State Library of South Australia logoSA Memory heading
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Harris Scarfe

George Peter Harris arrived in South Australia in February 1849. He established an ironmongery with John Lanyon in Hindley Street, Adelaide. The partnership between Harris and Lanyon ended in early 1855 and Lanyon returned to England. Harris continued the business alone and it grew enough to require larger premises. The company, now known as Geo. P Harris, Ironmonger, moved to Gawler Place in 1864.

George Scarfe established his ironmongery in 1855 on North Parade, Port Adelaide. In 1864 Scarfe moved his business to the Hindley Street premises formerly occupied by Harris.  Harris, Scarfe and a third man, Richard Smith who had been employed by Harris for three years, went into partnership in 1866. The company name became G. P. Harris, Scarfe and Co.

Harris returned to visit family in England in 1873 and died whilst there. Scarfe and Smith continued the business and George Scarfe's brother, Thomas R. Scarfe, joined the business several years later.

The Company occupied premises in Grenfell Street, which it continues to occupy today, from 1877. Some sections, such as the timber department, were located at other sites. George Scarfe died in 1903 and Smith in 1919.

In 1920, the company name was changed to Harris Scarfe Limited. At this time, the business sold a wide variety of products including farm and garden implements, buggyware, tools, hardware and homeware. The Grenfell Street premises included an arcade, which ran the length of the building between Grenfell and Rundle Streets. The arcade provided display space for merchandise. This was demolished in 1937 to create one large open showroom.

In the post-war years of the 1950s Harris Scarfe Ltd. evolved from a hardware wholesaler to a retail department store. In the mid-1960s buildings in Rundle Street were purchased increasing the store's Rundle Street frontage considerably.

In the 1990s Harris Scarfe Limited rapidly expanded, at its peak having 35 stores nationwide. In more recent years the company has been plagued by financial mismanagement. It went into receivership in April 2001 and was subsequently bought by a group of private investors. Today Harris Scarfe has nine stores in South Australia and 15 in Victoria and Tasmania.

Advertisement for G.P. Harris, Scarfe, & Co.
View item details
Add To My SA Memory
Advertisement for Harris, Scarfe, Limited
View item details
Add To My SA Memory
Grenfell Street: Premises of Harris Scarfe
View item details
Add To My SA Memory
Tool catalogue : [front cover]
View item details
Add To My SA Memory

Items 1 - 4 of 4



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on