Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - YOUR LOCAL POLITICIAN’S SAY -

The Sur­prize, with 256 male con­victs, was one of the trans­ports used in the Sec­ond Fleet in 1790. In con­trast, the Sur­prize only had 23 men and 60 women pas­sen­gers, mostly con­victs and po­lit­i­cal prisoners, when it left for Aus­tralia a sec­ond time on May 2, 1794. It made the jour­ney to Syd­ney in 176 days, vis­it­ing only Rio de Janeiro on the way.

On board the Sur­prize on this sec­ond voy­age was a free set­tler Matthew Pearce (1762-1831), a hand­some 32 year old, ac­com­pa­nied by his beau­ti­ful wife Martha. En­ti­tled to a land grant, Pearce re­ceived 160 (64ha) acres on the north side of the ‘Hawkes­bury Road’, 21 miles west of Syd­ney Town, from Lieu­tenant-Gov­er­nor Wil­liam Pater­son. He named his land grant after King’s Lan­g­ley Manor House, Hert­ford­shire, Eng­land, where he was born. The un­du­lat­ing land was fer­tile, grow­ing maize, wheat, fruit and veg­eta­bles.

Pearce in­volved him­self in the com­mu­nity and was a mem­ber of the Grand Jury at Par­ra­matta. He was host to colo­nial artist John Lewin on many oc­ca­sions. His son, Matthew Wood­ward Pearce, set­tled on a north­ern quar­ter of the prop­erty when he came of age and built an im­pres­sive sand-stock brick home on the high hill that over­looked the es­tate. This build­ing is now the fo­cus of the Bella Vista his­tor­i­cal precinct.

The de­vel­op­ers of the sub­urb of Kings Lan­g­ley used an his­toric theme by nam­ing some of the thor­ough­fares around Cook’s ex­pe­di­tion of 1770 - James Cook and Joseph Banks Drives, Solan­der, Suther­land, Whitby, Ply­mouth, Tahiti and Venus streets.

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