Thomas, son of John and Sarah (née Brill) Adcock came to Australia on the Larpent arriving at Point Henry on 28 June 1849 aged 29 years. He had been baptised in the local Anglican church, although his family were Wesleyans. John and Sarah had 11 children although not all survived to adulthood. John was a nurseryman in Edlington, Lincolnshire and his three youngest surviving sons, Thomas, Edward and Henry, followed him in this occupation.
Alexander Thomson was a supporter of the Sydney Presbyterian minister John Dunmore Lang, whose wish was to encourage the migration of hard-working, God-fearing Protestants to the colony. He sponsored two ships, the Travancore and the Larpent, to bring the settlers to Australia in 1849 with Thomson ready to receive and settle them. Thomson owned section 10 of the parish of Barrabool known as the Kardinia section — a square mile of undulating land.
Thomas married Martha Port of Chertsey, Surrey in 1851 at a Presbyterian church in Geelong. They had no children.
In approximately 1854, a weekly prayer meeting commenced in the Adcock's house. As numbers grew the congregation moved to a larger cottage, before deciding to build a church (St Luke's).
When Thomas came to live at Highton in 1851 he established the Kardinia Nursery which covered 30 acres on the east side of Thornhill Road in section 10. He had acquired at least eighteen acres of this by 1861. The house was in Kardinia Street (now South Valley Road) on a deep narrow allotment just south of the present Brassey Avenue. He established his Kardinia Nursery on the block which ran behind this in Thornhill Road and down to Kardinia Creek. In those days the creek was always running and provided plenty of water for his plants. William Stinton, a well-known Geelong nurseryman trained at the Kardinia Nursery. A bell used at the nursery was later used at the Highton State School number 304 in Roslyn Road.
After 40 years he retired and his brother Edward, who was five years younger than him, managed the business.
Thomas was a South Barwon councillor, serving from 1866 to 1879 and from 1874 to 1876. He was president in 1876.
When he died on 23 May 1900 at the age of 80 he was living at Edlington, Laurel Bank Parade, Newtown, a house he shared with his brother Edward. He was buried on the 24 May in the Church of England section of the Highton Cemetery. Martha died at the age of 72 in August 1882 and is buried beside him. His brother Edward was his executor and next of kin. Edward died on 17 January 1908 at Rutherglen at the home of his son George. The following day the funeral cortege left the Geelong Railway Station, on arrival of the train from Melbourne at 1:40 pm, for the Highton Cemetery. He was survived by three of his children, George Henry Adcock, Annie Martha Hobbs and Ruth Amy Mitchell. His wife Amy died on 23 October 1901.
In 1897 after almost 50 years in business, the nursery was taken over by Robert Robertson and continued trading as Kardinia. In 1899 it was Mr McMurdie, trading under the name of Adcock and McMurdie. In 1901 an advertisement was placed in the advertiser to somehow get someone to take over in some way. After this failed a clearing sale was held.
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