Thomas’ eldest surviving son George Matcham (GM) Pitt, my great great grandfather, was born on 16 February 1814 and grew up on the Richmond property.
When his mother Elizabeth Pitt (nee Laycock) died in 1835 GM inherited the 200-acre property near the Hawkesbury, which at some point was named Bronte (after our family’s patron, Admiral Nelson, Duke of Bronte). Three years later, in 1838, he travelled to the Gwydir River, near what is now Moree, to take up a plot of land with his de facto stepfather William Scott. It is said they travelled there on foot, along with a herd of cattle. GM also acquired land in the Wellington district, but gave up farming in 1864 to found the stock and station agency which later became known as Pitt Son and Badgery, with offices in George and later O’Connell Street in Sydney.
The photo above (which we found as a postcard in a shop) is actually of the near completion of Sydney Harbour Bridge, but the sharp-eyed might be able to just make out P S & B’s sign on the building by the church spire.
GM married Julia Johnson the year he turned 21 and his mother died. Julia was the daughter of John Johnson and Mary Moore, who were convicts.
All GM’s and Julia’s 12 children (3 died in infancy) were born in Richmond, but in 1869 the Pitts moved to Manly and rented the property ‘Fairlight‘.
In the 1870s they moved to Holbrook House in Kirribilli. The house has been demolished but Holbrook Street survives, and Pitt Street, Kirribilli, is named after GM.
From 1878 to 1883 GM held the office of Mayor of East St Leonards and was partly responsible for the first mains water supply from the City to the north of the harbour. He was granted 40 acres of land in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains in 1882 but did not build on it. His son RM (Robert Matcham Pitt) subsequently built the house he named Coorah, now the Blue Mountains Grammar School.
Julia died in 1886, and GM died ten years later, aged 86. It’s said his funeral was attended by most of the population of North Sydney. To quote from one of his many obituaries:
‘Mr GM Pitt … was a grand old landmark, and in losing him we lose one of the noblest of the fast-perishing pioneer race …. We can well say that, taking him for all in all, “we ne’er shall look upon his like again”.’
GM was the eldest of four children born to Thomas and Elizabeth Pitt. His younger sister Mary Matcham Pitt was born on the day her grandmother Mary Matcham Pitt died, in 1815;. She went on to marry her cousin Thomas WEB Laycock, grandson of Quartermaster Thomas Laycock. Brother Robert was born in 1817. He married Sarah John, granddaughter of convicts. William Henry was born in 1819 but only lived to 15. Lastly Eliza was born in 1820. She also married a cousin Austin Forrest Wilshire, son of her father Thomas’ sister Hester and James Wilshire.
GM also had four half siblings, born after his father died to his mother Elizabeth and William Scott, who became overseer on the property at Richmond. William and Elizabeth never married.