Henry William St Pierre Bunbury

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Henry Bunbury CB
Born (1812-09-02)September 2, 1812
Died September 18, 1875(1875-09-18) (aged 63)
Nationality English
Occupation Soldier, explorer
Known for Exploration in south of Western Australia

Colonel Henry William St Pierre Bunbury CB (2 September 1812 – 18 September 1875) was a British Army officer who served for periods in Australia, South Africa, and India.

Bunbury was the son of Lt.-Gen. Sir Henry Bunbury, 7th Baronet, who served as Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. His mother, Louisa Amelia, was the daughter of Henry Edward Fox and the granddaughter of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland. Bunbury's brothers, Sir Charles and Sir Edward, had prominent careers of their own.

At the age of 18, Bunbury was commissioned as an ensign in the 43rd Regiment of Foot. He was promoted lieutenant in 1833 and transferred to the 21st Regiment of Foot. Bunbury was then sent out to Australia, stationed in New South Wales from 1834 to 1835, Van Diemen's Land from 1835 to 1836, and Western Australia from 1836 to 1837. In New South Wales, he served as aide-de-camp to Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales.

Bunbury arrived in Western Australia in March 1836, and was sent by Governor James Stirling to explore the districts around Williams and Busselton and establish outposts. He kept a detailed diary, which provides valuable information about pre-settlement Aboriginal customs. Bunbury was quite sympathetic to Aboriginal interests, in one case helping to cover up the murder of an elderly settler in order to prevent a revenge attack. One of the townships that Stirling had him establish was named Bunbury in his honour, and is now Western Australia's third-largest city.

Leaving Western Australia in November 1837, Bunbury went to South Africa, where he was aide-de-camp to the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Napier. He married Napier's daughter Cecilia in November 1852, and they had four children together. Bunbury served on the North-West Frontier of India and in the Crimean War before retiring in 1862. He retired with the rank of colonel, and was admitted into the Order of the Bath.


  • Australian Dictionary of Biography
  • Bunbury was named after a young man who was ahead of his time

See also

Further reading

  • Bunbury, H. W. (Henry William); Morrell, W. P. (William Parker), 1899-1986; Bunbury, W. St. Pierre (William St. Pierre), b. 1859 (1930), Early days in Western Australia : being the letters and journal of Lieut. H. S. Bunbury, 21st Fusiliers, Oxford University Press, retrieved 24 December 2014
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