A Look Back In Time: Two Important Figures in 19th Century Australia
JAMES WALKER (Scottish, 1785-1856)
In 1823, James Walker arrived in Sydney from Scotland, joining his younger brother, William Walker. Together the two brothers developed Walker and Co., engaging in coastal shipping and whaling from their wharf and warehouse at Dawes Point. During the late 1830s the company exported large quantities of wool to London.
Walker established himself at Wallerawang in 1824, taking its name from an Indigenous word meaning “place of plenty of wood and water”. Wallerawang was a sheep and cattle station which also served as a major stop-over location for travellers between Sydney, Mudgee and Bathurst.
In 1836, Charles Darwin visited the district and specifically Wallerawang, after which he wrote, “this place offers an example of one of the large farming or rather sheep grazing establishments of the colony”.
James Walker continued to build both property and livestock numbers over the following two decades including Loowee (Lue) about 70 miles from Wallerawang, Biambil on the Castlereagh River, Yooloondoory, Coonamble, Barradean, and Mobilla near the Warrumbungle Ranges.
EDWARD HENTY (British, 1810-1878)
Edward Henty, “The Pioneer”, was known as the founder of Victorian settlement.
Attracted by the promise of a grant of 80,000 acres, Mr. Thomas Henty, Edward’s father, chartered a vessel from England for his sons bound for Western Australia. The area of Swan River however was found to be poor in quality for the settlers and so instead they headed towards Van Diemen’s Land in 1832.
The aim that they had before them was to breed sheep and produce wool on a large scale like their father’s introduction of Merino sheep to the South of England. The decision was made to look for land on the continent at the southern end, an area of limited knowledge beyond the names of the capes and the harbours.
Edward Henty and his wife Anna Henty departed from Launceston taking with them several men and 33 head of cattle. After a difficult journey and the loss of some cattle, they landed safely on the 19th of November 1834, and were immediately struck with the advantages that the place offered for settlement.
At the time of his death Edward Henty owned upwards of 20,000 acres of the old Muntham run. The history of the career of Edward Henty is but the history of the family. They bred the Merino sheep with care, and the flocks grew largely in numbers. The family left behind an enduring legacy that greatly shaped Australia’s history and contributed significantly to our agricultural development. The Henty family is recorded broadly in Australia’s history, and unsurprisingly, our public institutions.
Olivia Fuller / Head of Art