Peter Gannoni


The Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital was established on 7th October 1932 by the South Australian Government, much to the relief of the overcrowded Infectious Diseases Block at the Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace.  The hospital was designed to care for and accommodate patients with infectious diseases such as polio, scarlet fever, measles and diphtheria.

The new Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital was an autonomous organisation controlled by its own Board of Management and its finance was maintained solely by the contributions of local councils. 

Peter Gannoni, J.P. served on the Board of Management at the time the new Infectious Diseases Hospital was established.  He was elected as the Local Board of Health Representative for St Peters, Kensington and Norwood, Walkerville, Payneham and Campbelltown Council districts (‘Group C’).

GANNONI, Peter, J.P.


Peter Gannoni was born on the 13 June 1863.

The Giannoni family resided in a shop and house that his father had on lease in Currie Street, Adelaide.


Antonio Giannoni (Rimini 1814 – Adelaide 1883)

Peter Gannoni’s father, Antonio Giannoni, was the first Italian to live in South Australia. A native of Rimini, Italy, he arrived in Adelaide as a sailor on board the `Recovery` on 19 Sept 1839.  After several years spent whaling at Encounter Bay and fossicking for gold in Victoria, he returned to Adelaide and worked as a cab-driver in Kensington and Norwood, where in 1920 his son Peter was elected Mayor of Kensington and Norwood from 1920 – 1922.

This monument of Antonio Giannoni was unveiled on 4th November, 1993 by the Hon. Lynn Arnold MP, Premier of South Australia, Mayor Vincensina Ciccarello  City of Kensington and Norwood, and Dr. Francesco Azzarello, Consul for Italy in South Australia as a joint initiative of Comune di Rimini City of Kensington and Norwood Italian Historical Society.

On 13 November 1848, Giannoni married domestic worker Matilda (née Deputron), who died of tuberculosis on 5 February 1854.  After the death of his first wife, Giannoni remarried on 16 August 1954, but his second wife Ann (née Tickner) died in childbirth on 27 May 1855.  Two months later, on 27 July, he married Tickner’s friend, Mary (née Clapton), who had emigrated to England with her.  Giannoni and Clapton had five children: Antonio (1856–1942); Samuel (1859–1941); Mary (1861–1916); Peter (1863–1947); and a fifth child, also named Samuel, who died three days after his birth in 1857.

Giannoni died on 6 September 1883 in Kensington, Adelaide. The cause of death was listed as “old age and disease of the bladder”.  He was buried at the West Terrace cemetery.

Antonio Giannoni only learnt how to properly sign documents in his 40s, and as a consequence spelled his surname inconsistently, including as “Gianoni”, “Gannone”, and “Gannoni”, the last of which was adopted in both Giannoni’s final will and by his descendants (including his son Peter), who nonetheless continued to pronounce it as “Giannoni”.


Peter Gannoni married Fanny Playsted, on the 30 December 1891 at the Congregational Church in Glenelg, South Australia.  Fanny Playsted was the second daughter of William Playsted of Hindmarsh Street, Glenelg.

Fanny Playsted was born in 1868. She had five sons with Peter Gannoni between 1892 and 1900. She died on 12 June 1959 in Norwood, South Australia, at the age of 91, and was buried in Adelaide, South Australia. 

Her father, William Playsted was a member of the party that went with Sir Charles Todd to lay the Overland Telegraph Line to Darwin.

Peter and Fanny Gannoni had five children:

  • Harold Ronald Gannoni (born on 24 September 1892 in Norwood; died in October 1965, age 73)
  • Horace Peter Thomas Gannoni (born 5 April 1894 in Norwood SA; died 3 February 1968, age 73)
  • William Victor Gannoni (born 24 May 1896, died in 1991, age 95)
  • Roy Antonio Gannoni (born 30 December 1898 in Norwood SA; died 23 September 1925, age 26)
  • Talbot Hopetoun Gannoni (born 25 December 1900 in Norwood; died 24 November 1976, age 75)


According to ‘The Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia’ (Number 19, 1991) Peter Gannoni’s father Antonio was determined to give his children the education and security that he himself had never had. The most successful member of his family was his son Peter, who attended the leading licensed school in Kensington, run by Mr James Baigent.

In 1877 Peter Gannoni began a five year apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and, on completion, worked as an undertaker in partnership with William Latta.  By the turn of the century, he had his own undertaking business on The Parade, Norwood, and subsequently also in Unley Road, Parkside.

By 1920 he had become a Justice of the Peace and registrar of births and deaths. More notably, in December 1891 he was elected member of the Kensington and Norwood Council, a position he held for a total of 371/2 years, spread over a period of 50 years.

The magazine Quiz in 1906 described Councillor Gannoni as `one of the popular men of the Norwood district; takes an interest in everything; a real live man; possesses a marvellous voice; loves his pipeful of weed; always to be seen on the Parade daily; a real hard-working son of the soil’.  

The culmination of his success came in December 1920 when he stood as an independent for the position of mayor and won by a margin of just five votes. He held the office of mayor for two terms, until December 1922.  During his term as mayor Peter Gannoni arranged for the construction of the Soldiers’ Memorial on Osmond Terrace at Norwood.

The Quiz (Adelaide, SA : 1900 – 1909), Friday 2 February 1906, page 13
News (Adelaide, SA) Friday 16 January 1942, page 6
Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), Saturday 9 September 1922, page 17
The Mail (Adelaide, SA), Saturday 28 June 1941, page 7 “The Talk of the Town”


Died in his home, High Street, Kensington on the 1st November 1947. Buried in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. Plot Road 1 South, Path 4, Site E13 (Memorial ID 158906658).

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Monday 3 November 1947 (page 2).

Written by Karyn Baker, CALHN Health Museum Volunteer