Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Joseph Hardey (1804–1875)

by A. J. Sampson

This article was published:

Joseph Hardey (1804-1875), farmer and Wesleyan layman, was born on 29 April 1804 at Barrow-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, England, the third son of fifteen children of Robert Hardey and his wife Ann, née Wall. He was educated at home and at a Doncaster boarding school; influenced by Wesleyan teachings, he became a local preacher at 20 and thereafter religious convictions dominated his life. He acquired a farm, and on 11 August 1829 in the parish church of Hatfield he married Ann Robertson of Levels, Yorkshire, by whom he had six daughters and one son.

Hardey chartered the Tranby in association with Michael and James Clarkson and his brother, John Wall Hardey; they arrived at Swan River in February 1830, bringing with them a number of indentured servants. The Tranby immigrants, all Methodists and expert farmers, settled together on 512 acres (207 ha) which they called the Peninsula, on the Swan River's banks at Maylands, four miles (6.4 km) east of Perth. In 1830 Hardey built this first Tranby House on his share, Peninsula Farm, cleared land and sowed crops. From his harvest returns he bought three English cows for £115 from Governor (Sir) James Stirling. In 1835 he built for less than £200 a substantial windmill which served to grind his wheat. By 1836 he had some thirty acres (12 ha) under cultivation, as well as cattle, sheep and horses. Next year he selected 16,000 acres (6475 ha) near York on the Avon River.

Although Hardey prospered he did not neglect the furtherance of God's kingdom on earth. Soon after arrival he preached to a congregation in his house at Fremantle, and in June 1830 he was permitted by Stirling to preach under a tree in Hay Street. Regular services were held at the Peninsula, sometimes with visiting preachers, but the Tranby immigrants wanted more than lay preaching, and requested a minister from the Wesleyan Missionary Society in London. Rev. William Longbottom was sent in 1837, but after shipwreck at Encounter Bay he was persuaded to stay in Adelaide. The Western Australian Methodists had to wait until June 1840 for their first minister, Rev. John Smithies. Meanwhile in April 1834 Hardey became a foundation trustee of Wesley Church, Perth, where he was also a local preacher, class leader and Sunday school superintendent. Later he gave £600 for the new Wesley Church opened in 1870.

Hardey was not attracted by politics and his public offices were few: he was appointed commissioner and guardian to immigrant minors in 1839, and a member of the Central Board of Works in 1847, and of the Central Board of Education in 1872-75. Despite his success, his courage and industry in the adversities of early settlement were appreciated by other colonists, and his sympathetic service in visiting the sick, irrespective of their creed, won him admiration. His wife died in May 1874 and his eldest daughter in August 1875. His last exhortation to his family was to 'stand side to side, shoulder to shoulder, and fight for the Lord'. He died at Perth on 6 September 1875, leaving more than £12,000 to the Methodist Church. His daughter Sarah later gave £800 to Wesley College for two entrance scholarships.

Select Bibliography

  • F. C. Irwin, The State and Position of Western Australia (Lond, 1835)
  • W. St Pierre Bunbury and W. P. Morrell (eds), Early Days in Western Australia, Being the Letters and Journal of Lieut H. W. Bunbury (Lond, 1930)
  • C. A. Jenkins, ‘Early Years of the Methodist Church in Western Australia’, Journal and Proceedings (Western Australian Historical Society), vol 2, part 13, 1933, pp 1-15
  • A. J. Sampson, ‘The Methodist Church in Western Australia’, University Studies in Western Australian History, vol 3, no 2, Oct 1958, pp 87-121
  • Joseph Hardey diary, 21 Jan 1830–16 Nov 1839 (State Library of Western Australia).

Citation details

A. J. Sampson, 'Hardey, Joseph (1804–1875)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 15 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 April, 1804
Barrow-on-Humber, Lincolnshire, England


6 September, 1875 (aged 71)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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