In Memory of James Harman

The following advertisement for the 1916 Hamilton Pastoral & Agriculture (P & A) Show reminded me it was the first Hamilton P & A show my ggg grandfather James Harman was not around for. In turn, it reminded me today is the 100th anniversary of James Harman’s death.

"Advertising" Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. .

“Advertising” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 29 August 1916: 5. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133706580&gt;.

James Harman’s roles with the P & A included exhibitor, judge and committee member.  Over the years he exhibited Lincoln sheep, farm produce, and border collie dogs and judged produce and farm machinery.

LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/17/796

A LINCOLN SHEEP. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. PRG 280/1/17/796 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/17/796

Toward the end of the 1870s, when his oldest boys could take on duties on his farm, James had more “leisure” time so he threw himself into a few local farm related activities and the P & A was one of those. Respected by farmers and graziers alike, James could mix with all men including Hamilton Spectator owner George Rippon, grazier and politician John Thomson and businessmen Peter Learmonth, and Robert Stapylton Bree each prominent names in the annals of Hamilton and district.

"PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

“PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 17 May 1883: 4. .

In 2011, I wrote The Leader of the Pack on the assumption if all my ancestors came together at one place and time it would be James Harman who would step to the front and lead the group.  Five years on and knowing so much more about James, I have no doubt.  At first I formed my opinion on his place in the Harman family as eldest son and his place in the community as a Wesleyan Methodist Church Local Preacher.  Now, with more issues of the Hamilton Spectator at Trove now giving me 248 tagged articles for James, I know his leadership went beyond the confines of family and the Byaduk community.  

Along with James’ P & A involvement, he was on several occasions President of the Hamilton Farmers Union in the 1880s and the founding president of the Byaduk Farmers Club.  He also was on the Byaduk State School committee, represented the Byaduk community at Dundas Shire meetings and as a leader in the church, attended Wesleyan Methodist Synods representing the Hamilton circuit, always considering the interests of the local church goers.

jamesharman

JAMES HARMAN AGED AROUND THIRTY-SEVEN (1867). Photo taken from the Byaduk Pioneer photo boards in the Byaduk Hall, compiled by Vern McCallum (website http://www.mccallum-collection.org/)

Throughout, James remained humble and during his Farmers’ Union presidency considered he was not worthy of leading the organisation.  But James also said if he joined a committee he gave it everything he had and he was true to his word.  James’ election to chairman of a meeting in 1881 to discuss a possible extension of the railway from Hamilton to Byaduk was just one occasion when James expressed those sentiments publicly.

"RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) 15 October 1881: .

“RAILWAY MEETING AT BYADUK.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1918) 15 October 1881: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226062215&gt;.

Such activities meant James was rarely home but always waiting patiently to all hours of the night was his wife Susan.  Susan shared his life from 1852 in Cambridgeshire, through their voyage to Australia as newlyweds and trusted James when he suggested moving north from Port Fairy to select their own piece of Australia.  It was Susan’s death only four months before his own that saw James’ health slip, taking away the vigour that served him so well for eighty-five years.  As Reverend Guard, the then Byaduk Wesleyan Methodist said in the obituary he wrote for James, “Earth had not such an interest for him…”

TOGETHER AGAIN

TOGETHER AGAIN

3 thoughts on “In Memory of James Harman

  1. I think my husband’s Christie relatives bred Lincoln sheep as well. I noticed a Christie in the committee clipping. Are Lincoln sheep a Byaduk speciality? I hadn’t seen them before the Christie reunion at Byaduk a few years ago.
    Lynda Reid

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    • James Harman followed John Christie into the Lincolns. JC used to donate rams as prizes at shows and James won a couple of those, but Christie was the leader in the breed in the district. I read an article at Trove in an old newspaper recently saying long wooled sheep like Lincolns were no good around Byaduk because of the burrs, but it didn’t seem to stop our relatives.

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