Community History



Home Page
History Home Page


John Murray Peck acquired the land in the area around Wendora Street, in 1881 and built the two storey house named "Lebanon", after his birthplace in New Hampshire#, U.S.A. It is the oldest house in Strathmore.

Lebanon House

John Peck arrived in Melbourne in 1853 at the age of 23. In the U.S.A. he had been employed by the stagecoach company Wells Fargo. He used his expertise to good advantage and he joined with Freeman Cobb, James Swanton and John Lamber as one of the four founders of Cobb and Co#. The Cobb and Co. founders were all from the U.S.A. however Peck was the only partner to make Australia his permanent home.Their first coach ran in 1854. In 1856 the original partners sold their interest in Cobb and Co. for a large profit and Peck returned to America. Peck later came back to Australia and rejoined a former partner in another coach venture, the Victorian Stage Co. but again sold out of the business in 1860 or 1862. He then tried various businesses finally turning to a Stock agency business.

He took an active part in local affairs and served as a Councillor of the Borough of Essendon and Flemington and was mayor in 1872. He was vice president of the Essendon Football Club# for a while and supported various other local clubs.

He died in 1903 and the house and land were left to his widow and two sons. Some of the land was subdivided and in 1925 the house was sold.

The house is a graceful two storey building painted white with iron lacework on the verandahs and had a rear one storey section (which was demolished and a new section added).

The Lebanon house has been completely built around by either flats or houses. The house has an entrance from Wendora St. but is barely visible from the street or the surrounding area. It can be seen in part from Lebanon reserve. The house is privately owned and is classified by the National Trust.

Main Sources:

  1. Notes of Sam Merrifield retained by the Essendon Historical Society;
  2. "Houses in Essendon Broadmeadows and Bulla" Booklet Undated, publisher and author unknown; and
  3. "Cobb and Co. - Coaching in Queensland" by Deborah Tranter, 1990, Queensland Museum.
  4. Australian Dictionary of Biography#