Edmund Yeamans Walcott Henderson (1821 – 1896)

Henderson, born in 1821 England, arrived in the Swan River Colony on the Scindian on 1 June 1850. The Scindian was the first convict ship to the West Australia colony. He was named the Comptroller General of Convicts and was instructed to ‘examine and report upon the public works which can be undertaken with the most advantage … and to exercise a general control of convict labour’.80 By 1855 he had a working labour force in order and had been part of building the Fremantle Prison with officer’s quarters and cottages for the guards. As a supernumerary of the Royal Engineers Henderson headed the Public Works for three years and by 1862, he stated that ‘the department should be less costly under charge of a civilian’.81 Henderson was ‘humane and liberal, he had reduced corporal punishment to a minimum and established in the gaol, a library, classes and lectures’.82 He left the Swan River Colony for England in 1863 and later died in December 1896. The street where the courthouse is built is named for him and his work on infrastructure in the area.