James HENTY from West Tarring, Sussex, England

Explorer, Settler, Banker & Businessman "James Henty & Co" of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

James HENTY & Charlotte CARTER had the following family...

  1. Henry HENTY, b. 1833, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1912, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1859 to Marion Ann McKELLAR ~1838-1919
  2. Herbert James HENTY, b. 1834, Worthing, Sussex, England, d. 1902, Deniliquin, NSW, m. 1861 to Frances Emma "Fanny" MURPHY ~1840-1898, d. Deneliquin, NSW.
  3. Thomas "Tom" HENTY, b. 1836, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1887, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1869 in Melbourne, Victoria to Lucy Mary PINNOCK 1850-1917. Tom HENTY was Overseer of Horses and cattle for his uncle Edward HENTY at "Muntham" station, S-W Victoria in the 1850s, where he was a colleague of Cuthbert FETHERSTONHAUGH.
    Thomas HENTY & Lucy Mary PINNOCK had the following family...
    1. Thomas Norman HENTY, b. 1870, Kew, Vic, d. 1937, Tasmania, m. 1899 to Sarah Lily Mina Wilson 1871-1954
    2. James Reginald HENTY, b. 1871, Benalla, Vic, d. 1929, Pakenham, Vic, m. ..............?
    3. Lucy Charlotte HENTY, b. 1873, South Melbourne, Vic, d. 1960, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1897 to Claude Vernon McARTHUR 1864-1925 1838-1919
    4. Herbert Denham HENTY, b. 1874, Berwick, Vic, d. .....................
    5. Robert Arthur HENTY, b. 1875, Berwick, Vic, d. 1939, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1919 to Anabella Cecilia McINTOSH 1873-1945
    6. Cecil Henry HENTY, b. 1878, Berwick, Vic, d. 1954, Cohuna, Vic, m. to Alice TURNOUR ~1881-1970
    7. Edward Bertram HENTY, b. 1879, Berwick, Vic, d. 1960 Cohuna, Vic, m. to Isabel Margaret MURDOCH 1876-1961
    8. Agnes Muriel HENTY, b. 1881, d, 1884, Berwick, Vic.
    9. Philip Guy HENTY, b. 1883, Berwick, Vic, d. 1949, Hobart, Tasmania, m. 1913 to Violet Muriel Marie GUDGEON 1880-1945. Philip played state cricket for Tasmania.
    10. Francis Harold HENTY, b. 1885, Brighton, Vic, d. 1927, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1914 to Mary Collier PURBRICK 1886-1962
  4. Frances Charlotte "Fanny" HENTY, b. 1838, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1925, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1859 to James Hugh BALFOUR 1830-1913.
  5. Mary Jane HENTY, b. 1840, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1921, Melbourne, Vic, m. 1882 to John Lepper WILSON ~1827-1901.
  6. Emily HENTY, b. 1842, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1909, Melbourne, Vic, (unmarried)
  7. Susan HENTY, b. 1843, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, d. 1849, England ?

James HENTY 1800-1882 : Obituary

"The Argus" (Melbourne, Vic.) Friday, 13th January 1882. (Obituary)


Another of the earliest pioneers of civilisation in this quarter of the world passed away yesterday morning in the person of the Hon. James Henty, M.L.C. The news of the veteran colonist's sudden decease spread through the city just as the business of the day was commencing, and the leading mercantile houses marked the melancholy event by half-masting their flags. His adventurous career closed in the 82nd year of his age, at his late residence, on Richmond-hill. Yesterday morning at about half-past 7 he was heard moving in his bedroom, and shortly afterwards his usual morning cup of coffee was brought to his door by one of the servants. The incidents of the previous day he had just entered in his diary, which, it may be added, is a complete record of colonial affairs since the year 1829, carefully and methodically arranged. He never allowed a day to elapse without making an entry relative to passing events, and his journal may therefore be regarded as a complete and, in the main, trustworthy history of colonial affairs for more than half a century. When his cup of coffee was brought to him he was apparently in hie usual state of health, but at about 9 o'clock his lifeless body was discovered by some members of the family lying across the bed. Dr. Dowling, his medical adviser, was quickly on the scene, but, of course, his services were of no avail. In the opinion of Dr. Dowling the deceased gentleman succumbed to a sudden attack of apoplexy, and a certificate was issued to that effect. On the previous day (Wednesday) a remarkable incident occurred that would almost lead to the conclusion that Mr. Henty had a presentiment of his approaching death. He communicated with his son, Mr. Herbert Henty, by telephone, and expressed a wish to have his photograph taken immediately, His wish was gratified. In the afternoon he visited the studio of Messrs. Foster and Martin, Collins-street, and had a little jocular conversation with the operator. Subsequently he attended the office of his firm in Little Collins-street west, and conversed with his son for a time on business matters. He casually mentioned a curious fact in the course of this last conversation with his son. It seems that on Tuesday last he was glancing over his private papers, and was delighted to find a long-lost and historically precious document in the shape of the original letter which he addressed to his brother, the late Mr. Edward Henty in 1826, suggesting that they should both emigrate to the colonies. What a train of recollections the sight of that ancient manuscript must have evoked in the mind of the venerable colonist !

Mr. James Henty was the eldest of that enterprising brotherhood whose names are inseparably interwoven with the foundation and early history of what is now the colony of Victoria. His father, Mr. Thomas Henty, lived at West Tarring, Sussex, where James Henty was born in 1800. Between 50 and 60 years ago considerable interest was taken in the colonisation of Australia, and persons of means were encouraged to emigrate by promises of large grants of land given by the Imperial Government. Mr. Thomas Henty then owned land and carried on business as a banker in Sussex. He was also a breeder of merino sheep. Influenced by the prospect of obtaining an extensive property in the new world, he decided on leaving England. Mr. James Henty, his eldest son, accompanied by two of his brothers, took charge of the first expedition, their destination being Swan River, Western Australia. At that time, Tasmania had more attraction for pioneers than the Swan River district, but the Imperial Government had particular reasons for colonising Western Australia. The French were desirous of obtaining 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 incommoding the British colonists who had taken up their abode in other parts of Australasia. It was resolved, however, that the whole continent should be kept in the possession of the English people, and therefore more liberal terms were offered to persons willing to settle in Western Australia than to those who preferred embarking for Tasmania. As many as 80,000 acres of land were promised to the Henty family if they established themselves on the continent, and therefore Mr. James Henty directed his expedition, which numbered 30 or 40 individuals, to Swan River. His barque, the Caroline, carried an abundant store of provisions and appliances for erecting a homestead. They had pure-bred and draught horses on board, also merino and other sheep. They left England in June, 1829, and arrived at Swan River after a voyage of five months. With their prospects in Western Australia they were not satisfied. The land available for occupation they found unsuitable, and far inferior to what they had been told they could obtain in Tasmania. After remaining about two years in Western Australia, Mr. Henty and his brothers, and their employes, broke up their settlement and removed to Launceston, where shortly afterwards they were joined by Mr. Thomas Henty and the other members of that gentleman's family. They reached the colony too late, however, to participate in the free grant system ; for before they landed orders had arrived from home to give no more land away. This was a disappointment to Mr. Thomas Henty, who had made preparations for carrying on grazing on an extensive scale, and had brought out a number of pure-bred sheep. Several coasting expeditions were organised by his sons under his direction. Mr. Edward Henty revisited Western Australia without finding any suitable opening there. He also explored the country surrounding Port Lincoln, on the shores of Spencer's Gulf. Subsequently, the Hentys decided on founding a colony at Portland Bay, on what is now the Victorian coast, and Mr. Edward Henty was the first to establish a settlement there. Application was made by Mr. Thomas Henty, the head of the family, to the Imperial Government, for a grant of 20,000 aerea of land.

The circumstances attending and the result of this application 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, which they have never abandoned. 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. Henty, although disappointed in his expectations of receiving a grant, yet considered the above so encouraging that he persevered, trusting that, when he had fenced and cultivated, and otherwise improved the land, his application would be more favourably received. He and his family, therefore, commenced operations on a more extensive scale. They imported large quantities of stock, and erected substantial houses, when, unfortunately, this enterprising settler, who had established an important colony, died. His death occurred in October, 1839, at Launceston, in Van Diemen's Land. As the founder of Portland, and the first bona fide settler in Victoria, the name of Mr. Thomas Henty is worthy of being kept in historical remembrance. At this time the Messrs. Henty (the sons of the deceased, Mr. Thos. Henty) occupied six stations. The value of their buildings at Portland alone was estimated at 5,000. They had fenced in and cultivated 135 acres, and formed a road into the interior. The total value of their improvements was estimated at from 8,000 to 10,000. About the same period the Sydney Government resolved upon establishing a township at Portland, and surveyors were sent there to align the streets, and measure off the town and suburban allotments. Up to this time, the Messrs. Henty entertained sanguine hopes from the tenour of Lord Aberdeen's letter, that "any land actually in cultivation, and surrounded by a proper fence," would be granted to them. They submitted a memorial to the Governor explaining the circumstances, and praying -

"That they should obtain a deed of grant of all the land absolutely fenced in and occupied at Portland Bay, as provided for by the letter of Lord Aberdeen ; or, should the colonial Government consider the obtaining these lands indispensable to the establishment of the town, then that they should be allowed, as remission, a sum equal to the value of the land, to be estimated at the average rate at which the first allotment might sell ; and that to this sum should be added the value of buildings and improvements, to be estimated by persons appointed on both sides, or by some competent board. That, in the event of the first alternative being adopted, then, that some compensation, by remission in the purchase of land, should be given in consideration of the bridges built, the roads made, and the general improvements effected ; and, moreover, as compensation for the inland improvements at the different stations. But should it be determined not to admit, in any present arrangement, a compensation for the improvements at the inland stations, inasmuch as they are not to be at present interfered with, and may be said to as available to your memorialists now as heretofore ; still they would ask that, in the event of these fenced stations being thrown into the market, they should be allowed either to purchase them, or the portion of land on which they may be situate, at the average price at which tbe parish allotments may sell."

To this memorial a reply was received stating that the Governor and Executive Council regretted to inform the Messrs. Henty that the letter from Lord Aberdeen contained no authority for the occupation of land at Portland Bay, and that they could see no ground on which their case could be distinguished from other unauthorised occupiers of Crown lands, whose applications of a similar nature had been refused, and who would have reason to feel aggrieved if the Government failed to preserve uniformity in its decisions.

Not deterred by this decisive refusal, the Messrs. Henty resolved upon laying a statement of their case before the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Imperial Government. This statement is embodied in a work printed in 1841. A distinction is attempted to be drawn between this particular case and any unauthorised oocupiers of Crown lands, from the passage in Lord Aberdeen's letter to the Earl of Surrey, which, it is contended, gave official sanction to their occupation. As no other person, situated in the same position with respect to occupation of land in Australia, had claims founded upon the letter of the Secretary of State, it is contended that the grant of lands as compensation to them could not be a precedent for others, who could not rest their claims upon the same foundation. The document refers to the first colonisers of Port Phillip, who came to the colony subsequently to the settlement of the Messrs, Henty at Portland Bay. The former erected some trifling buildings, but they cultivated no land, they made no roads or bridges, and their improvements cost them not a tenth part of those of the Messrs. Henty. They led the way to the future settlement of Port Phillip, as the claimants did to Portland Bay ; but in forming the Port Phillip settlement, they were guided by the example of the Messrs. Henty, and profited by their experience and information. The Government required the lands at Port Phillip upon which the settlers had located themselves. They memorialised the Government for compensation, and obtained 7,000. The claims put forward by the Messrs. Henty were never recognised, and, in calmly reviewing the whole circumstances of their case, any impartial person will, we think, admit that they received but scant justice. It is evident that Lord Aberdeen scarcely understood the land regulations of the colony when he made the vague and guarded promise that led those gentlemen to expect a free grant of land fenced and brought into cultivation ; but, the promise having been given, they ought to have received their enclosed land, at any rate at the upset price. This favour they did not obtain, and had to compete for their farms at public auction.

In 1853, when an addition was made to the number of members of the old Legislative Council, Mr. Henty was elected member for Portland, which position he retained until the inauguration of the Constitution in 1856, He was then returned to represent the South-western Province in the Upper House, and to the day of his death he retained his seat in that branch of the Legislature, being re-elected in 1862, and again in 1872. During the period that tobacco for sheep-washing purposes was admitted duty free, Mr. Henty entertained a strong opinion that a large quantity of tobacco so admitted found its way into general consumption, and that thereby the public revenue was largely defrauded. This opinion he expressed on more than one occasion when moving for returns in Parliament. In the course of a statement which he made on the 7th May, 1861, he contended that the tobacco admitted free, if subjected to the duty of 2s. per lb., would have realised in 1858 67,175, and in 1859 99,201. The result of Mr. Henty's representations was that, in an amendment of the Customs Act which was made in the session 1861-2, the following scale of duties on tobacco was adopted :--Manufactured, 2s. ; unmanufactured, 1s. ; sheepwash, 3d. per lb.

Whilst his constitution remained vigorous Mr. Henty attended the sittings of Parliament regularly. He seldom spoke, however, and his name rarely appears in the index to Hansard. Latterly, he was not often seen in the Council chamber. His last appearance in the Upper House was about six weeks ago.

Early in 1865 Mr. Henty lost his wife, and in consequence of this severe domestic affliction leave of absence was granted him for the remainder of the session. He was probably the senior territorial magistrate of the colonies, his commission of the peace having been signed by William the Fourth, and it is not generally known that in recognition of his public services he was offered by Lord John Russell the position of Superintendent of Port Phillip, in succession to Mr. Latrobe. This proposal, however, he respectfully declined. The deceased gentleman was one of the first directors of the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company. For 20 years he was a commissioner of savings banks, and during a lengthened period occupied the position of chairman of the Melbourne directory of the Liverpool, London, and Globe Insurance Company. A brief reference to the public life of several members of Mr. Henty's family may not be out of place. His brother William, who died on May 11,1881, was a very efficient Colonial Secretary of Tasmania for a period of six years. Another brother, Stephen George, who died in 1870, was the hero of an adventurous coasting voyage in an open boat in 1835 from Western Australia to Portland Bay. He subsequently represented the Western Province in the Legislative Council. Edward, a third brother, represented Normanby for five years in the Legislative Assembly, and his son Henry was some years ago returned as one of the members for Grenville, whilst his son-in-law, the Hon. James Balfour, has represented the South Province in the Legislative Council for a series of years.

Mr. Henty was the eldest of 11 children, of whom only two now survive, an only sister and the youngest son, Mr. Francis Henty. He leaves three sons and three daughters Messrs. Henry and Herbert Henty, members of the firm of James Henty and Co., and Mr. Thomas Henty, of Pakenham ; Mrs. James Balfour, and two unmarried daughters.

His remains will be interred in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, to-morrow afternoon.

"Launceston Examiner" (Tas.) Friday, 13th January 1882. (Obituary)


Our telegrams announce the death at Melbourne of Mr James Henty, the head of the well-known firm of James Henty and Co., a gentleman well known in Launceston, where he was leading merchant about forty years ago, and who like most of his brothers has played a prominent part in Australian colonisation. Deceased was the eldest son of Thomas Henty, of West Taring, Sussex, and who died at Launceston in 1839. Mr Thomas Henty having determined to settle in the colonies, his sons James, Stephen, and John left the family estate of West Taring, near Worthing, and sailed in the ship Caroline in 1829 for Western Australia. They also took with them forty artisans and laborers, and much valuable stock, including thoroughbred horses, pure cattle, and Merino sheep, and provisions for twelve months. They arrived in November of the same year, but after having lost over 10,000 and some valuable stock, it was decided to sail for Launceston, which they did in 1831, and were found in the same year by their father and other members of the family. The deceased, in connecton with his brothers Edward, John, Stephen, and Frank, then crossed Bass Straits, and were the first to colonise Portland Bay and the beautiful Wannon country. After assisting his brothers in the task of colonisation, James took a short trip to England, and upon his return settled down as a merchant at Launceston. The influence of his family, through their capital and connections, afforded him great advantages in the mercantile career, and he had acquired a thorough knowledge of business before he left England in the family banking-house. Deceased carried on an extensive business, and occupied the stores and offices in Cimitiere-street, now in possession of Messrs R. Green and Co. In 1840 James Henty was in business as stated, Charles Henty was manager of the Bank of Australasia, William Henty was practising as a solicitor, while Edward, Stephen, John, and Francis had settled in Victoria. About 1848 he paid another visit to England, and after his return he determined to settle in Victoria, and in 1851 established a business in Melbourne. In 1842 Mr James Henty was offered a seat in the nominee Council of Tasmania by Sir John Franklin, but declined. In 1852, however, after he had settled in Victoria, he sat for Portland in the old Legislative Council of Victoria, but after the proclamation of the New Constitution in 1855, he stood for the Upper House, and represented the South-Western Province for about a quarter of a century, until, through advancing years, he did not seek re-election. Mr Henty was one of the early promoters of the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay railway, and was connected with a great many other useful institutions. His family consisted of seven children--Henry and Herbert James, of the firm of James Honty and Co., and Thomas, of Pakenham Park ; Frances Charlotte, the wife of the Hon. J. Balfour, M.L.C., a daughter who died in 1849, and two who are unmarried. Deceased was born in 1800, and was, we think, the last survivor of the sons of Thomas Henty.