George Hall Harman, born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1835, was the fifth child of Joseph Harman and Sarah Mulbury. His middle name “Hall” came from the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Keiza Hall. The 1851 English Census shows 16-year-old George working as an errand boy and living at the home of local publican and farmer, William Dearman. The following year he saw his older brother James leave for Australia and two years later in 1854, he had his own opportunity to travel to Australia. With his two younger brothers, Jonathan and Reuben, they boarded the “Kate” at Southampton on 3 August 1854 bound for Sydney, arriving on November 7.
I lose track of George for several years until 1859 when he and brother James advertised land for sale, Boodcarra Farm at Port Fairy, then known as Belfast. The advertisement is listed in the Port Fairy/Belfast News Index 1859. In 1860, George married Rebecca Graham, the daughter of Thomas Graham and Margaret Paterson.
Compared to his brothers, George & Rebecca had a relatively small family of five children:
Walter Graham – Birth: 1862 in Port Fairy; Marriage: 1887 to Ann GRAY; Death: 1930 in Kyneton, Victoria.
Edith – Birth: 1865 in Byaduk; Death: 1866 in Byaduk
Thomas Charles – Birth: 1867 in Port Fairy; Marriage: 1900 to Elizabeth Margaret BUDGE; Death: 1954 in Victoria
Mary Helena – Birth: 1870 in Port Fairy; Marriage: 1911 to Samuel ROGERS; Death: 1920 in Sale, Victoria
Herbert George – Birth: 1878 in Port Fairy; Marriage: 1905 to Aimee Elizabeth HEAD; Death: 1955 in Wangaratta, Victoria
George and Rebecca began their married life in Port Fairy but moved to Byaduk with the other members of the Harman family around 1863. It appears that George preferred the seaside town and they returned to Port Fairy by 1867.
On a visit to Port Fairy, I called in at the Port Fairy Historical Society in the town’s former Court House. I noticed old portraits on a wall. Amongst the faces were George and Rebecca Harman. The Society has a copying service and I was able to arrange for copies to be sent.
From the photo of George, it is obvious he was a Mason. Turning to Trove, I was able to establish George was a member of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Odd Fellows(M.U.I.O.O.F.). I also found a lead to the possible origin of George’s photograph:
After Rebecca’s death in 1902, George remained in Port Fairy living in James, Gipps, and Sackville Streets. His occupation varied from “gardener” to “independent means”. He also spent time with his family as the 1914 Australian Electoral Roll shows, with him residing at the home of his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Rogers in Wodonga. He also spent time with his son, Herbert in Wangaratta as this article about the Wangaratta Odd Fellows Lodge in The Argus suggests:
George passed away on September 14, 1931 at the ripe old age of 96. Only two of his children, Thomas and Herbert, were living at the time of his death.
George was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with Rebecca and baby Edith.
I often think of George and the 29 years after Rebecca’s death until his own. He saw the passing of his daughter and son and two granddaughters. Was it a lonely time or did his activities with the Odd Fellows and the visits to the homes of family members fill the void? I hope so because George was just a normal fellow who happened to be an Odd Fellow.