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"Police" Lieut. Colonel Edmund Yeamans Walcott Henderson (Image plate from Vanity Fair)
, 1875

by Carlo Pellegrini

chromolithograph (sheet: 38.0 cm x 26.3 cm)

Sir Edmund Yeamans Walcott Henderson KCB (1821–1896) was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and served in Canada before Earl Grey appointed him Western Australia’s first Comptroller General of Convicts. Henderson arrived in Fremantle in 1850 aboard the Scindian, which also carried that colony’s first shipment of 75 convicts. He remarked that a 'wool-shed makes excellent barracks' as he set up their temporary accommodation while the permanent limestone gaol was built. Henderson was liberal-minded and gave evidence to a select committee of the House of Lords investigating the abolition of transportation. He took charge of Western Australia’s public works before permanently returning to England in 1869. Henderson was then appointed Chief Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, establishing the criminal investigation department which became Scotland Yard. His obituary in the West Australian in 1897 paid tribute to a man ‘of the kindliest disposition and the most genial temperament’ who ‘found chaos and left organisation’. Sketching in watercolours was his life-long hobby.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Mr Ronald Walker 2001
Accession number: 2003.206.3