Australian English Genealogy

Descendants of John Pye

Notes - Page 2

7. James Andrew Pye

PYE, James. Born in the Colony; son of John Pye, per "Britannia", 1791
1818 Received a grant of land.

Note: James planted an orangery on his 'Rocky Hall' estate and North Rocks near Parramatta, and he became a recognised expert in this field. He also carried on some mixed farming. Giving evidence in December 1865 to a Legislative Assembly select committee on disease in fruit trees, he claimed that the current infection in orange trees was caused by 'a change in climate' and variable weather. Prominent in agricultural circles, he was a founding member of the Cumberland, Camden and Cook Agricultural Society in 1843, a founder of the Cumberland Agricultural Society in March 1857, and a vice-president, trustee and committee member of the Agricultural Society of New South Wales in the 1860s. In June 1870 his long informative letter on farming in the County of Cumberland was reprinted in the Australian Town and Country Journal; in it he also referred to the value and dignity of labour and the training of youth for useful trades and commented on contemporary social evils.
In 1856 at the first elections under responsible government Pye was elected to the Legislative Assembly as second member for Cumberland (North Riding). Under the headings of 'Progress' and 'Advance Australia' he favoured 'speedy settlement of the land', better communications and the promotion of education. Defeated for Parramatta in the general election of 1858 by George Oakes, Pye appealed to the elections and qualifications committee, alleging that Oakes had influenced voters by threats and that £100 had been deposited in a bank to the credit of the Speaker of the House. The committee reported in May 1858 that Pye's allegations were not proved, but his petition was 'not frivolous or vexatious'. Pye then contented himself with local affairs; he was an alderman for Parramatta in 1862-84 and mayor in 1866-67. A member of the local National School Board he also fought hard to secure a water supply for the growing town of Parramatta. In February 1860 he had given evidence to the select committee on the condition of the working class and strongly criticized the attitude and character of the labouring classes in general and colonial-born workmen in particular; he claimed that 'not one in twenty' of the labouring classes were worth employing and though himself native-born stated: 'I never employed a native of the Colony—they will not work—they are very idle'.

North Rocks, Greater Sydney, New South Wales, Australia <placelist.php?parent%5B%5D=Australia&parent%5B%5D=New%20South%20Wales&parent%5B%5D=Greater%20Sydney&parent%5B%5D=North%20Rocks&ged=purnellmccord.ged>
Source: Hornsby Shire Historical Society (comp). Pioneers of Hornsby Shire, 1788-1906 : a history / compiled by the Research Committee of the Hornsby Shire Historical Society. Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1979 <source.php?sid=S151&ged=purnellmccord.ged>
Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online edition. [database - on-line]. Canberra: Australian National University, 2006 <source.php?sid=S93&ged=purnellmccord.ged>


There is scarcely a piece of private land in the colony that annually receives so many visitors from far and near as the estate owned by Mr. Pye, of Parramatta, and named by him Rocky Hall. Leaving Parramatta by the Windsor road, the pilgrim to Rocky Hall turns up a lane to the right, just beyond the boundary of the borough. A few yards further on the estate commences. On each side of the road is an orchard guarded by an impenetrable sweetbrier hedge. The orchard on the right is in the shape of a triangle, and is planted with apple and orange trees, about 250 in all. The orange trees are about ten years old and splendid bearers, many of the trees having branches that sweep the ground, overburdened as they are with fruit. The land on this side of the road for about three quarters of a mile skirting " Hunt's Creek," and as far as the famous North Rocks reservoir is the property of Mr. Pye. The orchard on the left is of a similar extent to that on the right, but contains, in addition to the orange and apple, some tine Lisbon lemon trees. Passing further up the road we enter the gate leading to the main portion of the estate. To the left, in the bend of the valley, is a third orchard of about the same size as the two just noticed, and planted with orange and lemon trees eleven years old. Leaving the house, and passing back along the road we have lately come as far as where it diverges, we make for the ." lions " par excellence of the estate-the '' Big Trees. " About twenty orange trees, each of which in itself would be a marvel of size and beauty elsewhere, and all growing rapidly, surround the four great central trees. These immense specimens of the orange tribe are from forty-five to fifty years old, the tallest reaching an altitude of thirty-six feet, all four bearing prolifically, and being beautifully proportioned. Under their cool foliage and round their smooth healthy trunks a company of volunteers might bivouac, and pluck refreshment from the overarching boughs. It was of these trees that Mr. Moore, Director of the Sydney Botanical (Jardens, said that in all his travels he had never seen their equals -from twenty-five to twenty-six feet being the greatest height of any orange tree pointed out to him. In addition to these orchards there are various clumps and groves of special trees, planted in different parts of I the estate, which altogether consist of 300 acres, of which fifty acres are planted with fruit trees, every inch of the latter portion being kept in perfect order, entirely free from weeds, and, with one or two trivial exceptions, not a single tree bearing signs of disease and decay.
Source: Illustrated Sydney News Nov 1871


The late Alderman James Pye.
WE give on another page the portrait of this gentleman, who succumbed to injuries received by being knocked off his horse by a runaway, in Church Street, Parramatta, on the 29th December. Mr. Pye was in many respects a remarkable man, and at the time of the accident was in perfect health-energetic and active, physically and mentally. He was 81 years of age, and took an active part in all the local concerns of the district in which he had spent his life. In 1856 he became a member of the first Legislative Assembly under responsible government, and, in conjunction with the late Sir John Bayley Darvall, represented the North Biding of the County of Cumberland, but in 1861 retired. His Parliamentary career, though brief, was useful, and according to the division list, he was one of the most punctual and attentive members of the House. At the first Parramatta municipal election, in 1862, he was returned at the top of the poll as one of the aldermen, and he remained up to the time of his death a member of the Council. He also occupied the position of Mayor from the 17th February, 1866, to the 18th of February, 1867. At that period the Council was in great financial straits, but Mr. Pye generously became security for an overdraft in order to enable it to tide over its difficulties. Mr. Pye has been described as the " father" of the Parramatta water supply scheme, and it is certain that no other member of the Council took so much interest in the matter as he did. Mr. Pye also took a leading part in securing for the people of Parramatta the beautiful block of 500 acres of land known as Parramatta Park. In 1863 he was appointed a member of the Local Board of the new National School proposed to be erected in Parramatta, and it was mainly owing to his exertions that the site was secured, and the build- ing now known as the Parramatta North Public School was erected. But it was in connection with orange culture that Mr. Pye's name is widely known. His estate at Rocky Hall has for years attracted visitors from all parts of the world, and in the fruit season perhaps there are few more beautiful sights in the colonies than his richly-laden and luxuriant groves of orange trees. Many of these are more than sixty years old, and are from pips sown by Mr. Pye's own hand. They are in vigorous health, and the annual yields are simply fabulous. Mr. Pye's success was due mainly to his habits of close observation ; and it was always a pleasure to him to narrate what simple phenomena of growth had suggested to him as essential to secure in planting trees. His advice and suggestions were largely sought, and as freely tendered, on all points in connection with his favourite study ; and it is not saying too much when we record the conviction that it is mainly due to his influence and example that the orange has become so important an article of luxury and commerce in New South Wales. The colony can ill afford to lose such men, but thank God their good works remain behind as a stimulus for, and encouragement to, survivors.
Source: Illustrated Sydney News 17 Jan 1885


The Parramatta District Coroner (Mr. J. K. Bowden) held an inquiry at Rocky Hall yesterday morning, touching the death of Mr. James Pye. The evidence revealed that shortly before 10 o'clock on Monday morning a man named Henry Stevenson was driving his water-cart along Market Street towards the stand pipe in that thoroughfare, with the intention of getting a load of water. The horse, a very quiet animal, commenced to kick and plunge just after passing the pound- keeper's cottage, and threw the driver, who was standing up, out on to the street. The horse, released from all control then galloped off knocked the cask off the cart against a fence and then turned into Church-Street, and was apparently making direct for a horse and cart in charge of two youths, which had just drawn up opposite the shop of Mr. Marden, saddler. When very close to the latter, however, the runaway swerved to the opposite footpath, and was there brought to a standstill, owing to the overturning of the cart. The lads in charge of the second cart became alarmed and confused at the approach of the runaway, and left their horse with- out control. The animal, a very timid one, turned round and bolted off up Church Street. When it had got about 100 yards it ran into Mr. Pye, who was riding leisurely into town, and knocked him off his horse. One witness stated that Mr. Pye apparently observed the approach of the runaway, but looked back, evidently to see whether the street was clear; and whilst he was doing so met with the accident. The medical evidence showed that Mr. Pye received a long cut on the left side of the head, which was very deep over the eyebrow; his left shoulder was grazed, and his collar bone broken ; his chest was also apparently injured internally, and there was a mark on his legs as if one of the wheels of the dray had passed over them. The jury found a verdict of accidental death, and added that no blame attached.
A ministerial inquiry was held on Tuesday by Mr. Pinhey, J.P., touching the death of Eleanor Flavelle (26), unmarried, whose body was found floating in the Wooli! Creek, Arncliffe, on tho 20th ult. After the evidence of wittnesses, as well as that of Dr. Sedgwick, the magistrate found that death resulted from asphyxia by drowning.
Source: SMH 01 Jan 1885

James Thorn

THORN, Humphrey (Senior) arrived on the Neptune in 1790.
Occupation: Blacksmith.