Open main menu

The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Young, Sir Henry Edward Fox

Young, Sir Henry Edward Fox, C.B., sometime Governor of South Australia and Tasmania, was the third son of Colonel Sir Aretas W. Young, who was Governor of Prince Edward Island from 1831 to 1836. He was born in 1810, and entering the Colonial service held several official posts in the West Indies. He was knighted in 1847, and appointed Lieut.-Governor of the eastern province of the Cape of Good Hope; but was shortly afterwards transferred to South Australia, where he assumed the Governorship as the successor of Colonel Robe in August 1848. In his new capacity he was as go-ahead in his policy as his predecessor had been cautious and reactionary. Through the offer of a bonus of £4000 the navigability of the Murray river was demonstrated by Captain Cadell, but Governor Young failed in his attempt to clear away the sandy bar at its mouth, and wasted £20,000 in the vain effort to establish a harbour at Port Elliott, near the entrance to the river. In 1851 the discovery of gold in Victoria deprived South Australia of a large part of its population, who took with them most of the available coin in the colony. In order to meet the crisis caused by the scarcity of the circulating medium, Governor Young gave his assent to the Bullion Act, which established a new currency consisting of gold cast into small bars or ingots. For endorsing this measure he was censured by the Home Government for exceeding his powers, but the necessity of the step was not seriously called in question. By his prudent action in establishing a reliable escort between Ballarat, in Victoria, and Adelaide, much of the gold won at the new Eldorado found its way to South Australia, and steps were also taken, in the end successfully, to stimulate the discovery of the precious metal within the colony. In Dec. 1855 Sir Henry Fox Young left South Australia to assume the Governorship of Tasmania, where he took office as successor to Sir William Denison in Jan. 1855, and carried with him the necessary powers for introducing responsible government in the island colony. This was successfully done, and Sir Henry Fox Young held office till Dec. 1861, when he returned to England and retired from the colonial service. He married in 1848 the eldest daughter of Charles Marryat, of Park Field, Potter's Bar, and niece of Captain Marryat, the celebrated novelist. He died in London on Sept. 18th, 1870.