ON THIS DAY... Henry Avery (1883)

HENRY AVERY 1821-1883

Averys Road, Eaglehawk runs east-west from Holdsworth Road to Simpsons Road passing by the Neangar Golf Course and is a main road from Bendigo.

It was a known road in 1873 and named the Henry Avery family.  Henry was one of the first Councillors elected when Eaglehawk became a Borough in 1863 and served until 1874 during which time Eaglehawk expanded to a population of approximately 7000 people and 1500 houses.

In 1868 he was a speaker at a meeting held to discuss the attempted assassination of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria who was the first Royal visitor to Australia.  The Prince had visited Eaglehawk in December the previous year.  In August 1868 there was a council election for three vacancies with seven nominations.  Henry was one of the first past the post and returned to continue his notable council career.

Henry Avery was born at Spitafield, London, c.1821 and arrived in Eaglehawk in 1852, with his wife Phoebe (nee Wright) who he had married at Bethnal Green in 1847 and their three infant daughters, Phoebe, Amelia, and Mary Jeanette.  Also accompanying them were other relatives.

Initially Henry tried alluvial mining with some success and opened a store at Forest Creek during the Moonlight Gold Rush.  In 1856 he returned to Eaglehawk and commenced trade as a butcher having one of his premises in Victoria Street.

Avery was very interested in community activities and on many Eaglehawk Committees including the Community School and the Mechanics’ Institute and Library, of which he was Chairman in 1879.  As a councilor many improvements carried out in the Borough originated from him, including the formation of Canterbury Park.  He always took an active interest in municipal and Parliamentary matters.

Henry retired from Council in 1874 when he was appointed Crown Lands Bailiff by the Honorable J. J. Casey, the Minister of Lands and Survey before his death. At about that time he moved from Eaglehawk to his residence in Reginald Street, Quarry Hill, Bendigo.

The Temperance Society played an important role in his life.  He was a foundation member of the Star of Bendigo Tent which was established c.1861. Also, he was of the Unitarian faith and his family was closely associated with the Congregational Church.

Henry Avery died on 29th October 1883, aged 59 years, leaving a widow and five daughters.  In his grave in the Independent Section A3 of the Bendigo Cemetery are his mother-in-law Sophia Wright, who predeceased him in 1881, and his grand-daughter Minnie Schier who died 1960 aged 81 years, the child of his third daughter Mary Jeanette who had married German born schoolteacher Frederick Wilhelm Schier.

Henry’s widow Phoebe died in 1907 and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

(Research - Greta Balsillie   Edited By - Rebekah Middlemiss)