Thomas and Eliza Warland/Harris

1815 - Birth of John Fraser Gray

John Gray and Margaret Smith married on 20 March 1813 at Bishopmill (New Spynie), Elgin, Scotland (Ref 136/10/514). They had three children, all baptised in New Spynie or Spynie:

John Fraser Gray married Mary Anne Duncan on 24 December 1838 in Elgin, Scotland (Ref 135/90/162). They appear to have decided to emigrate to New South Wales at this time, as Mary Anne was said to have given birth the day they arrived in Sydney. They had three children:

(Source of above information -

1831 - Eliza Warland marries Thomas Harris in Hartwell, UK

Eliza Warland (11 March 1810 - 1873, St George Sydney, Australia (NSW BDM 2705/1873) was the daughter of John Warland (1785 - ) and Ann Stiles.

Eliza met and married the carpenter Thomas Harris (1809 - prob 1878, Sydney) on 26 December 1831 in Hartwell (near Aylesbury, east of Oxford), England. (How they met is not clear - was Eliza working in that area or did Thomas visit Dorset? A Thomas Harris married in Roade in 1795 - this is likely to be Thomas' father). They lived in Roade, Northamptonshire (north of Aylesbury), where the following four children were born. Their dates of birth of their children are based on the age recorded when they arrived in Sydney in 1844.

Sometime around 1843, Thomas and Eliza Harris decided to migrate to Australia with their four children.

June 1839 - John and Mary Gray said to arrive in Sydney

According to this Wikitree source, John and Mary Gray and family arrived in Sydney on 7 June 1839, the day that Hannah was born. It is not known which ship they arrived on.

(Source of above information -

August 1840 - Another John Gray and others arrive in Port Philip

According to The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 20 August 1840, a John Gray, Hannah Gray and two children arrived in Port Philip on board the Marmion from London on 3 November 1840. Hannah was presumably this John's wife, so it seems unlikely it is the same people.

1844 - Arrival in Sydney/NSW of Thomas and Eliza Harris

Thomas Harris, aged 35, a native of Northamptonshire and a carpenter, arrived in Sydney on 13 March 1844 on board the William Metcalfe with his wife Eliza Harris, aged 33, a native of Dorsetshire and a dress maker, and their four children George (aged 7), Alfred (aged 6), Emma (aged 2) and Ellen (aged 11 months). They were all assisted migrants. (Source: NSW State Records, Reel 2135, [4/4785] Page 73; Reel 2451, [4/4894])

Sometime after arrival Thomas and Eliza Harris had another child. This child was probably Josiah Harris (died 1919), based on the death notice in 1919 and other details (see below).

Note that Eliza's brother Henry Warland migrated to Australia in 1855 and settled in Melbourne.

Very little is know of the activities of Thomas Harris after arrival in Australia. From the records, he may have been a carpenter and lived in the Canterbury area of Sydney. He should not be confused with the reasonably well known Captain Thomas Harris, a brickmaker of St Peter's named Thomas Harris, an Inspector of Schools named Thomas Harris, or linked with the Harris family of Harris Street, Ultimo.

Early 1850s - John Fraser Gray buys property near Goulburn

John Fraser Gray appears to have acquired a property at Byalla, near Goulburn and then made arrangements to move his household goods there.

John Fraser Gray put a notice in The Sydney Morning Herald of 29 May 1852 seeking 'two teams for the carriage of about three tons to Byalla, near Goulburn'. The same notice include the following text above the request for two teams:

Notice: Orders drawn on the undersigned (John F Gray) may, in his absence, be presented for payment to Mr Alexander Gray [presumably his brother of that name], at Messrs Dunsmure and Longmore's, Bligh Street

The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser of 12 June 1852 has an advertisement in which James Gray offered for let a farm, known as Alton, 'well known as the Black Springs', about 5 miles from Gunning, containing 810 acres. The notice notes that the last tenant (possibly Gray) had removed to a purchase of his own, and was a good site for a dairy farm.

James Gray placed a notice in the same newspaper on 4 September 1852 seeking 'a small herd of mixed quiet cattle' ... 'also, two shepherds and domestic servant'.

By February 1853, John Gray's farm was quite successful and he advertised for shepherds, watchmen, a farm servant and a female house servant, and a few labouring men. Further advertisements appeared during the 1850s, including in relation to lost stock.

1860 - George Harris acquires property at Goulburn?

A George Harris Esq sold land in Ultimo in May 1860 and again in October 1860, according to the Empire (Sydney) of 9 May 1860 and The Sydney Morning Herald of 6 October 1860. It is not known if this is the same person, however, a George Harris was alloted two blocks of land in Goulburn in October 1860, according to the Goulburn Herald of 6 October 1860, so the two events may be connected.

Note, another much older George Harris, said to have been an 'old soldier' died when his cart overturned and crushed him near Gunning (not far from Goulburn) in August 1861. There is no reason to connect this George with the subject of this page, but the fact that they have the same name and lived not far from each other is noted for reference. (The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1861).

1861 - George Harris marries Hannah Wright Gray, Yass/Goulburn

Thomas and Eliza Harris' sons George Harris and Josiah Harris moved south to the Yass/Goulburn area of NSW by 1861 where they came into contact with the Gray family.

On 17 December 1861, George Harris married Hannah Wright Gray, 'only daughter of John Fraser Gray of Byalla' (and Mary A Gray), by special licence. (Source: Goulburn Herald 4 January 1862, NSW BDM Ref 3225/1861). It is not clear where Hannah was born as there does not appear to be a birth record in the NSW BDM records. Her brother, John William Gray, was born in 1840 (NSW BDM Ref 2685/1840). Another brother, Alexander Smith Gray, died in September 1913 in Mosman after 'suffering from gastritis and the after-effects of vaccination'. The newspaper report noted that his sister Mrs George Harris was living at 'Grena' at the time of his death.

A Court case, details of which were carried in The Sydney Morning Herald of 11 April 1867, give an indication of the relationship between the Harris and Gray families, and the fact that Josiah Harris was living in the same area:

ARSON NEAR GUNNING. George Hammond (on bail) was charged with having, on the 28th October last, at Wharajong, set fire to the dwelling-house of John William Gray. Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr. Dalley, attorney, Mr Walsh. The Solicitor General stated the case to the jury, and called John O'Brien, senior constable stationed at Gunning, who deposed: I apprehended prisoner at Grabben Gullen on the 30th October, told him the charge against him, he said he knew nothing about it, I measured his boots and the size corresponded with marks found about the house burnt, I know Mr Gray's at Wharajong, it is about seven or eight miles from Gunning, I arrested prisoner about 5 o'clock in the evening; I saw footmarks across the vineyard to the house and from this to the corn-shed, I saw the remains of a thrashing-machine which had been burnt, I saw where straw had been put to a heap of slabs; I also saw tracks of a horse, I followed the tracks for about three miles towards Grabben Gullen, traced them to within four miles of prisoner's father's house, the horse's near hind hoof had a small piece out of it, I measured the prisoner's boots and compared them with the tracks round the house, and they corresponded. To Mr Daley: All the tracks are going to the house but none coming from it : I found the first tracks about three hundred or four hundred yards from the home, asked prisoner at his own house to show me his boots, he did so.

John F. Gray, sworn, deposed: Went to Wharajong on the 28th October; I found the house burned down; I am sure it was the work of an incendiary; found foot-marks from where the straw had been carried to the house; I went to the pound at Grabben Gullen, and found that the pound had been burned down; found that prisoner's horse's tracks corresponded with the impressions made near the house. To Mr. Dalley: I saw the tracks about ten yards from the house; I saw no tracks going to the house ; I searched for tracks with constable O'Brien Henry Wright, sworn, deposed : I was in the employ of prisoner's father, saw prisoner on the Saturday before the fire, prisoner came to my house about the middle of the day; have known prisoner for about nine years, he came on a small chesnut pony; I saw the same pony when prisoner was committed ; could not say which way prisoner came. To Mr Dalley : In going to Medway's, he would go in an opposite direction to Wharajong. Alexander Smith Gray and John William Gray gave evidence to the same effect as the previous witnesses.

Josiah Harris, sworn, deposed: I live at Grabben Gullen; I know prisoner at the bar, the house of Mr. Gray was burned down on the 28th October ; I was not living there at the time, I never saw the prisoner at my house; have been poundkeeper since last September; I had cattle belonging to prisoner in the pound the week before the fire took place. To his Honor: The cattle were released about twenty-four hours after they were impounded. This was the case for the Crown. Mr. Dalley addressed the jury for the defence, and his Honor having summed up, the jury retired, and after an absence of half an hour, returned into Court with a verdict of not guilty, and the prisoner was discharged.

1868 - Death of Margaret Gray

John Fraser Gray's mother, Margaret Gray, 'the widow of the late Mr John Gray, Bishopmill, near Elgin, Scotland in the 76th year of her age' (and the daughter of David and Margaret, according to her death record), died on 4 June 1868 at her residence Thames Street, Balmain (NSW BDM Ref 1647/1868). Another son, James D Gray, is mentioned in her death notice carried in The Sydney Morning Herald of 5 June 1868. The notice would appear to suggest that John and James Gray brought their mother to Australia in around 1860 after the death of their father in Scotland. Their sister, Margaret Gray of Brisbane, aged 76 'the eldest daughter of John Gray of Bishopmill, Elgin and sister of Mrs Looke, Looke's Avenue, Balmain', died in Brisbane on 3 July 1895. (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald 13 July 1895).

From 1863 - Children of George and Hannah Harris

George and Hannah Harris (nee Gray) had the following children, during which time they appear to have moved to Goulburn via Tumut:

The obituary for John Arthur Harris refers to a 'sister' Anne Harris who married C Campbell and was living in North Goulburn in 1943. There is no obvious birth notice for this person linked with George and Hannah, nor a death notice that matches the parents for an Anne Campbell. It is not clear who she was. She may be the Anne Mabel Campbell who died in Goulburn in September 1961 (Ryerson Index).

1870 - Marriage of Alfred Harris

Thomas and Eliza Harris' second son Alfred Harris married Emma Dodd in Sydney in 1870 (NSW BDM Ref 431/1870). They had the following children:

1870 - Thomas Harris loses a mare

On 11 November 1870, Thomas Harris of Kingsgrove placed an advertisement in the New South Wales Government Gazette of 11 November 1870 offering a reward of 1 pound for the return of a black mare, branded JON on the shoulder. The advertisement stated that the horse was stolen or strayed from Market Street on 1 November 1870.

1872 - Josiah Harris resigns as poundkeeper

The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle of 11 May 1872 noted that Josiah Harris had resigned his position as poundkeeper for Grabben Gullen.

1873 - Death of Eliza Harris

Thomas Harris' wife Eliza Harris died at the age of 63 on 22 May 1873 at St George, Sydney. Her death notice in the Evening News (Sydney) of 24 May 1873 states that Eliza, 'the beloved wife of Thomas Harris', died 'at her residence, Kingsgrove, near Canterbury, after a short and painful illness, which she bore with Christian fortitude'. The Sydney Morning Herald published on the same day states that she left 'a family of five children and a large circle of friends to deplore the loss of a loving mother and sincere friend'.

1874 - Marriage of a Thomas Harris - same man?

On 31 March 1874, a Thomas Harris - quite possibly the same Thomas Harris, given the reference to Kingsgrove - married Julia Ross. The marriage notice in the Sydney Morning Herald of 23 June 1874 states that they married 'at the bridegroom's residence, Kingsgrove'.

A petition seeking the establishment of the Municipality of Canterbury in the New South Wales Government Gazette of 26 September 1878 lists an Alfred Harris of Kingsgrove, 'freehold'. This may be a son of Thomas and Eliza Harris.

1876 - Josiah Harris approved claim for land

The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle of 24 May 1876 stated that Josiah Harris had been approved for 900 acres of land in county King, Parish Garway for rent of £3.

Another Josiah Harris appears further north in NSW from this period of time. It is not believed that this is the same person.

1878 - Death of Thomas Harris

Thomas Harris died in October 1878 in Sydney. According to the Sydney Morning Herald of 12 October 1878, his funeral was to depart from the home of his son-in-law, George Street, Redfern, on 12 October 1878 for Kingsgrove Cemetery. This may be the same person as Thomas Harris above and appears to be the only reference to the fact that one of his daughters was living in George Street Redfern in 1878.

1881 - Death of John Fraser Gray

John Fraser Gray (son of John and Margaret Gray) died aged 66 on 18 December 1881, at the residence of his daughter (NSW BDM Ref 4786/1881; The Sydney Morning Herald 23 December 1881). His son (Hannah's brother), John William Gray (died 11 February 1908), also of Byalla, was the primary recipient of the will of their father, according to the Sydney Morning Herald of 27 June 1885.

John Fraser [sic - possibly should be his son William] Gray was mentioned in the following article in the Goulburn Herald of 2 February 1884:

GUNNING. Dynamite Explosion. - A few days back Mr. J. F. Gray of Byalla loaded his gun for the purpose of shooting a bullock. He succeeded in killing the beast with the first shot, when returning from the yard he discharged the other barrel at his stable, forgetting at the moment that he had about four pounds of dynamite stored in the building. The instant he fired an exlplosion took place, and the result was that the stable was shattered into splinters and instantly took fire. The report was heard some miles away, and some of his neighbours thought it was a shock of an earthquake. Of course it is not known whether the shot actually hit the explosive or not, but it is believed to have been the concussion that caused the explosion.

April 1894 - Anna Harris marries Charles Russell

Anna (Annie) Mary Harris (born 1863) 'the eldest daughter of George Harris, Goulburn and granddaughter of T F Gray [sic - J F Gray] (late of Byalla and Alton, near Gunning), married Charles William Russell, the son of William Murray and Catherine Russell, in Goulburn on 25 April 1894. (Sources: Goulburn Herald 11 May 1894, Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 12 May 1894). Charles Russell had a brother, George Russell who in 1913 was the Dubbo station master, according to the Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent of 10 October 1913.

Charles and Anna Russell had the following children:

Charles William Russell died at Goulburn on 29 October 1939 (NSW BDM Ref 25974/1939, Ryerson Index). His obituary in the Murrumburrah Signal and County of Harden Advocate of 2 November 1939 noted that Charles Russell was 72 when he died, and he was 'prominently associated with the United Australia Party in Goulburn. He began life in the railway service and for some years was traffic inspector, being stationed in Harden. He resigned from that position to become superintendent for the British railways in the Philippine Islands in 1907 [note - after his youngest daughter Flora was born and died]. He remained there until 1920 when he returned to Goulburn to live in retirement.' It is not known if the rest of his family travelled with him to the Philippines.

Anna Mary Russell died at Goulburn on 1 May 1945 (NSW BDM Ref 9050/1945, Ryerson Index). The Goulburn Evening Post of 11 May 1945 ran an obituary which noted that Mrs Russell 'was born at Byalla, Gunning, and was married in Goulburn. She had lived in Chantry Street since 1913 in what was formerly the rectory of St Nicholas' Church of England'. At her death, her son Charles was working in the Technical Education Department in Goulburn. It also mentioned Miss Marie K Russell and Mrs G C (Edna) Patterson of Tamworth. The Sydney Morning Herald of 9 October 1945 included a notice regarding the will of Anna Mary Russell and noting that probate would be granted to Charles Simons Russell, Edna Gray Patterson and Marie Kathleen Russell.

June 1894 - Ella Harris marries Edward Woodhart

Ella Harris (born 1875), 'the fourth daughter of George Harris' married Edward Jacob Woodhart 'only son of the late Edward Woodhart of Sydney on 15 June 1894. (NSW BDM Ref 3777/1894; Goulburn Herald 27 July 1894). Edward was the Goulburn City water engineer.

Ella and Edward Woodhart had the following children:

Edward Woodhart died at work on 7 August 1922 (Goulburn Evening Penny Post 8 August 1922). After the death of Edward, Ella appears to have moved to Haberfield, Sydney by 1943 when her brother John died. She died there in November 1963 (Ryerson Index).

January 1895 - George Gray Harris marries Minnie Roberts

George Gray Harris, the eldest son of George Harris, married Minnie Maud Roberts at Goulburn on 30 January 1895. (Sources: NSW BDM Ref 1050/1895; Sydney Morning Herald: 16 March 1895)

George and Minnie Harris had the following children, indicating that they moved from Goulburn to Sydney.

George Gray Harris, son of George and 'Anna' [sic] Harris died in Granville on 14 February 1937 (NSW BDM Ref 1071/1937). A memorial notice appeared in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post on 14 February 1940 from his wife and daughter Vera.

Minnie Maud Harris died in either 1959 (NSW BDM Ref 8320/1959) or 1949 (NSW BDM Ref 3143/1949).

1917 - Death of Hannah Harris

Hannah Harris (nee Gray), the wife of George Harris, died on 4 November 1917 at Goulburn (NSW BDM Ref 16299). Her death notice was carried in The Daily Telegraph on 7 November 1917, noting that she died at her residence 'Cherry Hinton', Goulburn. It also noted that she was the only daughter of the late John F Gray of Byalla.

1919 - Death of Josiah Harris

Josiah Harris, son of Thomas and Eliza Harris, died in 1919 in Ryde, Sydney. The Windsor and Richmond Gazette of 3 October 1919 noted that a Josiah Harris 'late of Maroota near Windsor' was an orchardist and died intestate.

1922 - Death of George Harris

George Harris died in Goulburn in 1922 (NSW BDM Ref 10806). The Goulburn Evening Penny Post of 2 September 1922 noted that George Harris, of 'Cherry Hinton', Addison Street, Goulburn, 'a very old and highly respected resident of the Goulburn and Gunning districts', died on 1 September 1922 at his home. He had been 'in indifferent health for the past three years but it was not until three weeks ago that he was taken seriously ill and since then been confined to his room. His wife pre-deceased him five years ago. The late Mr Harris, who was in his 87th year, was born in England. He came to Australia with his parents when he was five years of age and had resided in this part of the State for over sixty years. He lived for some years at Gunning, he and his wife first coming to Goulburn about 40 years ago. After residing for some time at Grena, Mr Harris and his family settled at 'Cherry Hinton' where they had since lived.'

June 1943 - Death of John Arthur Harris

John Arthur Harris (born 1869) died on 10 June 1943 in Goulburn. His obituary was carried in the Goulburn Evening Post of 11 June 1943.

MR J.A. HARRIS. Mr. John Harris, of 122. Clifford Street, better known to his many friends as Jack Harris died yesterday at the Goulburn District Hospital where he was admitted some weeks ago. Mr. Harris had grown up from childhood in Goulburn and for many years past had been a well-known figure in the city. He was one of those kindly souls without an enemy In the world. His many friends will miss his genial smile of greeting and will regret his passing. He was born at Byalla, near Gunning but had lived lived practically all his life in Goulburn, coming here as a child. He was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs George Harris of Goulburn. In his younger days he was a clerk for late Mr Harold O'Brien, who in those days was a leading figure in Goulburn life. Mr Harris took a keen interest In masonry, and was a member of three lodges among them being the Lodge of Australia, of which he was a P.M. He was of a retiring nature but he always took a kindly interest in the welfare of those around him and the city in whlch he lived. He leaves a widow, Mrs Lillian Harris (formerly Dorrington. Six sisters survive. They are : Misses Amy and Florrie Harris, of 'Cherry Hinton' Addison St Goulburn: Mrs. C. Russell (Anne), of North Goulburn: Mrs C Campbell (Ethel) of Sydney; Mrs E Woodhart (Ella), of Sydney, and Mrs P. McAlister (Ruby), of Sydney. A brother, George, predeceased him some 16 years ago. The remains will be cremated at Rookwood, Sydney, to-morrow at 2 o'clock.

Page created 1985, last updated 8 April 2020. Copyright Andrew Warland.