Fremantle Stuff > people > Harry Anstey. See also: Osborne Hotel.

Harry Anstey

Jennie Carter:
The final member of the syndicate, Harry Anstey, was an interesting and enigmatic character who almost immediately after arriving in Western Australia became heavily involved in land and business speculation. A metallurgist and mining expert, and like John James also from Cornwall, he was an Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineering and came to the colony in 1887 on the invitation of a group of leading businessmen, expressly to locate gold-bearing fields. His first expedition was to Eenuin (Yilgarn) in the company of the experienced prospectors, Greaves and Payne, but although appointed leader of the party, he was clearly out of his depth when it came to practical prospecting and both Greaves and Payne had nothing but contempt for Anstey’s ‘book learning’ and obvious lack of basic skills. Nevertheless, the expedition was successful and, instructing the others to prospect further, Anstey headed back to Perth to put in a claim for the reward promised to successful gold finders. Despite the major contribution made by Greaves and Payne to the discovery, Anstey was the one awarded the £500 prize money on the spurious rationale that he was the first to report in. (71) ...
In September 1887 Anstey built a laboratory in Perth behind the premises of Leake and Harper (who were personal friends as well as his business partners) and accepted the position of Government Assayer in 1889, but the expedition to the Yilgarn appears to be the only time he ventured out into the fields as a prospector. During this period, he became heavily involved in land speculation, most notably in the Metropolitan area where among other investments he was the owner of the north end of Hutt Street which later became William Street. In 1893 he was elected to the Legislative Council and held office for a year. (72)
However in spite of the claim that land buying in Guildford was “the rage of the season” and a series of alluring advertisements, Kew Estate (as Location Q was by now coyly renamed) was at £2,500, a little too highly priced for most speculators and it remained unsold until Harry Anstey bought it in 1897. Anstey took over the entire parcel perhaps with the intention of keeping it for his own use as a country estate, but more probably earmarking it for quick resale as a subdivision site in light of the expected demand for housing lots after the completion of the workshops. Anstey had an obsession with the name Bindaring and rechristened the Kew Estate Bindaring Park, a name he had also given to his country holding near Serpentine. Around the same time as he bought Location Q, Anstey advertised for sale the Serpentine land, but for some years to come continued to live at Cardup where he was involved in the development of the district. Among his official positions there he was a foundation member of the Kelmscott Road Board and Secretary of the Serpentine Racing Club. (80)

Bolton & Gregory:
James Grave was a Melbourne man who, having followed his fortunes on the New Zealand goldfields in the 1870s, arrived in Perth as a thirty-year-old in 1878, married and fathered a large family, and throve as merchant. He became a close associate of Harry Anstey, the fortunate English new chum whose party found payable gold in the Yilgarn. Although they enjoyed mixed fortunes on the goldfields, Grave and Anstey did well as part of a syndicate that subdivided most of Bassendean. Anstey also took up property on the west side of Freshwater Bay—Anstey Street and Bindaring Parade commemorate him and his country estate—and he transferred the northern portion, adjoining the Perth-Fremantle Road, to Grave. In 1894 the latter set about building Perth’s finest resort hotel [the Osborne Hotel] on the commanding heights overlooking the river. Bolton & Gregory: 63.

Heritage Council:
Anstey purchased 100 acres of land in Bassendean, or West Guildford as it was then known, in 1897 and the land was divided into 237 lots for sale in 1898. (Heritage Council page for 93 North Road.)

References and Links

Bolton, Geoffrey & Jenny Gregory 1999, Claremont: A History, UWAP.

Carter, Jennie 1986, Bassendean: A Social History 1829-1979, Bassendean Town Council.

James, Ruth Marchant 1977, Heritage of Pines: A History of Cottesloe, Town of Cottesloe Council: 88-91.


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