William Davidson Peacock


Apple label from WD Peacock's firm (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

William Davidson Peacock (18471921), fruit exporter. Born in Gloucestershire, Peacock emigrated to Hobart in 1869 and worked at his uncle's jam factory. In 1885 he was dismissed after refusing to manage a jam factory attached to a distillery, which offended his strong temperance principles. He established his own jam factory, and in 1895 entered the European fruit export trade. Peacock was a pioneer in guaranteeing full cargo space to induce European ships to take on fruit in Tasmanian ports. Previously, exporters had to ship export fruit to the mainland.

By 1898, Peacock and Henry Jones were sharing this high-risk strategy. Their companies dominated the Tasmanian fruit export industry. In 1910, Jones purchased a controlling share in Peacock's company, and on Peacock's retirement in 1919, Jones took over his company.

Further reading: B Brown, I excel!, Hobart, 1991; L Norman, Pioneer shipping of Tasmania, Hobart, 1938.

Bruce Brown