Henry Reed

Henry Reed (1806 – 1880) landowner, shipowner, merchant and philanthropist
Henry Reed was a businessman and Methodist lay preacher in Tasmania. He visited Melbourne in 1835, soon after Batman and Fawkner arrived, and conducted the first worship service in the new colony. The congregation was five people: Batman, Fawkner and three Sydney aborigines.

In 1831 Reed sailed for England in the Bombay, and in London he married his cousin Maria Susanna Grubb. He also established an important business connexion with Henry Buckle & Co. Back in Van Diemen’s Land in 1832 he was publicly thanked for helping to establish a lucrative whale oil trade at Launceston and for interesting British merchants in it. But he had little time for such pleasantries; when the Socrates arrived from London, he sent her to Port Phillip and thence to Mauritius for sugar, and he arranged settlement for Andrew Gatenby’s wool which had been sold in France after consignment by Reed to Buckle’s.

In April 1833 he bought the whaler Norval and sailed in her for London with his family. Later in the year he sold the Socrates. The Henry paid several visits to the whaling grounds, and on a trip to Kangaroo Island the master, John Jones, sailed up the eastern coast of Gulf St Vincent and like Collet Barker found several rivers, some fine grass land and two good harbours; his report had some importance in the later settlement of South Australia.

In 1835 Reed returned to Launceston, took wheat in the Norval to Sydney and visited the first settlers at Port Phillip. His ships were soon busy carrying stores, livestock and migrants from Launceston. The Henry, on an early trip in May 1836 to Geelong, had her name given to Point Henry. Reed’s enterprise helped the new settlement in many other ways, not least his loan of £3000 to John Batman.

At the same time he did not neglect his activities in Van Diemen’s Land, where he bought the attractive property of Native Hut Corner near Mole Creek, renamed it Wesley Dale and soon had thirty assigned convicts at work. In December 1835 he became an original director of the Bank of Australasia at Launceston and was appointed superintendent of the new Sunday school opened by the Paterson Street Methodist church.

With all his business ventures Reed found time for practical religion. By faith a Wesleyan and a fervent evangelist, he had ready sympathy for all unfortunates. At Port Phillip he spent some time up country with Aboriginals in hope of saving them from a fate like that of the Tasmanian tribes.

He was reputed to have preached the first sermon on the site of Melbourne, his congregation being Henry and John Batman, William Buckley and three Sydney Aboriginals. To encourage the opening of a mission at the new settlement he offered £20 and annual subscriptions. At Launceston in November 1837 he had himself locked one night in the cells with condemned criminals who were to be executed next morning.

Sources :

Refer John Batman : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/john-batman/

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