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Henry Charles (Harry) Prinsep (1844–1922)

Our Busselton correspondent telegraphed last night that Mr. Henry Charles Prinsep, one of the State's oldest and best known residents, passed away at his residence, Little Holland House, on the banks of the Vasse river, Busselton, early on Thursday morning. The deceased, who was 78 years of age, was operated on Sunday, and for a time rallied, but on Wednesday a bad turn took place and death resulted. Mr. Prinsep was the son of an Advocate General of India, and was born at Calcutta. As a young man he came to Western Australia and took up agricultural pursuits at Prinsep Park, Dardanup. For a time he was interested in the exportation of remounts to India. Later he joined the civil service, and at the time of his retirement was Chief Protector of Aborigines. He was a man of most artistic taste, and was a cousin of the late Mr. Val Prinsep, the well known English painter. He married Miss Josephine Bussell over a half century ago, and in addition to his widow, leaves three daughters.

Though the late Mr. Prinsep came to the State as late as 1866 his father had owned extensive, property in the South-West for many years previously. The story of how Mr. Prinsep (senior) came to acquire land in Western Australia is one which opens an interesting page in the history of the colony. Some time in the early thirties the late Mr. William Locke Brockman, of Herne Hill, was sent by the settlers to Calcutta to purchase some cows, to help stock up the colony. In the course of business Mr. Prinsep, senior, met Mr. Brockman, who had purchased the cattle, but could not arrange a ship to bring them across. Eventually Mr. Prinsep senior, bought the cattle with a view to sending them to Tasmania, where he already owned property. Before they were embarked, however, he was indued by Mr. Walter Clifton, managing director of the Australind Company, to purchase the Dardanup property from the Henty Bros., who had by then left the colony. The cattle were ultimately sent to Western Australia. In 1874 the late Mr. Prinsep joined the Public Service, receiving an appointment in the Lands Department where he remained until 1894, when he transferred to the Mines Department during the "boom". For 4½ years he remained in the Mines Department and in 1898 he transferred from the position of Under Secretary for Mines to the Aborigines Department as first Chief Protector. After his retirement Mr. Prinsep made his home near Busselton, and took an active interest in the public life of the district.

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Citation details

'Prinsep, Henry Charles (Harry) (1844–1922)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 September, 1844
Kolkata, West Bengal, India


20 July, 1922 (aged 77)
Busselton, Western Australia, Australia

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