Edward Henry Alcock was born in Darling Point, Sydney, in 1854, son of English-born Thomas Alcock who had come to Sydney in the 1840s. With his brother, Thomas set up the importing firm of Alcock Bros. at the corner of York and Barrack Streets, Sydney, to sell lace goods manufactured by their father in England.
Edward was sent back to England for his education and later apprenticeship in the drapery trade at a store in Worcester. He returned to Australia in the late 1870s and worked with his brother Alfred in their father’s firm which expanded to an importing warehouse for general softgoods.
In 1886 Edward married Fanny Elizabeth Prescott, aged 23 years of Edgecliff at St Mark’s Church of England, Darling Point. They lived for a time at Randwick, and moved to Beecroft in 1901 or 1902, where they lived at No. 64 Beecroft Road. Edward and Fanny had four daughters and one son, Geoffrey, born in 1906.
Edward was soon involved in the Beecroft Literary and Debating Society as Auditor and later Treasurer. He was President and Vice-President of the Progress Association, a foundation Vice-President of the Musical and Dramatic Society and an Auditor of the Parents’ and Residents’ Association. He was also Vice-President of the Golf Club, a foundation member of the Cheltenham Recreation Club and an early member of the Beecroft Bowling Club.
The main interest of Edward’s life was possibly his membership of St John’s Church and 12 years he was Rector’s Warden to the Rev. Joseph Young. In 1913 a garden State was held in the grounds of his home in aid of a new organ for the church.
Fanny Alcock was also a dedicated member of St John’s and was involved in all the women’s activities connected with the church. She was one of the organisers of the Matron’s Ball held nnually at the School of Arts, she played croquet at the Cheltenham Recreation Club and was a member of the local Red Cross branch.
Their son Geoffrey worked in the family warehouse until it had to be sold during the Depression
years of 1930-1931 and then went into retailing drapery, opening his own store in Pennant Hills in 1954.
Edward Alcock died in 1932 and Fanny in 1938, both much respected in Beecroft. Geoffrey remembered that ‘father was a quiet, kindly gentleman; after his death we received many letters telling of kindly acts he had performed.’