Genealogy of the Rawsthorne, Collits, Lees, Morris, Field, Straney and Colbran families
First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]


Male 1765 - 1848  (83 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Pierce COLLITS  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Born 1765  Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location  [7, 8
    Gender Male 
    Residence Nov 1795  H of Rat, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Residence 15 Jul 1800  Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Age: 38 
    Arrival 14 Dec 1801  Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 6, 7
    Photos? Grave (D0001-15A), Grave (DSCF6146) 
    Residence 01 Jan 1840  New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Died 19 Sep 1848  Hartley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Buried 20 Sep 1848  Mt York, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    • Caught receiving stolen goods (12 yards Muslin, 12 yards Mode, 18 yards of lace and 2 pieces handkerchief) belonging to John, Robert and James READ.

      Described as fair complexion, Brown hair, and Brown eyes

      At time of arrest he lived in No 2 Swan Yard, Bishopgate Street, London.

      Tried in the Old Bailey, Wed 15 July 1800 (Trial Number 570 - Old Bailey Session Records) and received 14 years. Committed to Newgate jail, and delivered aboard the Minorca 16 May 1801, age 38. Sailed from Spithead on 21 June 1801 and arrived in Australia on 14 Dec 1801. It appears that Mary, his wife arrived on the same ship as a free settler, along with his 2 daughters.

      Initially he was assigned to his wife Mary as her convict servant.

      Granted conditional pardon 11 May 1811, and became free 3 years later, and received grant of 50 acres at Prospect on 17 Aug 1819.

      Supplied fresh meat to the government stores (1,000 pounds delivered in 1815, as listed in the Sydney Gazette June 11, 1815)

      Became a voluntary collector of funds for many relief collections (Flooding of the area was common), and collected for the building of a school house and bridge in the Castlereagh area.

      Became Constable of Penrith in 1820 (Listed as "Constable, Pound-Keeper, and inspector of cattle for
      slaughter on the Nepean, near Castlereagh" in a list by Governor MacQuarie on 20 May, 1820)

      Given permission to move 154 head of cattle to a station 12 miles east of the Fish river, and 4 miles west of the ford on the Cox's river, near Mt Blaxland in 1821, the first man to obtain such permission.

      Settled at the base of Mt York in 1823 and built the "Golden Fleece" inn, which was later called the "Royal Garter", now more commonly known as Colletts inn. Licenced in 1830 and again in 1831. The land on which the inn was built was later granted to Pierce by Governor MacQuarie (Later shown to be 200 Acres). The inn became a depot for mail in Jan 1831, and Pierce was a deputy Postmaster.

      He resigned as Postmaster in 1833 and the following year he selected a site on the river Lett fore the bulding of a new Inn.

      The small graveyard, 181ft 6" * 313Ft 6" was conveyed by James Colletts to the Anglican Church on 12 Dec 1860 (It had been promised by Pierce in 1825).

      After the new road down the mountain was built, bypassing the Mt York steep descent, Pierce closed the inn, and was granted land for the construction of a new inn in Hartley.

      It seems that Thomas Rawsthorne worked for Pierce, becoming a friend, and thus allowing his daughter to marry Thomas.


      From the book called "Convict Life In Australia".

      In the "Monica", the same ship that brought William Redfern to the colony there also arrived Pierce Collits, who had been sentenced at the Old Bailey to transportation for 14 years for receiving stolen goods. His wife Mary, who travelled with him as a free woman, was granted 70 acres at Evan on the Nepean River by Governor King, and Collits was assigned to her as a convict servant.

      They were an honest and hard working couple and they soon prospered. In May 1811 Collits was given a conditional pardon and three years later he became free on the expiry of his sentence.

      In 1823 they and their growing family moved to the west side of The Blue Mountains, and at the foot of Mount York Collits built an inn, the Golden Fleece, which was much patronised by traveller’s to and from Bathurst. It became one of the colony’s most famous inns, recorded in both song and verse, and in the present century it was even made the subject of a musical comedy. In addition to his inn, Collits also owned considerable land, which he farmed successfully.

      The halcyon days of the inn ended in the 1830’s when the main western road was diverted through Victoria Pass. Collits then built another on the new road near Hartley, and this one became equally popular. However Collits retained nostalgic memories of the Golden Fleece, and when he died in 1848 he was buried in its grounds.


      From Field family newsletter 8

      Pierce Collits (1769? - 1848), settler and innkeeper, was convicted in July 1800 at The Old Bailey of receiving a quantity of stolen muslin, lace, handkerchiefs, and other goods and sentenced to transportation for 14 years. He arrived in Sydney in the Minorca on 14th December 1801. His wife, Mary, came free at the same time, and though she could not sign her name, King granted her in July 1803 seventy acres at Evan on the Nepean, where her husband joined her. Over the years they had three sons and six daughters and became prosperous and respectable settlers. In 1810 Macquarie included their farm among those he described as ‘good’ ... well cultivated.; perhaps this helped Collits gain his conditional pardon the following may. In the next few years, he subscribed to the school at Castlereagh in 1814, to the Waterloo fund in 1816 and to the food relief fund in 1817; in 1815 he was made chief constable at Evan, in 1820 poundkeeper and inspector of cattle, and in August 1821 a member of the Evan District Committee of Emancipated Colonists. Throughout this period he had supplied large quantities of meat to the Government store and in 1819 was granted a further fifty acres at Prospect.

      By this time he was contemplating a move into the interior, for which he was given permission in 1821. In 1823 he was settled in the Vale of Clwydd (near Lithgow) where he built his famous Collits Inn, The Golden Fleece, at the foot of the Mount York, four miles and a half from the ford over Cox’s River. This was a great boon to travellers, affording them shelter at the end of their second day’s journey from Sydney. He received a grant of 200 acres there in 1825 and by 1828 had cleared 54 and cultivated 36, and owned 360 cattle and 300 sheep. In 1830 Darling, who had visited and praised his inn the previous year, ordered him another 150 acres, and appointed him a deputy-postmaster, but his prosperity was threatened by Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell’s (q.v.) building the new road through Victoria Pass. In 1833 he resigned as postmaster and next year selected a site for a new inn on the River Lett near Hartley. Offered a further grant in substitution for his former land, after some intricate manoeuvring in which he seems to have been anxious to get a double issue, he selected 317 acres on the Belubula River near Canowindra, so as well as pioneering in the Hartley district his sons were among the earliest settlers on the Lachlan River. In 1841 when his wife died he transferred his new inn to his daughter, Sophia Morris. He died on 19th September 1848, aged 79, and was buried behind his first inn.


      Part from Field Family newsletter 9

      A weatherboard commodious Barrack and Guard House with an enclosed kitchen garden, for the accommodation of the Military Guard stationed at this post on The Great Western Road, which was established for the keeping open communication with Bathurst as well as for the protection of travellers. The place is situated about 81 miles from Sydney, and lies right under the shadow of Mount York, and nowadays is situated about four miles from Hartley vale railway station. Quite a lot of nonsense has been written of the historic house “Collits Inn” at Mount York. One remarkable inaccurate statement was written by an alleged historian, who should know better, to the effect that during Governor Macquarie’s triumphal progress westward to Bathurst in the year 1815, he slept in a room at the residence, and the present proprietor of the house ( which is now an accommodation week-end house for visitors) still circulates the bogus story, probably pointing out the “alleged room” in which Governor Macquarie and Mrs. Elizabeth Macquarie did not sleep, for the barracks was nor erected until at the very earliest possible time, which would be in the year 1817. I make the foregoing statement with positive assurance and veracity.

      There being no further use for the building as a military barracks, Mr. Pierce Collits (1) took the place and a large grant of land adjoining the property was given to him and in the month of April, 1824, he opened the house under the sign “Golden Fleece Inn”. The name was changed later to that of “The King’s Garter Inn”. The property was occupied by the Collits until their respective deaths. Mrs. Mary Collits died August 4th 1841, aged 73 years, and Mr. Pierce Collits died September 19th 1846 aged 85 years.


      From field newsletter 22


      9Th. July 1800.
      No. 570.

      Edward Baldwin and Pearce Collett, were indicted, the first, for feloniously stealing, on 29th June, twelve yards of mode, value 2s. twelve yards muslin, value 1s. eighteen yards of lace, value 2s. and two pieces of handkerchiefs, each containing seven handkerchiefs, value 3s. the property of John Read, Robert Read, and James read; and the other, for receiving the same knowing them to have been stolen.
      (The case was opened by Mr. Knapp).
      Thomas Sapwell sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knapp. On the 29th of June, on the Sunday morning, I took the prisoners into custody, about six o’clock; I went to the prisoner Collett’s house. No.7 Two Ewan Yard, Bishopsgate – street, and on a copper, close by where the prisoner stood, I found this piece of cambric muslin; I asked him where he bought those things; and he said, d—n me, I would buy anything; I then took Collett to the Compter; I then returned, and searched the house; in his box I found a piece of black silk mode; I took the key out of Collett’s pocket with which I unlocked the box; I then went to a house, No. 17, Old Bethlem-court, where there lived one Elizabeth Day; I took into custody, and took her to Collett’s house; I searched her, and found two pieces of silk handkerchief in her right hand pocket; I apprehended Baldwin at the prosecutor’s house.
      Q.. Before he had told you anything, did you make him any promises, or use any threats? A.. I told him I would do what I could, with his master, if he would confess what he knew. Robert Read Sworn. Examined by Mr. Knapp. I accused the prisoner, Baldwin, of having robbed us of a piece of mode, a piece of cambric muslin, and eighteen yards, or a piece of lace; he denied it. I mentioned the articles over again; he said they were at Sapwell’s the constable’s house; he said, the cambric muslin is not yours; I then said, what are the other things, you have robbed us of them; he said, yes, and wished he had gone for a sailor before he took them; I asked him what could induce him to do it; he said, that Collett was continually after him, telling him to do it; he said it was his first offence, he never robber us before, or since, and he had received no money for the things; I told him if it was so, I would not prosecute him; This silk mode is our property, it is worth about forty shillings, it has not been sold by us; also the eighteen yards of lace, which is worth about forty shillings, that was found in Collett’s box; the other things I believe to be our property, but will not swear to them; the handkerchiefs I am certain of, but the marks being picked out I will not swear to them, the cambric muslin, the mark being torn, I will not swear to it.
      Cross examined by Mr. Knowlys..Q.. The prisoner did not abscond from your service? A.. No I sent for him, and he came to me without force.
      Q.. Do you mean to take upon yourself to say, that that black silk mode has never been sold? A.. If it had, it would have been entered in the book; on the lace there are figures made.
      Q.. Are the figure always torn off the lace when it is sold? A.. Not always
      Q.. You don’t know any thing of Collett? A.. No; I never saw him till I saw him before the Lord-Mayor.
      (The confession of Baldwin was produced, and read).
      The prisoners left their defence to their Council, and called six witnesses, who gave them good character.

      BALDWIN: Guilty. (aged 31)
      Transported for seven years.
      COLLETT: Guilty. (aged 30)

      Transported for fourteen years.

      Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.



      A BRANCH OF THE WILLIAM BANHAM (1834-1866) & MARIA (nee JONES 1840~1919) FAMILY TREE.
      Original Author Robert Ellis (text amended).

      This story covers the earliest pioneering years of the New South Wales Colony.
      It is a story which could be repeated by some thousands of convicted families who were unwanted in their homeland as during the 1788-1840 years transportation of convicted felons was a means adopted by English officialdom to overcome their then problem of overcrowded prisons.
      It is also a story of success against overwhelming odds.

      In this instance we are referring to the convict, Pierce Collits (C.1769-1848), his wife Mary (nee Hardwick 1769-1841) and their family.
      When researching this family history there were numerous problems created by a variation in the spelling of the surname of Collits; Collits; Collitt; Collitts; Collet; Collets; Collett and Colletts.
      The spelling used in this instance is the more popularly uses one in the records of the 1788-1820 Association's Pioneer Register, 2nd edition, Volume 1. Collits.

      Pierce Collits was born (C.1769) at Thomastown, some sixteen kilometer south-east of Kilkenny. Kilkenny was the major township in the County of Kilkenny in Ireland.
      To date nothing has been learned of his childhood and schooling days. However it is known he was at St. Dunstanes Church, Stepney, London on the 15th November 1795 as it was here he married Mary Hardwick.
      Mary was also of Irish descent as she was a native of Kilkenny, Ireland.
      She had been more fortunate than her husband in that she had sufficient schooling to be capable of reading and writing. This was to prove of paramount importance to her family in later years.
      (During the first century of European occupation of this colony a large proportion of convicts and assisted immigrants could not read or write the English language.)

      By the time the couple left England in June 1801 they had had four children. When the first child, Maria, was born on the First September 1796 they were residing at King Street. Tower Hill, London.
      Sarah was born on the 10th September 1797 at Sweedland Court London. Henry Pierce was born on the 17th January 1799 at Minories Street, London and his brother Pierce on the 6th August 1800 at Tower Hill, London. Both of these sons died in infancy.
      These early years of their marriage in London was a most difficult period. Unemployment was rife. Even many of those who were in employment found it difficult to support their families because of the weakened state of the economy. Hunger, cold and sickness forced many of these individuals to steal and poach in their never ending battle to survive.

      Pierce Collits was a porter in London when he fell foul of the law and found himself confronting a jury at the infamous London Old Bailey Assizes on the 15th July 1800. He was living at No. 7, Two Swan Yard, Bishopgate, London when he was arrested on the 29th June 1800.

      A friend, Edward Baldwin, was employed by a firm owned by three brothers, John, Robert and James Read. Edward relieved the firm of two pieces of material large enough to make seven handkerchiefs from each, along with thirty yards of silk and lace. In total these materials were valued at eighty shillings.
      The arresting Constable found these materials in a copper and a locked box in Collits home. Collits confessed to buying the goods from Baldwin.
      When cross examined in court Baldwin eventually confessed to stealing these goods, claiming Collits consistently enticed him to do so because he (Collits) could always find a buyer for them.
      Six witnesses gave character references for both Baldwin and Collits, but to no avail as they were both sentenced to transportation to the Colony of New South Wales. The verdicts were:- Baldwin (aged 31 years) 7 years.
      Collits (aged 30 years) 14 years.

      Pierce was transferred unto the Sherriff on the 28th day of September, 1800, committed to Newgate Gaol and delivered on board the 'Minorca ', together with 103 other convicts, on the 16th May 1801. He was then described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, of fair complexion with brown hair and dark eyes.

      During the earliest years of the Colony there was an alarming disparagement in the number of females to that of males. At one period the ratio was ten to one. Whilst this problem gradually improved it was one which extended well into the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
      In an endeavor to overcome this alarming problem English officialdom had altered some rules prior to Pierce Collits being embarked from Spithead, England, to begin his sentence abroad.
      Wives, or mistresses, and the children of convicted criminals were offered free passage to the Colony with their men.
      To improve the flow of these free female immigrants and their families a policy was adopted whereby the free females were promised a land grant in conjunction with an assigned convict to work their land. As an added incentive they were to be given free tools, food, seed, cattle, sheep and hogs from the government stores. Wherever applicable the convict husband was to be assigned to his wife.
      This made life much more tolerable for many than it was during the first twelve years of the colony's existence.

      These were the conditions Mary had accepted on behalf of her two living children when she went aboard the convict transport ship 'Minorca ' and sailed for New South Wales on the 21st June 1801.
      Mary was accompanied on board by eleven other free women and their twenty six children. (two of them hers).

      Someone once said 'life was not meant to be easy!'
      Please spare a thought for Mary and the problems the woman had encountered during her short married life of five years and seven months prior to her going aboard ship to leave her homeland.
      She had given birth to four children and had been unfortunate in losing the last two, sons, in infancy. When she gave birth to her youngest son and the ensuing trauma of his death, her husband was in confinement.
      From the time of Pierce's confinement in July 1800 until she and her two daughters went on board ship in June 180l one could be forgiven for asking 'how did the woman eke out a living for herself and her children considering the depleted state of the British economy at that time?'

      There were three convict transports in the fleet that left Spithead on the 21st June 1801. The 'Minorca ' had 104 male convicts aboard, the 'Canada ' 104 males and the 'Nile ' 96 females.
      The 'Minorca ' arrived in Port Jackson on the 14th December 1801. There were two convict deaths during the voyage. A far cry from the appalling conditions encountered on the hell ships of the lst, 2nd and 3rd fleets where a human life was of no consequence to the transport owners and hundreds of convicts died during the trip or soon after from the effects of it.

      Governor Gidley King was in control of the Colony when the previously mentioned fleet arrived. He had sanctioned added land settlement south of the Hawkesbury River along the eastern side of the Nepean River as shown in the plan of sub-division surveys taken by his Surveyor-General Grimes and James Meehan. This map represents land grant numbers 1 to 79 and 82 to 86.

      Prior to the issue of these particular land grants by Governor King, 'squatting on the river ' had become an accepted practice.
      In his book 'Reminiscences of Australia ' James T. Ryan states:- 'Bird's Eye Corner (the birthplace of Ryan) is situated four miles from Penrith on the eastern side of the river, and has at the south corner an abrupt angle of the river (on frontage to portion number 32). It was there that the early settlers dwelt in the year 1800, though the first grants were not issued until 1805.
      But nevertheless most of the land was occupied and many of those who were settled down in the corner (and northerly) were Jacob Russell, Pierce Collits, Randall's, Rope's, Colless', Field's, Lees, McCarthy's, Lewin's, Frederick's and Morris families."
      This settlement was largely composed of married emancipists, disbanded soldiers and free settlers, including a few naval and other officers.

      Mary Collits was allocated her previously promised land grant by Governor King on the lst July 1803. This was number 32, an area of 70 acres fronting the Nepean River in the District of Evan. There was a quit rent of 2/6 annually beginning from the Fist July 1808.

      In a lecture given by Reverend S.C.Roberts on the 'Interesting Historical Relics Around Penrith ' on Thursday 26th June 1923 he quotes re the Mary Collits block: 'Here, only last year, there disappeared one of the original homes of 120 years ago. It was a quaint slab kitchen, with a brick chimney, having a small baker's oven at one side of the chimney, taking up all one end of the kitchen.
      The original roof of shingles was on it at the demolition last year, though covered by iron. Here Mrs. Collits held the first school in the district.
      It was also here 'Toby ' Ryan writes, was where his father and mother came to reside in 1817, calling it Bird's Eye Corner '.

      A large room near the old kitchen bore the name of 'The Old Schoolroom ' until it was pulled down a few years ago. The school evidently was succeeded by the Wesleyan Community School, afterwards held in John Lee's church.
      The farm is now occupied by Mrs. Sheen.
      There is an old barn standing which must have been built soon after the schoolroom kitchen. and, on the bend of the river are the marks where Colless's flour mill was situated ' (Unquote.)

      It would be a reasonable assumption to assume Mary and her daughters squatted on this block of land soon after their arrival in Sydney on the 14th December 1801 and that her convict husband became her assigned servant after she was allocated the grant in July 1803.

      In this year of 1995 the river frontage to her land grant is used extensively for the purpose of sand mining.
      No doubt the geographical situation of this land was to have a profound bearing on the future lives of the Collits family, their children and their descendants. This comment is vindicated by the burials in a small cemetery at Hartley Vale, New South Wales. (More of that later).

      When Mary acquired her land in 1803 the Colony boundary was restricted to the eastern bank of the Nepean River. By this time there had been numerous attempts by explorers, supported by their then governors. to find a trail over the Blue Mountains. All had failed until ten years later when Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth succeeded in 1813.
      During this period of time anyone attempting a mountain crossing from the
      Penrith area were forced to use a crossing at a bend in the Nepean River at what was then referred to as the Penrith Ford. Later this spot became known as the Emu Island Crossing. This was immediately in front of Mary Collit's block of land.
      Such a set of circumstances presented the Collits family with a grandstand view of all activities at this crossing. They would have been amongst the first to learn of any assault on the mountains. More importantly they would have known the results of all attempted crossings.
      Like all such river crossings it was a common occurrence for parties to have to wait two or three weeks before being able to attempt to cross. Naturally this situation was totally controlled by the elements.

      There was an addition to the Collit's family on the 8th February 1803, John Pilmore was born at Castlereagh.
      This tends to verify that Mary Collits and her family were "squatting" on this block of land prior to it being officially granted to her on the lst June 1803. The remainder of the family Francis 1804; James 1806; Joseph 1808; Sophia 1810; Amelia 1812; William 1815 and Mary ???? were all born at this address.

      By 1806 Pierce and Mary had made a successful start as farmers. By this time they had eleven and a half acres of a combination of wheat, barley, maize and potato crops as well as an acre of orchard and garden.
      They also owned 1 horse, 40 sheep, a female goat to supply the family with milk and 18 hogs.

      When Governor Phillips first discovered the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury River in 1788 he was firmly convinced this was the answer to what he had been in search of, arable land suitable for growing most types of agricultural produce. He also noticed a number of warning signs along the river banks and flats. Many trees and bushes had a permanent lean downstream. Flood debris was lodged in trees up to feet above the normal stream flow. Sure signs of severe flooding.
      Pierce and Mary Collits, along with all of the new settlers along the Lower Nepean and Upper Hawkesbury Rivers, were to be the first Europeans in the new colony to learn of the ferocity and destruction a major flood in this river system could cause. They learned this lesson in March 1806.

      "The Hawkesbury-Nepean had flooded since time immemorial. Governor King reported that the natives talked of a huge flood, probably about twenty six years earlier. It rose so dramatically that it swept off natives who had climbed to the highest tree to escape it, and the rain continued for nine days and nine nights............"
      There was flooding in 1794 and 1795 and again in October 1800 and March 1801.

      "Then came the calamitous flood of March 1806; the first experienced by most Nepean settlers.
      Steady rain set in on the Nepean in mid-March. It continued with hardly a break for over a week. Roads became impassible as the rains hurtled down with evermore ferocity, and the river rose quickly.
      Andrew Thompson, Chief Constable on the Hawkesbury and a boat owner, plucked over 100 stranded and desperate settlers from roof tops and branches of trees. Another boat owner, Thomas Biggers, saved 150 people.

      "As the boats took settlers to higher ground, the ever menacing waters pushed over wheat stacks and forced them downstream.
      Stock of all descriptions were seen floating about and on top of the stacks, but could not be saved for want of boats. Several people drowned and many more had lucky escapes.
      William Leeson, his wife, mother, two children and three laborers climbed onto a haystack to escape the rapidly rising water. But the rushing current swept the stack away and carried then nearly seven miles downstream....... A boat managed to reach them, and the rescuers plucked the Leesons from the sodden moving hay.

      "The cries of other families, forced to spend the night perched in trees or on roof tops,and the discharge of firearms intended to attract the attention of the rescue boats, mingled with the piteous cries of domestic animals and the lowing of cattle made the night one of terror.

      "When the waters finally receded and settlers nudged back to the piece of land that had been both farm and home, many had lost everything. The flood had swept away 200 bushels of maize belonging to Mary Collits, leaving her two dozen pigs with little fodder.
      But her main concern was for food for her husband and five children. Edward Field had forty bushels of wheat which he needed to feed his wife and children".

      One often wonders why farmers consistently return to reside on their flooded lands after losing everything. Pierce and Mary were in this category as the next we learn of their activities is from an advertisement that appeared in the Sydney Gazette in September 1810.

      "To Be Sold by Private Contract, Thirty Ewes and about the same number of Lambs, all in healthy condition.
      Applications to John Gandell,Butcher,Bell Street, or to Pierce Collits,Nepean."

      A date of major importance to the Collits family was the llth May, 1811. This was the day Governor Macquarie issued Pierce Collits with a pardon. Once again he was a free man.
      Prior to this date Pierce was a privileged convict working out his time for his own gain with his wife as his master. In many respects Pierce was one of the more fortunate convicts in that he avoided the harsh inhumane treatment that became the lot of many felons. To a large degree this was brought about by him being an assigned convict to work on his wife's land grant. He did not encounter the problems that other convicts sometimes did.. He therefore did not have any offences marked against his character during his time in New South Wales as a convict. As a consequence, he did not serve out his full 14 years. On llth May 1811, three years earlier than his expiry date of his sentence, he was given a Conditional Pardon numbered 54. This meant all his civil rights were restored on condition that he still resided in the Colony. He wasn't able to return to England until he was given his absolute pardon. Many , indeed most, of the less fortunate convicts served their term in imprisonment in road gangs, in chain gangs or in one of may types of punishment designed to include inhumane treatment. In many instances a slight misdemeanor was sufficient to bring the wrath of officialdom down upon them and have to suffer the indignity of being allocated a number of "lashes" with the infamous cat-o-nine tails. This was punishment at its worse.

      Because by now he was a free individual Pierce was entitled to indulge in all activities within the laws of the colony.
      This allowed him to be elected as a foreman of a jury on the 3rd March 1814 at the trial of four aboriginals who were accused of murdering a Mr. Reardon at Castlereagh. They also speared three cattle.
      The four natives, an elderly man and three youths, entered a property owned by a Mr. McDonald who had previously threatened to have them sent to gaol. They entered his house and then destroyed pumpkins, melon and other vine crops. They then rooted up potatoes and destroyed them.
      Mr. Reardon was working on the property felling timber. The natives mistook him for the owner, Mr. McDonald,and speared him through the left side of his breast. They then crossed the river and disappeared.
      Reardon was able to remove the spear but it was some considerable time before he could get medical treatment at Windsor. He died soon afterwards.

      Ironically Pierce's son-in-law,Phillip Strickland, was speared to death by natives whilst on duty as a constable on the 6th November 1816.

      Whilst living at Lot 32 at Bird's Eye Corner trouble with the natives was nothing new to the Collits family.

      "Governor Macquarie was essentially a paternalist. He seemed to like the Aboriginals quite genuinely and wished to help them, provided they remained peaceful and inoffensive. Where they resisted the advance of settlement, however, he soon put aside his humanitarian principles and assumed the ruthless guise of the soldier. Thus the choice he presented them with was clear; they could accept the place he offered them within the settlement, in which case they would be rewarded with feasts and blankets ... or the could fight for their land, which meant punitive expeditions, outlawry and, very often, death for the resisters.

      "In March 1816 Macquarie reported to London that Aborigines had killed five settlers along the Nepean and forced many others to abandon their farms in the first serious outbreak of fighting for some years. The Governor's reaction was violent, both in words and deeds. He accused the Aborigines of 'atrocious Conduct ', and proposed 'exemplary and Severe Punishments' intended to 'Strike then with terror '.

      "Macquarie despatched a military expedition lasting twenty three days to hostile areas on the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Grose Rivers, with orders to seize all Aboriginal men, women and children met with from Sydney onwards. Any who resisted were to be shot and their bodies hung from trees in conspicuous places. Most of the Aborigines retreated deeper into the bush as the soldiers approached, but in one encounter near Appin fourteen were killed and five captured, some of the dead being women and children who rushed in despair over precipices.

      "The shooting must have been fairly indiscriminate. In a proclamation issued on 4th May 1816 the Governor conceded that 'some few innocent Men, Women and Children may have fallen in these Conflicts', but described this as an 'unavoidable Result ' and hoped 'it will eventually strike Terror amongst the Surviving Tribes.

      "The proclamation was among the toughest, most uncompromising ultimations ever issued on the Aboriginal question.
      Macquarie ordered firstly, that from June no Aborigine 'shall ever appear at or within one Mile of any Town, Village, or Farm, occupied by, or belonging to any British subject. armed with any warlike or offensive Weapon or Weapons of any description, such as Spears, Clubs, or Waddies, on Pain of Being .... considered in a State of Aggression and Hostility and treated accordingly

      "Secondly, no group of more than six unarmed Aborigines' shall ever come to lurk or loiter about any Farm in the Interior, on the Pain of being considered Enemies, and treated accordingly.'

      "Thirdly, the Govenor abolished the punishment duels and fights which the Aborigines had continued to hold among themselves in the environs of Sydney and which often attracted large crowds of European spectators. He warned that these duels were 'a barbarous Custom repugnant to the British Laws,' and that groups assembling for the purpose in Sydney or any other settlement.... 'shall be considered as Disturbers of the Public Peace and shall be apprehended and punished in a summary Manner accordingly......... 1

      "Fourthly he proposed that peaceful Aborigines who wished to place themselves under the protection of the British Government should be issued with Passports or Certificates which would protect them from injury provided the behaved inoffensively and did not carry weapons.

      " Having wielded the stick on recalcitrant Aborigines, Macquarie's proclamation now came up with a carrot for the penitent. He offered land, tools, seeds. clothes and six month's victuals from the stores for all Aborigines who wished to settle down permanently as farmers. He invited others 'to relinquish their idle and predatory Habits of Life ' by laboring for the settlers, and urged the latter to employ any 'industrious Natives' who might apply for work."

      The result of this proclamation was profound. It put an end to fighting between black and white in the area around. It was revoked on the 8th November 1816.

      By this time (1816) there had been lots of activity at the Emu Island Crossing. Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth had found a trail over the mountains. George Evans had followed their trail and then went further inland. By January 1816 William Cox had cleared a road as far inland as the new site of the town of Bathurst.

      One could be forgiven for assuming the Collits family had a first class account of most of these expeditions. They would most certainly have had a detailed account of events re the road construction along with a description of the type of land encountered on the western side of the ranges as two of their neighbours, Edward Field (Senior & Junior) were heavily involved as blacksmiths when the road building first began. Surrounding neighbours also sold produce to the road gang officials.
      In the meantime Pierce was endeavoring to get a grant of land. He put his name on the official list on the 30th June 1814 and again on the 16th January 1816. However he had to wait until the 17th August 1819 before he was granted 50 acres at Portion 78, in the Parish of Prospect. The total fees for this transaction was three pounds two shillings and seven pence.
      On todays map this block of land was in the near vicinity of where Horsley Drive crosses the Sydney Water Supply Tunnel in the suburb of Horsley Park.
      Pierce was not very impressed with this acquisition.

      When William Cox completed the road over the mountains to Bathurst in January 1816 Governor Macquarie installed guardhouses at strategic positions along the route. No one was allowed to cross the mountains without permission.
      This was because he was waiting on orders from officialdom back in England on how to control the situation.
      Without some type of official control it was obvious there would be an exodus of both people and stock fleeing the confines of the colony restricted to east of the Nepean River. They would scatter to all points westward in an uncontrollable manner.

      On 20th May 1820 Governor Macquarie issued an order to give the fullest publicity and authority to several persons legally appointed to act in the Police Department of the Colony. In the list of these Government Officials Pierce Collits was shown as Constable, pound keeper and inspector of cattle for slaughter on the river Nepean near Castlereagh. When being paid funds from Macquarie's Police fund Mr. Pierce Collits was referred to as Chief Constable - District of Evan. On today's maps (1999) the present day boundaries of the city of Penrith are roughly defined by the Nepean River on the west, Park Road and Elizabeth Drive in the suburbs of Mulgoa and Luddenham on the south, South Creek on the east and Richmond Road and The Driftway in the suburbs of Londonderry and Agnes Banks in the north. This then was the area in which Collits had to operate as Chief Constable. He resigned from these duties on 8th October 1823 as just prior to this date he and his family had become more interested in what was happening west of the mountain range.

      He soon discovered good grazing land was available near Mt. York in 1821. Being land locked in the coastal region, many were to follow Pierce westward as the floodgates opened to new pastures west and beyond. Pierce was the first to obtain grazing rights for 145 head of cattle viz:

      On the 13th October 1821 Governor Macquarie condescended to give:-"Mr. Pierce Collits of the District of Evan has hitherto permission and authority to remove One Hundred and forty five(145) Head of Cattle to a Station Twelve Miles East of the Fish River four miles west of the Ford on Cox's River, to be under the care of himself, his son John Collits, and William Pritchard his Convict Servant." This was called a "Ticket of occupation" and makes it quite obvious either Pierce or some of his sons had made a previous expedition over the ranges and knew just where to take the stock. It was to become a major stepping stone towards later huge land grants in the central New South Wales region.

      On the 28th November of the same year Pierce applied for a land grant of "200 acres suitable for the erection of an Inn for the security and accommodation of Settlers Travelling near Cox's River.

      Over a period of years he made further applications for land in the Hartley Valley and readers wishing to know more of this and wish to make further study of this subject should begin by referring to pages 397 to 405 in the story of "Pierce Collits and His Inns" by W.L. Havard in Volume 23 of the Royal Australian Historical Society Journal.
      The family, including those who married the Collits girls seem to always be close by supporting each other as new business ventures opened up. Later in 1821 the first orders for permanent settlement were issued. With the ever increasing volume of stock and travellers going west, the astute Collits family were quick to see the advantages of catering for these weary westward bound folk.
      The site of Collit's first Inn and when it was erected has long been a subject of general interest. However most, if not all, agree it was the first roadhouse erected west of the mountain range.
      After much research and study of this subject one may present the following personal opinion on when the Inn was constructed and verify that opinion with government records.
      Just over seven months after applying for his grant of 200 acres on which to build an inn on the 2nd June 1822 Pierce applied to Governor Brisbane for two sawyers and carpenters to build an inn on the Cox's River.
      Robert Hoddle (Surveyor) after tracing and marking Bell's line in October 1823 wrote under the date of 4th November 1823: "Our line run into the road near Collit's Inn at the bottom of Mount York distant 4k miles from Cox's River. While surveying near Mount York in November 1823 "James McBrien took bearings of "Mr. Collits' House."
      These details tell us Collit's first Inn was erected between October 1822 and October 1823. This was a pise building with a bark roof. Although Pierce didn't acquire proper tenure of the land it was built on until 1830 he seems to have done very well as the pioneers walked, rode their horses, drove their mobs of sheep and cattle as well as driving their bullock teams in a continual stream past his front door, The road down Mt York was very steep and difficult to negotiate especially by inexperienced new chums from England who had been promised huge western runs if they immigrated to New South Wales and invested their money in developing the new areas now opening up. What a shock these poor old Poms must have got. What treasures we would have if all these conversations with the Collits family had been recorded.
      Pierce originally called the first inn "The Golden Fleece". What a comfort the inn must have been . An oasis of comfort in contrast to the rough terrain before it.


      The following is a reproduction of an article in Volume 23 of the Royal Australian Historical Society -
      Pierce Collits and His Inns.
      By W. L. HAVARD.

      In a clearing in the valley below Mount York is a group of buildings behind pine trees. Here, over a hundred years ago, the inn established by Pierce Collits was the comfortable haven of travellers on the difficult Western Road.

      While it is not strange that Collits' Inn provides the theme for countless tales, interesting and sometimes over coloured, the acceptance of some of them in certain reputable quarters is indeed amazing. Tradition about Collits and his first inn ranges from a statement that the building was "the first house west of the Blue Mountains and was erected in the year 1812 . . ." through the myth of a sojourn at the inn by Governor Macquarie to the Allegation that Collits was "Private Secretary to Sir Arthur Phillip" !****

      Pierce Collits represents a very large group of Australian pioneers, and the available facts concerning this vigorous and intelligent colonist are interesting both for that reason and because they present a picture of the life and conditions of the period in Australian history in which he lived.
      ***Matter relating to Collits is to be found in the Lithgow Mercury of January 27, 1903, and of April 2, 1909; the World's News of June 19, 1909; the Sydney Mail of January 11, 1911; the Sydney Morning Herald of May 27, 1913; The Sun of October 24, 1915; Mr. Frank Walker's compilation, First Crossing of the Blue Mountains, Vol. I. [Mitchell Library]; the Royal Australian Historical Society's Journal, Vol. II., p. 300, and Vol. Ill., p. 372, p 552. Statements in this Society's Journals gave rise to a controversy between Mr. F. Walker and the late Alex. Wilson in the Lithgow Mercury of March 26, April 27, and June 4, 1917. Historically unwarranted statements concerning Collits appear in the Sydney Mail of June 20, 1934, and in other publications which noticed the musical romance, "Collits' Inn."

      Pierce Brigginton [?) Collits was tried in London * in 1800 and sentenced to fourteen years (transportation). He was about thirty years of age when, on December 14, 1801, he arrived in Sydney by the Minorca. His wife, Mary, free and of the same age, came at or about the same time. Governor King granted Mary Collett ** 70 acres in the district of Evan on July 1, 1803, juit rent of 2/6 beginning on July 1, 1808. This land was bounded on the north side by Samuel Stanyard's farm, and on the south side by Westmore farm on the River Nepean. ***
      Presumably Collits joined his wife at her farm, for in September, l810, the following advertisement appeared in the Sydney Gazette : "To be Sold By Private Contract: Thirty Ewes and about the same number of Lambs, all in healthy condition. Applications to John Gandell, Butcher, Bell Street, or to Pierce Collet, Nepean. **** An arresting story in The Memoirs of Joseph Holt (1838) records that a man was shot by Pierce Collet, who was hanged for the murder; but the Sydney Gazette of March 27, 1813 shows that it was Pierce Condon, not Collits, who was concerned. Notices in the Sydney Gazette trace Collits' rise to local prominence. On October 16, 1813, he was shown as co-witness to a notice relating to the marriage separation of Hawkesbury residents; in June, 1814, as "Mfr. Pierce Collet," he was named among subscribers [of 5 pounds in his case] to a fund to provide a school house***** and bridge in the district of Castlereagh.
      * This does not suggest that Collits was "an Irish rebel".
      ** Collits is the correct form, but in this article the spelling follows the variations found in the data used.
      *** Royal Australian Historical Society's; Journal, Vol. XVIII., Map p. 254, Grant No. 32.
      **** During a tour of the district, Governor Macquarie, on November 10, 1810, passed through a long extensive chain of Farmis along
      the Nepean belonging to . . . Collett . . . being tile front line of Farms on this River" . The Sydney Gazette on December 8, 1810, included the name of Pierce Collett among those of signatories to an "Address from the Settlers of Hawkesbury" presented to Macquarie.
      ***** See Parramatta Historical Society's Journal, Vol. III., re Mary Collits having "held the first school" at Castlereagh Register ,as a "markswoman"

      In June, 1815, it was announced that 1000 pounds of fresh meat [tendered by "Mr. Pierce Collet"] would be received in Sydney for the use of His Majesty's Stores. Already in March, 1816, there was a Waterloo Fund, for which Collits was a voluntary collector. Mrs. Colletts subscribed 2 pounds. In 1817 there was a fund for the relief of those who had suffered from "the late Inundations of the Hawkesbury"; "Mr. Pierce Collett" subscribed 1 pound.

      A grant of 50 acres ordered by Macquarie on July 4, 1814, in the name of Pierce Collett, residence Nepean, was measured in August, 1819.* This land [Parish of Prospect, Portion 78), granted on August 17, 1819, was presumably the grant to Colletts referred to in the Sydney Gazette, of February 24, 1821, as ready for delivery at Oxley's office on March 5.**

      In the Sydney Gazette of August 28, 1819, an item re a mare impounded at Castlereagh stated that "the owner may have her by applying to Pierce Collets . . . and paying expenses....." Macquarie issued an Order on May 20, 1820, "to give the fullest Publicity and Authority to the several Persons legally appointed to act in the Police Department of this Colony." In the list of these Government officials Collits was shown as "Constable, Pound-keeper, and Inspector of Cattle for Slaughter on the River Nepean, near Castlereagh." From Macquarie's Police Fund "Mr. Pierce Collits Chief Constable District of Evan [was paid] 1 qrs Salary to 31st March [1821) 5 pounds." In August, 1821, the Evan District Committee of Emancipated Colonists [a title suggesting an interesting phase of early colonial life] was asked to conclude its Proceedings [at the house of] Mr. Collett.

      By this time Collits appears to have been contemplating settling beyond the barrier of the Blue Mountains,
      * I have no evidence of the grant of fifty acres ordered to "Collett" on January 16, 1816.-W. H.
      ** Dated Sydney, March 14, the receipt for this grant reads "Received from John Oxley, Esqr the grant of land for 50 acres, measured to me by order of His Excellency Govr Macquarie by order for Pierce Collett by Sawl Terry." [The receipt was signed by Terry.-W. H.]

      for on October 13, 1821, the Secretary wrote "to all persons concerned":-

      "Mr. Pierce Collets of the District of Evan has hereto permission and authority to remove One hundred and forty five (145) Head of Cattle to a Station Twelve Miles East of the Fish River, four miles West of the Ford on Cox's River, to be under the care of himself, his son John Collits, and William Pritchard his convict Servant."

      That Collits was still engaged on the Nepean property as late as May, 1823, seems indicated by the following entry, dated May 10, 1823, taken from J. Bowman's MS. Journal [Mitchell Library, Sydney], p. 9:-

      "Agreed with the Magistrates at Penrith to open the road across Westmore Farm . . . the following Landholders present and agreed to the same . . . Percee Colets"' John Colets . . ."

      However, a General Order of October 8, 1823, announcing the appointment of "John Purcell, to be Chief Constable, in the Room of Collett, resigned........." would seem to indicate that Collits left the district of Evan before the end of 1823.


      The site of Collits' first inn and the date of its building have long been subjects of general interest. When asked was the old Court House the first building erected in the Hartley district, the late Captain J. H. Watson wrote:-

      The first [?] was "a weather-boarded commodious barracks and guard house . . . for the accommodation of the military guard stationed at this post, on the Great Western Road. . . . This . . . became the site of Collitt 's Inn.)**

      The statement italicized above is not correct. The building referred to was a depot and storehouse about five miles beyond Mount York beside Cox's River*
      * The story of this interesting locality, where the first Divine service west of the Blue Mountains was held on April 30, 1815 is told in the booklet, Historic Glenroy, Cox's River by W.L. Havard and B. T. Dowd, issued by the Blaxland Shire Council.
      ** Royal Australian Historical Society's Journal Vol XV., p 402

      In October, 1822, at the foot of Cox's Pass, Barron Field found water and grass enough, and wrote : "The station (?) under Mount York is very picturesque.... que ne gate rien" [which nothing spoils]. Surveying the road from Emu Plains to Bathurst, James McBrien, when at the foot of Mount York in February, 1823, made no note of any house there. But on August 29, 1823, when a traveller arrived at Springwood and was told that it was a long way before he could get to the roadmen's huts, he "replied that he, was determined to go on to Mr. Collett's house." Robert Hoddle, after tracing and marking Bell's line in October, 1823, wrote under date November 4. 1823 : "Our line run into the road near Collitt's Inn the bottom of Mount York distant 4 1/2 miles from Cox's River Ford."
      While surveying near Mount York in November, 1823, James McBrien took bearings of " Mr. Collet's House." It seems, then, that Collits' first inn was built about, the middle of 1823.* he Sydney Gazette of March 25, 1824, stated :-

      A gentleman lately returned from Bathurst affords us the pleasing intelligence that the journey . . can now be performed with considerable less fatigue and inconvenience than formerly. A Mr. Collett, formerly a settler on the Nepean Banks, has lately settled in the Vale of Cluid, at the foot of Mount York, where he has opened an Inn called the Golden Fleece. The traveller....... prior to this event, had no proper resting place from Emu or Springwood, till he arrived at Bathurst....... One thing in Mr. Collett's favor is, that he has no rivals.......

      For those travelling west from Sydney, Collits, inn was the terminus of the second day's journey. There, according to an account in 1825, one partook "of the good cheer of 'mine host of the Golden Fleece,' whose good humor and hospitality will tend to smooth the rugged asperities of the way . . . "
      A traveller to Bathurst in 1827 has left a vivid word picture of the inn. He wrote:-
      We were now in the vale of Clwydd,** a pretty grassy plain of
      * Bigge visited the grazing districts in 1820; later he suggested the establishment of a stockyard and military station below Mount
      York. In May, 1825, when reporting measures adopted pursuant to Bigge's Report, Brisbane wrote - "A new road is making to Collit's Inn . . . an inn and the natural pasture seem to render a stockyard by Government unnecessary.
      **Presumably that part known locally as Long Alley.

      small extent, hemmed in on every side but one, with lofty mountains,and after a smart ride of two miles we arrived at Collett's inn, the Golden Fleece, the, "rest and be thankful" of the Blue Mountains. The Vale of Clwydd reminds us of the valley of Bastan, in the pass of Roncesvalles [in the Pyrenees, where Roland was over whelmed by the Basques 1n 778). But we must not forget mine host of the Golden Fleece......, I assure you there is only one better Inn in the whole Colony, for it is warm, comfortable, and commodious in the inside, as it is beautiful and picturesque without. The house is neat in the extreme, and the brightness, order and almost Dutch cleanliness of the kitchen pleased and surprised me.
      To arrive at Collet's, is like passengers going ashore from a weary voyage, everything appears a couler de rose. There was just light enough the evening we got in, to see to shave and make ourselves comfortable. . . . Our horses were delivered over to the hostler with perfect confidence that they would each get a belly full, for we were in a land of plenty..... their chafed backs were well bathed in salt and water, and we adjourned to the house, and discussed a supper in the midst of the Blue Mountains, as good as any we could have had, for aught I know, at the Blue Boar at Holborn. It was an American sort of supper, including excellent Hyson tea, double refined sugar, plenty of cream and butter, as hard as cheese,, and the water crystal itself. When 1 saw such a quantity of good furniture, glass, and earthenware, I at first wondered how such fragile furniture could have been brought so safely across the mountains, but felt no surprise as soon as I heard that the lime itself of which the house was built, was brought all the way from Parramatta ! a distance of seventy miles; and of course when they can bring lime, they may as well bring loaf sugar. After supper, and drinking the health of our Sydney friends, male and female, for it was Saturday night, we finished our cigars on the verandah, though rather chilly, and amused ourselves by listening to a man in the kitchen, who was busy reading aloud a ten days old Australian, to a party round him. But though ten days old, it was new to them, for it had just arrived in a dray, such is the admirable state of our internal communications in New South Wales. After excellent beds, we resume our journey in the morning .....all this good accommodation is not had for nothing,
      some people thinking the charges high at this house under the hill...........I thought them extremely moderate, every thing considered.


      The story of Collits' acquisition of land is interesting, not only because it throws some light on his character, but what is even more important to a student of history, because it Is a story of land alienation in this colony.

      While inn-keeping, Collits maintained his interest in stock.* Yet there seems no evidence of any land in Vale of Clwydd having been ordered to Collits when he
      established his Inn.** Probably to consolidate his Position there, he addressed to Governor Brisbane a memorial ( "Received 6th September, 1824"] which "Most Respectfully Sheweth" -
      . . . that for 8 years [Collits) held a situation under Govt. as Chief Constable of the Dist. of Evan, to the entire approbation of the magistracy. . . . That he resigned . . . in consequence of his removing his family to Cox's River on the Bathurst road, where he has established an Inn, for the accommodation of the public. That Memots wife joined he free from England, by whom he has a family of nine children which he has hitherto supported by his individual exertions in the pursuit of honest industry. Memost flatters himself that his character has been unsullied during his residence in this Colony, and his general deportment, in his different situations of trust, and confidence in which he has been placed, distinguished by uniform decorum an propriety. That Memoist is a considerable Stockholder being possessed of two hundred head of horned Cattle, and seven Horses. That Memost formerly obtained 50 acres of land from Govt., which proved of very little utility to him, being extremely sterile and measured at Prospect......... That Memoist being extremely desirous of obtaining a Grant of Land..... of some extent whereon he might permanently run his Stock, and safely erect buildings and make other necessary improvements
      for the future benefit of his large family. That your Memost . . . approaches your Excellency as a suppliant, praying to be distinguished by a criterion of your benign consideration and indulgence.***

      An order made in June, 1825, in favour of Collett for the purchase of 440 acres was cancelled; Collits received, however, from Brisbane, an order dated November 15, 1825, for a grant of 200 acres, being so informed by William Lithgow, who wrote:-
      ..........I have . . . to acquaint you that the Surveyor General has been instructed to make unto you a Grant of Two hundred acres
      * see the Sydney Gazette, August 26, 1824.
      ** Possibly Collits received an oral promise from Governor Macquarie.
      *** J. MacHenry, J.P., and Henry Fulton, clergyman, appended :
      "We know Memorialist as a very honest, sober, industrious and respectable man. He was chief constable in this district eight years."
      of land in any of the surveyed districts in conformity with the Regulations. . . . [Sydney Gazette, May 19, 1825)

      This promise of a grant did not specify the land on which Collits' inn stood, nor is clear why Robert Hoddle should have charted and described 200 acres, where the inn stood, before the date of Lithgow's letter. For in Field Book No. 238 Hoddle entered : "Friday, 27 Augt (1825) Md Pce Collits 200 acres......" In October, 1826 Collits wrote to Oxley:-
      As the, two hundred acres of land I received from Sir Thomas Brisbane..... was charted by Mr. Hoddle . . . I shall feel grateful if you..... send me an order to have it measured so that I may Commence fencing It in. My son [John) also received a grant of one Hundred and Fifty acres which was also charted at the same time [Hoddle gave no hint of this in his field book) & as it joins mine it can be measured at the same time
      The 1828 Census showed Collits, aged 57, as Publican, Mt. York, Bathurst, total acres 200, 54 cleared, 36 cultivated , 8 horses, 360 Horned cattle, 300 sheep. With him was his wife, while their children shown at home, were Amelia (16) and William (13).

      When he applied in May, 1829, for the Deeds of his farm, Collits was told that his "request cannot be complied with until arrangements now in progress, are completed". On November 7, 1829, Governor Darling, on tour, "reached Collet's . . . where his Excellency's arrival was greeted in the evening with a huge bonfire, the long-established emblem of John Bull's joyous welcome." Four days later, in response to a request, by the Governor for information concerning his land, Collits wrote:-

      .............. in 1803.......Governor King was pleased to grant my wife seventy acres . . ... which we still Retain and in 1821 . . ... Governor
      * See Dawson : The Present State of Australia (1831), p. 353
      ** Amelia, and not Mary Collits, who is said to have been drowned while still a child in the flooded Nepean, is the original of the character, "sweet Mary Collits," in the musical romance, "Collits Inn." Amelia Collits and John Skeen, an overseer of road gangs and on the construction of the Pass of Victoria - were married at Kelso on "the twenty-ninth day of June in the year 1832." Skeen died on June 29, 1873, and his widow on October 8, 1896.
      Macquarie was pleased to grant me two Hundred acres...... for the purpose of building an inn* and in 1825....... Sir Thomas was pIeased to grant me two hundred acres . . . to my son John he was pleased to grant one hundred & fifty acres . . . and your Excellency was pleased to grant my son James six hundred and forty acres. . . . My son Joseph & my son William had no land given to them. [Could this have been a subtle hint ?)

      Darling was again at the inn on November 15, 1829. Later, a sketch showing the land held by Collits was requested by the Governor, and returned to the Surveyor-General's Office with the intimation that Collits' own land seemed insufficiently defined. Darling next sought information re the quantity of swampy land to the east and in the rear of the inn, and, learning that the "whole extent of that Valley to the East and iii the rear of Collett's, is about 150 acres," he ordered this land to Collits as an "additional grant." Possession was authorized on June 4, 1830. From his camp by the River Lett on June 9, Major Mitchell instructed Robert Dixon to "measure to Mr. Collitts the land contained in the valley to the east of his land being 150 acres SE of the SE corner thereof." Dixon measured 150 acres on June 10 [Parish of Hartley, Portion 29).

      Fortune smiled but briefly on Collits' inn. On June "4," 1830, Mitchell "found the best descent from the mountain to he along the tongue on the southward of Mount York." Thereupon he abandoned the descent then under construction from near Mount York to Collits', transferring the gangs to Mount Victoria, where the Pass of Victoria was subsequently built.** On June 23, 1830, Mitchell wrote to the Colonial Secretary:-

      I regret that Collett's Inn should be thrown out by this line. . .and I beg leave therefore to recommend any request of Collett's for additional land to His Excellency's favorable consideration.
      There is an eligible spot for a village near the foot of Mount..................................
      * I can find no record of any promise of such grant, nor did Collits mention one in his Memorial to Brisbane. Actually the inn was built where, later, Hoddle marked the 200 acres seemingly promised by Brisbane. Collits here makes no mention of his 50 acres at Prospect !
      ** Royal Australian Historical Society's Journal, Vol. XVIII., p. 211 and p. 333.

      Victoria, where Collett also wishes to select a small grant for his son. . . . [Collits had told Oxley that this 150 acres was charted adjoining his own 200 acres.)

      In August, 1830, Collits informed Mitchell that, having been promised 200 acres by Brisbane, he had shown Lithgow's letter of advice to Hoddle, who had consequently charted the grant. Of the 150 acres, Collits wrote, : "My son's order to Mr. Hoddle [to measure] 1 laid before you Sir ... when you were pleased to say It should be measured on your new line . . ." Asked by Collits to have the grants measured, Mitchell instructed J. B. Richards accordingly. The office list of farms given to Richards to measure included "Collitt Pierce Senior 200 [and] Collitt, Pierce Junior 150"! Actually Richards measured 150 acres at Mount York adjoining the 200 acres charted by Hoddle, and the listed 200 acres he measured on Mitchell's line and adjoining a village reserve below Mount Victoria !. Collits chose the situation, and he now had two 200-acres measured to him with authority seemingly for one.

      Foreseeing the str
    Person ID I368  The Rawsthorne Family Tree
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 

    Family Mary HARDWICK,   b. 24 Dec 1769, Kilkenny, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Aug 1841, Hartley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years) 
    Married 15 Nov 1795  St Dunstanes, Stepney, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 11
     1. Maria COLLITS,   b. 01 Sep 1796, King Street, Tower Hill, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Sep 1829, Evan, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 33 years)
     2. Sarah COLLITS,   b. 10 Sep 1797, Sweedland Court, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 May 1867, Cadow Station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
     3. Henry Pierce COLLITS,   b. 27 Jan 1799, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1799, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Pierce COLLITS,   b. 06 Aug 1800, Tower Hill, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1800, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. John Pilmore COLLITS,   b. 08 Feb 1803, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Jun 1886, Myall Park, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
     6. Frances COLLITS,   b. 26 Sep 1804, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Aug 1869, Three Brothers, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
     7. James COLLITS,   b. 21 Mar 1806, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Dec 1880, Carrawobitty Station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     8. Joseph COLLITS,   b. 01 Mar 1808, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Nov 1888, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     9. Sophia Jane COLLITS,   b. 16 Jan 1810, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jan 1868, Billabong Creek, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years)
     10. Amelia COLLITS,   b. 27 Sep 1812, Windsor, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Oct 1896, Round Swamp, Kanimbla, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     11. William COLLITS,   b. 13 Jun 1815, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Dec 1867, Bogabagil Station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years)
     12. Mary COLLITS,   b. 1821, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1826, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 5 years)
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F182  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    COLLITS, Pierce & 
    COLLITS, Pierce & HARDWICK, Mary
    Pierce and Mary Collits were living at No 7 Two Swan Yard, Bishopsgate Street when he was apprehended and sent to trial at the old Bailey. Location is indicated by a red arrow on Bishopsgate. Now the site of Liverpool St Station.
    This image is added to known Convicts in the family.
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Page 1 of 4
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Page 2 of 4
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Page 3 of 4
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Last Year song from Collits Inn play
    Page 4 of 4
    Newgate Prison
    Newgate Prison
    Pierce Collits was inprisoned there before being transported to Australia
    Newgate Prison
    Newgate Prison
    Pierce Collits was inprisoned there before being transported to Australia
    Sydney Gazette 25 March 1824 regarding Golden Fleece run by Pierce COLLITS.jpg
    Sydney Gazette 25 March 1824 regarding Golden Fleece run by Pierce COLLITS.jpg

    Collits Inn
    Collits Inn
    Historical information from unknown paper Page 1 of 2
    Collits Inn
    Collits Inn
    Historical information from unknown paper Page 2 of 2
    COLLITS, Pierce & 
    COLLITS, Pierce & HARDWICK, Mary
    Marriage entry for Pierce Collits and Mary Hardwick
    COLLITS, Pierce
    COLLITS, Pierce
    Trial transcript
    COLLITS, Pierce
    COLLITS, Pierce
    Royal Garter Licence
    COLLITS, Pierce
    COLLITS, Pierce
    Letter to the Herald
    COLLITS, Pierce
    COLLITS, Pierce
    A letter to the Sydney Gazette regarding Golden Fleece run by Pierce COLLITS
    Letter to the herald re Pierce COLLITS
    Letter to the herald re Pierce COLLITS


  • Sources 
    1. [S500] Ancestry Family Trees, (Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.;), Ancestry Family Tree.

    2. [S513] Pallot's Marriage Index for England: 1780 - 1837, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2001;).

    3. [S509] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2010;).

    4. [S510] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2011;), State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Title: Bound manuscript indents, 1788-1842; Item: [4/4004]; Microfiche: 630.

    5. [S511] New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Land Grants and Leases, 1792-1867, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2010;), State Records Authority of New South Wales; Registers of Land Grants and Leases; Series: NRS 13836; Item: 7/465; Reel: 2550.

    6. [S514] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons, 1788-1870, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2009;), State Archives NSW.

    7. [S510] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2011;), State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 1151; Title: List of Convicts: "Minerva", "Speedy", "Royal Admiral", "Minorca", "Canada", "Nile"; Item: [4/3999]; Microfiche: 625.

    8. [S515] England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2009;), Class: HO 26; Piece: 7; Page: 16.

    9. [S109] From Grave.

    10. [S459] Pat GRIMOLDBY.

    11. [S363] Collits history book.