Obituary, Mr. H. L. Harris

Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post

10 July 1925

Mr. Hamlyn Lavicount Harris, whose death we briefly reported in our last issue, was born in the East Indies on August 14, 1845, and was the son of Major-General Hamlyn L. Harris, 15th Reg. Madras Native Infantry, E.I.C.S. His mother was the daughter of one of the first Congregational missionaries in India, and, although many years have passed since her death, the influence of her wonderfully spiritual character never left him, and her name was on his lips frequently during his last illness. Perhaps it was due to his inheritance from both parents that he attained beyond ordinary measure to that combination of "gentleness wed to manhood which makes the man." His earliest days were spent in India at various hill-stations  - at Counbatore, Ootacamund and in Madras - and a lasting impression of the Oriental life was left upon his mind, and he loved to talk of the wild animals, the butterflies and the native tribes. He became a collector of butterflies and, when later on he left England, his beautiful collection was sold for the benefit of Mr. Mueller's Orphanage in Bristol.

From both parents he also inherited artistic tastes and could do remarkably good pencil sketches of any subject. When eight years of age he was taken to England and was educated at the Rev. Joseph Fletcher's school, and afterwards entered New College, Clifton. He then began to study for the Army at Sandhurst, but owing to a suggestion made by Mrs. Brown (Mr. E. G. Brown's mother) he decided to come to Australia. In company with Mr. F. Campbell (late of Red Hill, Tumut), he came out in a sailing ship, in 1863, arriving in Tumut in March, 1864. After coaching to Gundagai, he rode to Tumut, dis- mounting on the way to join in a game of cricket with some boys. Arriving at Tumut, he made some purchases at Mandelson's store and spoke to Mr. John Weeden, who was then a lad also from England. Continuing his journey to Tumut Plains, he had to cross the river by punt at Blowering, near Jones' Bridge. He spent his first night in Tumut at Tumut Plains (now "Camelot") House and met his wife, who was then 12 years of age.

He lived for four years at Blowering with Mr. E. G. Brown, and after some further experience at Weogo Station, near Grenfell, and Captain Campbell's Station, Bom- bala, he, in conjunction with Mr. Brown, bought from Mrs. Shelley the Tumut Plains Estate (with the exception of the original grant of 1200 acres), and became managing partner, living in a selection house called Wermatong, built by Mr. G. Shelley jr. In 1872, he married Miss Emily Shelley, youngest daughter of the first landholder in Tumut district, and from that time (with the exception of one year at Tarramea, on the Murray), Mr. and Mrs. Harris have lived in the old 'Wermatong' House with additions, and have reared a family of twelve children, namely : Mrs. A. N. Stacy, 'Camelot,' Tumut Plains, Mrs. J. W. Mecham, 128 Grey-street, E. Melbourne, Noel H. Harris, 'Oxley,' Gilmore, Mrs. E.

Nixon, 'Bunnydoon,' Dunedoo, Major G. H. L. Harris, Tumut, Mrs. E. Walker, The Rectory, Wollongong, Mrs. H. Scott, Commercial Bank, Bogan Gate, Miss Edna Harris, Mrs. R. Hamlyn-Harris, Southport School, Q., Capt. C. W. Harris (A.I.F.), Bank N.S.W., Temora, G. T. H. Harris (A.I.F.) , Wermatong. In 1890 Mr. and Mrs. Harris visited England and he saw again scenes of his boyhood, and, in 1903, they made a trip to his birthplace, E. India. In 1895, Mrs. E. G. Brown sold her interest in the Tumut Plains Estate to Mr. Harris. He led a very active life both as station manager and as an enthusiastic cricketer, until, in 1897, he was seized with an apoplectic fit which left him partially parlaysed.

From this attack he gradually recovered, until, in 1911-12, he suffered three successive strokes which permanently crippled him, and for 14 years he has been unable to walk unassisted. In spite of his disabilities, he taught himself to write and draw with pencil and paint with his left hand, and he made several motor trips to visit various members of his family. He was carried into church in order to take part in the Centenary services. Through all his long years of suffering he has been cared, for until the last six months by his devoted wife, who is herself almost 73 years of age. Mr. Harris was first and foremost a 'home' man, and a dearly loved and loving husband and father. He was a staunch churchman and ever, while able, took a prominent part in church affairs, as lay-reader, warden and assistant in the choir. He was a Freemason and a member of the A. and P. Association. He had also fine social qualities, was musical and a good amateur actor, and. Intensely patriotic; but, over and above all his noble qualities, he will ever be remembered as heroic in his patient gentleness through all his long years of suffering.

He died in his sleep at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, July 5. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, and one of the largest corteges that wended its way to the Tumut New Cemetery left his late home, 'Wermatong,' at 2.30 p.m. The inscription on the coffin, which, with the hearse, was bestrewn with wreaths (amongst which were floral tributes from the Returned Soldiers' League, the C. of E. Girls' Club and from Chinese tenants) - tokens of the widespread esteem in which deceased was held by all sections of  the community -  read:-

 'Hamlyn Lavicount Harris. Born August 16, 1845. Died July 5, 1925, aged 80 years. 'I shall be satisfied, when I awake with Thy likeness.' 'At Rest.' The bearers were the five sons and deceased's nephew (Mr.Hamlyn H. Whitty). Rev. T. A. Gair, assisted by Rev. E. Walker (Rector of Wollongong and a son-in-law) officiated at the grave, touching addresses being delivered by each clergyman.