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Pierce COLLITS

Male 1840 - 1914  (74 years)


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  • Name Pierce COLLITS 
    Born 13 Mar 1840  Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died 07 Aug 1914  Sand Hills, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Sand Hills, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Private Burial Ground (Unmarked)
    Notes 
    • The Forbes Times - Tuesday, 11th August, 1914.

      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 let 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 Fitzgerald’s 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 on”.

      -----------------------------

      From Field Family Newsletter Edition 29

      Extracts taken from Forbes Advocate by Elizabeth Mc Rae.. 1968

      John Collits had two sons Pierce and John, and one daughter Esther, who married James Young and they had a hotel at Bandon in the days when Sir Frederick Potting and Inspector Stephenson had charge of the police force in this part of the State. The Young´s employed Ben hall as a stable boy long before he took to the roads, and Mrs. Young´s brother Pierce Collits, as recounted in the Sydney Morning Herald at the time of his death had cause to bless the day he came in friendly contact with Ben.

      There were two Pierce Collits residing in the Forbes District for many years, the one who is now buried on his old property at the Sand Hills, near Forbes, and Pierce Collits, a cousin who managed Bundabura Station for the Stricklands, and who had his home in Lachlan Street , Forbes, in an old house which stood for many years near Dr. Vout´s surgery and home is now located.

      Contrary to general belief, the bushrangers were not always on the best of terms with the big cattle station owners and managers, and it was not always possible for them to take or exchange a horse when in dire need of one. That sort of thing was generally winked at, but when a thoroughbred race horse was taken from Bundaburra on one occasion Pierce Collits´s manager, reported the loss to the police. That fact in time came to the knowledge of the bushrangers, and Pierce Collits, then living with his sister at Bandon Hotel, nearly paid with his life for having the same name as the Bundaburra Station manager. He was riding a horse belonging to Mrs. Young and had been below Forbes. There was no Fitzgerald´s Bridge in existence then, and the river crossing was at Finn´s about 4 miles below town, where the stream mostly consisted of pools.
      Saying His Last Prayers
      Pierce Collits had ridden to near the spot where the South Condobolin Road is bisected by the road leading to Salisbury. he encountered some of the bushrangers , and then Dan Morgan, a somewhat bloodthirsty member of the gang, learnt the name of the lone rider, he put him down on his knees saying his last prayers, while he menaced him with a large colt revolver. The timely arrival of Ben Hall, who explained the delusion Morgan was under undoubtedly spared Collits, for it was an unforgivable crime in the eyes of the bushrangers for anyone to assist the police in hunting them down. Morgan then wanted to take the horse, but Hall knew it was Mrs. Young´s and again stepped in and prevented Collits being left stranded on the roadside.

      This Pierce Collits married Elizabeth Jones and they has 13 children most of whom grew up in the district.
      (Mrs. Elizabeth Mc Rae (nee Collits) was one of the daughters. She lived most of her life at ``WyWorrie´´ Ferry Street, Forbes.
    Person ID I676  The Rawsthorne Family Tree
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 

    Father 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) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Hannah LEES,   b. 25 Jun 1804, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1874, Back Creek, Cowra, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 28 Jan 1822  Christ Church, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4
    Family ID F280  Group Sheet

    Family Elizabeth JONES,   b. 25 Aug 1852, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 1932, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 27 Apr 1870  Hartley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 5
    Children 
     1. Mary Hannah COLLITS,   b. 27 Jul 1871, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Jun 1922, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
     2. Grace COLLITS,   b. 23 Jun 1873, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Mar 1954, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     3. Lillian COLLITS,   b. 27 Nov 1874, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jul 1970, Kingsgrove, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 95 years)
     4. Henry Harold COLLITS,   b. 25 Jun 1876, Bandon Station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 May 1953, Concord, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
     5. John COLLITS,   b. 05 Nov 1878, Bandon Station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 May 1947, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
     6. Esther COLLITS,   b. 28 Jul 1880, Cowra, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Aug 1893, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 13 years)
     7. Joseph COLLITS,   b. 17 Oct 1882, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Aug 1952, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
     8. Elizabeth COLLITS,   b. 17 Feb 1885, Gooloogong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Mar 1972, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years)
     9. George COLLITS,   b. 15 Oct 1886, Molong, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Mar 1940  (Age 53 years)
     10. Frank COLLITS,   b. 14 Aug 1889, Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Mar 1941, Auburn, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
     11. Stanley Claude COLLITS,   b. 31 Jan 1892, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 Jul 1892, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     12. Lydia Sybil COLLITS,   b. 27 Apr 1893, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 May 1961  (Age 68 years)
     13. Cecelia Margaret COLLITS,   b. 15 Mar 1897, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 May 1897, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F297  Group Sheet

  • Sources 
    1. [S79] From a Distant Field, Colin Field, Book: Version 3 (Self Published).

    2. [S221] New South Wales Births, Deaths & Marriages.
      Bathurst, NSW, V18402494 25A

    3. [S367] Field Family Newsletter, Dorothy CEFARIN, Edition 39 (August 2009).

    4. [S221] New South Wales Births, Deaths & Marriages.
      V18222871 3B

    5. [S221] New South Wales Births, Deaths & Marriages.
      2406/1870, Hartley, NSW