Stephen George Henty was born on 3 November 1811 in Sussex, England. He migrated to Australia, with his parents and brothers, in 1829. His father Thomas had been granted a large acerage at the new Swan River Settlement. The soil was poor, however, and after a failed attempt to farm the land Henty began trading between Fremantle and Launceston. His brother Edward, meanwhile, led the family's attempts to be granted land in Portland Bay, Victoria. Edward sailed from Launceston on 19 November 1834 in the Hentys' own schooner, the Thistle, with stock and a small party. His brother Francis followed the next month with a small flock of merino sheep, the first in Victoria. The Henty brothers began whaling at Portland Bay and took their flocks and herds inland to the rich area on the Wannon River. In 1836 Stephen joined them, accompanied by his wife Jane Pace.

Stephen Henty was an enterprising explorer, merchant, trader, shipowner, whaler and magistrate, and active in civic affairs. His wife Jane played a leading role also, although she had borne ten children before she was 40. From 1856 to 1870 Stephen was a member of the Legislative Assembly. During this time the family lived in Findon, a mansion they had built in Melbourne. Henty eventually became ill and returned to the land, where he died in 1872, at the age of 61.

Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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