George Ernest Pearse (1878-1946) with the other East Fremantle councillors in 1925. FHC photo #55-02. He married Deborah Wingate b. 1880. One child was John O. Pearse b. 1912.s
The name of Pearse looms large over the district of East Fremantle and the members of this pioneer family, including George Ernest, who served on the Council from 1922 to 1932, did a great deal towards developing the southern side of the town.
The other main landowners were the Eastons (on the northern side of Canning Road) and the Moores (on the southern side and to the east of the Pearse holdings).
The Pearses had a multiplicity of interests and various member family were at one time or another engaged in pastoral and business pursuits, in council or parliamentary duties and also in the field of community welfare.
William Pearse and his wife Susan arrived in WA in one of the 1829 contingents of settlers. Their children and the dates of their births were: William Silas (1838), George (1839), Mary (1842), Francis (1847), Priscilla (1850), James (1852), Anne (1854] and Andrew (1856).
By far the most prominent of the Pearses was the eldest son William Silas, who was an MLC and a Justice of the Peace, a chairman of the Town Trust, the first chairman of the Town Council, the first chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fremantle Building and Benefit Society, a member of the Parliamentary committee that had advocated the building of the Fremantle Harbour and with his brother George partner in pastoral properties and a butchery.
George was also a member of the Fremantle Town Council and a member of the committee appointed to prepare the way for the erection of the Town Hall.
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, eventually went to charity.
James, who, the family records are careful to note, was born on Good Friday. took up residence in North Fremantle and was one of that town's early mayors.
The best-known member of the Pearse family in the past 70 or 80 years [ie, to 1979] was George Ernest, born in 1878, the son of George. After a brief spell in the world of banking where he learnt accountancy, he became manager of the pastoral property in the Murchison which was owned by his uncle William Silas and his father George.
Returning to Fremantle, he settled in East Fremantle. He married Deborah Wingate, and the family home was built on the corner of the street that was named after the Hamilton family and Reserve St (now known as Fletcher).
He also served on the board of the Building Society and served his fellow-citizens as a member of the East Fremantle Council from 1922 to 1932. His second son Frank was secretary of the Building Society for 32 years. His other children were George Silas, Albert and Deborah.
The Pearse family made a gift to the town of East Fremantle of five acres of land, part of the area now occupied by the East Fremantle Oval, the East Fremantle Bowling Club and the East Fremantle Croquet Club.
Though only John Pearse, the son of George Silas, and his family remain in East Fremantle to represent the Pearses, other reminders are still there in the names of such streets as George, Silas, Hamilton and (according to one source) Glyde, Hubble and Sewell. Lee: 207-208.
Lee, Jack 1979, This is East Fremantle (The story of a town and its people), East Fremantle Town Council.
Photo of Pearse thanks to FHC #4234B
Garry Gillard | New: 17 February, 2016 | Now: 12 October, 2016