Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Henry Trigg (1791–1882)

by P. J. Coles

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Henry Trigg (1791-1882), superintendent of public works and Congregational lay leader, was born on 30 June 1791 in Gloucester, England. He practised the trade of house carpenter and builder in his home county until in 1829 he decided to emigrate to the new colony of Western Australia. Arriving in October with some £200 in capital, he applied successfully for a land grant of 2986 acres (1208 ha). His skill as a builder was in great demand. In October 1838 he was appointed superintendent of public works and was responsible for the erection of many of the early government buildings in Perth and the outlying districts.

A deeply religious man of moderately Calvinistic views, he and other Dissenters worshipped with the Methodists, but when a Wesleyan minister arrived in 1840 he became dissatisfied and in 1843 began meetings in his own home that developed into a church based on Congregational principles. The first chapel was designed and built by Trigg in 1846. He was its lay leader for seven years and in April 1851 resigned from his government position to become full-time pastor. He devoted much time to caring for the spiritual and moral welfare of the prisoners in the local roadgangs and gaols. His fervent though unbigoted views on social and moral principles were firmly expressed in pulpit and in print. He died in Perth on 15 February 1882.

In 1813 he had married Amelia Ralph and they had six sons and four daughters. Henry, the eldest son, was his father's partner in the building trade. The Perth beachside suburb of Trigg and adjoining island were named after Henry Trigg.

Select Bibliography

  • S. H. Cox, Seventy Years History of the Trinity Congregational Church, Perth, 1845-1916 (Perth, 1916)
  • H. Trigg, letters to his wife, 1829-30 (State Library of Western Australi)
  • P. U. Henn, genealogical notes (State Library of Western Australi).

Citation details

P. J. Coles, 'Trigg, Henry (1791–1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


30 June, 1791
Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England


15 February, 1882 (aged 90)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.