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Henry Charles White (1837–1905)

Sportsmen and pastoralists all over Australia will learn with regret the death of Mr Henry Charles White, of Havilah, one of the best-known and most prominent breeders of horses, cattle, and sheep in this State, and one whose enterprise, judgment, and wealth have helped, by many valuable importations, to improve the classes of stock named. Mr White passed away at Hobart, Tasmania on Friday evening, after a painful illness extending over 10 months, and his demise has left a gap among prominent and worthy Australians that will be difficult to fill. Mr. White was most patriotic and enterprising in all his undertakings. Proof of his patriotism was his liberality in exporting horses to England to test the relative strength of Australian and English racehorses. In this he followed the footsteps of his elder brother the late Hon. James White, whose success as a breeder and owner of racehorses was phenomenal. Mr. James White sent two drafts of untried horses to England to be tried on the English courses, but death claimed him before the experiment had been given a fair trial. After his death however, one of his exportations, Mons Meg, won the Ascot Gold Vase, and a few years later Mr H. C. White sent Paris to England, and after that horse had succeeded in winning the Northhamptonshire Stakes, Lewes Handicap, and the Prince's Handicap at Gatwich he sent Georgie and Form across the water to carry on the war. With the former he won the Prince Edward Handicap at Manchester and the much-coveted Cambridgeshire Stakes at Newmarket. Form won several good races, whilst Spark, Old Clo, and Oasis (by Cranbrook from Mirage) were also successful among English horses in the colours of the squire of Havilah. Mr. White, who was about 70 years of age at the time of his death was one of the oldest horse-breeders in Australia, for he was raising horses at Calga on the Castlereagh, in 1859, and he greatly interested himself in the production of that useful animal till the last, for at the present time the Havilah stud, which Mr. White built up by importations, purchases in this country and homebred mares, is one of the largest in Australia. For some time Mr. White confined himself to the production of useful horses and a few thoroughbreds at Woodlands, on the Upper Hunter, and some of the thoroughbreds carried his colours with average success among horses of moderate class. However, he entered into the production of thoroughbreds, with that energy and will which characterised all his actions, in 1871 when he purchased the celebrated English mare, Valetta, and three of her daughters for £1000 from Mr. Charles Baldwin of Durham Court. From this line Mr. White bred many winners at Woodlands, where he used Roodee (brother to Chester) and Lecturer (brother to Kingsborough). One of the first of the Valetta family bred by Mr. White to come prominently into public notice was Pentagon, by Roodee, from Victorious, by Yelverton from Valetta. After Pentagon came Paris and Bungebah, both of whom were bred at Woodlands, and were of Valetta descent. Mrs. H. C. White owned Paris from foalhood, and for that lady the son of Grandmaster won two Caulfield Cups, an Epsom Handicap, and the Metropolitan. He also ran remarkably well in two Melbourne Cups, in which he carried 9st 81b into fourth place, after blundering badly a furlong from home. After this Paris was sent to England, and subsequently he returned to Australia. He is now domiciled at Green Oaks, and is enjoying an easy life as a hack for one of Mr. White's daughters. Bungebah was sold untried to Mr. A. Busby, and developed into one of the greatest sprinters Australia has known. Autonomy, who was bred on share between Mr H. C. White and his brother, the Hon. James White, and Valiant, were both great racehorses and the last first-class representatives of Valetta we have seen. About 13(?) years ago, when the Hon. James Whitc was about to retire from racing, Mr. H. C. White purchased Cranbrook from him, and set the gigantic chestnut as lord of the Havilah harem, with Antaeus second in command, but since then the stud has so grown that Skopos (imp.), Louis XIII. (imp), Impetus (imp), Clarion, and Atlas are on duty there. Besides using these five stallions, Mr. White was a leading liberal patron of prominent sires belonging to other studs. From Cranbrook Mr. White bred many winners, the best among them being Atlas, Huret, Cranberry, and Form. The three first-named were up to w.f.a. class, and Form was an excellent handicapper in England, whither he was sent with Georgie. From Antaeus, too, Mr. While bred some good winners, the best of whom were Valiant and Spark. In Australia Mr. White's well-known colours, red jacket, while cross, and red cap, have been successfully carried by Pentagon, Venapa, Paris, Clarion, Georgie, Huret, Bellis, Tatterwallop, Atlas, Antaeus, Athena, Spark, Form, Fortalice, Caravel, Tiwoona, and many lesser lights, while among the many winners he bred and sold were Cranberry (Derby), Bungebah (Newmarket Handicap), and Sir Leonard (St Leger). The Flying Fulminate was one of Mr, White's yearling purchases, whom he leased for her racing career to his friend, Mr. Mate, and prior to his illness Mr. White had in training a goodly number of horses, among whom wore Hadrian, Herecles, Green Mountain, Mimer, Bellis, Trobus, and May Lord, all of whom he leased except the three last named, as well as several young horses, among them that smart Louis XIII. colt, Tamagata. During the last 10 years Mr. White had selected several stallions in England for other breeders, among them Simmer and Sir Tristram, and his own importations during the period named were Skopos (who carried his colours to victory in the Liverpool Cup), Louis XIII., Impetus, Yardley, Kingsley. Green Mountain, Mimer, Felucca Muta, Lady Rudolph, Antithusiast and a filly by Melton from Georgie, who come out with her mother.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • probate, Australian Town and Country Journal, 30 August 1905, p 13

Citation details

'White, Henry Charles (1837–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

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