Shepton Mallet, England
Little is known of Vincent Pyke’s early life other than that he was a linen draper when, on 7 September 1846, he married Frances Elizabeth Renwick. They had four sons and one daughter. The spelling of the surname was altered to 'Pyke' soon after the marriage.
They immigrated to South Australia in 1851, and then moved to Victoria where Pyke mined for gold at Mount Alexander. In 1853, he opened a store at Montgomery Hill, Forest Creek, Castlemaine. An effective advocate of miners' rights, in 1855 Pyke was elected as a representative for the Castlemaine district to the Legislative Council of Victoria where, supported by H.S. Chapman, he urged the introduction of election by ballot. In 1856, he was elected to represent Castlemaine Boroughs in the new Legislative Assembly of Victoria and, in 1857, he was appointed as Victoria's emigration agent in England, a position he did not take up due to a change in government. In late 1859, he became a warden and magistrate of Sandhurst, Bendigo. Resigning from parliament in 1860, Pyke was again elected to represent Castlemaine Boroughs, and subsequently held the offices of Commissioner of Trade and Customs, Commissioner of Public Works, President of the Board of Lands and Works, and several other civil service positions.
In 1862, for reasons of both health and finance, Pyke left Victoria for Otago, New Zealand. On 26 May that year, the provincial government appointed him as a commissioner and gave him the responsibility of organising a goldfields department.