Pitt Town, New South Wales
New South Wales
Pitt Town Shopping Mall
|Population||3,033 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Hawkesbury|
Pitt Town is a historic town and suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Pitt Town is 59 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the City of Hawkesbury. It is bounded in the north by the Hawkesbury River.
European settlement in Pitt Town began from 1791 when Governor Arthur Phillip camped in the area, with a number of land grants being given in the following year along the river front in what is now known as Pitt Town Bottoms. Some of the earliest land holders included James Ruse. Pitt Town is one of the five 'Macquarie Towns' established by Governor Macquarie in 1810. It is named after William Pitt the Younger, the 18th Century British Prime Minister who is responsible for initially planning the colonisation of New South Wales as a penal settlement. After the townships were christened by Lachlan Macquarie at a dinner in December 1810 at Government House, Windsor, a site for a village was laid out in early 1811 but developed very slowly, largely because of the distance from the river front and the settled farms. Consequently, Governor Macquarie returned to the area and together with Surveyor James Meehan, resurveyed the area to mark out a new location for the township. In October 1815, Macquarie issued orders via the Sydney Gazette that the town was to be relocated to its present location, with land grants in the new (present) township being given to the settlers from November 1815. By 1841 there were only 36 houses in the town, still largely due to its location being too far from the rich river flats and the consequent long daily trek for farmers to their holdings.
The street names of Pitt Town bear testament to the 1808 British Cabinet, including Eldon, Grenville, Bathurst, Liverpool, Buckingham, Chatham, and Chandos Streets. Chandos Street was later renamed Church Street.
Electricity first came to Pitt Town in 1935, with the township being connected to town water supply in the early 1940s as evidenced by the large water tower still standing and still in service in Hall Street.
Pitt Town was the site of the first use of irrigation in Australia, when Pitt Town pioneer Lawrence May trialled its use to irrigate his crops. May also established the first windmill in Pitt Town for the production of flour.
Pitt Town has also had an important relationship to the Hawkesbury River, being the site of large boatbuilding enterprise in the early 19th century and had a ferry service running from the northern end of the township to Wilberforce.
For much of the 19th century, Pitt Town was an isolated rural community, surrounded by an agricultural landscape, producing large quantities of maize, grain, corn and by the 20th century, much of the agricultural produce was in citrus (oranges). Gradually, the landscape has been transitioning to urban residential.
In 1987, the Pitt Town Shopping Centre was constructed with the Bird in Hand Inn being converted to a public inn. For most of the 20th Century, it served as a general store. The shopping village in Eldon Street was extended along Bathurst Street in 2006.
1915 marked the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of Pitt Town and 2015 marked the bicentenary.
Architecture and infrastructure
Pitt Town has two churches: St James Anglican Church and The Scotts Church which face each other on Bathurst Street. There are also two cemeteries in Pitt Town. The Pitt Town General Cemetery is located on Old Stock Route Road. The Pitt Town (St James) Anglican Cemetery is on Old Pitt Town Road, and it contains many of the early pioneers of Pitt Town.
During World War II a second airstrip was built in Pitt Town to cope with the additional volume of aircraft movements at the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base. Following the end of the war, the airstrip was abandoned and became an automotive race and testing track for Ferodo Australia. It is now a public road known as Airstrip Road.
Pitt Town has a number of heritage-listed sites, including the following listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register:
Sites listed on other heritage registers include:
- St James's Anglican Church on Bathurst Street was designed by Edmund Blacket. It was built by Thomas Collison for £1050 in 1857-58. Blacket also designed the 24 pews, pulpit, reading desk and communion rail. The church is in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, which was normal practice for religious buildings, and is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
- Scots Presbyterian Church, a much simpler building than St James, was built and dedicated in 1862. Located opposite the Anglican church in Bathurst Street. It is in the Gothic Revival style and is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
- At 120 and 126 Bathurst Street there are late nineteenth century weatherboard houses; at 132 Bathurst Street there are very old slab cottages and outbuildings.
- Bona Vista in Johnston Street was built in 1888. It has a long entrance drive with Norfolk Island pines and camphor. Its original rural landscaped setting has now been lost through the recent residential subdivision of the area.
- At the northern end of Bathurst Street, overlooking Pitt Town Bottoms, is The Manse, which belonged to the oldest Presbyterian Church in Australia, situated across and down the river at Ebenezer. This illustrates that the early communities were not divided by the Hawkesbury River but united by it. The Manse is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
|Selected data from 2016 ABS Census for Pitt Town|
|Population||Estimated residents on census night||3,033|
|Estimated ATSI population on census night||49|
|Cultural and language diversity|
top responses (other than English)
|No Religion, so described||18.0%|
|Median weekly incomes|
|Personal income||Median weekly personal income||A$972|
|% of Australian median income||140.0%|
|Family income||Median weekly family income||A$2,362|
|% of Australian median income||136.2%|
|Household income||Median weekly household income||A$2,316|
|% of Australian median income||161.1%|
|Dwelling type||Separate house||97.6%|
|Semi-detached, terrace or townhouse||0.7%|
|Flat or apartment||2.0%|
The majority of Pitt Town has an Australian or English background, with an Anglican or Catholic religious affiliation. The most spoken language is English, followed by Maltese (0.8%). The majority (91.8%) of Pitt Town only speaks English at home.
Pitt Town is a growing suburb in the north-west of Greater Western Sydney. In 2006, it had a population of 1,311. 10 years later in 2016, Pitt Town had a population of 3,033. Over the 10 year period, the population of Pitt Town increased by 231.4%. Pitt Town's population is continuing to grow due to the expanding Vermont development which began in 2007, and the Eden Fields development by Allam Property Group.
The Hawkesbury City Council has been criticised for not maintaining the growing population. Local residents have rallied for infrastructural development to parallel the growing population. In response, RMS has approved a long-awaited Pitt Town bypass to divert traffic away from the town centre when travelling to Cattai and Wisemans Ferry from Windsor. Further, the low rental price despite a high property value may be explained by the distance from public transport, commerce, jobs, and other amenities which attract tenants. Pitt Town is 8.8km from Mulgrave Train Station, and has only two bus services at low frequency.
The residents of Pitt Town have also grown in overall wealth. In 2006, the median weekly household income was $1,265. In 2016, it was $2,316 per week. Over 10 years, the median weekly household income increased by 183.1%, despite the consumer price index increasing by only 126.9% over the same 10 year period. In light of the Sydney housing bubble, the trend in median property price has been exponential. In 2009, the median property price was approximately $442,500, which increased to $1,350,000 in 2017. Average rent has correspondingly increased from a median of $219 in 2011, to $400 in 2016.
In 1981, Pitt Town became known nationally and internationally as the setting for 'Wandin Valley' in the long-running television series A Country Practice (1981-1993). The series was broadcast twice weekly on the Australian Television Network Seven Network (ATVN 7).
The television drama series A Country Practice used this village for many external scenes. The heritage house opposite Pitt Town Public School was used as the home of characters Frank and Shirley Gilroy (Brian Wenzel and Lorrae Desmond). The Hardware Store on the corner of Bathurst, Eldon and Grenville Streets was known as 'Muldoon's Store', the Bird in Hand Inn was known as the 'Wandin Valley General Store'. Other buildings used include a number of private residential dwellings along Bathust Street for Matron Maggie Sloan (Joan Sydney) and Esme Watson (Joyce Jacobs). The television series used a good number of other well known buildings in the Hawkesbury area, including: the hospital (located in Oakville); the doctor's surgery (located in Windsor); Burrigan High School (Windsor High School); and Burrigan Swimming Pool (the former Hornsby Aquatic Centre - demolished in 2012). When A Country Practice was relaunched on rival Network Ten in 1994, filming moved to Emerald, Victoria.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Pitt Town (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
- "Pitt Town, NSW - Aussie Towns". Aussie Towns. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- Edwards.M,2015.'Here's Cheers to Pitt Town - a bicentenary celebration'
- Edwards.M, 2012.'NAMES BEHIND THE NAMES:THE ORIGINS AND MEANINGS OF STREET NAMES IN PITT TOWN: PART 1 A STUDY OF COLONIAL NOMENCLATURE'
- "SYDNEY PITT TOWN AIRSTRIP". speedwayandroadracehistory. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "Macquarie Arms Inn (former)". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00282. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Bird In The Hand Inn (former)". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00373. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/122
- The Heritage of Australia, p.2/122
- "2016 Census QuickStats: Pitt Town". quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "2006 Census QuickStats: Pitt Town". quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "Eden Fields, Pitt Town - Allam Property Group". Allam Property Group. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- NSW, Roads and Maritime Services,. "Pitt Town bypass". Roads and Maritime Services. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- Burke, Terry (March 2014). "Transport disadvantage and low-income rental housing (Peer Reviewed)" (PDF). ahuri.edu.au.
- "Proximity to public transport top priority for apartment buyers". Domain. 2015-03-28. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "Blacktown - ROUTE 663: Windsor to Pitt Town Loop | Busways". www.busways.com.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- Office, Australian Taxation. "Consumer price index". www.ato.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- RBA Inflation Calculator (27 Oct 2018). "Inflation Calculator". Reserve Bank of Australia.
- "Pitt Town Property Market, House Prices & Suburb Profile". www.realestate.com.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "2011 Census QuickStats: Pitt Town". quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
- "About our school - Pitt Town Public School". pitttown-p.schools.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-27.