Byaduk’s First Shoemaker

The Harmans arrived in Byaduk around 1863, one of the early families in the area.   Peter Fraser’s Early Byaduk Settlers credits family head, Joseph as the first shoemaker in Byaduk.  He may not have been alone for long as Bailliere’s Victoria Post Office Directory of 1869 lists both Joseph Harman and John Hurrell as shoemakers in the town. Joseph had worked as a shoemaker in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire as well as an agriculture labourer.

Joseph Harman was born in Melbourn around 1805 and married Sarah Mulberry in 1827.  Their first son James died as a baby, but Sarah had another 12 babies over the next 22 years.  The 1841 and 1851 Census both show the family living in Drury Lane, Melbourn.  In 1852, they said goodbye to their newly married son James and his wife Susan who were sailing for  Australia.  In 1854, they again said their farewells as their next three sons, George, Jonathan, and Reuben followed the path of James and Susan to Australia.  However, by the time the boys arrived in Sydney, Joseph along with Sarah and youngest children Sarah (10), Walt (9), and Alfred (2) were themselves sailing for Sydney.

The Harman family sailed on the “Queen of England” on September 30, 1854.  To that point, there are four children I cannot fully account for, Mary Ann (born 1829), Arthur (born 1842), Ann (1848) and Elizabeth (1849).  I have found death records for two other children of Joseph and Sarah, but not these four.  I do feel confident I may find Mary Ann and am now following a lead on her.

The Queen of England arrived in Sydney in early January 1855.  The five Harmans disembarked and reunited with the three boys who had been in New South Wales for two months.  I lose them for a couple of years, although Joseph’s death certificate states he resided in  New South Wales for two years.  I am looking around the Maitland area for them.  By 1858 they had reached Port Fairy and, after six years, the family reunited.

Joseph died at Byaduk in 1893 at the ripe old age of 89.  Sarah had died 13 years earlier.  Joseph’s obituary in the Hamilton Spectator perhaps gives some insight into Joseph’s character and maybe even relations between him and his sons.  It stated that Joseph was a Methodist, who became a Presbyterian.  Considering James and George’s standing in the Methodist church, I wonder how this decision by Joseph was accepted.

Both Joseph and Sarah were buried at the Byaduk Cemetery. While there is no visible headstone for the pair, there is a large plot enclosed by a rusted wrought iron fence I believe is their resting place.  It is surrounded by graves of other Harman family members in a picturesque corner of the cemetery.

A View of the Byaduk Cemetery

10 thoughts on “Byaduk’s First Shoemaker

  1. Hi Merron,

    Have you looked into how the Harman’s came to Australia e.g. some scheme or sponsorship? The family of Benjamin HARPER and Lydia (nee NEGUS) are vaguely related to me by marriage. They came from Melbourn, Cambridge in Jan 1855 aboard the ‘Shand’. Their third son Joseph married Jane Aberline in 1861 and they had children at Wangoom, Warrnambool, Byaduk (1867 & 1869) and Horsham.
    Two Melbourn families turning up in the same place might be coincidence but possibly also indicative of some ‘encouragement’ to leave?



    • Hi Jenny
      Thanks for your comment.
      All of the Harmans arrived via the Assisted Immigrants Scheme. They would not have been able to afford to come otherwise. There were a lot who left Cambridgeshire during the 1850s as there wasn’t much for them there. This link to the book “The Australian people: an Encyclopedia of the Nation, It’s People and their Origin”, gives the numbers of people that left during that time.



  2. Hi Jenny & Merron – my Cambridgeshire Simkin family group also rrived via The Shand (naming 2 babies borna at sea, after the ship) and were headed for Digby due to encouragement by Richard Lewis who had arrived 1840’s and done well. They were Wesleyan Methodists converted by Wesley himself so thoroughly that one of their ancestors converted his Hanslope pub to a meeting hall which it still is today.


  3. Hi Ann & Merron,
    Ann your comment sent me off on a tangent looking to see if my ‘Shand’ passengers were Methodist. They were Presbyterian but they would also be considered dissenters. I also found ancestors of my husband (Donnisons and Emmersons) on the Shand in 1855. Haven’t worked out a religion for the Donnisons yet but the Emmersons were Presbyterian and neither families were from Cambridge. I have a few examples of families who came out here as assisted immigrants but their passages were paid for by a local squire who evidently was glad to help – or get rid of them!


  4. Hello……I’m so excited to find all this info and I’m a Harman… GGG Grand parents are Joseph and Sarah Harman …through George hall…..Thomas…..Herbert Graham…. And my father Robert James Graham Harman……. I have lots of questions….and loads of family history to share…..pls contact me. Carolyn Harman Prothero


  5. Curious to read that Joseph Harman left the Methodist church. I’m a ggg grandchild through Walter and Susannah Nash who were particularly devout Methodists. The term “religious mania” had been used in the family in relation to Walter. Apparently when they arrived in the Ensay area, God told Walter where to find gold to help with starting the farm up there. He was only to take a certain amount, no more. He was irate when some of his sons went back for more. Caused runctions in the family. Interesting times!


    • Hi Erin, James the oldest brother and Walter were the most devout of the children of Joseph and Sarah Harman. The Wesleyan Methodists did really take hold in Cambridgeshire until around the time James was born in 1830. He converted to Methodism around 1851 when he went to a large outdoor rally in a neighbouring village. James was about 21 and Walter was only about six then. James started as a local preacher when he arrived in Victoria so most of the influence came from him. As for Joseph, he went to the Methodist Church because it was the only church in Byaduk for around 20 years before the Presbyterian Church was built in 1882 almost across the road from where he lived. Joseph was around 78 then so it was probably out of convenience and he never got right into the Wesleyan Methodist community in the district like James and later Walter. Merron


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