Francis "Frank" Henty 1815-1889
Sussex, England; Van Diemen's Land; Portland Bay; "Merino Downs" & "Muntham,"
Glenelg & Wannon Region, S-W Victoria, Australia
Francis "Frank" Henty 1815-1889 & Mary Ann LAWRENCE 1821-1881
Francis from West Tarring, Worthing, Sussex, England;
Mary Ann from Launceston, Van Diemen's Land
Settlers of Portland Bay & "Merino Downs" Station,
Glenelg & Wannon Regiom, S-W Victoria, Australia

Francis Henty 1815-1889 of
Francis "Frank" HENTY 1815-1889
of "Merino Downs"
Mary Anne Henty (nee Lawrence) 1821-1881 of
Mary Anne HENTY (nee LAWRENCE) 1821-1881
of "Merino Downs"

Francis "Frank" Henty 1815-1889 & Mary Ann LAWRENCE 1821-1881

Francis "Frank" HENTY, born 1815, Field Place, Worthing, Sussex (Ssx), England, son of Thoms HENTY and Frances Elizabeth HOPKINS.

Frank HENTY married in 1842 at Launceston, Van Diemen's Land to Mary Ann LAWRENCE, born 1821, Launceston to William Effingham LAWRENCE and Mary Ann GEORGE.

Noel Learmonth in his 1934 book, "The Portland Bay Settlement"notes...-

Francis was the second member of the family to settle at Portland Bay. Born Worthing, Sussex, 1815. Arrived Van Diemen's Land 1832, and at Portland by "Napinga" December 19, 1834. Took up Merino Downs August 1837, a property his descendants still own. Built in Portland next Church of England vicarage in Julia Street about 1854. Married Mary Ann Lawrence, and had issue one son (unmarried) and three daughters. Francis died in Kew 1889.

Frank HENTY & Mary Ann LAWRENCE had the following family...

  1. Lawrence Shum HENTY, b. 1845, "Merino Downs" station, S-W Vic., d. 1877, "Merino Downs" station (unmarried)
  2. Louisa HENTY, b. 1847, Portland, Victoria, d. 1924, ........., Victoria (unmarried)
  3. Caroline Agnes HENTY, b. 1849, "Merino Downs" station, S-W Vic., d. 1914, "Talisker" Estate (was part of "Merino Downs"), married Alexander Magnus McLEOD 1846-1910.
  4. Alice HENTY, b. 1852, ........, Victoria, d. 1932, Kew, Melbourne, married John HINDSON 1839-1919.

1843 : Sir John & Lady Franklin visit "Merino Downs"

"Launceston Examiner" (Tas.) Wednesday 20 December 1843
PORTLAND. On Saturday, 2nd instant, Sir John and Lady Franklin and Miss Franklin, accompanied by several gentlemen, left the residence of Stephen Henty, Esq., for the purpose of visiting the interior. They proceeded to the residences of Frances and John Henty, Esqrs., and to the junction of the Glenelg and Wannon. Sir John and his lady expressed themselves highly delighted with the district ; and on Wednesday the whole party returned to Mr. Stephen Henty's. On the following day Sir John Franklin, with his lady and daughter, returned on board the Flying Fish, which got early under weigh for Melbourne. For want of better pieces of ordnance the blacksmith's anvils were made use of on the arrival of Sir. John and four having been obtaiined the peole gave a hearty welcome, to their visitors, by keeping up a constant firing until dark.

"Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 10th December 1886.
An account has already, been given of Sir John Franklin's visit to Portland. Mr. Francis Henty in his speech at the Jubilee Banquet of November 19, 1884, said: "In relation to one more circumstance of early days and I have done. When poor old Sir John Franklin was leaving his Government in Tasmania he and Lady Franklin had expressed a wish to see this country where we were before they left for home. Mrs. Henty was an intimate and personal friend of Lady Franklin's before we were married, and was frequently staying with her at Government House while her father, Mr. W. Lawrance, was attending to His Excellency Sir John Franklin as one of his Executive Councillors. On their landing in Portland my brother Edward lost no time in driving them up as far as Smoky River, where I met them and brought them up to Merino Downs. The next day I took them around as far as the horses could conveniently travel, calling at Muntham and crossing the Wannon at Sandford, on our way back. I need scarcely say, gentlemen, how delightful the trip was, and how Sir John and Lady Franklin enjoyed it. After driving them back next day they departed in their Government cutter Eliza, on their voyage to Melbourne and home.

Sources :
  • "Launceston Examiner" (Tas.) Wednesday 20 December 1843
  • "The Portland Bay Settlement" - Noel Learmonth, 1934
  • "Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 10th December 1886.

(Written by Miss HINDSON)

My grandfather, Mr. Francis HENTY, married Miss Mary Ann LAWRENCE, daughter of Mr. William LAWRENCE, of Launceston. The idea had been for my grandmother to live in Portland, while my grandfather went inland to Merino Downs, but when she realised what this would mean she said if it were good enough for her husband to live in a sod hut on the station it was good enough for her. So she set out by bullock dray, which was the only form of transport in those early days, for the station. The sod hut had a door on each side, and when it rained the water poured in at one side and out at the other, and stepping stones had to be used for the occupants of the hut to keep their feet dry. The house, which is now standing, was built about 1843, and so far as we know the celebrated oak was planted by my grandfather, soon after he reached Merino Downs in 1837 from an acorn brought from his old home "Fieldplace," in Sussex. Once a year the bullock drays took the wool to Portland. and brought back the stores, which had to last the year. My grandfather had a general store on the property, where his employees could obtain necessary goods.

Names of some of the old hands employed at Merino Downs: John Stephen ANDREWS, better known as Jack FOSTER, born 13th October, 1833; died at Merino Downs, October, 1918. A sailor of the Royal Navy; at the bombardment of Sebastopol, 1854. For 60 years a faithful employee of the HENTY family. (The foregoing information was taken from the tombstone erected to his memory in the Merino Cemetery.)

William Percy ROOKING, also his wife, Jane Eliza; C. V. EDWARDS, senr.; T. JENKINS and his son, William; Archie McPHEE; Jimmy EDMUNDS; S. REMFRY.







Messrs. Walter and R B. PAGE.

About the year 1823 or 1824 a friend named Mr. John STREET was induced by my father to emigrate to Sydney, and he made him a present of ten of his sheep, nine ewes and a ram. Some lambs were also dropped on the voyage. Mr. STREET eventually settled at Bathurst. As a result of the disposal by that gentleman of some of his rams at very high prices (one bringing 100 guineas and the sire leased for a similar sum for the season), five or more lots were consigned by my father to Sydney for sale, each lot containing 80 to 100. Soon afterwards some New South Wales settlers proceeded to England with the view of purchasing rams, and after searching England and the Continent without success, they eventually selected from my father's flock, and took them to Sydney. Two of the purchasers were Messrs. McARTHUR and LAWSON.

In Handfield's "History of Sussex," these sheep are thus referred to:"In the year 1796 Thos. HENTY, Esq. purchased the demesne lands in the parish of West Tarring, consisting of 281 acres. The farm is now in a high state of cultivation. The breed of Merino sheep has been brought to a high state of perfection by Mr. Henty, and many from his flock have been purchased by Mr. McArthur and sent to New South Wales. The sheep were bred up from King George the Third's flock."

As already stated it is from these sheep that the stock now on the estate are principally descended, but of late sires have been introduced from the leading Tasmanian and Colonial studs.

The cattle are pure Durhams, preferred to Herefords, for their earlier maturity. The herd numbers about 2000. There are 500 breeding cows, Including a pure herd of pedigreed stock, of Muntham and Calvert blood. The bulls, ten in number, are all of the most fashionable strains of blood procurable. amongst those at present in use are Elushington, the Second, roan, bred by the Hon. W. McCULLOCH, by (Grand Duke of Oxford Third, dam of Blushing Oxford, roan Duke of Muntham, Sixth Duke of Brunswick, bred by the executors of the late Hon. N. BLACK, of Mt. Noorat.

The Merino Downs horses have always earned a high reputation, as in both draught and thoroughbred sections their quality is undoubted. Many of the latter have made names for themselves on the turf.

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


The death is announced of Mr. Francis Henty, who expired last night at his residence, Studley-park, Kew. The deceased gentleman had been in failing health for some time past, and about two months ago fell seriously ill from a general break up of the system, the result of old age. He never recovered, but became gradually worse, and it was apparent several weeks ago to Drs. Lawrence and Morton, his medical advisers, and also to his relatives, that his end was approaching. On Sunday last his illness increased very much, and he finally succumbed late last night. Mr. Henty was the survivor of the family of brothers who were the first settlers in Victoria, or Port Phillip as the district was then named. He was the youngest son of Mr. Thomas Henty, who was a banker in Sussex in the earlier part of this century, and also a landowner at West Tarring, Sussex, and breeder of merino sheep. About 60 years ago considerable interest was taken in the colonisation of Australia, and persons of means were encouraged to emigrate by promises of large tracts of land given by the Imperial Government. Mr. Thomas Henty, influenced by the prospect of obtaining an extensive property in the new world, decided upon leaving England and settling in Australia with his family. He, however, thought it prudent to send out some of his sons in the first instance, and accordingly despatched Mr. James Henty, his eldest son and two younger sons on an expedition to Swan River, Western Australia. At that time Tasmania had more attraction for pioneers than Western Australia, but the Imperial Government had particular reasons for colonising the last named district. The French were desirous of establishing a footing on that portion of the continent, which was so remote from Port Jackson on the east and Tasmania on the south that they thought they might settle there without interference. In order, however, that the whole continent should be kept in possession of the British people, more liberal terms were offered to persons willing to settle in Western Australia than to those who preferred emigrating to Tasmania. The Henty family were promised as much as 80,000 acres of land if they established themselves on the continent, and therefore Mr. James Henty and his two brothers started their expedition, which contained between 30 and 40 individuals, to Swan River. They left England in June, 1829, in the barque Caroline, and arrived at their destination after a voyage of five months. The country was not found suitable for successful settlement, and after remaining for about two years Mr. James Henty and his two brothers, together with their employes, broke up their settlement and went to Launceston, where they were shortly afterwards joined by Mr. Thomas Henty and the remainder of his family, amongst the latter being Mr. Francis Henty, the youngest son, then a youth, about 18 years old. Mr. Thomas Henty and his sons also met with a disappointment in Tasmania, as they found that they had arrived there too late to participate in the free land grant system, orders having arrived from home before they landed in Tasmania not to dispose of any more land by gift. When the family had been in Tasmania about a year Mr. Edward Henty, who was not contented with the prospects before them, determined to seek other land for settlement in the southern portion of Australia. He accordingly visited Spencer's Gulf and Port Lincoln, and on his way back to Tasmania called at Portland Bay, and was so pleased with the surrounding country that he determined to return to it again and examine it further. He did return in the barque Elizabeth, and then decided to settle in the district. In October, 1834, he left Tasmania in the brigantine Thistle, with labourers, cattle, farming implements, &c., and after a very stormy passage landed at Portland on the 19th November, 1834. Mr. Francis Henty followed his brother, and reached Portland on the 13th of the following month, or between three and four weeks from the time his elder brother had landed. In 1835 Mr. Francis Henty had to go to Launceston on business, and he took his passage from Tasmania to return to Portland in the Mary Ann, a small cutter of 35 tons, which was bound along the Australian coast in search of a suitable station for whaling. The vessel left Launceston about the 1st August, but was wind-bound for a fortnight at the entrance of the River Tamar. She was also driven by stress of weather into Port Sorell, where she lay windbound for several days, and subsequently, from the prevalence of foul weather, was driven into almost every place of shelter from Launceston Heads to Circular Heads, on the Tasmanian coast, and between Port Phillip Heads and Portland, on the Victorian coast. When the Mary Ann arrived at Port Phillip Heads a visit was paid to Batman's hut at the Indented Heads, and it was agreed that the Mary Ann should take Batman's party up to the River Yarra, which was done, Buckley, the white man who had lived for a number of years amongst the aborigines, being one of the party. Landing on the banks of the Yarra with Batman about the middle of September Mr. Francis Henty helped Batman to pitch his tent on what was afterwards known as Batman's hill. The Mary Ann did not reach Portland until the 1st October, the rough weather having compelled her to seek shelter where-ever she could on the Australian coast.
Edward and Francis Henty joined their fortunes, and for nearly three years fed their flocks near Portland. In the last week of August, 1836, Major Mitchell appeared at Portland, having made his way there overland from New South Wales. He was furnished with supplies by the Messrs. Henty, and informed them of the locality of rich country on the Wannon River, inland some distance from Portland. The two brothers shortly afterwards settled on the Wannon at Merino Downs, and Mr. Edward Henty became proprietor of Muntham Station, and Mr. Francis Henty of Merino Downs. The latter station consists of about 14,000 acres of splendid grazing country, and was the property of Mr. F. Henty up to the time of his death. In establishing the settlement at Merino Downs Mr. F. Henty had not much trouble with the aborigines, but they were not allowed to approach the station huts if they had spears or other weapons in their hands. Mr. Thomas Henty, the father of Mr F. Henty, died in Launceston in October, 1839. His sons may be said to have been the founders of Victoria, their settlement at Portland being established in the year before Fawkner or his party arrived on the banks of the Yarra. Before settling at Portland Mr. Thomas Henty applied to the Imperial Government for a grant of 20,000 acres of land. The circumstances respecting the application for the land are thus described in M'Combie's History of Victoria: —" Expecting that his request would be acceded to, Mr. Thomas Henty sent two of his sons over with some stock. These gentlemen arrived safely, and took possession of the appointed spot. In this way the first really permanent settlement was formed, in the colony of Victoria. The Secretary of State was informed of the fact, and the Messrs. Henty again pressed their claims for a grant of land. Lord Aberdeen, in a letter to the Earl of Surrey (through whom the application had been made), declined to make any grant. He said, however, in the concluding portion of his letter, I regret to acquaint your lordship that I cannot hold out to Mr. Henty the pledge which he requires, viz., "that in the event of the district in the neighbourhood of Portland Bay ever becoming a permanent colony, they will protect Mr. Henty in his right of settlement, that is, they will not disturb, but will confirm his possessions against any new comer, although I am not prepared to say that Mr. Henty's pretensions to any land, actually brought under cultivation by him, and surrounded by a proper fence, would not be favourably looked upon by His Majesty's Government at a future period, should the increase of the population of New South Wales or other circumstances extend the settlement of the territory to the quarter where Mr. Henty may have established himself." Mr. Thomas Henty, although refused a grant of land, considered the letter from Lord Aberdeen so encouraging that he and his sons persevered with the settlement, trusting that when they had fenced and cultivated and improved the land the application for a grant would be more favourably received. The application was renewed afterwards, on several occasions in succeeding years, but the Imperial Government declined to make any grant, and the Messrs. Henty had to buy such land as they afterwards became possessed of in fee-simple, Merino Downs being part of that land.
Mr. Francis Henty was the youngest of a family of nine children who reached mature age, nearly all of whom were sons, and of that number the only survivor now is his sister, the widow of the late Mr. Samuel Bryan, who resides in Richmond, and is in her 84th year. Mr. F. Henty was born at West Tarring, Sussex, on the 30th November, 1815, and at the time of his death was therefore 74 years of age. Besides being a successful breeder of sheep at Merino Downs, he was also a breeder and owner of racehorses, and two horses of his rearing— Mara and Cyclops—are well known on the turf at the present time. He married in Victoria, and had four children—a son who died when he was a young man, and three daughters, who are now resident in Victoria. One of the daughters is married to Mr. J. Hindson, of Queen-street, and the others are unmarried. Mrs. Henty died some years ago. Mr F. Henty's town residence was in Studley-park road, Kew. In 1885 he joined the firm of James Henty and Co., of Melbourne, merchants, and that business has been carried on since then on his account.

Source : "The Argus" (Melbourne, Vic.) Wednesday, 16th January 1889.

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