Marie Hart - Harry's Demise (Henry Johnstone) - David Hart Galleries

Marie Hart – Harry’s Demise (Henry Johnstone)

Marie Hart – Harry’s Demise (Henry Johnstone)


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Henry was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1819. At 21 he was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing a pair of shoes. Henry was in and out of Gaol for various crimes, but while in Pentridge, he had met two brothers, Thomas and John “Jack” Lloyd from Greta in Victoria. They were the uncles of Ned Kelly and were serving 5 years for cattle stealing. Shortly after escaping, Henry turned up in the north-east visiting his old inmates under the alias of “Harry Power” and set up a permanent camp on the hill at the back of Glenmore Homestead.

Although he never committed a murder, and he very seldom took money from the poor, he possessed an extremely violent temper. Ned Kelly (who was barely fifteen when Power introduced him to the life of crime), described how much he had been frightened of him. Ellen Kelly, who despised Power, called him a “brown-paper bushranger”, but he was indeed the most notorious bushranger in Victoria’s colonial history, who taught Ned Kelly how to survive and elude the police!

Harry Power eventually dropped Ned (so he said), calling him a coward, and pursued his “career” alone. Ned said that he left Power after he lost his temper, because he was frightened of him. Ned’s was probably the more accurate account but his actions did not save him from being arrested in May 1870 for assisting Power, and despite his feelings he didn’t betray his “teacher” – someone else did….


One of the most surprising things about “Old Harry” was the fact that his mother was transported to Van Diemen’s Land only six months after he was, and with her had been sent three daughters and a son, who were placed in an orphanage until her release. On Saturday 10th October, 1891, Harry arrived at Swan Hill by train in order to visit his nephew and most likely his half-sister. He stayed at the White Swan Hotel, but made no mention of why he was really there. He was last seen alive on Monday when he purchased a bottle of English Ale. The following Sunday his body was found floating about ten miles downstream from Swan Hill.


Gary J Dean, F.A.I.H.A.


Image Size:  155 x 101cm

Medium:  Oil on Canvas

This artwork is unframed


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