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Members’ biographical register

Harry Whittall Venn

Date: 27 October 1844
Place: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Arrival in WA
Arrived WA 2 May 1865
Son of Robert Charles, butcher, and Elizabeth Evans
Marriage and Family
Married 10 December 1874, Wesley Church, Perth to Charlotte Shenton (born 10 December 1853 and died 18 June 1936), daughter of Sir George and Annie Catherine Cousins, and sister of George
Children: three sons adopted
Date: 8 March 1908
Place: Dardanup, Western Australia
Cemetery: Bunbury Cemetery, Western Australia
Church of England
Educated locally
Farmer and explorer
Employment History
Worked for Ormond and Company, merchandisers at Robe before joining Denison Plains Pastoral Company of Melbourne to help start a sheep station in north west of WA
Took part in two exploring parties in Pilbara, then took up Karratha station on Maitland River near Roebourne, increased stock to 8,000 before selling out in 1878
Forrest Party until 1895
Free Trade 1903
Date Elected
2 December 1890
Inaugural Speech
Venn, Harry Whittall,  First Address-in-Reply Speech.pdf
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Harry Venn
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLC Wellington 13 February 1880–21 October 1890 (defeated by DA Hay on 1 November 1884 but result declared void 10 June 1885)
  • MLA Wellington 2 December 1890–24 April 1901
  • Contested Wellington 28 June 1904

  • Commissioner for Railways and Director of Public Works 29 December 1890–10 March 1896 (commission withdrawn by Governor)

  • Delegate to Federal Convention 1897–1898

  • Contested Perth (House of Representatives) 16 December 1903
From 1879 settled at Dardanup and Prinsep Park in south-west
1900 commissioner to international exhibitions at Paris and Glasgow
Spent rest of his life at Dardanup
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2001, p. 198.
Further Information
G. C. Bolton, 'Venn, Henry Whittall (1844–1908)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 12 January 2016.
Bunbury Herald 10, 12 March 1908.
Dictionary of Western Australians, 1829-1914. Volume 4. Part 2, L-Z. The challenging years, 1868-1888 .
Gleeson, B, The Life of HW Venn.
Kimberly WB. History of West Australia, p. 35–38.
Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 19–20.
West Australian, 28 February, 11 March 1896.