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Lt Henry Bull

It was about the middle of 1831 that Lieutenant Henry Bull moved from his original grant on the Canning River to George Leake’s grant at Upper Swan. Since Leake had a thriving mercantile business at Fremantle he did not intend to perform the location duties on his grant himself, but made an arrangement with Bull for the latter to perform the required improvements in exchange for the title to half of the land. Bull engaged Richard Edwards, Captain Irwin’s manager at ‘Henley Park’, to build a two-storeyed brick house on Bull’s half of the grant. In January 1832 William Tanner, who was then living on his grant of ‘Baskerville’ at Upper Swan, mentioned in a letter to his relatives that the construction of Bull’s house had been commenced:
Across the river lives Mr Bull a lieutenant in the navy, he has commenced a good house and begun to farm on a large scale, he is in partnership, in the farming with Mr Leake, a merchant of Fremantle to whom half the grant belongs and who talks of building on his half and bringing up his wife and daughter. Mr Bull is I believe very popular, he is a magistrate... 30

Bull’s house, when completed, was said to be one of the finest in the colony, rivalled only in size and grandeur by the two-storeyed brick house of Captain Irwin and Mr Mackie, which was then also in the process of construction by Richard Edwards. Edwards had formerly been a master-brickmaker in England, and he burnt the bricks for both houses from clay found locally. Lieutenant Bull, as a Justice of the Peace, was involved in most of the notable events at Upper Swan in the 1830s.
He had once farmed in Bedfordshire, and his farm at Upper Swan was regarded as one of the best managed in the district. Among his cattle were some obtained directly from the Duke of Bedford’s herd at Woburn. His horse mill, managed by his servant William Cruse, ground flour not only for himself but for most of his near neighbours. (Bourke 1987: 60-62) ...
George Leake and Henry Bull dissolved their partnership in February 1836 and divided their property at Ellen’s Brook into two equal halves. Both halves of the property were leased to some of Bull’s servants. Bull was appointed commander of the colonial schooner Champion, and left the Swan district in November 1836. (Bourke 1987: 107)

BULL, Henry, b. 1799, arr. 9.1.1830 per Nancy, m. 15.5.1832 Henrietta Ann WELLS b. 1813, sister of Richard G. Wells, she arr. 26.4.1831 per Atwick. Retired Lt. of Royal Navy, in partnership with Lt. William Wood brought goods & servants to qualify for a grant of 17,760 acres. Partnership dissolved 1834. Commander of Colonial Vessel 11.1836. Farmer at "Oakdale" Canning & "Belhus" on Swan. Comm. JP. 1830. To Bunbury as Govt. Resident 1838 briefly. His wife collected specimens of wildflowers for English botanists. She left for England 2.1838 per Abercrombie returning 1839. Her husband sent her back to England 8.1840 per Chieftain for having affairs with army officers. Henry Bull was M. of Exec. Council 21.4.1841. Appointed agents to act for him in 1.1848.

References and Links

Bourke, Michael J. 1987, On the Swan: a History of Swan District, Western Australia, UWAP for the Swan Shire Council.


The photo is courtesy SGHS from Facebook. Their note:
Henry Bull's homestead is the oldest residence in Western Australia, and the second oldest building after the Round House in Fremantle.
It was built in 1831 by Richard Edwards for Henry Bull. In 1897 the property was transferred to George Hardy Barrett-Lennard, who renamed the property Belhus Estate after the family seat Belhus Manor in Essex. Large areas were planted with vines for the production of table grapes. Barrett-Lennard became the first large scale exporter of grapes from Western Australia.
The curtilage of this place contains four exceptional buildings, Henry Bull’s Cottage, Ellen’s Brook Estate Homestead Toilets, Ellen’s Brook Estate Homestead Kiln and Ellen’s Brook Estate workers quarters. Photo courtesy of Museum of Perth.

Garry Gillard | New: 10 September, 2021 | Now: 23 January, 2024