I didn’t think I would ever see the names Harman and Combridge together in a newspaper article. Harman, is my maternal great-grandmother’s family name and Combridge, my paternal grandmother’s family name. One is from the west of the Western District and the other family was predominately from around Geelong, but my paternal grandmother’s own family moved across to South Gippsland. Also, I thought that not until my parent’s marriage in 1967, would Harman and Combridge descendants have stood together in a church, but in fact 53 years before in Kyneton, Central Victoria they did.
The Harman in question was Nina Harman (who you have met before when she appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly with her carpet, a royal inspiration). The Combridge in question was John Robert Combridge (1868-1934), brother of my gg grandfather, Herbert Combridge.
Nina Harman, then 19, was in Kyneton back in 1914 because her father, Walter Graham Harman had moved the family there from Port Fairy in the early 1900s. John Combridge, a Church of Christ minister, was finishing a stint at the Kyneton Church of Christ, before moving to Horsham, the deepest any Combridge had ventured into Western Victoria. The purpose of the gathering at the Kyneton Church of Christ was to farewell John and his wife, Julia Mill, and wish them luck for their time in Horsham. Not only was Nina a member of the congregation, she played the piano alongside Julia on the organ.
Nina wasn’t the only Harman in church that Sunday evening. Mr and Miss Harman sang the hymn “Look up to Christ” accompanied by Nina and Julia. Mr Harman would have been Nina’s father Walter and the Miss Harman, one of Nina’s sisters, either Elise or Nellie. John then launched into his final sermon at Kyneton Church of Christ.
While it was a smaller world in 1914, I’m still surprised the families met and I can only wonder how well they knew each other.