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Captain Hancock
Title : Captain Hancock Captain Hancock
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Source : Australian Christian Commonwealth, 24 January 1919, p. 663
Date of creation : 1919
Format : Newspaper
Catalogue record
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Description :

Captain Hancock of Moonta was a legendary figure. As well as his role as manager of Wallaroo and Moonta mines - during their heyday - he was a devoted member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, encouraging his employees, in the strongest terms, to attend 'chapel' regularly. He was also the father of 13 children, earning Captain Hancock the dubious rhyming title, 'King of the Kapok.'

Henry Richard Hancock was born in Devon in 1836, working in mines from his teenage years. He came to South Australia in 1859 and worked as an assayer at the Wheal Ellen mine at Callington. Intending to return to England, Thomas Elder persuaded him instead to go to Moonta. In 1869, at the age of 28, he was appointed superintendent of the mine, a position he held for 34 years. Later he simultaneously held the position of superintendent of the Wallaroo mine

Under Captain Hancock the 'Monster Mine' at Moonta went from strength to strength. Needing more miners, a steamship was sent to the Victorian goldfields, bringing back workers. Production was doubled with more miners and deeper shafts. To carry all this out, Captain Hancock developed a rock drill which came to be used all over the world. He also invented the 'Hancock Jig.' Captain Hancock retired in 1898, to be succeeded by his eldest son, Lipson. Captain Hancock died at Burnside in 1919.

Coverage year : 1919
Region : Yorke Peninsula
Further reading :

Hancock family. Personal papers, PRG 1185

Payton, Philip. 'The cult of Captain Hancock, the man and his mines,' Making Moonta: the invention of Australia's Little Cornwall, Exeter : University of Exeter Press, 2007

'Peninsula recollections: death of Capt. HR Hancock,' Register, 15 January 1919, p. 7; p. 9

Robinson, Mandie. Cap'n 'Ancock: ruler of Australia's Little Cornwall, Adelaide, S. Aust. : Rigby, 1978

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