Australian English Genealogy

Trace your family tree - Australian and English family trees


Descendants of Pierce Brigginton Collits

First Generation

1. Pierce Brigginton Collits was born in 1763 in Thomastown Kilkenny Leinster Ireland. He died in 1848. He was buried in Hartley Vale.

On 1st July 1800, he was convicted, at the Old Bailey, of receiving goods, knowing them to be stolen. At the time of his arrest he was living at Two Swan Yard, Bishopsgate Street, Ratcliff (Sailor Town), London, England.

[Court Transcript]

Ratcliff Wharfs - Described by Thomas de Quincy (essayist) Ratcliffe Wharfs c1797 as “Ratcliffe-highway by night!   The head-quarters of unbridled vice and drunken
violence - of all that is dirty, disorderly, and debased. Splash, dash, down comes the rain;
but it must fall a deluge indeed to wash away even a portion of the filth to be found in this
detestable place.”

Charles Dickens described Ratcliff as “a place of poverty and desperation, where
accumulated scum of humanity seemed to Ratcliff Wharfs be washed from higher grounds, like so much moral sewage, and to be pausing until its own weight forced it over the bank and sunk it in the river.”


Ratcliff Wharfs 1797

Pierce married Mary Hardwick daughter of Edward Hardwick and Mary in 1795 in London England. Mary was born in 1769 in Hackney London England. She died in 1841 in Hartley. She was buried in Hartley Vale.

Pearce and Mary's first child, Maria, was born at King Street, Tower Hill, London in September 1796. Their second child, Sarah was born in September 1797, at Sweedland Court.

Minories Abbey Their first son, Henry, was born in January 1799 in Minories St. London.

At the time of Pearce's arrest, Mary was pregnant with their second son, Pearce, who
was born in August 1800. Both sons, Henry and Pearce, died before the family departed
for Australia.


Minories Abbey ruins 1797

Pearce was held in Newgate Gaol until 16 May 1801 when he was transferred to the ship Minorca for the voyage to Australia. The Minorca departed Spithead on 21 June 1801 carrying 104 convicts.

The ship arrived in Australia on 14 Dec 1801 - five convicts died on the voyage. Mary and their two daughters, Sarah and Maria, also arrived on the Minorca.

Upon his arrival in Australia Pearce Collett's name was recorded as Pierce Collits (various spellings).
In 1803, Governor Philip Gidley King granted Pierce's wife, Mary, 70 acres of land at Bird's Eye Corner - Castlereagh. Mary became the district's first school teacher when she opened a school to teach the children of the area.
Pierce was granted a conditional pardon in 1811.
In 1814, Pierce was on a list of person to receive grants of land.
He was on a list of subscribers to build a schoolhouse and bridge.
He became Chief Constable of land at Evan and Poundkeeper and Inspector of Cattle in 1815.
In 1820 he was listed as an Innkeeper - Vale of Clwydd and Chief Constable of Evan.
In 1821 Pierce requested 200 acres of land as a site for an inn.
In 1822 while residing at Mt York he requested a pair of sawyers and
carpenters in order to build an inn on the Cox's River. He was assigned
these convicts in 1823. In 1823 he was listed as a landholder. He resigned from his position
as Constable.
In 1823 Mary went with Pierce to Hartley Vale, at the foot of Mt. Cook. The Collits bought a stone house, previously erected by the Military. After extending the house and Pierce Collits Land Grant improving the property, Pierce was granted the license for the inn. 
This inn, known as the Golden Fleece, became the first licensed inn west of the Nepean River.

The 1828 census shows Pierce as age 57, publican Mt. York, total acres 200, 54 cleared, 36 cultivate, 360 horned cattle, 300 sheep. Living with wife and children Amelia (16) and William (13).
In 1831, after a visit to the inn by Sir Ralph Darling, a post office was established at the inn and Pierce became deputy postmaster. Prior to the establishment of the post office, mail for the district was left at the inn in what was known as a "bye-bag".
Pierce's salary, in 1932, was £8/19/1. (eight pounds 19 shillings and 1 penny).
In 1832 the inn was renamed "The Royal Garter".
In 1833, after the new road over Victoria pass was built, Pierce closed the post office. He applied for land for a new inn and was also offered a further land grant and selected 317 acres at Canowindra on the Belubula River. His sons settled here, becoming among the earliest settler on the Lachlan River.
The new inn was transferred to his daughter Sophia in 1841, after the death of his wife.
Pierce died in 1848 and is buried behind his first inn, along with wife Mary.


Collits Inn

Pierce Collits Inn

Pierce and Mary had the following children:

+ 2 F i Sarah Collits
+ 3 F ii Maria Collits
  4 M iii Henry Peirce Collits was born in 1799 in London England. He died in England.
  5 M iv Pierce Collits was born in 1800 in London England. He died in London England.
+ 6 M v John Philmore Collits
+ 7 F vi Frances C Collits
+ 8 M vii James Collits
  9 M viii Joseph Collits was born in 1808 in 'Bird's Eye Corner' Castlereagh. He died in 1888 in Forbes. [Notes]
        Joseph married (1) Mary Ann Field daughter of Edward Field and Elizabeth (Sarah) Mitchell in 1845. Mary was born in 1795. She died in 1865 in Forbes. [Notes]
        Joseph married (2) Martha Gully daughter of Thomas Gully and Martha in 1866. Martha was born in 1817. She died in 1882 in Forbes.
+ 10 F ix Sophia Collits
+ 11 F x Amelia Collits
+ 12 M xi William Collits
  13 F xii Mary Collits was born in 1821.  [Notes]

Home Next Last

Surname List | Name Index