Patrick Boyce Coglin

Patrick Boyce Coglin

Patrick Boyce Coglin, eldest son of Bartholomew Coglin and Rebecca Boyce, was born at Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland in 1815. At the aged of 16 he sailed with his family for Tasmania and soon found work with a builder in Hobart. In 1837 he sailed for South Australia on the Lady Liverpool with about £60 to his name. For several years he went from job to job carefully saving his earnings, but became convinced that no man could become rich as an employee.

His last and most successful job was that of splitter in the Adelaide Hills. He did very well in this line of business and before long he erected a few shops and opened a timber yard in Hindley Street on leased land. One of the shops was rented by Mrs Hussey, mother of H. Hussey the author of Colonial Life and Christian Experience. Sometime later he bought land in King William Street and in 1850 was listed as Timber Merchant of King William Street. He also became the owner of the Napoleon Bonaparte Hotel (1860) and the Royal Exchange Building. His brother James ran the New Market Inn on North Terrace that same year.

James first worked as a builder and erected the first altar in Adelaide for the Venerable Father Vincent to say Mass. After a stint at the Victorian diggings he returned more than a pound of gold to his brother Patrick with the first Gold Escort. Patrick had not joined his brother at the Victorian goldfields. Perhaps he had more faith in South Australia. His quest for golden treasures led him to Echunga and other places where he did far better than his brother James.

When gold was discovered at Echunga, one of the first licenses was issued to Patrick Coglin. Patrick married Frances, the daughter of a wealthy English farmer and former widow of William Gerrard and lived in Adelaide City before moving to Hindmarsh, now an inner suburb. On 27 April 1860 he was elected to Parliament where he remained until defeated in 1868. He was later re-elected and finally defeated by Thomas Playford in 1887.

Patrick later owned a large property at Rapid Bay on which silver was discovered in 1863. The Wheal Coglin Silver Lead mine was established to exploit it. Road metal used in Adelaide during that time came from P.B. Coglin’s quarry near Mountain Hut on the Mount Barker road. Coglin stated that gold had been found in his quarry as long ago as ten years ‘but no great importance had been attached to it’. The Hundred of Coglin, proclaimed on 31 October 1878 was named after him.

Early in 1868 Coglin came up with a different way of selling his property. In April he advertised in the local paper that he was disposing of his stud, land and other valuable property, valued at £14,738 by lottery. It included the land leased to the Wheal Coglin Silver Lead Mining Company, at a rental of £30 per year, which would run until 20 September 1869. There were also many blocks of land listed in Adelaide and country towns as well as cattle, sheep and farming implements. He would issue 1,350 shares (tickets) at £10 each and everybody would be a winner. One wonders why he was selling up. May be he just wanted a quiet life in Adelaide and concentrate on his political career. Unfortunately he lost the 1868 election but was successful in others.


This appeared in the Chronicle after his defeat for the seat of Port Adelaide.

One of his great loves was horse racing and it was mainly through his efforts that the lease on the old racecourse at Victoria Park was obtained from the Adelaide Council. Once a jockey himself, he took a keen interest in his riders and was noted for fair dealing and prompt payment. In 1886 he became Mayor of Hindmarsh.


His mother Rebecca died on 14 November 1872 at the age of 82.
Patrick had this tomb built for her.

Although brought up a Catholic he joined the Oddfellows, Foresters and the Freemasons. His sister Helena later became Sister Mary Xavier. When Patrick’s wife died on 7 October 1883, aged 76, he built an elaborate mausoleum at the West Terrace Cemetery at a cost of £1,500. Their only son William Gerrard died on 31 July 1884, and was buried in the same vault. The plan was that Patrick should eventually be buried there with them. His brother William Francis died at Kooringa on 11 January 1887.

A few days before his death though, he changed his mind and wrote ‘I, Patrick Boyce Coglin, JP. being baptised and confirmed in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, desire to die in the faith of that Church and also desire to condemn all that she condemns and approve of all that she approves. Therefore I renounce all the craft of Freemasonry or secret societies of any kind whatever, trusting in her Sacraments as means or channels of eternal life. I wish my body to be interned in the Catholic Cemetery in my own mother’s vault after my soul is taken by my Saviour at death’.

Patrick Boyce Coglin died on 22 July 1892 and was buried according to his final wish in the Catholic part of the West Terrace Cemetery with his mother. His brother James died on 15 March 1894 and his sister Helena, who died on 15 June 1913, are all buried in the same vault.

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