (27 October 1856), 3

[Advertisement], The Argus (20 April 1857), 8

TILKE'S CITY CONCERT HALL. - Mr. Peck, the Australian Paganini, nightly, on a Violin with one string.

"THE FIRST VICTORIAN ART-UNION", The Argus (15 May 1857), 6

"BENDIGO ART UNION", The Argus (15 July 1857), 6

We were yesterday favored with a private view of a very spirited collection of water color drawings, executed from nature by Mr. George Rowe. They are illustrative of several well-known localities on the diggings, in the districts of Bendigo, Castlemaine, and Forest Creek, and are to be disposed of by a lottery, conducted on the same principle as the Art Union of London ... The selection is on view daily at No. 164 Bourke-street east, in a room together with a number of meritorious casts and designs in wood carving from the atelier of Mr. G. Peck, a gentleman already favorably known to the patrons of art in this city ...

"SOUVENIR ART UNION CONCERT", The Argus (6 November 1857), 4

Tasmania (1858)

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (18 February 1858), 3

[Advertisement], The Courier (30 June 1858), 3

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (1 July 1858), 3

Mr. Peck, the Violinist, having returned to the colony has announced a Concert to take place this evening, (and not on Thursday next,) at the Ball Room at the old Government House, which has been kindly appropriated by his Excellency for this purpose. Many of the old colonists will remember the skill, taste and ability formerly evinced by Mr. Peck, and it is but fair to presume, that his visit to Europe has added to his qualifications by the advantages derived from an association with the most celebrated artists of the day. Be this as it may, the musical public, we think, may anticipate a treat of no ordinary character from an entertainment, to which all the available talent in Hobart Town will contribute its valuable aid and co-operation. We may add, that Mr. Peck has been the leader of the orchestra at the Theatre Royal during the engagement of Mr. G. V. Brooke.

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", The Courier (2 July 1858), 3

The want of publicity, only one day's notice having been given of Mr. Peck's intention to give a concert at the Ball Room, Old Government House, must be taken as the cause of the exceedingly scanty attendance last evening. In accordance, however, with the wishes of those who were present, the programme was gone through, and, with some exceptions, gave general satisfaction.

Sydney (1858-63)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (2 October 1858), 7

NEW MUSIC. - Preparing for publication. The Bonnie Hills of Scotland, as sung by Miss Matthews at the Prince of Wales Theatre; accompaniment arranged by Mr. Peck ... The Fitzroy Gold Diggings, a new original comic medley song, written and sung by Mr. G. R. Thatcher, of Victoria, at the Prince of Wales Theatre; the music arranged by Mr. George Peck, leader of the orchestra. J. R. CLARKE, music publisher, Sydney.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 November 1858), 12

GRAND OPENING BALL, at the ROTUNDA. South Head Road, on TUESDAY next, November 16th - Splendour and liberality unprecedented. - Every purchaser of a double ticket will be presented with a matchless portrait gratis. GEORGE PECK, manager.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 November 1858), 1

ROTUNDA and GARDENS, lately known as Smith and Son's Casino, South Head Road, corner of Riley Street. Messrs. PECK and JONES beg to announce that they have taken the above magnificent premises, and intend to open them with a Novelty Ball, fancy and full dress, on TUESDAY next, November 16th, when, for this night only, Messrs. P. and J. will introduce the extraordinary and unprecedented novelty of presenting (gratis) to each purchaser of a double ticket a perfectly beautiful half guinea Portrait of himself or friend, executed in the very highest style of art, by Mr. Bradley, an eminent London photographist. The Styermarkische Musical Company will [make] their first appearance in full costume, assisted by several English professors, forming a splendid grand Orchestra de Bal, under the direction of Mr. GEORGE PECK, late leader and musical director of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Sydney, and formerly manager of the celebrated Promenade Concerts at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, and many Theatres in Victoria, England, and America. Dancing to commence at 9 o'clock ...

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (29 December 1858), 1

NEW YEAR'S EVE - Grand Plain and Fancy Dress BALL at the Rotunda, South Head Road, for the benefit of Madame Peck, M.C. Tickets 2s. 6d. each, without distinction, for this night only. Dancing to commence at 9. Several elegant fancy dresses for hire, apply early.

[Advertisement], Empire (4 July 1859), 6

SYDNEY UNIVERSITY MUSICAL FESTIVAL, On THUESDAY, July 19th, and THREE FOLLOWING DAYS, a series of GRAND MUSICAL PERFORMANCE Will be held to celebrate the opening of the HALL of the Sydney University in which the performances will take place ... CONDUCTOR - Mr. L. H. LAVENU ... FIRST VIOLINS, Mr. John Deane ... Mr. Eigenschenck ... Mr. Alfred Usher, Mr. Charles Smith, Mr. Richard Herz, Mr. J. Davis, with gentlemen amateurs of the Philharmonic Society. SECOND VIOLINS. Mr. George Peck, Mr. Adolphe Grebet, Mr. John Thomas Hall, with gentlemen amateurs of the Philharmonic Society ...

[News], Empire (8 December 1859), 8

In private musical circles, a new song has, within the last few days, been favourably spoken of. It is entitled "Silent Tears," composed by Mr. George Peck, a musician of considerable merit, whose "Australian Masonic Waltzes" we took a recent opportunity of noticing. The melody is pleasing and appropriate to the text, modulations being effectively thrown in: it is in the key of F, and, commencing in C, ranges from the lower C to E, ending on the key note. The song, which is dedicated by permission to Lady Stephen, is written by a young native poet, Mr. H. Kendall, N.A.P., (we are puzzled as to the signification of the mystic letters - if we read them correctly, it would be more unassuming to omit them!); in the first edition, numerous typographical errors perverted the sense of the text; as these have now been corrected, and the lines really possess merit, we copy them for the benefit of our poetical readers [prints words].

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (31 March 1859), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (9 January 1860), 8

MUSICAL - Superior ORCHESTRA, consisting of first and second violins, alto, violoncello, double bass, first and second cornets, clarionets, piccolo, flute, drums, &c twelve efficient musicians, more or less, now OPEN to an ENGAGEMENT. Apply to GEORGE PECK, music repository, 13, Park-street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (21 March 1860), 8

MUSIC LESSONS. - Violin, Pianoforte, Flute, Concertina, Flutina, Violoncello, &c, by Mr. PECK, and efficient assistants. *** In answer to those ladies and gentlemen who have made inquiry, I beg to state that I intend to recommence Evening LESSONS immediately for the winter season; and shall feel obliged by an early call at No 13, Park-street, to make the necessary arrangements. N.B. Lessons may be had separately or in classes. GEORGE PECK, professor and teacher, pupil of Sivori, Dr. Camidge, and John Thirwall, senior. Music Repository. 13, Park-street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (7 April 1860), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (4 July 1860), 10

"THE AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL BOUQUET", The Sydney Morning Herald (1 October 1860), 5

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (8 December 1860), 12

PECK'S AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL BOUQUET. New number now ready for delivery, at 387, George street, nearly opposite the Royal, price 1s. 6d.
1. Riflemen Form; a stirring melody. Words by Tennyson, music by R. G., Esq.
2. Wait for the Waggon.
3. Banjo Waltz; a new set by the editor.
4. Choice Extracts from the Prelude to Traviata.
Full music size, beautifully engraved and printed on fine paper.
N.B. Ten shilling's worth of superior music for 1s. 6d.
Encourage colonial industry and enterprise. GEORGE PECK, sole proprietor, editor, and publisher, Music Repository, 387, George-street, late 13, Park street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (26 April 1861), 8 

NOTICE. - Will be ready in a few days - dedicated to all the people of Israel in Australia - The Jewish Captive's Song, the poetry by H. Moss, Esq., Mayor of Shoalhaven. The air transcribed from a choice Hebrew melody, with an original recitative, symphonies, and accompaniments, composed and arranged by George Peck, late leader of the orchestra, Prince of Wales Theatre, &c, &c, now of 387, George-street, where the above song will be published. Price 3s.; subscriber's copies, 2s. 6d.

[Advertisement], Empire (22 March 1862), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 December 1862), 1

[News], Freeman's Journal (13 December 1862), 2

A concert is about to take place at the Masonic Hall, on Wednesday evening, which from the excellence of its programme and from the beneficiaire, Mr. G. Peck having secured the services of all the available talent in Sydney, promises to be one of peculiar attractiveness. The orchestra will consist of upwards of fifty performers, and among other pieces by composers of the first class will play Cherubini's grand overture to Anacreon, a composition which has never yet been attempted in this colony. Master Felix Peck of whom report speaks in high terms will also make his debut as a solo violinist, and play a fantasia by Mr. G. Peck ...

[Advertisement], Empire (17 December 1862), 1

"MR. PECK'S CONCERT", Empire (17 December 1862), 5

The entertainment to be given at the Masonic Hall this evening is the first given by this gentleman for many years, and is remarkable as an evidence of the respect entertained for this musician by all classes of the profession, nearly all of its members uniting (it may be said for the first time) in the most powerful orchestras heard in Sydney since the University Musical Festival, consisting of nearly sixty performers, including names of the highest standing in Sydney, as Callen, the brothers Deane, Stanley, Moore, Cordner, &c. Mr. Peck has not stood prominently before the public as a solo performer, but has gained hosts of friends by his conciliatory and unobtrusive manner, as well as by his upright and steady career. As an orchestral leader, too, Mr. Peck is most meritorious, and an orchestra may always rely on him. Twenty-two years ago he introduced into Sydney the first opera, "Der Freischütz," and left his place in the orchestra to take the part of Rudolph. In those days, even, the usual theatre orchestra was stronger than in modern opera times; it numbered at least sixteen instruments. Deane, the father of the present fraternal quartet of musicians, was conductor. There were, also, Wallace, the brother of the composer; Leggatt, a noted oboist; Curtis, the violincellist, and other well-known names, and the pick of the military band. After many years of travel in foreign climes, Mr. Peck returned with his family to this colony, and has been engaged in music publishing, teaching, conducting orchestras, and otherwise furthering the advancement of the art. We trust that this concert may be the means of uniting in the service of the art the musicians who will assemble round Mr.Peck this evening. Much good might then be done. A young son of Mr.Peck will make his debut as a violinist; in addition, Madame Jaffa, the representative of classical music in this city (excepting only Boulanger), will play Weber's elegant "Concert-Stuck"; Mesdames Sara Flower and Flora Harris will contribute choice morceaux; and these, with the low prices of admission to the concert, will ensure a crowded hall on the occasion.

"CONCERT IN THE MASONIC HALL", The Sydney Morning Herald (18 December 1862), 7

Mr. Peck's grand concert of vocal and instrumental music came off successfully in the Masonic Hall yesterday evening. The audience was a very numerous one, the large hall being well filled in every part. The first part of the concert consisted of classic music, and embraced a selection from several of the great masters. A feature in this part of the programme was the debut of Master Felix Peck as a violinist. His playing was very generally admired, and he was rewarded with an unanimous encore. A grand solo by Madame Jaffa, on the pianoforte, gave great satisfaction, and an encore was rapturously demanded. The second part consisted of popular music, and here Madame Flora Harris was heard to great advantage in the song "The Merry Zingara;" "Katey's Letter," as given by Madame Sara Flower was received with all the enthusiasm usually bestowed upon it, and upon the efforts of this eminent artiste. The orchestra was highly efficient, while Mr. Bridson at the pianoforte, and Mr. Cordner at the organ left nothing to be desired. We scarcely need add that the entertainment was successful beyond anticipation.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 August 1863), 8

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (14 August 1863), 7

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (26 September 1863), 1

PECK - September 20th, at ten minutes past one a.m., Mr. George Peck, violinist and professor of music, pupil of Mr. John Thirwall and C. Sevori [Sivori], youngest and eighth son of Mr. Thomas Peck, merchant, of Hull, England. His end was peace. He died greatly esteemed and respected by all who knew him, aged 52 years.

After 1863

Lake 2003, 155 (quotes Society of Australian Genealogists, Camperdown Cemetery, inscriptions B/241, No. 173:

Erected by ROBERT SHOOBRIDGE / In Memory of / GEORGE PECK / for sometime leader of the / Princess Royal [recte Prince of Wales] Theatre Sydney / Died 20th September 1863 / aged 53 years / "Rest for the weary".

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 February 1864), 9

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (27 August 1864), 8

"MARRIAGE", Empire (29 August 1864), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (7 October 1864), 1

"ST. JOHN'S YOUNG MEN'S SOCIETY", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 October 1864), 4

A complimentary benefit was given by the members of St. John's Young Men's Society, to their musical director, Mr. Felix Peck, at St. John's Schoolroom, Darlinghurst, yesterday evening. There was a large and well pleased audience. The programme provided consisted of a great variety of songs, recitations, and pieces of music - in the rendering of many of which a fair amount of ability was displayed. The entertainment was concluded with a laughable dramatic sketch entitled "Furnished apartments."

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (19 November 1864), 12

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (3 December 1864), 12

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (22 December 1864), 8

"CITY AND SUBURBAN IMPROVEMENTS", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 July 1868), 6

"Deaths", The Sydney Morning Herald (4 November 1882), 1

Henry Peck, letter to his niece Corinna Peck, 11 December 1885; copy in possession of family (courtesy June Burges, George Peck's great-great-granddaughter, and Robyn Lake)

Hull, Dec. 11th 1885
Dear Corrie,
You ask me to give you a theme or story for either prose or poetry. The best I can think would be your sister Rosey's life, which has many highly romantic incidents attached to it, such as the following, beginning with your Father born a genius of the common order, by assiduity and excessive practice he achieved much success as a Musician, (A). He left his native land for Tasmania (B), got married there, (C) dissipated all his means by a speculation in a Model Panorama (D) which would not take in England. Rose being born on board ship on passage home. After some years in his native land (E) he set out again for San Francisco (F), leaving his Wife & family to his relations who being in narow circumstances, sent Rose to a cheap boarding school (G), afterwards she went out as Governess to a large farmer at Driffield, there she had to shelter her young charges from the violence of their Father, who in wet weather used to sweaf, if it interfered with harvest operations. After leaving this situation Rose came home, (H) got engaged to a young man who was lost on board a Steamer with all hands, terrible interview with the young man's Mother, a widow, could not settle in England, so set out by herself for Australia - got married there (I), and has now alarge & thriving family, more than she knows what to do with.

Notes by Michael Charles Peck, 13 May 1913
A A violinist & pupil of the famous Paganini
B Left home for Van Diemen's Land 3 March 1833
C to Sophia Winifred Wilkins
D this was a wonderful Model of Hobart Town, undertaken under the patronage of the Governor of the Colony ( ) Felix Peck has still a few of the little figures carved in wood, beautifully executed, illustrating the residents.
E date unknown
F date unknown, but he returned to Hull in Dec. 1852, and played at our Theatricals
G at Beverley.
H. in and resided for some years with uncle Mr. Thos Peck in Kingston St.
I Married Henry Clark at Sydney 1863
- Mr George Peck died at Sydney (Australia) 21 Sept 1863 aged 53

"Funerals", The Sydney Morning Herald (22 January 1921), 11 


Photograph of a model of John Knox House, Edinburgh, according to family tradition, made by George Peck "when a boy", though probably more likely c.1840s.


Rosetta Clarke (Peck), died NSW, 1921, aged 77

Musical works by George Peck

Published works

Click here to see all extant published works inside TROVE: 

KEY: Extant works (published or MS); Lost works (or no copy yet identified)

The San Francsico quadrilles (piano) (1852)

The San Francisco quadrilles, arranged from the most favourite negro melodies for the piano forte, Respectfully dedicated to the Ladies of California By Their Sincere Admirer, George Peck (San Francisco: Atwill & Co., [1852])

The bonnie hills of Scotland (song; voice and piano) (1858)

The bonnie hills of Scotland, as sung by Miss Matthews at the Prince of Wales Theatre; accompaniment arranged by Mr. Peck ([Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1858])

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; but see later editions below

The Fitzroy gold diggings (song; ? voice and piano) (1858)

The Fitzroy gold diggings, a new original comic medley song, written and sung by Mr. G. R. Thatcher, of Victoria, at the Prince of Wales Theatre; the music arranged by Mr. George Peck, leader of the orchestra ([Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1858])


The Australian masonic waltzes (piano) (1859)

The Australian masonic waltzes, fomposed and dedicated with fraternal regard to Sir Sam[ue]l Osbourne Gibbes, Bart ... By Brother George Peck, R.A.M. In this waltz are introduced the Entered apprentice song and the very popular airs "Willie we have missed you" [Spagnoletti] and "Ever of thee" (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1859])

Silent tears (song; voice and piano) (1859)

Silent tears, a song of affection, the words by H. Kendall (a native poet), the music composed by George Peck, leader & musical director to the Prince of Wales Theatre & dedicated with permission to Lady Stephen (Sydney: Published at Peck's Music Repository, [1859]) 

Sempre libera [Verdi] (song; voice and piano) (1860)

Sempre libera: Let me bask in every pleasure; the celebrated air in the ballet scene of Verdi's popular opera La traviata; sung with the greatest applause by Signoras [sic] Piccolomini & Bianchi in London and Sydney; transposed and arranged for the Australian Mus. Bouq. by G. Peck (Sydney: George Peck, 1860; in The Australian musical bouquet new series 1) 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot polka (piano) (1860)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot [Auld lang syne], polka, newly arranged for the pianoforte with vocal accompaniment by George Peck (Sydney: George Peck, 1860; in The Australian musical bouquet new series 1) 

The banjo waltzes (piano) (1860)

The banjo waltzes, founded on favourite Negro melodies, arranged by G. Peck (Sydney: George Peck, [1860] (in Peck's The Australian musical bouquet new series 3)

The Jewish captive's song (? voice and piano) (1861)

[The Jewish captive's song, the poetry by H. Moss, Esq., Mayor of Shoalhaven; the air transcribed from a choice Hebrew melody, with an original recitative, symphonies, and accompaniments, composed and arranged by George Peck, late leader of the orchestra, Prince of Wales Theatre, &c., &c.] ([Sydney: George Pack, 1861])

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; but the words survive separately, here:

"THE JEWISH CAPTIVE'S SONG", Empire (1 December 1860), 1 

The bonnie hills of Scotland (song; voice and piano) (? 1878; posthumous edition of lost 1858 original above)

Bonnie hills of Scotland, popular Scotch ballad, written by George Linley; symphonies and accompaniments by George Peck (Sydney Jas. Reading & Co., [? 1878])

The bonnie hills of Scotland (song; voice and piano) (? 1880s; posthumous edition of lost 1858 original above)

[Posthumous edition] Bonnie hills of Scotland, popular Scotch ballad, written by George Linley; symphonies and accompaniments by George Peck (Sydney: Sydney William Bullard, [? 1880s])

Bibliography and resources

George Washington Peck 1854, Melbourne, and the Chincha Islands . . ., 123-24 

"EARLY PIONEERS", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 January 1913), 12

[Camperdown Cemetery] ... There are some names familiar to those who have followed the history of music in this country. For instance "Nicholas Charles Bochsa, who died 6th January, 1856, aged 65. This monument erected in sincere devotedness by his faithful friend and pupil, Anna Bishop 'Never more shall float such music, none could sweep the lyre like he'." And alongside this is a stone "erected by Robert Shoobridge "In memory of George Peck, for some time leader of the orchestra at the Princess Royal Theatre, Sydney Died 20th Sept, 1863."

Brisbane 1991, 28 (but Peck, to the best of our knowledge, had not "claimed to be a pupil of ... Paganini"), 29, 35

Margaret Glover, George Henry Peck", in Kerr 1992, 612-13; revised online at DAAO

Neidorf 1999

Lake 2003

Lake 2006 [= UK reissue of Lake 2003]

Skinner 2011, First national music, 46, 47, 48, 52, 77-78, 101 note 257; 110, 149, 306 note 80, 439, 444, 546, 551, 554, 555, 557 (DIGITISED)

Margaret Glover, "George Henry Peck", DAAO, 2011 (from Kerr 1992)

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018