Architect, Councillor, Mayor, Member of Parliament
Pitt commenced practice as an architect in 1879 and quickly achieved success. His most prolific years coincided with the boom period in Melbourne and his designs remain a testament to the confident exuberance of the period. Much of the west end of Collins Street owes its distinction to his buildings such as the Rialto, the Olderfleet and Pitt’s Buildings. His re-design of the Princess Theatre was one of his great achievements.
When the Princess Theatre re-opened in December 1886 The Mikado was staged, and when Pitt bought a house by the river in Abbotsford, previously named Campbellfield after the original owner, he re-named it Mikado. Despite his busy practice, Pitt became very involved in Collingwood life. He was a councillor from 1888 until 1894 and mayor in 1890-91, represented the council on the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of works in 1891-92, and was a patron of the Collingwood Football Club.
Pitt was elected as a member of the Legislative Council for North Yarra in 1891, retaining the seat until 1904, and was M.L.C. for East Melbourne in 1904-10.
Pitt over-reached himself by buying a large landholding in the Kimberley following the gold discoveries of 1885 and then crashed in the financial crisis of the early 1890s. As a result, he worked even harder and we may be indebted to this factor for the number of buildings he designed. His local works include such striking contributions to the industrial landscape as the Foy and Gibson warehouses and factories in Oxford and Cambridge streets, the Denton Hat Mills in Nicholson Street, and the Victoria Brewery in Victoria Parade East Melbourne. Fittingly for a man so interested in the local football club, he also designed a grandstand at Victoria Park.
Pitt also found time for other sporting interests in which he excelled, such as pigeon shooting, coursing, and hunting.
Mr and Mrs Pitt and children in their garden 1904
|4 June 1855
|Date of Marriage
|Elizabeth Mary Liddy
|23 October 1889, St Peter's Anglican Church, Eastern Hill
|Of six children, Elizabeth Collingwood, Gladys Jessie, Vera Jane and William Gordon survived childhood.
|Status of Building
|St Philip's Anglican, Hoddle Street Abbotsford
|Earl of Carnarvon Masonic Lodge
|25 May 1918
Our Local Men of the Times; Cyclopedia of Victoria; The Argus; Goad, A guide to Melbourne architecture.