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ON DISPLAY

Edward Henty
, undated (late 19tth century)

by an unknown artist

oil on canvas (frame: 78.0 cm x 68.0 cm, support: 66.5 cm x 54.2 cm)

Edward Henty (1810–1878) is considered the first European to settle permanently in Victoria. Born in Sussex, Edward came to Australia in 1832 and joined his father Thomas and other family members in Launceston. When their hopes of acquiring land there were thwarted, they turned their attention to the territory across Bass Strait, despite a law prohibiting its occupation. Thomas Henty’s petitions for land in Port Phillip were rejected; Edward decided to settle there regardless and sailed for present-day Portland in late 1834, taking 2500 bricks, 3000 feet of timber, 18000 shingles, a plough, a dray and other supplies and pieces of equipment with him. A month later his brother Francis arrived with a flock of merino sheep. They established a farm and a whaling venture, and in 1836, after learning from explorer Thomas Mitchell about the good farming country inland, they expanded their activities north to the Wannon River. By this time another Henty, Stephen, had settled in Portland also, although it wasn’t until 1849 that the brothers’ claims to the lands they occupied were officially recognised. After his marriage in 1840, Edward settled on his station at Muntham, where he bred merinos and Durham cattle. He served on Victoria’s first Legislative Assembly and in retirement resided at Offington, the St Kilda Road mansion built for him in 1873.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Tim Clark 2018
Accession number: 2018.40