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National Trust of South Australia


Pegler, Thomas John (Constable)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1836
Place of birth England
Principal occupation Mounted Constable, Publican
Date of death 1883
Place of decease Alma Inn, Norwood

Thomas John Pegler served in the Mounted Police from October 4, 1859 to February 28, 1862.

Thomas John Pegler was born in England on 3 January 1836. We have little information on his life in England or when he came to South Australia. In 1858, however, he was recruited at Port Augusta to fill the place of H. Lewis, the cook in the Northern Expedition under Benjamin Babbage, which explored the land between Lake Gairdner and Lake Torrens and around Lake Eyre. As his occupation has been shown as a stockkeeper, he may have worked on the pastural stations in the area before this adventure.

He clearly returned to Adelaide, as he married Louise McLauchlan on 14 June 1859 at St Luke Church in Adelaide. On 4 October 1859, Thomas then joined the police force. He was stationed in Willunga by 21 March 1860, in time for his only daughter, Florence Eliza, to be born. While in Willunga, Thomas worked on cases with John Shaw, such as the disputed yoke taken by Richard Middlebrook and various thefts. In 1862, he suffered storm damage to the roof of his private lodgings, but was told by the Police Commissioner, rather unsympathetically, to move in with John Shaw.

His police career came to an ignominious end on February 28, 1862 as a result of the assassination of Inspector Richard Pettinger. Thomas was heard by John Shaw to make “injudicious” remarks about the death of Inspector Pettinger, Shaw reported Thomas to the Police Commissioner, and Thomas was summarily dismissed!

After leaving the police, and Willunga, Thomas became a publican. From 1863 to 1870, Thomas was the publican of the Brencknock Arms Hotel in Adelaide. Sadly, Louise died in December 1864, and he married Elizabeth Sarah Jones on 14 August 1865. Florence, however, was his only child. In 1871 he briefly took over the Mitcham Inn, Mitcham, but had opposition from the magistrates in charge of issuing licences due to " In sufficient accommodation, proximity to piggery and slaughteryard.” (Observer, 17/6/1871, p. 11). The licence was granted after Thomas promised to remove the piggery and slaughteryard.

Thomas flourished as a publican. From 1871 to 1883, he was the publican at the Alma Inn, and also the Hotel Norwood. He died on 4 November 1883 at his home in the Alma Inn, Norwood and is buried in North Road Cemetery.


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