HAYES, Sir Henry Browne (c. 1761-1832)


HAYES, Sir Henry Browne (c. 1761-1832)
adventurer
was born in Ireland in 1761 or early in 1762. He was admitted a freeman of the city of Cork in November 1782, was one of the sheriffs in 1790, and in that year was knighted. In July 1797 he became acquainted with Miss Mary Pike, heiress to over £20,000, and on 22 July abducted her and took her to his house. In spite of Miss Pike's protestations a man dressed as a priest was brought in who went through a form of a marriage ceremony. Miss Pike refused to consider it a marriage, and was eventually rescued by her friends. Hayes fled, and a reward of £1000 was offered for his apprehension. He was not found until some two years later, when he walked into the shop of an old follower of the family and suggested that he might as well get the reward. The trial which did not begin until April 1801 created much interest. Hayes was found guilty and recommended to mercy. At first condemned to death his sentence was commuted to transportation for life, and, sailing on the Atlas, Hayes arrived at Sydney on 6 July 1802. He was never short of money and had lightened the privations of the voyage by paying the captain a considerable sum so that he might mess with him. Unfortunately for himself he quarrelled with Surgeon Jamison who was on the same vessel, and when Hayes arrived he was sentenced to six months imprisonment "for his threatening and improper conduct". He made himself a nuisance to Governor King (q.v.) by consorting with the wilder spirits among the Irish convicts, and by trying to form a freemason's lodge after permission to hold a meeting for this purpose had been refused. King called him "a restless, troublesome character". In 1803 he purchased a property near the city and called it Vaucluse. This afterwards belonged to Wentworth (q.v.). There is some warrant for the story that Hayes surrounded his property with turf from Ireland to keep out the snakes. When the troubles between the military and Bligh (q.v.) began, Hayes took the side of the governor and was sent to the coal mines at Newcastle. Bligh would have pardoned him if he could have obtained possession of the great seal, and after Macquarie came Hayes was pardoned in 1812. He then sailed to Europe in the same vessel with Joseph Holt (q.v.); an interesting account of their shipwreck will be found in the Memoirs of Joseph Holt. Hayes lived in retirement in Ire land for nearly 20 years, and died about the end of April or the beginning of May 1832 aged 70 years. He was buried in the crypt of Christ Church, Cork.
C. H. Bertie, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. III, pp. 507, 530; Philip H. Morton, ibid, vol. XV, pp. 334-63; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. III to VII; T. Crofton Croker, Memoirs of Joseph Holt, vol. II; The Gentleman's Magazine, May 1832, p. 478.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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