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Pierce Collets

Pierce Collets, one of 297 convicts transported on the Nile, Canada and Minorca, June 1801

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Pierce Collets
Aliases: Pierce Collits
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1765
Occupation: Porter
Date of Death: 19th September, 1848
Age: 83 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Nile, Canada and Minorca
Departure date: June, 1801
Arrival date: 14th December, 1801
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 298 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 293 (146)
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 wrote:

Pierce Collet (note the change in spelling - this happened right throughout the Collits’ lives) was taken into custody along with Edward Baldwin, at about six o’clock on 29th June, 1800 by Thomas Sapwell. Sapwell went to Pierce’s house, No. 7, Two Swan Yard, Bishopgate Street and found in his house 12 yards of mode, 12 yards of muslin, 18 yards of lace and two pieces of handkerchiefs, all the property of John, Robert and James Read. Edward Baldwin was charged with stealing the above and Pierce for receiving them, knowing them to be stolen. When Robert Read questioned Edward Baldwin as to why he did it, he said that Collett was continually after him, telling him to do it. Pearce (sic) Collett and Edwin Baldwin were tried at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, 15th July, 1800.
They left their defence to their Counsel and called six witnesses who gave them good character. Baldwin was found Guilty and received seven years transportation and Pierce was found Guilty with 14 years transportation.
Pierce was “transferred unto the Sherriff” on 28th September, 1800, committed to Newgate Gaol and delivered on board the “Minorca” on 16th May, 1801. His age at the time was 38, and he was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, fair complexion, brown hair and dark eyes. The records state he was born at Thomastown near Kilkenny, Ireland, and was working as a porter.

The “Minorca” set sail from Spithead for Port Jackson on 21st June, 1801 in the company of two other transports - the “Canada” and “Nile”. The ship carried a total of 195 people on board and only two (convicts) did not survive the voyage. The “Minorca” arrived at Sydney Cove on 14th December, 1801, having sailed via Rio de Janiero, where it took on fresh supplies.

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 wrote:

Pierce Collits had married Mary Hardwick on 15th November, 1795 at St. Dunstan Church, Stepney, London, by Banns. Pierce signed his name and Mary made her mark, in the presence of Paul Brice.
They had 4 children, 2 daughters and 2 sons before he wasd transported. However, both the sons died as infants.
Mary and her two daughters must have also arrived on board the “Minorca”, as there were 11 women and 26 children on board. However, no lists of passengers survive. According to the 1822 Census, Mary, Sarah and Maria all “came free by ship Minerva”. In actual fact, it was the “Minorca” not “Minerva”. This error is also evident in the 1828 Census.

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 wrote:

Pierce was granted a Conditional Pardon on 11th May, 1811, therefore not serving his full 14 year sentence. Conditional Pardons were granted on the condition that the person receiving the Pardon resided in the Territory.
Pierce received his first land grant on 17th August, 1819, of 50 acres at Prospect. This land can be easily viewed today, as Horsley Road runs right through it, just after the Warragamba/Prospect water pipeline. The view of Sydney from around this area is magnificent.

In 1823 Pierce and his family settled at the foot of Mount York, on the western edge of the Blue Mountains, where he had his first Inn. It was origianlly called “The Golden Fleece”, then renamed “The Royal Garter”, but today it is commonly known as “Collits Inn”. The Inn was first licenced in 1830 under the name of “The Royal Garter”, and renewed in 1831. Collits Inn became the first stop after the descent of the Mountains. An article appears in the “Sydney Gazette” dated 25th March, 1824, describing a travellers stay at the Inn. Governor Bourke also mentions his visit to the Inn in his journals.

The Inn is believed to have been built by Pierce Collits in 1823, and to this day the house is still occupied. It is of weatherboard construction and has its original shingle roof under the present corrugated iron roof. The old water well is visible at the rear of the Inn.

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 wrote:

Pierce and Mary had a further 8 children in the colony, 12 in all.
Sainty & Johnson; 1828 Census of New South Wales:
[Ref - C1704] Colletts, Pierce, 57, FS, Minerva? 1801, Publican at Mt York, Bathurst. 200 acres, 54 cleared 36 cultivated, 8 horses, 360 horned cattle and 300 sheep.
# Also Colletts, Mary 57, Came Free. and 2 of the children. Amelia Colletts, 16, and William Colletts, 13, both born in the colony.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Pierce Collits, date of birth: 1765 (prev. 0000), date of death: 19th September, 1848 (prev. 0000), occupation, crime

Denis Pember on 18th September, 2015 made the following changes:

gender: m

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