Jubilee Commemoration Speech, 1884
by Francis Henty

The following is document of great historic value. It is the full text of the speech by Francis HENTY, which was delivered at the Jubilee Commemoration of the original landing and settlement at Portland. It has been copied by a contributor. from the original manuscript, supplied by Miss L. Hindson, who, in turn, obtained them from her grandfather's notes of 1884.

"This is the 50th anniversary of the permanent landing of my late brother Edward on these shores, and is the occasion of our meeting, for on this day fifty years ago I think we may take it that the settlement of this colony really began. I was myself intimately acquainted with my brother's movements, shook hands with him on board The Thistle prior to his departure from Launceston, and found him at Portland on the second trip of The Thistle, when I landed on the 13th December, 1834, or within twenty-four days of my late brother Edward's pioneer settlement. I think I may be pardoned if I make some reference to those early days of difficult navigation and settlement, when we only had small sailing vessels to voyage in or carry stock across the sea. The Thistle, for instance, was of only sixty tons and before the time of steamships in this part of the world.

"My brother Edward's first passage for stock was a very severe one of no lees than five weeks, almost continuous westerly gales. The ship was often driven back, nearly wrecked on one occasion and losing half the stock, but the party finally landed without loss of human life. My voyage on the second trip was a more favorable one, as we had only one gale against us, which drove us back to shelter under King Island. We eventually landed 13th December, 1834, with all stock alive and well. I have previously said that this is the 50th anniversary of the permanent landing of my brother Edward, but you must understand that we had been here on more than one occasion previously, or how was it that he was satisfied that it offered the inducements he could find for settlement. One year before (but I forget if it was 1832 or 1833) he went on a voyage in the ship Carnarvon, searching for land on this continent, looking into every bay or refuge for shelter between this and Spencer's Gulf. The Carnarvon being a whaling ship, was the only possible chance he could get to prosecute his intentions of finding a place for settlement. The next year, 1835, my father, not liking to give up the area of land he was entitled to at West Australia without a personal sight of the place, was determined to undertake the voyage with Edward in The Thistle, to go and see and Judge for himself. He did so, and examined the land and was so disappointed that he made up his mind to abandon the whole thing and try our fortunes at Portland.

"There being no longer any doubt as to my brother Edward being pioneer and founder of this colony, you will I think all admit that as he was captain of the ship, I was the first lieutenant, to carry out the work of forming the establishment of the interior on the Wannon, both at Merino Downs and Muntham, and becoming one of the pioneers of this now great Colony of Victoria."

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