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Harrigan, William (1857–1948)

As briefly mentioned in last issue, on September 4, at the age of 90 years, Mr William Harrigan passed away at his residence, Spring Farm, Paynes Lane, Tarrawanna.

He was a native of this district haying lived his life in the home originally built by his father the late Edward Harrigan, who was born on the settlement near the tank stream in Sydney in 1803 and came to this district in 1818 cutting cedar for his livelihood on the mountain slopes. He was granted an area of sixty acres, known as Spring Farm, in 1829 on which he and his sons have remained in possession ever.

Wiiliam Harrigan received his early education at the Fairy Meadow Public School, his first teacher being Mr. Hookins and later Mr. Richardson. It was while at this school he helped plant the large Moreton Bay figtree that still stands majestic in the school grounds, giving shelter to the many children during the summer months. He has always taken a keen interest in the affairs of this school and was for many years Patron of the Parents and Citizens Association.

At an early age he showed a leaning towards the carpentering trade and at the age of 14 was sent to Leichhardt to learn this trade and cabinet making. At that period there was only one house in the Leichhardt district.

On returning to Illawarra, he was employed at the South Bulli, Corrimal and Mount Pleasant mines, as a pit sawyer, miner and carpenter and he built much of the big timber construction at that time. He also built many bridges for the North Illawarra Council.

As a young man he joined the Wollongong Garrison Artillery Volunteers and later became a member of the Wollongong Rifle Club and was connected with this for over forty five years. He was a first class rifle shot, his club mates giving him the prefix 'Bull's Eye'' Harrigan because of his proficiency. He attended many interstate rifle meetings and shot with much success, being awarded the Queen's Badge at Victoria besides many other trophies, etc. He was very fond of clean sport but rifle shooting was his pick.

In his early youth he became a member of th G.U.O.O.F. and was associated with this fraternity until his death.

For a considerable time he was an alderman of the North Illawarra Municipal Council where he was renowned for his sound judgement in determining the destinies of this body.

Many acts of benevolence are attributed to him during the years by the distribution of his farm products to the needy families in the vicinity and of the remittance of house rent when the bread winners were unable to obtain employment.

At the age of 24 he married Miss Elizabeth Williamson, who was born at Dapto, and from the union four sons were born, Charles Edward, and William James, of Deer Vale (Dorrigo) and Herbert Earnest and William Leslie, well known in this city.

In the later years of his life many people visited him at Spring Farm, seeking advice on the early days of this district or to have a chat over old times and indeed it was an hour or two well spent to sit and listen to him relating happenings of 80 years ago or more for his memory was unimpaired till the day of his death.

The funeral which was attended by many representatives of this district bore testimony to the passing of one of nature's gentlemen and was conducted by H. Parsons and Sons, life long friends of the family. The long cortege left the old home (his last wish) at 3 o'clock on Monday, September 6 for the Church of England Cemetery, Wollongong, where his remains were laid to rest beside those of his late wife.

The Rev. Osborne-Brown assisted by Rev. A. A. Mutton, officiated at the grave side.

Original publication

  • South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus (NSW), 16 September 1948, p 13 (view original)

Citation details

'Harrigan, William (1857–1948)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/harrigan-william-26077/text34099, accessed 18 October 2018.

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