Sunday, December 30, 2007

Henry Dendy

Poor old Henry Dendy.
Who gives him a passing thought as they walk past the Dendy Cinemas or Dendy St or even drive through Brighton, these days?

Henry was a bloke destined for greatness...but fate stepped in and changed all of that nonsense.

Henry arrived in Melbourne in 1841 with a Special Survey which allowed him to select 5,120 acres of land of his choosing - for only £1 per acre. Noice !
While Henry was searching for the land of his choosing, he teamed up with a bloke named Jonathon Were who became his manager, then later his business partner (cue dark music).

Now, because Henry had to select land outside the 5 mile limit of Melbourne, he chose what was to become Brighton in the Parish of Moorabbin. Henry and Were started flogging off allotments for the construction of seafront villas ,with a large one for Were and the largest for Henry, which was a 74-acre 2 storey mansion named Brighton Park , or 'the manor house' to the locals.

In 1842 workers for his estate arrived from England, all 139 of them. But, whoops ! Henry didn't have any work for them, as he hadn't set up any farms and he had no agricultural experience.
Right about this time things started going sour with business everywhere in the colony.Debts were piling up, people weren't too forthcoming with their hard earned to pay Henry.
Henry, not having any head for business, gave Were half of his estate and then ( more dark music) lent him £1500 and guaranteed his bank loan.(REALLY dark music now).

Were went bankrupt, which wasn't too flash for Henry.

By 1845 poor old Henry didn't even have a brass razoo. Everything in his name was stripped from him and sold in a fire sale that netted the princely sum of £70 for his creditors.
Both Henry's and Were's interests in the Brighton Estate were 'acquired' by Were's eldest brother in England.

After that, Henry floated around Victoria trying his hand at various ventures that didn't do well till he ended up in Walhalla with his son who drove the engine for the Long Tunnel gold mine.
Sadly, he asked the bloke who'd built the lovely mansion Brighton Park for scrap materials to do up an old hut in the bush that he lived in.
In 1881, 40 years after he'd arrived with so much promise and so many prospects, Henry Dendy died scratching for gold in Walhalla.

And Jonathon Were?
He became a stock broker and agent, the first Chairman of The Stock Exchange of Melbourne and remained a leading stock broker till his popped his clogs in his large home, Moorabbin House, in Brighton.

As Mother always said - Never a borrower nor a lender be.....and don't guarantee other blokes bank loans !


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