Pioneering Families of Australia



The inscription on the old gum tree at Glenelg reads "Under this tree, on the 28th December, 1836, the Colony of South Australia was proclaimed a British Dependency".  A mere 20 years later Frank Collingham Moore was born to George and Eliza (nee Gibbs) on 13th January, 1856.


Family lore has it that George Jackson Moore was a “soldier surveyor” on the staff of Colonel William Light but this is  incorrect as Colonel Light died in 1839.  Certainly though, the Royal Sappers & Miners were responsible for the survey work undertaken under the direction of Colonel Light and his successors.


Officers of the Royal Engineers were first sent to NSW and Van Diemen's Land in 1835. Small parties of Sappers & Miners were sent to WA in 1837, SA in 1839, Van Diemen's Land in 1852 and Vic in 1854 and were mainly engaged on surveying work. In 1854-1868 a party of Sappers and Miners were employed on special service with the Sydney Mint. The largest force was based in WA in 1850-1863, attached to the Convict Establishment, the officers eventually being transferred to the Public Works Dept. A company served in NZ in 1850-1867 and took a major part in the Maori Wars.  


Following the discovery of Gold in Victoria in 1850 it became necessary to build a more direct road from Adelaide to the goldfields in order for gold transports to have ease of access.  The young colony had virtually no coinage and currency in gold was permitted.  A small party of sappers were requested to build a serviceable road and ensure a well was dug every 12 miles.  The transport of gold  by road ceased in 1853, but it would seem plausible that the new road and bridge over the Murray River would have encouraged settlers further north and hence surveyors would have been required.  


George arrived with his wife Eliza (nee Gibbs) and two young children William 2 and Edwin 7 months on the immigrant ship the Sir Thomas Gresham in 1854.


The family is listed at the very end of the ship’s passenger list along with two other families and are bracketed with the description “sappers and miners”.  The 1851 British Census also describes George as “Private Royal Sappers & Miners...employed on Ordinance ….”


It would appear therefore that George and Eliza where not part of the ship’s cargo or emigrants,  but that George was specifically transferred as  a Royal Engineer and engaged in Survey work.


During the years 1856 to 1866 Eliza gave birth to 4 children in Adelaide, Frank, Charles, John & Eliza however it would appear Eliza did not survive her first year.  These three boys, together with their 2 older brothers  produced considerable offspring.


The first Australian born son was Frank Collingham in 1856.  Sands & McDougal Registers for the early 1900's list Frank as being resident at 5 Fashoda Street, Unley, and as publican at 401 King William Street, Adelaide.


The descendants of Frank Collingham Moore have  long been associated with Adelaide and until recently still owned the hotel which had been in the family for over 100 years.


Frank's hotel, originally called the Brecon Arms and later extended and renamed the Brecknock Hotel, stayed in the  Moore family until 2006.  Five generations of the Moore family have been born and raised there.


Hotels in Adelaide during the 1900's tended to be very much family businesses, with the hotels being passed down from generation to generation.


In addition to the Moore family, there were the Flanagan's,  who are distantly related, the Vaughton's who had the pub on the next corner and the Pierces.  Sadly this tradition is fading as younger generations seek alternate lifestyles and occupations.

old gum tree


Brecknock Hotel


The Brecknock is a heritage listed hotel wearing its150 year history with pride. From 1851,‘The Brecon Arms’ occupied the site, until it was rebuilt in 1922 and renamed ‘The Brecknock’. Five generations of the Moore family have been associated with the pub since it was purchased by Frank Collingham Moore just over 100 years ago


The Brecknock is recognised as the original Irish Pub in South Australia even though not a single family member bears any Irish blood!

Brecknock-1922-(2) Brecknock-1925

Brecknock Hotel 1925

Brecon Arms 1922

charles1_edited-1 frank1_edited-1

Charles Jospeh Moore,1888 - 1970

Frank Collingham Moore, 1856 - 1938


Brecknock Hotel 2000