Among the first families to leave the village, Joseph and Mary Pitches arrived in Melbourne on 7th January 1849. According to Mrs Richardson’s research for the history of the chapel they lived at Camps Cottage in Broad Green. They opened their house for church services before the chapel was built but left for Australia because of the agricultural depression. We can see the Pitches on the 1841 census where Mary is listed as a labourer and is at home with six children. We haven’t been able to find Joseph on this census however so maybe he was away either working or looking for work.
(Always just tantalizingly out of view, we don’t have a picture of Camps Cottage as it was before it was modernised. The picture above shows the cottage to the right of Camps, Broad Green Cottage and Camps probably looked similar to this.)
We have the following newspaper article about their life in Australia. (They have the wrong name for Joseph’s wife, calling her Elizabeth instead of Mary – but this article was printed 48 years after Joseph’s death). This would appear to relate to a street that was named after the family in Melbourne.
‘Pitches St (MP): 1923. Part of Pitches Paddock Estate 1922. The Pitches family arrived in the Port Phillip District in 1849, and the parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Ann, went to work for Joseph Raleigh’s Boiling Down Works on the Maribyrnong River. They later farmed in this area, and various members of the family were licensees of the Farmers’ Arms Hotel on the corner of Mt Alexander Rd and Buckley St, and of the Royal Hotel nearby. The Pitches’ also donated the land upon which the South Essendon Methodist Church was built, now the Salvation Army Citadel on the diagonally opposite corner to the Farmers’ Arms.’
The area they settled in is called Moonee Valley and the Essendon Historical Society (who have a rather wonderful looking courthouse museum – see link) have a memorial garden in recognition of the pioneer men and women who settled in Moonee Valley. There is also a Moonee Valley collection of local history photos on pinterest.
Mary died relatively young but Joseph married again to Matilda Wilkes. Joseph and Mary’s daughter Sarah married John Brinkley who was an ex-convict. Some of Joseph and Mary’s children emigrated from Australia to New Zealand.
In 1855 Joseph and Mary’s eldest son George and his wife Rebecca (nee Brooks) sailed on The Constant arriving at Portland, Melbourne on 22 February 1855. They bought their children Matilda, Samuel, David and Peter. George died in the Moonee Ponds district in 1867.
This lovely photo shows Gloria, Joseph and Mary’s 3rd great granddaughter. The photo was taken at Pitches Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia.
See also the short article on George and Mary Pitches.
All the Exodus articles:
- Exodus! An introduction
- The Exodus Timeline
- Interactive Map
- The Button family
- The Cane family
- James and Sarah Kemp
- Tinworths - on the trail of gold
- Mary Ann Wright, Primitive Methodist
- The Woods family and Eliza Griggs
- The Warren and Eliza Griggs
- The Corby family
- Joseph and Mary Pitches
- George and Ellen Pitches
- Pig stealing, missing brothers and other random facts
- The Ships
- Exodus! - children's activities