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Home > Hertfordshire > Ashwell > Australian Cow

Australian Cow

Picture source: Stephen Harris


The Australian Cow was situated on High Street, at the corner with Kingsland Way. This pub was established in 1852 and closed in 1915.  The premises were occupied by Barclays Bank for some years and are now in private residential use.  The story goes that the pub was named after a long-ago owner purchased a cow freshly arrived by ship from the Antipodes and walked it to Ashwell.
The Australian Cow, according to a family history written by a Keith Pitty, a distant relative (History of the Pitty families in Australia), was named after a cow sent back by my grandmother's grandfather George Pitty, then recently emigrated (July 1850) with his family from Cambridge (prior to that and for generations from Ashwell).
The cow was reportedly sent back with a visitor from the area who had visited the Pitty farm in Australia. The farm was leased between Melbourne and Williamstown. It was an exciting peak period of the Victorian gold rush and visitors from Cambridge/Ashwell were warmly welcomed.  A letter from James Pack Edwards speaking of the Pittys' hospitality and describing describing bountiful conditions and opportunities in the colony was  published in The Cambridge Chronicle of 16.4.1953. A letter from George Pitty to George Muncy was sent by him to The Independent and published 24.5.1851, another 14.8 1952.
Apparently George had no trouble sending back one of the red cows from his dairy herd with friends requiring fresh milk on their return journey to England to friends in Ashwell, as one of his daughters Mary had married Captain Leighton a Port Philip harbour pilot and he had other seaman friends. His letters say the harbour was full of ships because of the gold rush. (Melbourne is on Prt Philip Bay).
Julie Hotton (May 2013)

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