Henry Waterhouse was born at Westminster, London, England on 13 December 1770. He was one of twelve children born to William Waterhouse and Susanna Brewer. His father had once been the Page of Honour to Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland, King George III's younger brother. Henry was the Duke's godson and namesake. His elder sister Elizabeth, born 14 June 1768, was married to his friend and associate, naval surgeon George Bass.
Waterhouse joined the navy as a boy and saw service in various ships before joining the Sirius as a midshipman in 1786. He sailed with the First Fleet to Australia and was present in 1788 at the first settlement of New South Wales and the settlement of Norfolk Island, returning to Britain in 1791 as a lieutenant. He transferred to the Bellerophon in 1793 and served in the battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794.
In July 1794 Waterhouse took charge of the Reliance as Commander and returned to Sydney in September 1795 carrying the new Governor, John Hunter, as well as his future brother-in-law George Bass, Matthew Flinders, and the Aboriginal Bennelong. In 1796 he sailed to the Cape Colony to procure livestock for New South Wales and brought back the first Merino sheep to be imported to Australia. Subsequently he made several voyages to Norfolk Island and was the first person to chart the Antipodes Islands in 1800.
Waterhouse returned to Britain in 1800 and lived most of the rest of his life near Rochester, Kent. He never married, though he had an illegitimate daughter who was born in Sydney in 1791. He is commemorated in the name of Waterhouse Island in north-eastern Tasmania.
- Parsons, Vivienne (1967). "Waterhouse, Henry (1770 - 1812)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Parish Records of St. James Church, Westminster, 1723-1786. Family History Library, Salt Lake City. Micro Film reel #1042308
- "William Waterhouse - Letters written by Henry Waterhouse to his father, 1788-1801; and other papers, 1782-1803". State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
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