Hugh Peck was from Cambridgeshire in England, and arrived on board the Great Britain in November 1852, the same voyage that brought, among others, Orlando Fenwick to Victoria. He had brought money with him and therefore was immediately able to open his own wholesale hay and corn store in Fitzroy, which was then regarded as being a long way from the city. In 1853 he wound up the hay and corn store and took up business as 'speculator, auctioneer, and house and land agent at 67 Little Collins Street. He later moved to offices over the Commercial Bank in Collins Street and then to his own premises in Queen Street,' (Gardner, p.10).
The first listing for a Hugh Peck, in a Melbourne Directory was 'Peck, Hugh, Provision Merchant, 300 Brunswick Street, Collingwood' in 1859. He was also listed at the same address in the the following year. In the directory for 1861 he was listed as a 'House and estate agent' both at the corner of Napier and Webb Streets Collingwood, and at 41 Collins Street West. This was two doors down from Moubray, Lush & Co., who issued tokens c.1855. During 1861 Peck advertised in The Argus a number of times. One advertisement read, 'Cowkeepers - wanted to sell, 2 or 3 acres GREEN OATS , Hugh Peck, 38 Bourk [sic] street west.' It seems that the frequent changes of address in his listings in Melbourne directories did not do justice to the frequency of his movements around town. Later in that year he was already at 6 Bourke Street, and advertising '[First word illegible, possibly 'FIRE' or 'FIBE'] Fitzroy Loan Company want to LEND all their surplus CASH. Hugh Peck, manager, 6 Bourke Street East.'
In 1862 he was listed at 6 Bourke Street East, but his tenure there was less than a year. During that year he issued tokens bearing the address 67 Collins Street East, but in 1863 and 1864 his listed address was 65 Little Collins Street East. In addition, he was listed as having a private residence in Richmond, and as the owner of the Richmond Hotel in Cremorne Street, Richmond. In 1865 he was listed at 67 Little Collins Street East; in 1866 - 1867, 28 Collins Street West; 1868 - 1870, 76 Queen Street. In the 1869 Sands and McDougall Directory, Peck took out a small advertisement that read 'Hugh Peck (established 1853) Freehold Home, Investment, and Building Offices. Houses and Land Bought, Sold, or Exchanged. Loans Negotiated. Estates Managed. 76 Queen Street.'
According to Gardner, during the land boom Peck was offered £40,000 for a block of land he owned in Queen Street but he held off and lost heavily in the bust. He died, aged 80 c.1904, survived by his wife, a son and five daughters. The two tokens struck for him were both manufactured by Thomas Stokes and were issued in 1862.
Gardner, F. (1912). Trade tokens and the firms who issued them, The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal, 31 May, p.10.
PROV internet index of Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria, 1852-1923.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens' in Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Vol. 7, December, pp.53-54.
Advertisement, The Argus, 26 November 1861, p.7.
Advertisement, The Argus, 9 December 1861, p.7.
Advertisement, Sands and McDougall's Melbourne Directory for 1869, advertisements p.55.
Hope, John (2005). 'Biography of Hugh Peck', unpublished MSS, 1pp.