THE COLLITS FAMILY.
Passing of the Pioneers.
(BY HERBERT J. RUMSEY, F.S.G..)
In a recent "Herald" there appeared a notice of the death of Mary, relict of the late Pierce Collits, at Petersham, aged 91, and on the next day that of Elizabeth, relict of the late Pierce Collits, at Forbes, aged
These two widows, who died within a couple of days of one another, were the widows of two Pierce Collits, who were cousins and both grandsons of Pierce Collits and Mary his wife, who were amongst our very early pioneers.
The first Pierce Collits came out in the Minerva in 1801. Up to about 1816 his sig- nature may be seen as a witness to marriages in the old Castlereagh register in the Mit- chell Library. It is said that Collits had crossed the mountains before the real discov- erers of the track, and he was one of those who helped Captain Cox to form the road in 1813-16. Before 1828 he had established a hotel at Mount York, 81 miles from Sydney, where there was a post-office under his charge
Oxley, the surveyor, in 1826, gives the height at "Vale of Clwyd, near Col- lits' Inn," as 2642 feet. When the new road was made to Bathurst via Hartley, this inn was left on a by-road and was closed.
Collits however, was not ruined by the loss of business at his hotel for he had sent his sons out as pioneers of the Belubula and Lachlan. Right ahead of all settlements they formed stations on all the choice and well watered spots from Canowindra to Cadow.
Only a couple of weeks ago I discovered In a small station cemetery on the Belubula, near Canowindra, the grave of one of his stockmen, Thomas Higgins, a former George street hotelkeeper, who had gone west with the Collits, and had been killed by accident
Mitchell, the surveyor, tells in his diary of meeting James Collits (son of old Pierce, and father of one of the cousins) on March 28, 1836, with an aboriginal. The pair had been 70 miles down the river from Grudgery, near Forbes where Mitchell met them search- ing for water and grass for stock. He says that Collits told him that but for the help of the blackfellow he would have died for
want of water.