Stephen George HENTY 1811-1872
Sussex, England; Swan River Colony; Van Diemen's Land; Portland Bay; "Merino Downs" & "Sandford,"
Glenelg & Wannon Region, S-W Victoria, Australia

from West Tarring, Sussex, England

Explorer, Settler, Banker & Trader of Portland Bay, Colony of Port Phillip (later Victoria)

Stephen George Henty 1811-1872 : A Summary

Stephen George HENTY was born in Sussex, England December 3, 1811. Arrived in Western Australia November 1829. Landed Portland July 23, 1836. He was the first merchant in Portland, and carried on this business as Henty and Co. till July 1854, when the firm of Henty, Learmonth and Co. was established, the partnership being dissolved in March 1863. Stephen Henty lived at the present Richmond Hotel until January 1869, when he and his family left Portland and went to Melbourne; he died near Hamilton December 18, 1872. Stephen Henty married Jane Pace in Fremantle April 1836; four sons and six daughters were the issue of the marriage. Mrs. Stephen Henty, who was born in Yorkshire April 14, 1812, died in Hamilton February 2, 1906. She was the first white woman to settle permanently in Western Victoria, arriving in Portland, December 18, 1836. From a small booklet "Old Memories," written by this grand old lady on her 84th birthday, some interesting items can be gleaned.

My husband and I arrived at Portland Bay in 1836, though he had made some trips there previously. It was on a Sunday night we landed by moonlight. I was carried on shore through the surf by a sailor. On reaching the homestead, a comfortable dwelling composed of four rooms, kitchen and dairy, a bright log fire was burning, table spread with a large pot loaf, piles of eggs and tea. Edward had not travelled inland, but my husband never rested until he had gone all through the interior, cut a track through 15 miles of forest land with two men and a dray, and arrived on the banks of the Wannon. He used to be absent for weeks at a time, causing me great anxiety. The natives were not to be trusted, so he usually took with him an expiree from Tasmania. Stephen Henty fixed all three of the first stations -Muntham, Merino Downs, and Sandford. In July 1837 Stephen sent some fine flocks of merino sheep to Muntham, having previously had a hut built for the men, and yards for the sheep; his two brothers, John and Frank, took charge of the sheep on the road.

"On August 3, 1837, my son Richmond was born the very day the sheep arrived at Muntham. Edward was in Tasmania at the time, and arrived three weeks after the birth of my son, with his brother James and his son... My husband and Edward were in partnership, Edward managing Muntham, and Stephen the mercantile part at Portland Bay. John managed Sandford and Frank Merino Downs... My husband was the first white man who stood on the border of the Blue Lake at Mt. Gambier. He said he would never forget the feeling of awe he felt on coming suddenly on the blue water in the wilderness.

The Mt. Gambier country was first settled from Victoria. About June 1839 Stephen and Edward Henty set out from Merino Downs to explore the country west of the Glenelg. On ascending Mt. Gambier they discovered the lakes, and from thence struck out N.W. as far as Rivoli Bay, returning to Portland along the coast. Stephen Henty was greatly impressed with the quality of the land round Mt. Gambier, and determined to occupy it. He explored a new route, crossing the Glenelg a few miles north of Dartmoor, and established a run at the Mount in November 1839. He was not allowed to remain there at peace for any length of time. News of his intrusion was reported in Adelaide, and according to Mr. Kenyon in the Victorian "Historical Magazine," Henty was ordered off. He protested that he was within the boun-dary of Port Phillip, but the South Australian authorities were taking no risks, and despatched a squad of police in charge 01' a sergeant and forcibly removed the intruder. E. P. S. Sturt, brother of the great explorer, was then sent to Mt. Gambler Adelaide with authority to occupy all that country.

Source : "The Portland Bay Settlement",
By Noel Learmonth, 1934


Stephen Henty 1811-1872 : Obituary

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser: (Vic.) Monday, 30th December 1872.

DEATH OF MR S. G. HENTY. (From the Argus, 19th inst.)

We announce with regret the death of Mr S. G. Henty, a former member of the Upper House. Mr Henty had been liable to epileptic seizures for the past three years. These attacks affected his mind and he was not able to attend to business from the time of the first seizure. He had lately been staying at the estate of Tarrington, near Hamilton, where his death occurred. On Monday his medical attendants gave up all hope of his recovery, and his son was telegraphed for. The deceased gradually sank, and died at 9 o'clock yesterday morning. He will be buried at Hamilton. Stephen George Henty was the seventh son of Thomas Henty of West Taring, Sussex, England, whose name is identified with the earlier stages of Australian colonisation, and who died at Launceston, Tasmania, October 26, 1839. Thomas Henty had nine sons, viz: James, now member of the Legislative Council for the South-Western Province ; Thomas, who served under Sir E. Pellew in the naval affair of Algiers, and who died young, after being invalided home from Trincomalee ; Henry, who died before reaching manhood ; Charles, also dead ; William, who is now in England ; Edward, now of Muntham in the Western District ; Stephen, the subject of our narrative, who was born in 1811 ; Francis, of Merino Downs and Portland ; and John, formerly of Sandford on the Wannon, now dead. Of these sons James, Stephen, and John left the paternal estate at West Taring, near Worthing, Sussex, and sailed in the ship Caroline for West Australia. This was in 1829. They reached Swan River the same year, having brought with them 40 farm servants, and much blood stock, pure-bred cattle and pure merino sheep. On arrival they took up under Crown grant some 72,000 acres, but they soon found the country unsuitable for stock, and having lost over 10,000 and some of their best stock they decided to sail for Launceston. Before this, however, Mr S. G. Henty had made some determined attempts at exploration, and traversed on foot a considerable portion of the western coast of New Holland. They sailed away in the schooner Thistle with their people and surviving stock, and having arrived at Launceston, Mr S. G. Henty rode across the island to Hobart Town in hopes of obtaining a grant of land. In this attempt he was, however, just too late to be successful. He then returned to Swan River, but found his prospects there still unsatisfactory, and consequently embarked in a open boat of 16 tons burthen, and sailed in her back to Launceston. We next find him navigating the schooner Fanny back to West Australia. and returning, after which trip he joined his brothers Edward and Francis at Portland Bay. It is an odd circumstance that in one of these early adventurous voyages, while navigating his ship by the aid of the slight knowledge of the subject he picked up on his voyages from England, he miscalculated his distance, ran into Port Phillip Heads, and actually anchored off what is now known as Queenscliff. Discovering his mistake, he again shaped his course for Portland, where he safely arrived and joined his brothers in their settlement upon the present site of that township, which the family have never abandoned. He subsequently applied for a grant of land in its neighbourhood, but the only reply of an encouraging nature which he received from Lord Aberdeen, then Secretary of State, was a problematical promise never performed. Shortly after settling at Portland Bay, the place was visited by Sir Thomas Mitchell, then deputy surveyor general of New South Wales, who was upon his famous exploring expedition, in which he traced the Darling to the Murray, and the Murray to the sea, and also discovered Australia Felix. Sir Thomas then informed the Hentys of the beautiful Wannon country through which he had passed, and which had led him to select the name Australia Felix as appropriately descriptive. At this point Mr. S. G. Henty, then about 25 years of age, began his explorations. Acting upon Sir Thomas Mitchell's information, he started due north with a man named Smead, and came upon the famous Wannon country at the site of the present Merino Downs. On his return he went to Tasmania for supplies, which he duly brought over. It is a curious fact that on the very day Mr Richmond Henty (Mr S. G. Henty's son and the oldest born in Victoria) was born in 1837, the first flocks of merino sheep were driven from Portland to the three runs taken up by the family, viz., to Merino Downs, to Muntham, and to Sandford (which was apportioned to the late John Henty). Mr S. G. Henty, with his brothers Edward and John, next explored the country down towards Mount Gambier, and he was the first white man known to have stood on the edge of the Blue Lake. They then pushed on for the coast and made Port MacDonnell, from which point they scoured the coast round to Guichen Bay. Returned to Portland, the subject of our memoir subsequently started again, accompanied by Mr John Ritchie and Mr John Loughnan, in a N.E, direction on foot, and came back to the coast at the point of the present site of Belfast. This brings our narration to the year 1840, when James Henty was a merchant in Launceston, at which place William Henty carried on business as a solicitor, Charles Henty was manager of the Bank of Australasia, Edward Henty was at Muntham, Francis Henty was at Merino Downs, and John Henty was at Sandford. The elder Henty had meanwhile died at Launceston. The Portland property eventually fell to S. G. Henty, who in his subsequent quiet and unobtrusive career yet found time to take an active part in the anti-transportation effort, the separation agitation, and in the other patriotic and liberal movements of the time. He was also one of the first members of the Melbourne Club. He was not a member of the old Legislative Council, but headed the pole at the first election for the Western Province under the new constitution. After serving 10 years in that capacity, he was elected for another 10 years without opposition. His politics, although very liberal, were always strictly constitutional. During 1870 failing health induced him to retire from an active share in legislation, and he resigned his seat.

Stephen Henty 1811-1872 & Family

STEPHEN HENTY :
Arrived in Western Australia in October, 1829. Scoured the country and entitled to 62,000 acres. Disappointed with land he sailed to Van Diemen's Land in 1831. Could not secure suitable land there, so went back to Western Australia as manager. Arrived Portland in June, 1836. Married to Miss J. PACE in 1836 in Western Australia. Brought his wife to Portland from Launceston on December 19th, 1836. Hearing about Wannon country from Major MITCHELL he visited these parts, exclaiming, .'This is a Paradise." He at once despatched John and Frank with sheep and they arrived on Downs August 3rd, 1837. Stephen visited Mount Gambier in 1839. Made Justice of the Peace in 1842. Set up in Portland as banker and trader. In 1847 Director of Port Phillip Savings Bank. In 1870 resigned seat in Parliament for Western Province, Born West Tarring, Sussex, England, December 3rd, 1811. Died Tarrington (Hamilton), December 18th, 1872.

MRS. STEPHEN HENTY :
Born in Stokesby [sic] (Stokesley), Yorkshire, England, February 8th, 1817. Arrived with her mother at Swan River, 1836, and married at Fremantle in April, 1836. Left and went to Mr. T. HENTY's home in Launceston. Arrived Portland in December, 1836. Regarding her landing she says:-"It was Sunday night (December 16th) when we landed by moonlight. I was carried on shore through the surf by a sailor. On reaching the homestead I found a comfortable dwelling of four rooms with kitchen and dairy. A bright fire was burning and the table was spread with a large pot loaf, butter, piles of eggs, and tea. After a night's rest I rose at 10 a.m., when I saw my husband engaged landing stores, etc."

Mrs. S. Henty lived with her married daughter (Mrs, Stapylton Bree) at Hamilton, where she died on February 3rd, 1905, aged 89.

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


Stephen George HENTY & Jane PACE had the following family...

  1. Richmond "Richie" HENTY, b. 1837, Portland Bay, d. 1904, London, m. 1861, London to Agnes Barbara REED 1841-.....?
  2. Frances Elizabeth "Fanny" HENTY, b. 1841, Portland Bay, d. 1868, m. Maudant SMALPAGE 1830-1871 of "Kadnook" Station near Harrow, Victoria.
  3. Mary Jane HENTY, b. 1841, Portland Bay, d. 1859, Melbourne, Victoria
  4. Annie Maria HENTY, b. 1844, Portland Bay, d. 1921, Hamilton, Victoria, m. Robin Edwin Windsor Sandys STAPYLTON-BREE
  5. Emily Lydia HENTY, b. 1846, Portland Bay, d. 1866, Hamilton, Victoria, m. Dr Thomas Manly WYLY 1830-1871 who had been a surgeon in the Crimean War and doctor at Merino, Sandford, Casterton & Hamilton.
  6. Ellen HENTY, b. 1848, Portland Bay, d. ......?, m. John Lewis COSTER 1839-1886 of New Zealand.
  7. Agnes Cecil HENTY, b. 1850, Portland Bay, d. 1945, New Zealand, m. Edward Stafford COSTER of New Zealand.
  8. George Edward HENTY, b. 1852, Portland, Victoria, d. 1935, Sydney, NSW, m. .......?
  9. William HENTY, b. 1854, Portland, Victoria, d. 1926, Melbourne, Victoria, m. Sara Frances BIRMINGHAM c1861-1939.
  10. Walter Thomas HENTY, b. 1856, Portland, Victoria, d. 1917, Hamilton, Victoria, m. Annie Margaret CAMPBELL 1852-1921.
  11. Percy HENTY, b. 1860, d. 1860, Melbourne, Victoria.

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