George Harker

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George Harker was born in 1816 at Palely Bridge, Midderdale, Yorkshire, England,[1] the son of Robert Harker and Nancy Richardson. He died on 25 April 1879.[2]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences

George Harker was a member of the Select Committee reporting Upon Ballaarat [i.e. Ballarat] riots - Bentley's Hotel from December 1857 to PRIL 1858.[3]


Friday, 25th April.
Notwithstanding an apparent improvement in the condition of the Hon. George Harker yesterday, I regret to have to state that towards night he became worse, and sank rapidly until eight o'clock this morning, when he breathed his last. There are few men who have passed through a long public and private career in Victoria with a more unblemished reputation than this lamented gentleman, and the friendly sobriquet of "Honest George," which had stuck to him for so many years, will most assuredly live long after ho is in his grave. He was a member of the firm of Harker Brothers, who will be re membered by old residents as having at one time carried on an extensive business in Sandhurst opposite the Shamrock. The following biographical sketch of the deceased is given in " Victorian Men of the Time—The Hon. George Harker was born at Palely Bridge, Midderdale, Yorkshire, in the year 1816. He went to school there, and when about thirteen years of age he was apprenticed to a chemist at Harrogate. On the termination of his apprenticeship he was for some time dispensing assistant to a surgeon in Leeds. After that he began business as a chemist at Prescot, near Liverpool, and was treasurer to the Local Anti-Corn Law League. He married early in 1845. and left England for Victoria at the end of that year. He arrived in February, 1846, and bought a property on the Yarra, now owned by the family of the late Dr. Macdonald and the Hon. Henry Miller. He farmed on this property until the year 1850, when he entered into partnership in Melbourne with W. L. Lees as grain and produce merchants. After being in business for a few months gold was discovered, the partnership was dissolved, and his brother; Thomas Harker, entered the firm, which was carried on under the style of George and Thomas Harker until the year 1856, when Mr. George Harker retired from the business. In the same year he was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly for the electoral district of Collingwood. He afterwards became Treasurer in his second O'Shanassy Ministry, but was defeated for Collingwood at the general election, which took place while that Ministry was in office. He was, however, elected for the electoral district of Maldon, but when that Parliament met the Ministry was defeated. Shortly afterwards he resigned his seat for Maldon, and paid the mother country a visit. He returned after an absence of two years, and was elected for Collingwood on two or three occasions. He was also twice defeated as a candidate for that constituency, but on each occasion by a very small majority. Whilst in Parliament he was a member of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the working of the common school system in Victoria. He was also chairman of the commission appointed to inquire into the charitable institutions of Victoria, likewise a member of the commission appointed to inquire into the conflicting claims to work under the public re serves made by some of the Ballarat gold mining companies. He retired from political life at the general election of 1874, and left town for a residence in the neighborhood of Healesville. He was for many years treasurer and chairman of the committee of the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, and a member of the Melbourne Hospital committee. Mr. Harker, in conjunction with the late Dr. Farrage, the Rev. J. Mirams, and others took an active part in collecting a sum of money which formed the nucleus of the funds for the establishment of the Victorian Asylum, and School for the Blind. He was the chairman and president of the above-named institution until he retired from the toil of city life to take his rest in the country. He was a member of the National Board of Education, also a member of the Board of Education under the Common Schools Act, which latter position he held until the introduction of the present Education Act. The subject of this brief memoir retired from public life some few years ago, and at the time of writing was enjoying a period of well-earned leisure at his country house, Yarra Grange, Lillydale.[4]

See also

Eureka Hotel

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Bendigo Advertiser, 26 April 1879.
  2. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  3. Select Committee Upon Ballaarat [i.e. Ballarat] riots - Bentley's Hotel, accessed 09 February 2106.
  4. Bendigo Advertiser, 26 April 1879.

External links

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Caption, Reference.