HENRY MAXWELL LEFROY

1818 - 1879

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Lefroy
Henry Maxwell Lefroy

 

 

Henry was born in 1818 and his father (Rev. John Henry George Lefroy, the rector of Compton and Ashe) died just five years later. He matriculated at Oxford in 1836 and obtained a B.A. in 1840.

Henry arrived in Fremantle in 1841 and attempted to earn a living from farming but quickly got himself into debt.

The following year (another source says 1843) he set out with Henry Landor on an expedition to explore the area south east of the current site of York. The expedition took 14 days and covered 320 miles.

He returned to England and served in the Royal Navy before coming back to Western Australia in 1854 as Assistant Superintendent of Convicts.

In 1860 he followed the Williams River into the Darling Scarp and in 1863 (again with Henry Landor) he led an expedition from York towards the current sites of Bruce Rock and Coolgardie.

 

The countryside was very dry and at one point the party was without water for 4 days. After 85 days and 950 miles they returned to York. Like others who were to follow in his footsteps, Lefroy was unaware of the gold that he had passed over. He did record the presence of iron stone and slate but as his attention was on finding grazing land, he sadly missed perhaps the greatest opportunity of his life. One can only imagine what impact of Lefroy finding gold might have had 30 years before Paddy Hannan became famous for the find.

Lefroy was not impressed by some of the country they crossed (near the current town of Kukerin) and wrote:

'the desert has a most repelling appearance, but would be interesting to cross in the proper season which might be done following the river Lefroy in the month of August.'

Although Henry's initial plan was to come to Australia and make enough money to retire in England, he remained in W.A. and although not completely content to do so he did write home on one occasion:

'What I enjoy most is sitting in our garden in the evening, with Annette by my side, smoking my pipe...My prospect of ever returning to England is now very remote, I must just settle down here.'

Henry and Annette had 6 children; Lucie Blathfird Lefroy 1857-1935, Anette Elizabeth Lefroy 1859-1896, George Anthony Lefroy 1860-1928, Theophillea Anne Lefroy 1861-1940, Charles Edward Lefroy 1862-1936, John Henry Lefroy 1865-1936.

Henry retired in 1875. He died on July 18th 1879. (One source says 1878 but is incorrect.)

 

Chronology

 

1818 - Born August.

1836 - Matriculated at Oxford.

1840 - Obtained a B.A.

1841 - Arrived in Western Australia.

1842 - Expedition to the Avon Valley with with Henry Landor.

1844 - Returned to England.

18?? - Served in the Royal Navy.

18?? - Married Annette Bate.

1854 - Came back to Western Australia. Appointed Assistant Superintendent of Convicts.

1859 - Promoted to Superintendent of Convicts.

1860 - Expedition to the Williams River.

1863 - Expedition to Bruce Rock - Coolgardie area.

1875 - Retired .

1879 - Died July 18th of pneumonia.

 

Links to more information:

 

Memoir and Journal of an Expedition

Wikipedia

SLWA

Trove

 

 

 

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