Another of the district’s old pioneers has crossed the Great Divide. Death claimed John Harris just before midnight last night, thus removing a fine old personality from our midst, after living a life full of usefulness and goodness for the past 90 years.
The late Mr Harris was born near Molong, exactly three weeks after his parents had arrived in this land, and he had lived practically the whole of his life in this district. In his young days, with his elder brother James, who is still well and hearty at 93 years of age, these young men were well-known jockeys when owners thought nothing of travelling their horses for great distances per road, and then racing them over three miles, probably in heats with a final to follow. Both were great horseman. Mr John Harris was also a noted buck-jump rider, and many a wild horse was tamed by him during his young days, while there was no better stockman in the west. With his brothers, he took up farming, and spent the whole of his life on the land at Suntop, now occupied by his only sun Mr. Herb Harris. He was a very wiry man, and up till 12 months ago, would ride his horse about the run. One has only to try and go back in the mist of that almost forgotten period to visualise the task such men as the late Mr Harris had in blazing the track for the present generation. What indomitable spirits they possessed. Droughts and fires assailed them just the same as they do today, and the latter was a more formidable enemy, as the land was more thickly wooded and the appliances to combat an outbreak were not so good as today. Yet they lived through it all and came out on top. One has surely to raise their hats to such men. Mr Harris had a wonderful memory for one so old, and he could recall and relate many wonderful stories of the dim and distant past, and tell of the great changes that had taken place since the time he was first able to go out and work compared with the town and district as it stands today. Unfortunately, death is removing all too quickly these fine old men and women from our midst.
The late Mr Harris always took a keen interest in everything for the welfare of the town and district. He was a keen supporter of the P.A. and H. Society, and had only missed two exhibitions since the inauguration of the Society. It was only natural that he should, after his great experience in his young days as a rider, be interested in racing, and he was always a member of the various racing clubs in this town, as well as the Trotting Club, when that body was a live institution in the west.
The deceased had been in fairly good health until a short while ago. He came into town to live, residing on the Wellington Flat for the past two years with his daughter. On Wednesday evening last he was stricken down with a stroke, and it was seen from the start that there was not much hope for him, as his life was quietly ebbing away, but with that indomitable spirit which he had shown through his life, his stout heart battled on, until he passed peacefully away last night.
He is survived by one brother Mr James Harris, of Wellington, a sister Mrs Heaton of Queensland, one son Mr Herbert Harris of Suntop, and a daughter Miss Irene Harris of Wellington. The remains were encased in a polished casket and were taken to St Patrick’s Church, and after the prayers for the dead had been recited by Father Foley, the remains were interred in the Catholic portion of the Wellington Cemetery this afternoon, the funeral being a large and representative one. The services at the graveside were read by Rev. Father Foley. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs J Thompson and Son.
Wellington Times, 8 Oct 1936
Mr Peter Harris of Suntop, is a brother of the late Mr John Harris who died on Sunday night last. His name was inadvertently missed from the obituary notice on Monday last.
'Harris, John (1848–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/harris-john-1690/text1816, accessed 22 May 2013.