George Matcham Pitt (1814-1896)


GM Pitt (Elders Collection)

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.


Pitt Son & Badgery building c 1932

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.


Old building of Pitt, Son & Badgery in George Street, 2015

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.


Julia Pitt (nee Johnson), Elders collection

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.

Fairlight (Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Society)

Fairlight, Manly (Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Society). The central tower was added later

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.

Holbrook -

Hollbrook (

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 (Mitchell Library)

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.


10 thoughts on “George Matcham Pitt (1814-1896)

  1. Do you have any details on Badgery or perhaps a pointer on where to go.
    He was once a part owner of Cogenburgh [now Kooringaroo] near bungonia; this was at one time owned by my parents.

    • Hello Peter – If it’s Henry Septimus you’re referring to there is a book called ‘From the Hawkesbury to the Monaro’ by Bobbie Hardy, available in Australia but not in the UK, which has some information about him (you probably know this already). I jotted down some of the more relevant stuff while I was in Australia last that I can send to you if that would be useful. Let me know. Otherwise, I can try and track down anyone with a Badgery connection who’s been in touch with me before through this website.

  2. Correction:–
    In the second last paragraph above it states “William Henry was born in 1819 but only lived to 18” This appears to be incorrect for the reason as per the below—–
    In the entry Thomas & Elizabeth’s offspring in reference to William Henry Pitt it is stated—
    “WILLIAM HENRY PITT was born in 1819 and died in 1834, aged 15. of causes unknown.” In the interest of accuracy perhaps the first entry [ in the second last paragraph] should be corrected.

    • Hello Francis – Thank you so much for this. It was as you say a typo and I have corrected it. Please let me know if you spot any more!

      • Thank you. I am still reading through this Mary Pitt blog which I came across on my Google search.
        You have done a marvellous job of getting the story of this important pioneering family into print. The work involved to get the lineage sorted out would have been enormous and time consuming, considering the repetition of common first names between the various families.
        Of some significance is your statement that there were possibly only “40 free Settlers” in the colony at the time of Mary Pitt’s arrival. Despite some lengthy cross checking I have not been able to disprove that statement.
        The up shot is that I have become aware that there were no ‘free settlers’ in the Colony until 1793. This fact adds further credence to Mary Pitt and her children being truely pioneers in the History of European Settlement in Australia.
        To be honest I have to take a break between reading the various story lines, to allow my brain to process the information.
        The PDF containing your mothers research is monumental and adds further historical dimension to the family. It is a gem.

        R M WANT was an uncle of my wife, Margaret. Margaret is a cousin of Michael Want by way of their mothers being sisters,[Timmins].They are not related to the Jack Timmins mentioned in the family history.
        Gratefully Yours.

  3. Thanks again Francis. I am glad to hear someone is reading my site carefully and checking my facts! There was the odd free settler arriving before the ‘Bellona’ brought the Rose family and others but that’;s about it as far as I’ve been able to establish. It was my aunt who did the groundwork for the Pitt history in England and Australia and without her I would never have been able to write books about my ancestors. I’m also glad to make the acquaintance of another family member and I’m intrigued to hear about the Timmins connection. Presumably this is the same family as Jack the drover’s?


    • Hi Patsy.
      My wife, Margaret and Michael Want [the son of R M Want] are first cousins on the maternal side of their families.
      i.e. their mothers were sisters in a family of 12 with the surname TIMMINS. [ R M Want married Thelma Timmins] That Timmins line arrived in Australia somewhat later.
      They are NOT related to the Jack Timmins the drover as mentioned in the Pitt family History.
      I am aware that there were three persons by the name of TIMMINS that were transported in the First Fleet. Jack Timmins the drover was possibly on of them ,or the son of one of them. Best regards

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