Edward Henty 1809-1878
Sussex, England; Swan River Colony; Van Diemen's Land; Portland Bay; "Merino Downs" & "Muntham,"
Glenelg & Wannon Region, S-W Victoria, Australia
Edward Henty 1809-1878 & Anna Maria GALLIE 1818-1901
Edward from West Tarring, Sussex, England
Anna Maria from Plymouth, Devonshire, England
Explorer, Merchant, Settler & Parliamentarian of "Muntham" Pastoral Run,
Glenelg & Wannon District, Portland Bay, Colony of Port Phillip (later Victoria)

Edward HENTY 1810-1878
Edward Henty 1810-1878
Anna Marie Gallie ~1818-1901
Anna Marie GALLIE ~1818-1901

Edward Henty, the founder of Victorian settlement, was born at West Tarring, in Sussex, 1809. He came to Van Diemen's Land with his father Thomas in 1832, landed in Portland Bay November 19, 1834. Pushed inland from Portland about September 1836 with Stephen and established a sheep station at Mt. Eckersley. From this point the Henty brothers (without Edward) proceeded the following year to the Wannon. Edward was the owner of Connell's Run from 1844 to 1866, and Richmond 1866 to 1879. In 1854 he left Muntham and retired to Portland, building the Burswood residence. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1856 for the Normanby constituency, and remained in Parliament till 1861. About 1873 he left Portland and resided in St. Kilda Road, where he died August 14, 1878. In October 1840 Edward married Annie Maria, daughter of Hugh Gallie, of Melbourne, but had no children.

Source : "The Portland Bay Settlement",
By Noel Learmonth, 1834

Edward Henty, born West Tarring, March 14th, 1809. Arrived Van Diemen's Land on Tamar in 1832. Set out exploring along coast of what is now Victoria looking for grazing land. Visited Western Australia and Twofold Bay (S.A.). Visited whaling establishment at Portland Bay and explored inland. Decided to settle there and arrived November 19th, 1834, with 13 heifers, 5 pigs, 4 working bullocks, 2 turkeys, 6 dogs, ploughs, plants, vines and seeds.

December 6th, land ploughed and on February 19th, 1835, home called "Richmond Cottage" was commenced. Edward, called "The Pioneer," married Miss Anna GALLIE. Later he had Muntham Station near Casterton, and after his death on August 14th, 1878, his wife held 18,970 acres.

  • 1845-Justice of the Peace at Casterton.
  • 1859-Elected for Normanby.
  • 1861-Released pheasants at Bolwarra.
  • 1863-Elected to First Road Board.
  • 1865-Imported thrushes and blackbirds.
  • 1876-Drove first train to Portland.

Extract taken from "The Clarion," the Victorian Number, 27th April, 1901:- "Francis HENTY joined Edward in December, 1834, and in December, 1836, Stephen HENTY brought his bride to the settlement, where Richmond HENTY, the second white native in Victoria, was born in August, 1837. Then John HENTY came from Launceston with a number of sheep and cattle so that 1837 saw the four brothers, assisted be 30 laborers, fairly started on their work as pastoral pioneers. And that pioneering work they did well, even in the face of its insecurity; although they had opened the Western District they were made to pay the Government in after years top prices for their holdings, recovering only a remission of 1738 of the purchase money, and even paying 100 an acre for the town of Portland, which they themselves had built.

"By 1840 they had six sheep stations, three along the coast and three inland on the Merino Downs, and in the same year they shipped 1700 bales of wool worth 30,000."

Source : "Historic Souvenir of the Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations",
November, 11th to 15th, 1937

Henty, Edward (the late), of Portland, a son of Mr. Thomas Henty, and the pioneer settler Victoria, was born at West Tarring, Sussex, England, in 1810. The foundation of the Swan River settlement, in Western Australia, in 1829, turned the attention of many besides Mr. Thomas Henty to these colonies. Hundreds of thousands of acres had been granted to one and another applicant. From the Lieutenant-Governor, with his 100,000 acres, to the ship's cook of the King's surveying ship, with his fifty, the Crown lands of the colony were lavished on all who would go to the new settlement, where, separated by the whole breadth of a continent from the convicts of the eastern seaboard, a new Arcadia was to be planted. Thomas Henty had several sons of the right stuff to make colonists, and determined to send them to the new land. Their names were James, John, Francis, Edward and Stephen. Mr. Henty chartered a vessel, and put on board labourers and their families, twelve month's supply of provisions, and some valuable stock in the shape of thoroughbred blood horses, pure merino sheep, cattle, and appliances for establishing an agricultural and pastoral settlement. The three sons - James, John, and Stephen - duly arrived at Perth, where the elder purchased land for the purpose of locating the families, stock, &c., in his charge until he could obtain suitable grants from the Government, Mr Henty was about to follow with the rest of his family, when, in 1831 he received advices from his son James that they saw no prospect of doing good in West Australia, and had determined to proceed to Launceston in Tasmania. This information entirely altered the plans of the father, who accordingly, instead of going with his family to Swan River, followed them to Van Diemen's Land in a vessel carrying immigrants, valuable stock, &c. They arrived in the latter part of 1831 and settled down. A twelve month, however sufficed to dishearten Mr. Edward Henty of his prospects in the island. he determined to cross Bass's Straits, and seek suitable land on the southern shores of the continent. He left Launceston in the barque Caernarvon in 1832, and landed at Memory Cove, in Spencer's Gulf, and afterwards at Port Lincoln places discovered by Flinders. he remained there looking for a location until he was called for, as arranged, by the brigantine Thistle, on her way from Swan River to Tasmania. On the passage back he anchored in Portland Bay, which place so took his fancy that he returned in the Elizabeth from Launceston, and a more extended examination of he country determined him to form a settlement there. Before doing so he and his father again visited Portland in the Thistle, and on their way to Swan River, to settle about the land Mr. Thomas Henty held there, they called in at Kangaroo Island, Spencer's Gulf, &c. In October, 1834, having completed his arrangements, Mr Edward Henty sailed in the Thistle Captain Liddle, and conveyed to Portland labourers, cattle, farming implements, fruit-trees, vines, seeds &c., and landed at eight a.m. on the 19th November, I834. He at once set about planting, and raised a good crop of vegetables. In the first two years of the settlement the Thistle was regularly employed bringing over sheep, cattle, horses, and provisions, which clearly proves that all residents in and about Launceston, including Battnan and Fawkner, were perfectly aware of the settlement being formed in what is now known as Victoria. It was commonly regarded as a dangerous undertaking, and caused no little excitement. The very fruit trees planted by Mr Edward Henty at Portland were purchased from Fawkner who at that time kept a nursery-garden at on Windmill Hill, Launceton. A month after the first arrival Mr. Edward Henty landed the first pure merino sheep, and at the same time his brother Francis paid him a visit, and remained a month. Shortly afterwards the brothers joined their fortunes; the success which attended their gradual settlement of the beautiful Wannon country, and the high estimation in which the family has always been regarded in the colony belong to history. Mr. Edward Henty was not twenty-five years of age when he put together the first plough that ever broke Victorian soil, and welded with his own hands the chains by which it was drawn. His roof-tree was more than 500 miles from the nearest house, and he was often put to straits in dealing with the wild cannibal blacks surrounding him but on no occasion did he ever have need to fire on them. Two years afterwards Stephen Henty gave up Swan River and joined his brother at Portland Bay. Mr. Henty for many years represented the county of Normanby in the Legislative Assembly. In 1872 Mr. Edward Henty gave a monster picnic to all the school children in Portland to celebrate the completion of his thirty-eighth year's residence there. In addressing the assemblage he said: - "I have invited you here today as wish to impress upon your minds the fact that I was the pioneer of t colony. When you are grown up and hear people talking about the matters, you can say you knew Mr. Henty, the pioneer, and that you were brought up in the town with him. That I am the oldest Victorian is proved by this book, the "Old Colonist's Address to Prince Alfred," signed by 700 old colonists; you can tell them it is true Mr, Henty made a home for himself, and it is equally true that he was instrumental in making homes for us." Mr. Henty died at his residence, St. Kilda-road, in 1878.

[Mr. Edward Henty's portrait appears in the first volume of this work, Chapter Vl.]

Source : "Victoria and its Metropolis : The Colony and its People 1888 Vol.2."

"The Argus" Thursday, 15th August 1878


MR. EDWARD HENTY.--The first settler in the division of the continent now forming this colony of Victoria died at his residence, South Yarra yesterday, within a few months of the 44th anniversary of the day on which he landed on the shores of Portland Bay. Though there have been differences of opinion us to whether Mr Batman or Mr. Fawkner was entitled to be called the founder of Melbourne, there never could be any doubt that the first colonist of this portion of Her Majesty's dominions was Mr. Edward Henty, who was comfortably established, with several of his brothers, at Portland some time before any habitations were erected on the banks of the Yarra. Nearly 50 years have elapsed since the Hentys came to Australia. The father of the family, Mr. Thomas Henty, lived at West Tarring, in Sussex. In the third decade of the century, the British Government were particularly anxious to settle population on certain portions of the Australian continent, and held out inducements in the shape of liberal grants of land. France wanted leave to occupy Western Australia, which, they argued, was far removed from the colonies founded at Sydney and in Van Diemen's Land. It was the object of the Home Government to be able to show, in reply to this application that Western Australia was as much a colony as New South Wales. Mr. Thomas Henty, attracted by the promise of a grant of 80,000 acres of land, and influenced, too, by the state of the health of his eldest son, made up his mind to emigrate to Western Australia. The eldest son (the present Mr. James Henty, M.L.C.) set out, in 1829, in a well-found vessel for Swan River, but the country was found to be poor in quality, and fell far below the descriptions which had been received of Van Diemen's Land. The party, therefore, went on to Launceston. Not long afterwards, Mr. Thomas Henty and several of his sons followed. By the time that Mr. Thomas Henty reached Van Diemen's Land the practice of giving free grants of land to new settlers had been stopped there. In fact the orders from the Home Government on the subject passed the Hentys on the way out, and reached the colony before they landed. The aim that they had before them was to breed sheep and produce wool on a large scale. Mr. Thomas Henty, the head of the family, had been the first to introduce the merino into the South of England. He brought some choice sheep out with him to Van Diemen's Land. To obtain scope for their operations, the Hentys saw that they must look for land on the continent. At that time little was known of the southern portions of Australia beyond the names of the capes and the harbours. The eldest son showed an inclination to settle down in Launceston as a merchant and the work of exploration was undertaken by Edward Henty. In 1832 he went to Western Australia to take a second look at the land which his brother had previously condemned, saw that it had been correctly described, and put back. In the course of the trip Port Lincoln, on the shore of Spencer's Gulf, was visited and a stay of two months made there, but the country did not prove attractive. Portland Bay was then often talked about in Launceston. It was the depot of several parties of whalers. Mr. Edward Henty put into the bay, and was struck with the advantages which the place offered for settlement. Other portions of the coast were examined, but none pleased him so well as the locality first examined, so that in 1834 prepantions were made for the occupation of the vacant territory. The Thistle was despatched from Launceston in October with Mr. Edward Henty on board. He took with him a number of men, and 33 head of cattle. The vessel fell in with tempestuous weather, took 34 days to cross the narrow breadth of sea between Launceston and Portland Bay, and on the way 16 head of cattle were lost. In spite of these disasters, Mr Edward Henty landed safely on the 19th of November, 1834.

The second vessel brought Mr. Francis Henty, who landed on the 11th December and in course of time Mr. Stephen and Mr. Thomas followed. Sheep were fetched across from Tasmania, pastures occupied, houses erected, land cultivated &c. Thus it came to pass that when Sir Thomas Mitchell, the explorer, found his way overland in 1836 from Sydney to the Murray, thence to Mount Cole, Mount Abrupt, and down the valley of the Wannon and Glenelg to the southern shore of the Australian continent, he lighted upon a small but prosperous community at Portland Bay. The explorer could not believe his eyes when he got his first view of the place. The sheds erected by whalers under the cliffs were supposed to be grey rocks singularly like houses, but shortly afterwards the brig Elizabeth was detected at anchor in the harbour, and the truth was fully realised. The Hentys had a good garden stocked with vegetables, and the potatoes and turnips surpassed anything of the sort the explorer had ever seen elsewhere. A few days later five vessels lay at anchor in the bay, and from the verandah of Mr. Henty's house Sir Thomas Mitchell had the luck to see a whale caught, facts that, he duly chronicled in his diary.

Regular communication was kept up with Launceston. Now and then the small craft were delayed by westerly gales, which prolonged the voyage for weeks, but when the winds were favourable, the double passage was often made in a week. On the second trip of Mr. Francis Henty from Launceston to Portland, in a small cutter, he was obliged by contrary winds to put into Port Phillip. He found Batman's party at Indented Heads, and transported them and their goods to the banks of the Yarra. Up to the advent of Sir. Thomas Mitchell, the Hentys had not ventured further than 20 miles inland with their flocks. The territory they occupied, consequently was not remarkably rich. They grazed sheep and cattle, and traded with the whalers. The accounts given by the explorer of the fertile districts in the interior induced them to extend their operations largely, and push inland. The brothers took up large areas, as pastoral tenants under the New South Wales Government in the valley of the Wannon. As soon as Sir Thomas Mitchell got back to Sydney a party of surveyors was sent to lay out the town of Portland. The Henty's applied, on the strength of some early despatches of the Secretary of State, for free grants of the ground they had fenced in and cultivated on the coast ; but the New South Wales Government would not recognise the claim. Petitions were sent home to the Secretary of State, but the claim was ultimately abandoned on account of the expense that it would have taken to prosecute it. Mr Thomas Henty, the head of the family, died in October, 1839, in Tasmania, while the correspondence was still in progress. Though the applications for the town lands failed, the inland operations prospered, and the country soon became occupied. Fresh settlers immigrated from Tasmania, and the Hentys helped to find them suitable land. The Hentys had few troubles with the blacks, whom they treated kindly, but always kept at a distance until the spears had been laid down. The blacks were always on the look out for unwatched saws and axes, and the punishment inflicted by the brothers was to permanently banish all discovered thieves from the homesteads. Now and then the blacks took sheep out of the fold. They used to steal up to the place in the dark, noose one or two animals with thongs of green hide, and drag them off, or let down a hurdle and wait for results. To establish a check upon these unlawful operations the proprietors of the runs furnished the hutkeepers (who were the night watchmen) with portable boxes, that they could wheel from camp to camp on barrows. The blacks took great interest in the construction of these boxes until they found out the purpose for which they were intended. On one occasion the local tribe drove off 300 sheep, and broke one hind leg of each animal to prevent them from straying out of the locality in which they hid them. Once or twice a black thief was shot in the dark from the hutkeeper's watch-box, but on the whole whites and blacks maintained friendly intercourse with one another, and only one shepherd lost his life at the hands of the aborigines. Mr. Frank Henty, however, once had a spear thrown at him as he was riding through the bush. At shearing time, when hands were scarce, the blacks were occasionally employed to wash sheep, and in return for their services got the carcases of any animals that happened to be accidentally drowned. This form of payment had to be abandoned, on account of the large increase that took place in the number of drowned sheep, and the services of the blacks were early discontinued. In those remote days, a sheep was worth about 34s., and a shepherd's pay was 26 a year. Tasmania was the source from which labour was obtained.

The only settlement on the coast for some years besides Portland was Port Fairy, where some whalers lived. About 1840, a wreck occurred very near the place where the Loch Ard was recently lost, and Mr. Edward Henty was able to render useful service to the survivors. The Children, as the vessel was named, left Launceston for South Australia, with the party of Mr. Samuel Bryan onboard. Mr. Bryan had married one of Mr. Edward Henty's sisters, and had set out with a party of labourers and a load of live stock to take up country in the colony lately created to the westward of the Portland district. Unfavourable winds drove the vessel out of her course, and she went ashore at the foot of the steep cliffs. The anchor jammed one of Mr. Bryan's feet as he attempted to descend over the bows, and held him fast. Fortunately, a sailor close by had the presence of mind to cut off Mr Bryan's toes with a jack-knife, and thereby free him. Of the large number of men, women, and children onboard, some 16 were drowned. No hospitable Mr. Gibson lived on the Otway coast in those days. Though Mr Bryan got safely ashore, the surgical operation he had undergone prevented him from climbing the cliffs. Some of the crew ascended, and travelled overland, amidst great privations, to Port Fairy. Thence the news of the disaster was taken to Portland by the whalers. Mr Edward Henty despatched a bullock-dray to the scene of the wreck and rode on in advance himself. Though the journey was necessarily a slow one, the relief arrived in time to be of service.

The principal food of the survivors until they were rescued was the succulent trailer, commonly known as pig-face, which grew abundantly over the face of the rocks. It must be presumed that they also subsisted on provisions that the waves washed ashore from the wreck. For some years Mr. Edward Henty carried on business as a merchant in Portland, in the progress of which place he took a deep interest. He was an active promoter of the building of St. Stephen's (Anglican) Church, Portland, and he was a member of the committee of the Immigration Association, a society formed to promote immigration independently of the Sydney Government. In 1845 he held two runs--Connell's, 17,500 acres, and Muntham 57,300 acres--and gradually acquired possession of a large extent of free hold property. It was under the Government of Victoria, however, that the principal purchases were effected. At the time of his death Mr. Henty owned upwards of 20,000 acres of the old Muntham run. The history of the career of Mr. Edward Henty is but the history of the family. They bred the merino sheep with care, and the flocks grew largely in numbers. The quality of the wool was good but the fleeces were light. In one of the 'forties the prices of sheep fell very low all over Australia, and surplus stock became almost unsaleable. The squatters, it should be understood, depended partly on the sale of superfluous sheep to obtain ready money for the conduct of operations. At the time that prices dropped Mr. Edward Henty took to boiling down on the inland station, but found that it did not pay to cart tallow far, and removed the business to Portland. Mr. Henty was also an agriculturist. He had a large area of land under crop, which yielded at the last harvest between 14,000 and 15,000 bushels of grain. The inhabitants of the Western district took no part in the separation movement, which almost entirely concerned Port Phillip. On the establishment of this colony Mr. Henty officiated as returning officer at the election of a member of the old Legislative Council for the district of Normanby, Dundas, and Follett. On the inauguration of the constitution he was elected without opposition to represent Normanby in the Legislative Assembly. At the general election of 1859 he was again returned without opposition, but at the general election of 1861 he was defeated by Mr G. C. Levey. For many years after that he lived in retirement in the Western district, and devoted himself to the management of his own affairs. Two or three years ago, however, he appeared as a candidate for the Western Province, but was defeated. The last time Mr. Edward Henty appeared in public was at the annual gathering of the old colonists in Melbourne in November 1877. He said that when he landed at Portland in 1834 a friend and four working men were his companions, and there was then no white man nearer to them than Twofold Bay on the one side and King George's Sound on the other.

In a small vessel belong to his family, and engaged in bring goods from Swan River, he prosecuted a survey all along the coast, and there was scarcely a bay from Cape Otway to Western Australia that he had not been into. He had introduced the first sheep and cattle into the colony. They were counted by the score then, but by the million now. It was wonderful to compare now with then, and to think that this almost miraculous advance in the progress and prosperity of the country had taken place within the life of one man.

Mr. Edward Henty was born on the 10th March 1809, and, therefore, at the time of his death had well nigh attained the good old age of threescore years and ten. Like the rest of the family, he was a man of active habits and steady energy, and from first to last upheld the honour and integrity of the name of Henty. It may be mentioned that in his capacity as first colonist he headed the address which the early settlers presented to H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh on his visit to Victoria in January, 1868. For the last few years of his life Mr. Edward Henty re- sided in the suburbs of Melbourne.

Mr. Henty for some years past had been suffering from fatty degeneration of the heart, but no alarming symptoms presented themselves until about a fortnight ago, when dropsy supervened. At one time the dropsy had increased to such an extent that it was deemed advisable to tap the patient, and this was accordingly done by Mr. J Cooke who had charge of the case, acting in consultation with Mr. Girdlestone, and occasionally Dr. Bird. Since then Mr. Henty rallied slightly for a short time but on Monday last mortification of the legs set in, and he became gradually weaker, and died early yesterday afternoon. His remains will be interred in the Melbourne General Cemetery this afternoon.

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