Henry Barkly

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Sir Henry Barkly
Henry Barkly.jpg
4th Governor of British Guiana
In office
12 February 1849 – 11 May 1853
Preceded by Henry Light
Succeeded by Philip Wodehouse
Governor of Jamaica
In office
Preceded by Charles Edward Grey
Succeeded by Charles Henry Darling
2nd Governor of Victoria
In office
26 December 1856 – 10 September 1863
Preceded by Sir Charles Hotham
Succeeded by Sir Charles Darling
10th Governor of Mauritius
In office
21 August 1863 – 3 June 1870
Preceded by Sir William Stevenson
Succeeded by Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon
14th Governor of Cape Colony
In office
31 December 1870 – 31 March 1877
Preceded by Sir Philip Wodehouse
Succeeded by Sir Henry Frere
Personal details
Born (1815-02-24)24 February 1815
Highbury, Middlesex, England, UK
Died 20 October 1898(1898-10-20) (aged 83)
South Kensington, London, England, UK
Resting place Brompton Cemetery
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Helen Timins (1840–1857)
Anne Maria Pratt (1860–1898)

Sir Henry Barkly GCMG KCB FRS FRGS (24 February 1815 – 20 October 1898) was a British politician, colonial governor and patron of the sciences.

Early life and education

Born in 1815 at Highbury, Middlesex (now London), he was the only son of Aeneas Barkly, a West India merchant. He was educated at Bruce Castle School in Tottenham, where the school's particular curriculum endowed him with a lifetime interest in science and statistics.[1]

Upon completing his schooling and studies in commerce, Barkly worked for his father. The Barkly family had several connections with the West Indies: Barkly's mother, Susannah Louisa, whose maiden name was ffrith, was the daughter of a Jamaica planter; his father's company was concerned with trade in the West Indies; and the family owned an estate in British Guiana.[1]

Political career

Barkly was elected to the House of Commons at a by-election on 26 April 1845 as one of the two Members of Parliament (MPs) for the borough Leominster.[2] He was returned unopposed,[3] and The Times observed that his election address did not render voters "much wiser" about his political views.[4]

As a Peelite, one of the supporters of Prime Minister Robert Peel, Barkly found himself adrift with few political prospects when Peel was overthrown, and he gratefully accepted the governorship of British Guiana when the post was offered by his Liberal opponents in 1848.[1]


Governor of British Guiana

Barkly was sworn in as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of British Guiana on 12 February 1849. His family connections with British Guiana and the West Indies in general served him well as governor of the colony, and prompted Lord Grey, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, to refer to his "remarkable skill and ability" in addressing the colony's economic issues by widening the franchise of the College of Kiezers and introducing indentured servants from Asia.[1]

Governor of Jamaica

In 1853, he was transferred to Jamaica and served three years as its governor and captain-general.[5]

Governor of Victoria

In November 1856, Barkly was appointed Governor of Victoria, Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 24 December 1856. He achieved one of his main goals of stable government with the appointment of the James McCulloch ministry. He was noted for his support of philanthropic and intellectual movements. He was a founder and president of the Royal Society of Victoria, 1860–63, and helped to found the National Gallery of Victoria, the Acclimatization Society and the National Observatory.[6]

Governor of Mauritius and the Cape Colony

He was appointed 10th Governor of Mauritius from 21 August 1863 to 3 June 1870.[7]

In August 1870 he was sent to the Cape of Good Hope as Governor of Cape Colony and as British High Commissioner for Southern Africa. He helped to implement responsible government in the Cape and worked closely with its first Prime Minister, Sir John C Molteno. He served in South Africa until 1877. He was involved with the Royal Commission on Colonial Defence in 1879.

He died in Brompton, Kensington, London on 20 October 1898 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery.


In 1840, he married Elizabeth Helen, the second daughter of J. F. Timins.[5] She died in 1857 and Barkly remarried Anne Maria Pratt three years later. His oldest son Arthur Cecil Stuart Barkly (1843–1890) was his father's private secretary in Mauritius and the Cape, and went on to become the last British governor of Heligoland.[1]


Henry Barkly was awarded a Knight of the Order of the Bath on 18 July 1853, just prior to his appointment as Governor of Jamaica. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1864, and of the Royal Geographic Society (FRGS) in 1870. He was made a GCMG on 9 March 1874.


The Navarre diggings, a small Victorian gold field was named Barkly on 1 November 1861 in his honour.[8]

The South African towns of Barkly East and Barkly West are named after him.

Several notable streets were named after him including a main civic street in Ballarat East named Barkly Street for him in 1858[9] along with the main street of Ararat, Victoria also named Barkly Street.[10] Barkly Street in Beaumaris, Victoria was named for him though later renamed Rogers Street.[11] The Barkly River, located in the alpine region of Victoria, within the Alpine National Park, is named in honour of Barkly. The bell atop the tower of the Ballarat Fire Brigade, on the corner of Barkly & East streets, Ballarat East was christened the "Lady Barkly" by the brigades Captain in August 1863.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 John Benyon, ‘Barkly, Sir Henry (1815–1898)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 29 Aug 2008.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 20466. p. 1293. 29 April 1845. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  3. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 181. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Representation Of Leominster". The Times. London. 26 April 1845. pp. 6, col E. Retrieved 18 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. pp. 104–105.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. B. A. Knox, 'Barkly, Sir Henry (1815 - 1898)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, MUP, 1969, pp 95-96.
  7. ben cahoon. "Mauritius". Worldstatesmen.org. Retrieved 14 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Driscoll, Eulalie (November 1996). "James Law, discoverer of gold at Barkly". Avoca and District Historical Society Newsletter No 143. Retrieved 17 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Victorian Heritage Database". Vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 14 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Victorian Government Gazette. 1ST JANUARY TO 30TH JUNE, 1 6o.
  11. City of Kingston Historical Website (7 May 2012). "Did You Know?: More Mentone's Street Names". Localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 14 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Greenaway
George Arkwright
Member of Parliament for Leominster
1845 – 1849
With: George Arkwright
Succeeded by
Frederick Peel
George Arkwright
Government offices
Preceded by
Henry Light
Governor of British Guiana
1849 – 1853
Succeeded by
Philip Wodehouse
Preceded by
Sir Charles Edward Grey
Governor of Jamaica
1853 – 1856
Succeeded by
Edward Wells Bell
Preceded by
Sir Charles Hotham
Governor of Victoria
1856 – 1863
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Darling
Preceded by
Sir William Stevenson
Governor of Mauritius
1863 – 1870
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon
Preceded by
Sir Philip Wodehouse
Governor of Cape Colony
1870 – 1877
Succeeded by
Henry Bartle Frere