Name: Henry Townley Wright
Known as: –
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Naval Commandant of Queensland (years)
An article in the Brisbane Courier on Thursday October 16th 1884, concerning the commanders for the gunboats’ delivery trips, provides the following biographical information
Commander Henry Townley Wright, under whose command the gunboat Gayundah will be brought to the colony, comes out under engagement to the Queensland Government. This officer began his career by joining the naval training ship in September, 1850. He passed out in September of the following year and was gazetted as cadet on board H.M.S. Magaera.
He subsequently served as naval cadet and midshipman on board H.M. ships Hibernia, Scourge, Doris, and Liffey. Whilst on board the last-named vessel he successfully passed his examination, and was promoted to a sub-lieutenancy in July, 1865.
After serving as sub-lieutenant on board H.M.S. Liffey, he was transferred to H.M.S. Jason. He obtained his lieutenancy in June, 1868, and was appointed to H.M.S. Scylla. The Scylla formed one of the Flying Squadron which visited the Australian colonies in 1870, under the command of Admiral Hornby.
From the Scylla he went to the Modeste as first lieutenant in September, 1874. He took part in the Peru expedition of 1875-6, and landed in command of the Modeste detachment of the naval brigade. For his conduct during the expedition Lieutenant Wright was favourably mentioned in both naval and military despatches. As the result, he was specially promoted on the 9th March, 1876, to the rank of Commander, and subsequently received the Perak medal and clasp.
He was appointed Commander of H.M.S. Tourmaline in September, 1876; in June the following year, was transferred to H.M.S. Active on the Cape station.
During the expedition against the Kaffirs in 1877-8 he commanded the Naval Brigade, and rendered such good service that he was again favourably mentioned in the despatches. He subsequently received the Kaffir war medal and clasp, and was appointed to the command of H.M.S. Flora, also on the Cape station. Commander Wright held his appointment in the Flora until his time expired in 1881, since which year he does not appear to have held any specified appointment.
It is understood that Commander Wright will be retained in the colonial service
1884 ‘No title.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 16 October, p. 5, viewed 27 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3435151
Biographical information provided in the 10 November 1888 issue of the Australian Town and Country Journal is as follows:
Henry Townley Wright, whose name has been brought forward in connection with the dispute between the Queensland Government and himself in respect to the gunboat Gayundah, has been connected with the Royal Navy since the year 1859. He joined the old Britannia at Portsmouth in that year for his training ; and among the other young aspirants to fame at that time was Captain Lindeman, now secretary of the Marine Board of New South Wales. Mr. Wright was appointed a midshipman in September, 1865 ; a lieutenant in April, 1868 ; and a commander in January, 1876. In September following he retired from active service with the rank of captain. His war services have been as follow : As first lieutenant of the Modeste he served with the Naval Brigade during the operations against the Malays in the Straits of Malacca (1875-76). When commander of the Active, in 1876, he was engaged with the Naval Brigade in the Kaffir war. His name was mentioned several times in the military dispatches with great commendation; and he received the Zulu medal, with two clasps, and the Perak medal.
After retiring from active service Captain Wright accepted an appointment under the Queensland Government as commander of the Naval Defences of that colony.
1888 ‘The Queensland Naval Service.’, Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), 10 November, p. 25, viewed 29 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71104457