Henry Hellyer

The Mersey River: difficult terrain for a surveyor (AOT, PH30/1/2224)

Henry Hellyer (17901832), explorer and surveyor, was one of the first officers of the Van Diemen's Land Company, the principal explorer of north-western Tasmania, and a major founder of Burnie. To find suitable land for the Company, he made journeys around Port Sorell and the Mersey River, then in 1827 led an arduous 32-day trek from Circular Head, through almost impenetrable bush. Hellyer climbed St Valentine's Peak and was impressed with grassed plains which he called the Surrey and Hampshire Hills. As a result, the Company selected a huge block extending from Emu Bay south beyond St Valentine's Peak, with its base camp on the site of Burnie. Hellyer also ascended Black Buff, walked to Cradle Mountain, and penetrated as far south as the Murchison River. He committed suicide in 1832.

Further reading: ADB 1.

Peter Cocker