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Harris Family Histories

Harris Family History

It is in Wiltshire England, in 1837 that a labourer, Henry HARRIS married Jane BURCHELL. Little is known of their early life in England. Information on only two of their children is known. Henry died before 1873 aged sixty-three years and is buried at Haxton, Wiltshire. Jane came out to Australia in 1882 and died on 25th June 1896 at the house of her son Henry Robert and is buried at Bleak House.

Henry & Jane's other son, Edwin Francis never went to school, so could not read or write. While in England, Edwin worked as a shepherd. In 1865, at the age of sixteen years, Edwin boarded the sailing ship 'Lady Jane' which set sail for Australia. Unfortunately the ship was wrecked in the Bay of Biscay. Edwin was saved and he joined another ship which was the 'Trevelyan' with only one blanket and a bible with his name in it that his mother had given to him before he left England. The ship arrived in Adelaide on 21st March 1866.

When Edwin arrived in Adelaide, he found that a squatter in Mt.Gambier wanted a lad to work for him. He got the job and started on 3/6 a week and worked there as a farm hand for six months. This gentleman was a very fair man and helped Edwin quite a lot. In those days there wasn't any fencing, so he had to look after the sheep all day and bring them in at night to yard them.

While looking after the sheep, Edwin taught himself to write his name by copying the name written in his Bible. Later on, he went to night school and learned to write - his copy book was his Bible.

Edwin and a partner rented land in Mt.Gambier for two years and on 26th August 1873, he married Harriet Ann BAKER at the residence of her parents John Thomas and Sarah BAKER at Red Camp, Mt. Gambier.

On arrival at Mt. Gambier, Edwin liked the land and was told it grew wheat and oats well. The squatter advised Edwin to go to Victoria and select land in the Wimmera as the Government was opening up land there. So in 1874 he bought two old horses and a dray and set out for Victoria.

He selected three hundred and twenty acres, three and a half miles from Jung Jung. His land cost two pounds an acre to be paid over forty years without interest and without any payment for the first three years. The land was lightly covered with bullock trees which had to be grubbed.

Edwin built a three-room house from farm timber and thatched it with reeds from a nearby swamp. He worked hard and grew wheat in the first three years, carting it 64km to the nearest railway at Stawell. (Later, the railway was built from Horsham to Stawell.) It took two trips lasting eight days, with a load of seven bags in the old dray for each trip.

Edwin & Harriet had ten children; Rosena who married Henry Albert Otto FRAUENFELDER, Emma Edith who married Joshua Featherstone WARREN, Charles Henry who married Elizabeth CORNELL, Florence Sarah Jane who married Daniel Henry WHITE, Francis Edwin who married Rose May HOGAN, Wilfred Laurence who married Emma Fredericka Anna SCHUMANN, Arthur Leopold who married Mary Theresa HOGAN, Vincent Alfred George who married Vera Isabelle EYRES, Sylvia who married Victor MASLIN and Raymond Ormond who never married.

Edwin's brother, Henry Robert married Annie EYERS in 1882 and they lived in Nhill and also had ten children; Henry Josiah who married Florence Annie MAYNARD, Ellen Louisa who married Charles ROBERTS, Alfred George who never married, Matilda Jane who married Thomas Herbert HOWE, Eva Olive who married Henry John de MOULIPIED, Ernest William who married Ivy Jane HALL, Annie Amelia who married Albert Charles HOWE, Frederick Charles who married Ida Margaret SCHULTZ, George Francis who married Clara May KORRENG and Horace Robert who married Beatrice Elsie SPORN.