Australian English Genealogy

Descendants of Pierce Collits

Notes - Page 2

2. Sarah Collits

Michael Scott was a convict working as a servant for Sarah and John. Sarah became Michael's mistress before the births if her last child with John.

John Watkins

NOTICE. -Whereas my Wife, Sarah Watkins, has left her home without any cause or provocation whatever, and that in a most outrageous manner, this is to caution all Persons against Crediting her, as I will not be responsible for any Debt or Debts she so contracted. John Watkins.
Source: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 15 Feb 1822

Michael Scott

Convict arrived 1821 on Prince Regent

3. Maria Collits

Arrived on Minorca

Philip Strickland

Convict arrived 1803 on Calcutta. Brother John also arrived in 1803

Occupation: Constable
Died of gunshot wound

James Sherringham

James became the licensee of the Rose Inn in 1852. Together they ran the Inn till his death. Then on the 6 Mar 1866 . Martha married Joseph Collits who owned the Inn. Her eldest son by this stage was aged 26, the youngest aged 18.

Thomas Michael Pembroke

Convict - St Michael

Thomas Michael Pembroke was born in 1796, Trahlee, County Kerry, Ireland. He was convicted in Madras, India, in 1796 and arrived in Port Jackson on the St Michael in 1820.  Thomas was a patient in the Benevolent Society Asylum, corner of Devonshire and George Streets, Sydney, where he died in 1840.

Charles Fell

Convict - Coromandel

Eleanor Leech(Leach)

Convict - arrived on the Brothers

10. Sophia Collits

1838 Licensee of The Kings Arms inn (built by her father - originally named The Bridge.)

Sophia died in 1868 at Billabong, Forbes, of typhoid fever.

Thomas Rawsthorne

Convicted of housebreaking at Lancaster - Arrived on the Recovery

Assigned to Pierce Collits.



11. Amelia Collits

Amelia was in love with a bushranger who had a hide out in a cave at Mt. York. He would visit Amelia at the inn. One of the female servants at the inn was jealous of Amelia and the bushranger.  The servant notified the police that the bushranger was at the inn.  The police came and killed the bushranger. Amelia swore to marry the first man who next came to the inn. This was John Skeen, who she married in 1832. John was a convict overseer of the men building Victoria Pass.

The play "Collits Inn' is said to be about Amelia, who travelled over 55 miles on horseback to Kelso, for her marriage to John.

John Skeen

Convicted of breaking, entering and stealing. Arrived on the Recovery in 1819.

12. William Collits

NOTICE. THIS is to caution any person from giving trust or credit to my son, William Collits, who I proclaim to be an Idiot, and has no command of any property, only through me, and I will not pay any debts he may contract after this date. PIERCE COLLITS. Mount York, February 16, 1839
Source: The Australasian 19 Feb 1839

NOTICE.- The Public are again cautioned against giving trust or credit to WILLIAM COLLITS, or having any dealings with him in buying, selling, or otherwise, he having no property of his own, and being considered not of sound mind. PIERCE COLLITS. January 15, 1842.
Source: Australasian Chronicle 18 Jan 1842

Caroline James

Murdered by her brother in law circa 1842

Bathurst Circuit Court. —o— CRIMINAL SITTINGS.—Thursday, MARCH 29. (Before this Honor Mr. Justice Stephen.) John Walsh was indicted for the wilful murder of Catherine Collitt, at Mount Victoria, near Hartley, on the 3rd of January last. The Solicitor General opened the case to the jury, from the evidence which was adduced it appeared that the murdered woman was the sister of the prisoner's wife; she was under twenty years of age, and was married to a man named William Collitt, who resided at the Vale of Clwyd, but who, with his wife, had been living at Blackheath, in the prisoner's house, for a few days previous to the murder; in consequence of an invitation from the prisoner, who stated that Mr. Gardner, of Black- heath, wanted to see him (Collitt), and he was to bring his wife along with him. It also appeared that the woman had been living apart from her husband, at the prisoner's house, for two or three months, till within a few days previous to her death; and that their separation was caused by the inter- ference of the prisoner and his wife. On the 3rd of January, about two hours after sundown, the pri- soner, the deceased, and her husband, called at the house of Mr. Joseph Jagger, innkeeper, at Hartley, in company with a stockman of Mr. Gardner's; the prisoner was somewhat in liquor, but the rest were sober; the prisoner and Collitt had some brandy, and the deceased a glass of syrup, and they all left the house together, apparently friendly. When they had gone about a mile from Jagger's, the prisoner asked where his own wife was, and Collitt said he believed she was at Blackheath ; the prisoner then knocked Collitt down, and the woman caught hold of prisoner, and said, " don't hit him." As soon as Collitt could get up he ran away towards Blackheath, and the deceased sung out for him to run, or the prisoner would kill him. Walsh ran after Collitt, but did not overtake him, and Collitt saw no more of him until about two hours afterwards, when he came home alone, and, on Collitt asking him where his wife was, Walsh answered that Mr. Jagger's son and four other men had rushed upon him, and the woman flew to his arms for protection, when Jagger's son up with a pistol, and struck him in the face; he had a mark upon his face, but it did not bleed. He had nothing on but a shirt, and that was not the same he had on at Jagger's, and he said that he had been forced to run for his life; that young Jagger had stripped him naked, and he had stopped at the box where the soldiers were, and borrowed a govern- ment shirt; he afterwards went to bed with his wife. The next morning he asked Collitt if he was not going to look for his wife, and they both went out together for that purpose. When they were about half a mile on the Bathurst side of Mount Victoria the mail came up, and the mailman asked where they were going, to which Collitt replied that he was going to look after his wife; upon which the mailman, pointing to Walsh, said," he has murdered her," and desired Collitt to give Walsh in charge. Jagger's man was in the mail, and the prisoner told the same story as on the previous night. Collitt went to the spot where the body of his wife was lying and the mailman showed him her shawl, and the prisoner's clothes, all of which were found by the mailman near the body. The deceased's head had been battered in with a large stone, some of her teeth were knocked cut, and her face was so disfi- gured as to be scarcely recognizable. The prisoner's braces were found close by the body, saturated with blood; there was a large quantity of blood on the ground, and the deceased appeared to have been dragged about, and there were evident signs of her person having been violated. It was clearly proved that the young man Jagger, whom the prisoner charged with having struck him, and, in company with four others, taken away the woman, had never been from his father's house that night. The prisoner when called upon for his defence solemnly denied his guilt, and told the same tale as he had done when first accused. He declared that he was prepared to abide the result of the trial, and implored the Almighty to direct the hearts of the jurors in such a manner that they would return the verdict which he merited, and at once acquit him of so foul a charge. His Honor then summed up at great length, and very much in favour of the prisoner, commenting severely on the circumstance of neither Joseph Jagger, nor William Jagger, nor a man named Ryan, nor a ticket of leave holder who had first dis- covered the body, having been called; all of which he observed were to be taken in favour of the prisoner. 'The jury retired from the box, and after about half an hour's consultation returned a verdict of guilty. The Solicitor General having prayed the judgment of the court his Honor immediately passed sentence of death upon the prisoner. The trial last the whole day until eight o'clock in the evening, when the court adjourned.
Source: Australasian Chronicle 7 Apr 1842




John Welsh was tried before Mr. Justice Stephen at the late Bathurst Assizes, and after a very lengthened trial, was found guilty of the wilful murder of Caroline Collitt, at Mount Victoria, on the 31 of January last. The young woman Catherine Collitt, at the time of her death, was not more than 17 years of age, and was married about 18 months previous to Collit, who was regarded as a person of a ner vous and weak disposition, but possessed of a con- siderable number of cattle, and other property. After she had been married about a year, in a fit of drunkenness her mother hung herself in her own house; her husband was in the house at the time, but in such a beastly state of intoxi- cation, as to be incapable of preventing her destroying herself. Shortly after her death, he was taken up on suspicion of being concerned in her destruction, but after being confined for upwards of 6 months in gaol, he was liberated. Some months after the mother's death, a younger sister of Caroline Collit's married the murderer Welsh, and continued to reside with him until the day of her sister's murder. It has been ascertained since the trial of the cuprit, that Welsh's wife as well as Caroline Collit, were very loose and abandoned characters, which is fully borne out by the circumstances, that prior to Welsh marrying the younger sister, he was in the habit of cohabiting with the elder, and since his marriage with the younger sister, Caroline had separated from her husband Collit, and was living with Welsh and her sister in the same house. It is also a fact, that a short time before her murder, she was again on terms of intimacy with her husband, and was going to live with him again.  Welsh is a native of Ireland, from whence it is said he was transported for 7 years to this Colony in 1833, and was about 30 years of age at his late trial. It also appears that since his arrival here, he was twice tried for murder previous to his last conviction - once before the Chief Justice, but acquitted of the murder of a man named Create. In 1839, he was again tried before Mr. Justice Stephen, for having murdered a woman and her little son. On ac- count of the character of the principal witness against him, he was a second time acquitted,- In the former case, it was established by the evidence, that the residence of the murdered woman had been robbed of some tobacco and a keg of spirits, and that she and her son had been beaten to death with a bludgeon, which was found near their murdered bodies. Not long afterwards, Welsh took an aboriginal with him to assist him to remove the plunder, which had been concealed near the hut, telling the black that he had been told by the bushrangers where the property was secreted ; that they, the bushrangers, had committed the murder, and afterwards the robbery - adding that the bush- rangers were afraid of being apprehended, if they attempted to remove the property. A quantity of clothing was afterwards found, be- splattered with blood. Welsh accounted for the dress he had on when taken, by saying that the bushrangers had forced it upon him, in order that he might assist them to disguise themselves, to make their escape out of that neighbourhood. On his trial for the murder of Catherine Collitt, he endeavoured to show that four or five men had set upon him and the deceased, and after beating him, compelled him likewise to give them his clothes, they then murdered the woman. The culprit, Mrs Collitt, and her husband had all been seen drinking together, kept by a man named Jagars, near to Mount Victoria; here Welsh obtained, and drank two glasses of brandy, Collitt drinking only one, and his wife partaking of a small quantity of lemon syrup. Soon after leaving the public house, without the slightest provo- cation, Welsh knocked Collitt down, using the most dreadful imprecations; his victim (Caro- line) interfered with the murderer, and by seizing his arms, at the same time shouting to her husband - "run, run, he has got a stone, and will murder you," allowed him to escape. These were the last words that Catherine Collitt was heard to utter, nor was she after that affray again seen alive. On the following morning, about a mile and a half from that spot, her body was found lacerated in a dreadful manner, the face and head being covered with bruises, cuts and blood. A deep wound on the temple had penetrated the brain, which had, no doubt, been inflicted by a sharp jagged stone, which was found close by, covered with hair and blood. Soon after Welsh's condemnation, and when under sentence of death in Bathurst gaol, it is said he addressed Mr. Justice Stephen, and recalled to his recollection, the circumstance of his trial and acquittal for murder in 1839. This man's career has been marked with deep scenes of blood, but they are
Source: The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 3 May1842

MOST of our readers are aware that there is a man named John Walsh, a freed man, at pre- sent lying under sentence of death, in Bat- hurst Gaol, for the murder of Caroline Collitt, on Mount Victoria, on the 3rd of January last. The case was tried before Mr. Justice Stephen, at the last Bathurst Assises, when, after a lengthened trial, the Jury retired for about twenty minutes, and returned a verdict of guilty against the prisoner, when his Honor passed sentence of death on him, which is to be carried into effect at Bathurst, on Tuesday, the 3rd of May. The perpetration of this crime appears to have been marked with cir- cumstances of peculiar atrocity, such as we believe have seldom been met with in the annals of crime ; and as the history of the case is fraught with unanswerable arguments in favour of the cause of temperance, we have collected the most material of them in the following brief sketch.
Caroline Collitt, the person who was mur- dered, was, at the time of her death, about seventeen years of age ; she had been married about eighteen months to a man named Collitt, who was possessed at the time of their mar- riage of a considerable number of cattle, but is generally regarded as a person of weak mind. About twelve months after her mar- riage, her mother, who was a notorious drunkard, hanged herself in her own house, her husband being in the house at the same time, but so much in liquor, that he could not prevent her from de- stroying herself. He was taken up on sus- picion of being a party to her death ; but after lying about six months in gaol, was dis- charged. About six months before, the mother's untimely end, a younger sister of Caro- line Collitt, married John Walsh, the convict at present under sentence of death in Bathurst Gaol, and, it appears, continued to live with him up till the time of her sister's mur- der; but she, as well as her sister Caroline, since the trial, have been ascertained to have borne very loose characters, which is fully estab- lished by the fact, that both before and after Walsh had married the younger sister, Caroline cohabited with him, and had in fact been for a considerable time living with him, under the same roof with her sister, and in a state of separation from her own husband (Collitt). It has also been ascertained, that just before she lost her life, she was on terms of intimacy with her husband, and intended to go and live with him again.
John Walsh appears to be a native of Ireland, from which he was transported to this Colony in 1833, for seven years ; he is about thirty years of age. Since his arrival he has been twice tried for murder, once before Sir James Dowling, in the year 1830, for the murder of a person named Crate, but was acquitted. He was again tried, before Mr. Justice Stephen, in 1839, on a charge of having murdered a woman and her son—a little boy. In this case he was also acquitted, on account of the character of the principal wit- ness against him, coupled with the ingenious line of defence which he set up, and which bore a great similarity to that adopted by him on the late trial at Bathurst for the murder of his sister-in-law (Caroline Collitt). In the former case, it was established, by evidence, that the residence of the woman had been robbed of a keg of rum and some tobacco, and that she and her son had been beaten to death with a stick, which was found near their bodies, at a short distance from their hut. Soon after the murder, the prisoner took a native black with him to help him to remove the plunder from the place where they found it concealed in the neighbourhood, at the same time telling him that he had been told by some bushrangers where the property was concealed,—that they had done the robbery and committed the murder, but were afraid of being taken if they went to remove it. Some clothing was subsequently found con- cealed, which had marks of blood on it ; and he accounted for the clothing which he had on when taken, by alleging that the bush- rangers had given it to him, in order that he might enable them to disguise themselves so as to effect their escape out of the district. So, in the case of Caroline Collitt, he pretended that four or five men had set upon him and the deceased, and after compelling him to quit her, and taking his clothes, they had murdered her.
In the case of Collitt's murder, it was proved, that she, her husband, and Walsh, were all in company on the evening of the murder, and had been drinking in a public house kept by one Jaggars, at the foot of Mount Victoria ; that although they were sober when they went there, he had been drinking previously, and while there, he took two glasses of brandy, which intoxicated him, while the man Collitt drank one, but his wife had only some lemon syrup. After leaving Jaggars' house, without any provocation he knocked Collitt down,
whose life was saved by his wife seizing hold of Walsh, and allowing her husband to escape. This was the last time she was seen alive, and the last words she was heard to utter were addressed to her husband, " Run, he has got a stone, and will murder you." About a mile from the place where the husband fled for his life, her body was found early on the fol- lowing morning, the face and head covered with blood and bruises, and a frightful wound in the temple, which had penetrated to the brain. This had evidently been inflicted by
a large sharp jugged stone, one corner of which fitted into the wound, and was clotted with blood and hair.
We have heard, that, after Walsh was condemned, when Mr. Justice Stephen was inspecting the gaol in which he is confined, he recalled to his Honor's memory the circumstances of his trial before him in 1839.

Source: The Sydney Herald 27 Apr 1842



The Ghost at the Second Bridge                                  Henry Lawson (1891)


You'd call the man a senseless fool,—
A blockhead or an ass,
Who’d dare to say he saw the ghost
Of Mount Victoria Pass;
But I believe the ghost is there,
For, if my eyes are right,
I saw it once upon a ne’er-
To-be-forgotten night.

’Twas in the year of eighty-nine—
The day was nearly gone,
The stars were shining, and the moon
Is mentioned further on;
I’d tramped as far as Hartley Vale,
Tho’ tired at the start,
But coming back I got a lift
In Johnny Jones’s cart.

’Twas winter on the mountains then—
The air was rather chill,
And so we stopped beside the inn
That stands below the hill.
A fire was burning in the bar,
And Johnny thought a glass
Would give the tired horse a spell
And help us up the Pass.

Then Jimmy Bent came riding up—
A tidy chap was Jim—
He shouted twice, and so of course
We had to shout for him.
And when at last we said good-night
He bet a vulgar quid
That we would see the “ghost in black”,
And sure enough we did.

And as we climbed the stony pinch
Below the Camel Bridge,
We talked about the “Girl in black”
Who haunts the Second Bridge.
We reached the fence that guards the cliff
And passed the corner post,
And Johnny like a senseless fool
Kept harping on the ghost.

“She’ll cross the moonlit road in haste
And vanish down the track;
Her long black hair hangs to her waist
And she is dressed in black;
Her face is white, a dull dead white—
Her eyes are opened wide—
She never looks to left or right,
Or turns to either side.”

I didn’t b’lieve in ghosts at all,
Tho’ I was rather young,
But still I wished with all my heart
That Jack would hold his tongue.
The time and place, as you will say,
(’Twas twelve o’clock almost)—
Were both historically fa-
Vourable for a ghost.

But have you seen the Second Bridge
Beneath the “Camel’s Back”?
It fills a gap that broke the ridge
When convicts made the track;
And o’er the right old Hartley Vale
In homely beauty lies,
And o’er the left the mighty walls
Of Mount Victoria rise.

And there’s a spot above the bridge,
Just where the track is steep,
From which poor Convict Govett rode
To christen Govett’s Leap;
And here a teamster killed his wife—
For those old days were rough—
And here a dozen others had
Been murdered, right enough.

The lonely moon was over all
And she was shining well,
At angles from the sandstone wall
The shifting moonbeams fell.
In short, the shifting moonbeams beamed,
The air was still as death,
Save when the listening silence seemed
To speak beneath its breath.

The tangled bushes were not stirred
Because there was no wind,
But now and then I thought I heard
A startling noise behind.
Then Johnny Jones began to quake;
His face was like the dead.
“Don’t look behind, for heaven’s sake!
The ghost is there!” he said.

He stared ahead—his eyes were fixed;
He whipped the horse like mad.
“You fool!” I cried, “you’re only mixed;
A drop too much you’ve had.
I’ll never see a ghost, I swear,
But I will find the cause.”
I turned to see if it was there,
And sure enough it was!

Its look appeared to plead for aid
(As far as I could see),
Its hands were on the tailboard laid,
Its eyes were fixed on me.
The face, it cannot be denied
Was white, a dull dead white,
The great black eyes were opened wide
And glistened in the light.

I stared at Jack; he stared ahead
And madly plied the lash.
To show I wasn’t scared, I said—
“Why, Jack, we’ve made a mash.”
I tried to laugh; ’twas vain to try.
The try was very lame;
And, tho’ I wouldn’t show it, I
Was frightened, all the same.

“She’s mashed,” said Jack, “I do not doubt,
But ’tis a lonely place;
And then you see it might turn out
A breach of promise case.”
He flogged the horse until it jibbed
And stood as one resigned,
And then he struck the road and ran
And left the cart behind.

Now, Jack and I since infancy
Had shared our joys and cares,
And so I was resolved that we
Should share each other’s scares.
We raced each other all the way
And never slept that night,
And when we told the tale next day
They said that we were—intoxicated.