Henry Douglas

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Henry tents in 1836 


Henry Douglas was born 3rd October 1817 in Tooting, Surrey, England and died 5th July 1903 in Upper Mitcham, South Australia. He married Lydia BLUNT on 30th May 1839 in Trinity Church, Adelaide, South Australia. She was born 16 Jun 1821 and died 16 Sep 1902 in Upper Mitcham, South Australia.

Henry Douglas landed on Kangaroo Island on 3rd October 1836 off the "Emma"(2) and with Wilkins (his man) and Mrs Wilkins they built a bush hut near the South Australia salt lakes. Wilkins was later employed in the garden the South Australia Company were making on Kangaroo Island. Henry became "Foreman of the Yard", his duty being to see that timber and cargo of incoming vessels was stacked and stowed and guarded at night. He left Kangaroo Island for the mainland four months later on the "John Renwick" to take up his land options there.

Henry Douglas arrived in Australia in the brig "Emma" on October 6th, 1836(1). He was an 18 year old orphan and paid his fare on the Emma, however gave up his berth for Charles Hare, who was governor of the Yalta Jail. He was one of only a handful of very early land title holders on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. At the time of his landing via the sixth ship at Reeves Point, the total adult population on Kangaroo Island was less than 200. His land order was for city block 69, having met with Governor Gawler in London, and as a fully paid traveller on the Emma, he was most likely amongst the first ten pioneers who weren't employees or government public servants on South Australia salary. Being young and an orphan, in London his guardian and his solicitor failed to supply Henry with his land receipt and he had to battle and badger the South Australia governors for 13 yrs before his power of attorney was sent from London.

Henry Douglas went on to successfully grow almonds, wheat and eventually grapes and make wine commercially until the South Australian government resumed occupancy of his property to construct the Happy Valley reservoir. Henry was believed to be an original carrier, operating a bullock wagon in 1837-1838 in partnership with Malpeace[?].

Henry was the last person to speak to Sherrif Sam Smart before Smart's attempted assassination by ex-con Mageree who was the first person hung in South Australia.

Henry, John Rymil and Dr. Montgomerey  formed a private consortium to build one of the colony's earliest grist mills at Old Reynella town, ca. 1860. Douglas also purchased some of the earliest farm acres at Greens Plains for his sons.

Douglas married Lydia Blunt at All South Australiaints church in 1839. The union was officiated by the first colonial chaplain, Rev. Broughton.

Children of Henry Douglas and Lydia Blunt:
i. Mary Douglas was born 29 Nov 1840 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 21 Jul 1914 in Hurtle Vale, South Australia
ii. Joseph Douglas was born 06 Oct 1842 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 13 Jul 1938 in Woodanilling, WA
iii. Henry Douglas was born 03 Nov 1844 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 27 Jan 1932 in Bethany nr Willunga, South Australia
iv. Lydia Douglas was born 10 Mar 1847 in Adelaide, South Australia and died 16 Oct 1940 in Woodville, South Australia
v. Julia Blunt Douglas was born 23 Jun 1849 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 02 Jul 1942 in Parkside, South Australia
vi. Martha Douglas was born 17 Aug 1851 in Adelaide, South Australia and died 14 Nov 1935 in Fullarton, South Australia
vii. Rachel Douglas was born 16 Mar 1853 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 30 Mar 1853 in Happy Valley, South Australia
viii. Sarah Douglas was born 16 Mar 1853 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 03 Apr 1853 in Happy Valley, South Australia
ix. Harriet Alice (Alice) Douglas was born 20 Apr 1854 in Adelaide, South Australia and died 13 Jun 1929 in Adelaide, South Australia
x. Rachel Douglas was born 29 Jun 1857 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 31 Mar 1943 in Mitcham, South Australia
xi. Hannah Jane Douglas was born 06 Jan 1860 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 30 Mar 1864 in Happy Valley, South Australia
xii. Samuel Curlewis Lord Douglas was born 17 Dec 1866 in Happy Valley, South Australia and died 20 Jan 1896 in OHalloran Hill, South Australia

Douglas has approximately 1600 descendants throughout Australia and abroad.


1. 3rd October? 6th October? or 5th October 1836? at Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island. Sources differ
2.  The 2-mast brig "Emma" (164 tons) departed London 21st April 1836, arrived Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island, on 5th? October 1836, with 23 passengers, Captain John Nelson.
3.  The "Duke of York" arrived at Nepean Bay on 27 June 1836. The Beare family of six was among its passengers, including Thomas Hudson Beare, his wife Lucy and four children. Thomas Beare was appointed as Deputy Colonial Manager and Building Superintendent for the South Australian Company. The tents would have been in place when Henry arrived in October.
4.  Henry's parentage is unknown.  He appears to have attended Fairfield House School, Tooting, Surrey where Walter Lord was the principal and proprietor, and also was the guardian of Henry Douglas.  How the school fees were paid is part of the mystery.  He was apparently told he was not a bastard but details of his parentage were never given when he asked. "He did know he had a half brother Charles Stafford but we do not know if they ever met, but they probably did not". ..... He thought perhaps that he was a relative of Walter Lord the principal, perhaps a son of Walter's son. but he did not know.

It has been suggested that Henry Douglas' ½ brother Charles Stafford was in turn the brother of Emma Stafford (Browne). So, if Henry was indeed a son of Walter Lord's son (eg Walter John Lord b1785) then we have Emma and Charles being children of Harriet Catherine's brother as suggested, making Emma and husband Walter first cousins (from correspondence)

However, elsewhere, it is said the Henry Douglas (1817-1903) was the son Samuel Curlewis Lord, born in Tilbury, Surrey, England on abt 1793 to Walter John Lord and Susannah Hodsdon. Samuel Curlewis Lord married Emily Bayley and had 3 children. He passed away on 21 Mar 1867 in Clutton, Somerset, United Kingdom. One of those children was Frederick Bayley Lord, born 1841 in Tooting; died 1905. Another might have been Henry.  But, was Henry the son of Emily Bayley, by another man?



Sources for this article include:
  • State Library of South Australia

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