In the early morning of Sunday, 19th February 1804, Lieutenant Governor David Collins and the Reverend Robert Knopwood stepped from a rowing boat onto the shore of Hunter Island, in a remote corner of Van Diemen’s Land. The beautiful, forested bay they had entered had for thousands of years been a traditional food gathering area for the indigenous Muwinina band of Tasmanian Aborigines. But the arrival of the two men on that hot summer’s morning marked a new era of change for the island—the settlement of Hobart.
Hunter Island was the ideal secure location for storing goods and supplies for the new settlement. A building and small wharf were soon built and the newly named Sullivan’s Cove became a station for military personnel, convicts and supply stores. The settlement grew rapidly, fed by thriving whaling and sealing industries and a steady supply of convict labour.
Development on Hunter Island quickly expanded. In 1820, a causeway was constructed to connect the island to the Tasmanian mainland. Factories, storehouses and dwellings emerged and over the next 15 years, the area experienced a huge turnover of businesses.
But in the 1830s, a severe depression hit the area hard. The whaling industry had collapsed, a new wharf had been constructed across the bay (at what is now Salamanca Place) and the Old Wharf and nearby Wapping residential area was gripped by poverty and misery. The rivulet that supplied Wapping with fresh water had become contaminated by pollution from factories and slaughterhouses. Disease was rampant, and the area was prone to flooding, adding to the wretchedness of the inhabitants. Slums proliferated and the buildings of Old Wharf fell into disrepair. The Old Wharf, with its brothels, taverns and nefarious activities, developed a reputation for wickedness.
But in 1869, businessman George Peacock moved his successful jam making business to newly acquired warehouses on Old Wharf—the best location in Hobart for exporting produce. Peacock Jams were in high demand, and the shrewd businessman had a vision and determination to expand his flourishing business.
At 12 years of age, Henry Jones presented himself for his first day of work at George Peacock’s jam factory – his first and only employer. From humble beginnings, working ten hours a day, six days a week, sticking labels to jam tins, Henry would rise through the ranks of the expanding Peacock empire to eventually take over the business that would one day bear his name—H. Jones and Co. Pty. Ltd. IXL Jams.