John Pike first came to New South Wales on the Boyd with the 73rd regiment in 1809.
The Boyd departed Cork on 10 March 1809. They sailed via the Cape of Good Hope and arrived in Port Jackson on the 14th August. On 20th August the Sydney Gazette recorded the arrival of the Boyd with one hundred and thirty four male prisoners, and passengers Captain Cameron, Lieutenants Pike and Wright of the 73rd regt., together with 30 non-commissioned officers and privates.
In 1814 Captain John Pike embarked on the Earl Spencer with the 73rd regiment bound for Ceylon. The lists at the site Under a Tropical Sun prepared by Robin Walsh, Macquarie University Library, names Commissioned Officers of the 73rd Regiment who Served in Ceylon in the years 1814-1821, and carries the following entry for John Pike:
PIKE, John (c.1780-1863) Commissioned: Ensign (73rd Regiment) 20 June 1805; Lieutenant 18 February 1807; Captain 10 August 1812; retired [by sale] 15 April 1824. Served in NSW/ VDL: 1809-1814. Served in Ceylon: 1814-1821. Arrived: Colombo, on the transport Earl Spencer 25 March 1814. Died: 9 March 1863, at Tours (France).
In February 1815, while serving in Ceylon it was announced that Captain Pike was appointed to the command and general superintendence of the three Posts of Malamagodde, Kokanaville,and Hettymoelle, which were established between Rusuwell and Ganitheyne. He was stationed at the centre depot of Kokanavelle.
Arrival of John Pike in 1825
After selling his commission John Pike together with his second wife Justine and daughter Mary Elizabeth, returned to New South Wales on the ship Phoenix under Captain Francis Dixon, arriving in February 1825. He brought with him on the Phoenix, 10 Saxon ewes and 4 rams and 10 merino ewes.
John Pike was granted 2000 acres of land which he selected at the Hunter River. He returned to Sydney at the same time as William Ogilvie and Peter Cunningham having decided on the future site of Pickering. He also applied for permission to purchase another 4000 acres adjoining the grant.
John Pike, with his wife and daughter travelled by dray to their new home soon afterwards. Assigned servants Edward Duffy, Alexander McBean, John Sadler and William Duggan probably accompanied the family on this first journey.
In Dawn in the Valley, W. Allan Wood wrote of the Pike family's journey - Captain Pike was the first to take a dray to that part of the country and his track, which others followed, was called Captain Pike's Road. He took a keg of rum to conciliate his convict servants, but in July three had taken to the bush. Mrs. Justine Pike was the first white woman and Mary Elizabeth was the first white girl to go to the Upper Hunter.
Three years later, in 1828 Martin Cash arrived in the colony on the Marquis of Huntley. He was assigned to George Bowman not far from Pickering. Select Here to read an excerpt from his memoirs, in which he describes a visit to Pickering and the conditions of the forty convicts who were assigned to John Pike at that time. Cash wrote that 'when any of Captain Pike's men were for trial (not a very unusual circumstance, as almost anything and everything constituted a crime), Mr. Ogilvie presided and vice versa. And when men from other farms were to be dealt with, both these gentlemen presided together'
In 1833, eight years after arriving in the Valley, John Pike's only daughter Mary Elizabeth married James Arndell at Pickering.