Francis, who was assistant pupil teacher to G. Bland Humble at the Fremantle Boys School, later became one of the richest men in the colony. He as reported to have amassed a fortune of £750,000 ($1,500,000), the bulk of which, through the generosity of his wife [Emma Snook], eventually went to charity. Lee 1979: 207.
Francis' house was Hillcrest, in North Fremantle.
Hillcrest was constructed in 1904 for Francis Pearse, of the prominent Pearse family, and occupied by him from its construction until his death. Francis Pearse earned his fortune as a young man through business interests in Dongara. He was a one of five sons of prominent early Fremantle resident William Pearse. Together with two of his brothers, Pearse established and managed the Pearse Brothers Tannery and Boot Factory in North Fremantle, which operated from 1871 until 1962, when it was demolished. Hillcrest was as an imposing two-storey mansion overlooking the Swan River, located in extensive grounds that ran the length of Helen Street between Harvest Road and John Street. It was constructed to face Helen Street and had substantial outbuildings in the grounds towards Harvest Road, which remained until at least 1939. In 1922, Hillcrest was donated to the Salvation Army by Francis’ widow, apparently at his request. It was first used as a maternity hospital, which also served as a training hospital, and later converted for use as an elderly care facility. Heritage Council.
Lee, Jack 1979, This is East Fremantle (The story of a town and its people), East Fremantle Town Council.
Ancestry.com.au page, with names and dates of children of the patriarch
Photograph thanks to FHC #3812.
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