163. Elizabeth Jones
THE COLLITS FAMILY.
Passing of the Pioneers.
(BY HERBERT J. RUMSEY, F.S.G..)
In a recent "Herald" there appeared a notice of the death of Mary, relict of the late Pierce Collits, at Petersham, aged 91, and on the next day that of Elizabeth, relict of the late Pierce Collits, at Forbes, aged 80. These two widows, who died within a couple of days of one another, were the widows of two Pierce Collits, who were cousins and both grandsons of Pierce Collits and Mary his wife, who were amongst our very early pioneers. The first Pierce Collits came out in the Minerva in 1801. Up to about 1816 his signature may be seen as a witness to marriages in the old Castlereagh register in the Mitchell Library. It is said that Collits had crossed the mountains before the real discoverers of the track, and he was one of those who helped Captain Cox to form the road in 1813-16. Before 1828 he had established a hotel at Mount York, 81 miles from Sydney, where there was a post-office under his charge before 1834. Oxley, the surveyor, in 1826, gives the height at "Vale of Clwyd, near Collits' Inn," as 2642 feet. When the new road was made to Bathurst via Hartley, this inn was left on a by-road and was closed. Collits however, was not ruined by the loss of business at his hotel for he had sent his sons out as pioneers of the Belubula and Lachlan. Right ahead of all settlements they formed stations on all the choice and well watered spots from Canowindra to Cadow. Only a couple of weeks ago I discovered In a small station cemetery on the Belubula, near Canowindra, the grave of one of his stockmen, Thomas Higgins, a former George street hotelkeeper, who had gone west with the Collits, and had been killed by accident in 1839. Mitchell, the surveyor, tells in his diary of meeting James Collits (son of old Pierce, and father of one of the cousins) on March 28, 1836, with an aboriginal. The pair had been 70 miles down the river from Grudgery, near Forbes where Mitchell met them searching for water and grass for stock. He says that Collits told him that but for the help of the blackfellow he would have died for want of water.
Source: The SMH 6 Aug 1932
The late Pierce Collits - The Memory of Bushranging Days.There passed away at his home at sand Hills on Friday evening last a very old resident of the Lachlan district in the person of Mr. Pierce Collits, who had been suffering for some time past from an internal growth, the immediate cause of his death. The late Mr. Collits was born at Hartley, in 1840 and was therefore in his 74th year. When he was but a few years old his parents moved to Gangaroo near Cowra, but the blacks became so troublesome that a return to Hartley was deemed necessary. The deceased himself led somewhat of a fearsome and varied career in those days. After merging into pastoral pursuits and this was in the immediate vicinity of Forbes, where he came to manage Bogabigal for his father Mr. Joe Collits, who purchased that property from the late Mr. Rankin. Later on mining claimed his attention in this district and he was one of the many who time after time bottomed "duffers". Deceased also lived about Bandon and Eugowra, but some years ago he settled down at the Sand Hills near Forbes where he ended his days. He leaves to mourn their loss a widow and ten children, five sons and five daughters, as well as a number of grandchildren and other relatives. His remains were laid to rest in the private burial ground at Sand Hills on Sunday afternoon last, when Rev. A. G. Gardner, Church of England Rector, officiated at the graveside.As might have been expected, the late Mr. Pierce Collits, had many exciting experiences with bushrangers, and became near to losing his life on a couple of occasions, but he used to declare that the closest shave he ever had was one with Dunn, whose blood-thirsty instincts were somewhat renowned. The deceased was riding out of Forbes in the direction of the river, near the point where Fitzgeralds Bridge now stands, when he met a man who accosted him with the dreaded command 'Hands up'.. The man turned out to be Dunn who asked him his name and the deceased replied Pierce Collits, which happened to be identical with that of another man in the district who had given information to the police about some horses stolen off Bundaburra Station by the bushrangers. Dunn then ordered the deceased off his horse and gave him five minutes in which to say his prayers before despatching him to another world, but Mr. Collits afterwards said that the sight of the deadly bullets in the revolver, which the bushranger levelled at his head, was quite sufficient to drive all thoughts of prayer out of his mind. Luckily for our friend Ben hall and other members of the gang then happened along, and when the leader asked the meaning of the little drama and was told by Dunn what he intended to doing, Hall explained the mistake and told Collits, who was well known to him to get off his knees. Dunn and Gilbert wanted to take deceased's horse, which belonged to his sister the late Mrs. Esther Young, who kept an hotel for seventeen and a half years at Bandon, where Hall worked with her as stable boy, but Hall knew the horse too, and he insisted on there being no interference whatever with the deceased, who continued his journey thankful alike to God and to man to whose seamy life it was well known there was a bright and kindly side. On another occasion Mr. Collits was invited by one of the members of Hall's gang to have a dip into his saddle bag, which was full of bank notes, but the deceased said, he wasn't having any.
Source: The Forbes Times - Tuesday, 11th August, 1914.
Death of Mr. Joseph Williamson.
" The silent oar has parted the silent river" and we have, with regret, to record the passing of Mr. Joseph Williamson of Nyrang Creek on Wednesday last, after an illness extending over 12 months. The late Mr. Williamson was born at Goulburn, and his early years were spent at Carcoar as a teamster. One of the pioneers of the district in which 48 years of his life were spent, he was the second to select land there in 1866. A member of the Methodist Church since its erection at the Creek, he held office as trustee and steward for 30 years. The deceased leaves a widow and eleven children, including Mrs. W. Trelford (Nyrang Creek), Mrs. T. Wilcox (Billimari), W. Williamson (N.Z.), and three daughters and five sons residing at home. Mr. T. Williamson is a brother of the deceased, while Mesdames Hurkett, G. Lockhart and J. Trelford are sisters. The funeral will take place in the Nyrang Creek Cemetery to day (Friday), the Rev. L. M. K. Mills officiating.
Source: Canowindra Star and Eugowra News 16 Oct 1914
819. Edgar Rollo Williamson
EDGAR ROLLO WILLIAMSON.
Edgar Rollo Williamson was born at Nyrang Creek, 18 years ago, and was the youngest son of the late Jos. Williamson, and Cecilia Williamson, of "Roseville" farm. He lived the comparatively uneventful life of a farmer's son until September, 1916, when he received a fall from his horse. The immediate result was not considered serious enough to seek the advice of a medical man, notwithstanding the fact that the boy was not feeling quite himself. Eventually, however, a certain stomatic condition emerged which necesistated medical aid. The doctors had great difficulty in locating the seat of the trouble, and it was not until several courses of treatment had failed that special attention was drawn to the head. There and then it was discovered that the skull had been badly fractured at some time or another, and, on account of it not having been attended to at the time, was now causing all the trouble. The aid of Sydney specialists was sought, but the consensus of opinion was that the opportunity of rectifying the cause had passed by. It was stated that had medical aid been secured immediately after the accident, the trouble would have been averted. The sad story is made sadder by the fact that the nerve centres in the head were so affected that before his death, the deceased had become almost, if not totally blind. He passed away at his mother's home after a sad and painful illness on Friday, the 8th November, the cause of death being given as "inflammation of the brain and other complications caused primarily by an accident." His body was laid to rest on Sunday morning in the Nyrang Creek Cemetery, and a memorial service was conducted immediately afterwards in the Methodist Church.
Source: Canowrindra Star and Eugowra News 15 Nov 1918
Arrived on Agnes
176. Arthur Rutledge Q.C. M.L.A.
Qld Attorney General