Offered is an exceptionally important Pre Federation Australian Military presentation sword to have come onto the open market in decades. This is the 1862 dated presentation sword to Major (Late Colonel) George Pitt, commander of all militia forces in the Colony of Victoria. Major Pitt was the first officer put in charge to organise and raise the new militia forces in the whole of the fledgling Colony of Victoria.
The sword is a hand made sterling silver mounted levee sword with two scabbards in the Mameluke style as popularised by the Duke of Wellington, in it’s original Australian cedar case. Maker marked for Henry Wilkinson of Pall London. The curved blade finely and extensively etched with foliage, Royal Cypher, Australian Arms “Advance Australia”, crest of the 80th Regiment, crest opt a stork and panel “Presented to Bt. Major George dean Pitt. H.M. 80th Regt. By the volunteers of Victoria as a token of esteem and respect gained from them whilst Colonel Commanding the Force. Melbourne 1862”. The gilt sterling silver mounted hilt with ivory grip scales, the first scabbard of red velvet covered wood with pierced gilt sterling silver mounts bearing Birmingham assay stamps, the second scabbard of polished steel with deeply etched foliate decoration. The sword and scabbards are in their original very well fitted Australian cedar case with swing catches to the front and a folding carrying handle in the lid.
The cased set is accompanied by: an address presented to Dean Pitt in Melbourne on the 14.03.1863, signed by the commanding officers of all of the units in the Victoria Volunteer Force. The address noted “Engrossed & Illuminated by J. Hamel RVA”” (Julius Hamel 1822-1894).
A lengthy handwritten letter to Dean Pitt dealing with his services and the presentation, annotated by Dean Pitt. Paperwork includes a modern copy of an engraving in a newspaper of the time “Staff officers of the Victorian Volunteer Force” showing Major Pitt. A modern copy of a photograph of Major Dean Pitt and a photocopy of a painting of Dean Pitt as a youth, photography of a painting of General Dean Pitt (Senior), original copy of Victoria 1861 Parliamentary Paper. Resignation of Colonel Pitt, photocopies of a number of newspaper and book entries concerning Dean Pitt. These are neatly filed with slip covers etc.
Biography: Born 14.01.1823, Son of Major General George Dean Pitt, Married Louisa Jones (daughter of Sir Horace David Cholwell) 22.11.1842, 2nd Lieutenant 11.10.1839, Lieutenant 19.01.1849, Captain 04.05.1849, Major 09.03.1861, Lieutenant Colonel 21.03.1865, Colonel 21.03.1870, Major General 07.06.1880, Lieutenant General 30.08.1882, Invested as a Companion, Order of the Bath (C.B.), Keeper of Jewels at the Tower of London from 25.08.1882 to his death, died at the Tower of London 04.04.1883, Dean Pitt raised, trained and organised the Victorian volunteer forces in 1859 and for those services he was thanked by H.M. Government. In 1863 he was commissioned by the Colonial Government to raise a local corps to aid the Imperial troops in New Zealand and in a very short space of time he succeeded in mustering upward of 2,000 men. The First Waikato Regiment was known as “Pitt’s Four Hundred”.
This sword and historical paperwork represents a most important sword dating from the earliest raising of volunteer units in this country, and related to the first overseas military action in regards to the Maori Wars. Of exceptionally fine quality, this sword is, without doubt, the finest Australian presentation sword to have come onto the market in decades and is the best condition and most unique Wilkinson Sword of absolute museum quality. Please note, the ‘Advance Australia’ etching is the only sword we have seen with such a reference pre 1880’s, making this a very unique piece of Australiana, the sword being made 40 years before Federation.
Please contact us for further details in regards to purchasing this sword.