No.57434 Private James Harrison
James was born in 1884 to George Harrison and Elizabeth Harrison at Tarneit, Victoria.
His parents were married in 1863, the same year that they moved to Tarneit. Their children were:
- Elizabeth Ann Harrison - born 1865 at Melbourne
- Sarah Jane Harrison - born 1867 at Wyndham
- George Harrison - born 1868 at Wyndham. Died 1940.
- Mary Jane Harrison - born 1870 at Wyndham
- Frances Harrison born - 1872 at Wyndham
- William Harrison - born 1874 at Wyndham
- Joseph Harrison - born 1875 at Wyndham. Died 1936.
- Christina Harrison - born 1877 at Wyndham
- Sarah Jane Harrison - born 1878 at Wyndham
- Hannah Whitfield Harrison - born 1881 at Wyndham. Died 3 July 1925.
- Thomas Matthew Harrison - born 1882 at Wyndham
- James Harrison - born 1884 at Wyndham. Died 1963 at Sunshine.
The Harrison's owned two grazing properties close to Werribee, until his mother died in 1925.
- Alston Moor, a 280 acre property on Derrimut Road, four miles from Werribee, and
- Pine View Farm, a 248 acre property on Boundary Road, Werribee. It was also known as "Mr George Harrison's Farm".
In October 1916, the Commonwealth Government declared that 'all unmarried able-bodied men between the ages of 21 and 35 were to undertake military training leading to the possibility of service'. If men met the eligibility criteria they had to go to enrolment centres to have their suitability assessed. If selected under this process, men could challenge the decision in a local Exemption Court.
At the Exemption Court held in Werribee on 18 October 1916, James Harrison of Tarneit claimed that he was necessary for the support of his mother, and the management of her sheep property (Alston Moor). Of five sons in the family, three were married, and the fourth, who was over military age, did not, he said, contribute to the support of his mother. His application for exemption was refused. Werribee Shire Banner, 26 October 1916, p.3.
James Harrison then applied to enlist in the A.I.F. at Footscray on 24 November 1917, and was accepted. At that time he was 33 years of age.
James was with the 1st [Depot] Battalion at Broadmeadows from 15 March 1918 to 3 April 1918. He was then transferred to the 1st Battalion E.G.S.D. between 4 April and 6 May 1918.
Private James Harrison embarked from Sydney on 17 August 1918 per HMAT, Port Sydney, A15, with the 4th General Service Reinforcements. (His name does not appear on the Embarkation Roll). He disembarked at Suez in Egypt on 19 September 1918.
On 12 November 1918, Private James Harrison marched in to the 4th Light Horse Regiment at Moascar, in Egypt. Then on the 18 November 1918 he was taken on strength with the 4th Regiment at Tripoli in Libya. They were camped at Zgarta, on the outskirts of Tripoli. The Brigade strength at this time was 73 Officers, 1341 other ranks, 28 natives, 1695 horses, 140 mules, 31 donkeys and 22 camels.
The Regiment spent the period November 1918 to February 1919 training and playing sport. Orders were then received to embark the 4th Light Horse Regiment. Many of the horses were then destroyed.
The Brigade moved to Port Said on 14 March 1919 and established themselves at Moascar, Ismailia. Here they provided escorts for the railway, and patrolled the local villages.
Private J. Harrison and the 4th Light Horse Regiment embarked per H.T. Essex from the port of Kantara, for Australia on 15 June 1919, and disembarked at Melbourne on 25 July 1919. The remainder of the Division followed later in the month.
The local press reported on his homecoming. The article said that he looked very fit and well, and also mentioned that he is the brother of Councillor George Harrison from the Truganina Ward.
The Independent (Footscray, Vic) 26 July 1919, p.2
He was discharged from 3rd Military District on 9 August 1919 as T.P.E. (Temporary Personal Establishment).
On his return to Australia, he married Doris Brown, a Footscray girl, born in 1898. They lived in Sunshine, Victoria for many years and had one child, a son.
James Harrison moved to Sunshine in 1926. The Electoral Roll records that he was living with his brother, and that they were both Contractors.
"Harrison, Doris, Alston Moor, Sydney St., Sunshine, home duties
Harrison, James, Alston Moor, Sydney St., Sunshine, contractor.
Harrison, Joseph, Alston Moor, Sydney St., Sunshine, contractor."
In 1936, James Harrison was still a contractor/labourer living at 17 Sydney Street, Sunshine, with his brother Joseph. At this time, James acted as the sole executor, for his late brother’s will.
The Argus, 17 September 1936, p.18
Doris, his wife, died in 1978 at Sunshine, aged 80.
James Harrison died at Sunshine, Victoria in 1963, and was buried in the Altona Lawn Cemetery.
The name Harrison J, from Tarneit, first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 22 August 1918, p.1.
The A.I.F. Nominal Roll for WW1 states – "57434 Pte Harrison James (enlisted) 24.11.17 (Returned to Australia) 15.6.19".
"Trooper J Harrison, 4th Light Horse Regiment, 4th Brigade, who served in Egypt, was presented with a Werribee Shire Gold Medal".
Werribee Shire Banner, 11 December 1919. p.2. ("Trooper" seems to have been an honorary title, bestowed by the newspaper)
Medals & Entitlements:
- British War Medal
Obituary of Mrs Elizabeth Harrison (James' mother) Werribee Shire Banner, 7 August 1924, p.6
CD – Pioneer Index Victoria 1836 – 1888