Pitt Town - In The Footsteps Of The Early Settlers
Sydney’s early penal settlement soon ran out of food as the shores around Botany Bay were too sandy to support agriculture. In 1789 Captain Arthur Phillip sailed north to Broken Bay and sighted the mouth of a river which Phillip named the Hawkesbury River after Lord Hawkesbury. He travelled to the area which had taken on the name ‘Green Hills” (now known as Windsor), where he noted arable land ideal for growing fruit and vegetables, and for grazing livestock.
By 1794, 22 families were farming the area, with more constantly arriving. At that time, much of the transportation was by river. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney in 1810, part of his brief was to prevent further losses of food stores, buildings and possessions caused by floods which had plagued the Hawkesbury since 1794. Macquarie gave these instructions high priority and established townships on the high ground in various parts of the district. Today many fine buildings from the 19th Century still survive providing insight into early European colonisation.
Pitt Town was named by Macquarie in memory of William Pitt (1759-1806) the British Prime Minister who was involved in the planning of the colony. Pitt Town is unique in that it is the only one of Macquarie’s five towns that failed to develop on its chosen site. Little detail of its original form is found in the historical record and there are no physical remains. To be of use to the settlers and be within reasonable distance of their farms, Pitt Town was re-sited and reshaped in 1815, being forced to follow a narrow ridge and have only one long road which bisected the town into two roughly triangular-shaped portions.
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