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Job Harris
Title : Job Harris Job Harris
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Creator : Kathleen Emms
Place Of Creation : SA
Date of creation : November 2015
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Job Harris (22 July 1840 - 12 January 1882), store keeper, post master, hotelier, and gold miner, was a South Australian prominently associated with the discovery of gold at the Barossa goldfields.

Early life

Job Harris was born in Neath, Glamorgan Wales on 22 July 1840, the eldest son of George (1810-1851) and Mary Harris (1814-1890). He had an older sister Ann (1838-1927) and four younger siblings Elizabeth (1843-1845), Hannah (1845-1868), David (1847-1885) and Benjamin George (1851-1936).[1]

South Australia

The Harris family of George, Mary and four children Ann, Job, Hannah and David migrated to South Australia on the 'Providence' which left Swansea 24th May 1849, and arrived at Port Adelaide on 16th September, 1849.[2]

George Harris was a brick maker employed at Burra. He died 10th January 1851 when Mary was expecting their 6th child. Benjamin George Harris was born near the smelting works at Burra Burra 2nd June 1851.[3]

Mary Harris remarried in South Australia in 1857 to James Davies, a Welshman who had previously been married with a family.[3] They moved to Bertha, Willaston where James built and operated lime kilns. [4]

Job Harris moved to Willaston with his family and as a keen cricketer, he was on the committee of the Gawler Cricket Club in 1861.[5]

In April 1862 Job advertised that he had purchased the Willaston Stores from Mrs Gilbert and in 1864, he operated the first Post Office at Willaston from his store.[6][7]

Job Harris married Mary Hattam (1843-1923) at St Peters Church, Williamstown on 2nd September 1862. Mary's father Samuel Hattam, a Cornishman, was a blacksmith at Williamstown.

Job and Mary Harris had 7 children: Elizabeth (1864-1869), Louisa Jane (Harris) Parmenter (1865-1957), Alfred James (1867-1957), Herbert George (1870-1952), Elizabeth Saunders (Harris) Stevens (1872-1945), William Lewis (1875-1966), Mary (Harris) Vivian (1880-1962).

1867 saw Job apply to the Adelaide Licensing Bench for a licence to operate the Sandy Creek Hotel, Sandy Creek.[8]

Sadly, in 1868, Job's younger surviving sister Hannah, died at Bertha, Willaston. She is buried in the Willaston Cemetery in the Davies/Harris family plot.[9]

Job's older sister, Ann Harris married William Lewis (1835-1903) in 1869 at Cambrian Cottage, Bertha, the residence of the bride's mother, (Mary Davies).[10] William Lewis was also a Welsh immigrant who had run the lime kilns in partnership with Ann's stepfather, James Davies. William and Ann resided at Brighton where William established lime kilns in 1880 and began the Brighton Cement Works, which were officially opened on 12 December 1882. William Lewis produced the first portland cement in Australia. On Ocean Boulevard and Scholefield Road, Seacliff, a monument commemorates the first Portland cement made in Australia.[11]

David Harris, younger brother of Job, who migrated as a 2 year old to South Australia, married Mary Pankhurst in 1872 at the residence of Mr. J. L. Morris, Buchsfeldt. His occupation was listed as a lime burner. In 1875, David was listed as an employee of the Virginia Gold Mining Company, Northern Territory and was a passenger on the SS Gothenburg, in February 1875. The steamship left Darwin en route to Adelaide when a cyclone-strength storm was encountered and the SS Gothenburg sank off the north Queensland coast, 24th February, 1875. Only 22 men survived the wreck while 98-112 people died, including many dignitaries and high profile South Australian civil servants. Harris Street in Millner, Darwin is named after David Harris.[12] In 1876, David and his wife Mary moved to Green's Plains (Paskeville) as a pioneering farmer. They had 8 children. David died 23rd May, 1885[13] and is buried at Kadina.

Benjamin George Harris, Job's only sibling born in South Australia, also moved to Green's Plains (Paskeville) in 1876 to pioneer an adjoining 1,500 acre scrub block to David's land. Benjamin married Eliza Rosa Harvey in 1876 and they lived at first in a pine and daub home. Benjamin and Eliza had 10 children and Eliza died in 1900 at Kadina, and Benjamin died in 1936 at Blackwood.[14]. Both are buried at Kadina.

Barossa Goldfields

October, 1868 that "The South Australian Register" of 6th October as well as "The South Australian Advertiser" reported that "On Thursday week last [24th September] a party, including Mr. Job Harris, of the Sandy Creek Hotel, Mr. Gerver, and others, set out to explore in the unsold land beyond the Cockatoo Valley. Quietly they set to work in a spot where from previous knowledge of the ground they had reason to look for the colour of gold. They had not been at work many days before they had accumulated a nice little show of nuggets and dust. The first hole was sunk some thirteen feet before their operations attracted much notice."

A claim was taken out on 25th September 1868 by Job Harris one mile north of the South Para River, about five miles from Gawler by the course of the river, and about five miles south-west from Lyndoch.[15]

"Mr. Job Harris's party made their first finding a few yards away from the water in one of the very few flats to be found along the Spike. After going a depth of 13 feet they have left it for the present and joined in the scramble for gold close alongside the waterline."[15]

"Mr. Job Harris, landlord of the Sandy Creek Hotel, and claimant of the Government reward for the discovery of a new goldfield, called upon us on Monday morning with 1.25 oz. of beautiful gold".[16]

Job Harris was not immediately paid the reward for discovering gold because as "The South Australian Advertiser" reported on 8th October, 1868 "he will have to wait till the conditions attached to the reward are fulfilled, those conditions being that 10,000 ozs. of gold shall be raised, and 500 licences taken out within six months".

Eventually enough gold was found to make it possible for Job Harris to claim his reward but only "£750 was awarded for the discovery of the Barossa diggings [and] was given to Mr. Job Harris and party, six in all, each receiving £125" [The South Australian Advertiser, Friday 20 May 1870, page 2].

On Friday, 9th October, 1868, a new company known as the "Yatta Creek Gold Reefing Venture" with 25 shares was formed at the offices of Messrs. Cullen & Wigley, Solicitors, King William Street, Adelaide. Messrs. Job Harris and Mr. Win. McMinn held shares, "free of calls, as those gentlemen started the enterprise".[17]

In 1873 Job Harris, I H. Duxbury, John Jones and A. Edwards were the promoters of a new mining company, The "GAWLER GOLD MINING COMPANY," HISSEY'S GULLY, BAROSSA (TO BE LIMITED), with a nominal capital of £12,000. Twelve Thousand Shares of (£1) one pound each were to be issued, whereof 6,000 Shares were to be issued as fully paid-up, and subject to no pecuniary liability to the Promoters.[18]

By the end of January 1869, a number of crushing companies had been formed and The South Australian Advertiser reported on 29th December 1869 that "On Monday, December 27, the English and Scottish Bank purchased for £500 a lump of gold in the form of a cup, weighing 130 ozs. 8 dwts., all of which came from the claim of Messrs. Job Harris and company, and was crushed out at the new machine of the Victoria Gold and Quartz Crushing Company".[21]


Job and Mary Harris continued to run the Sandy Creek Hotel, their first daughter Elizabeth, dying there on 14th July, 1869 of Typhoid fever. The stables at the hotel burnt down on Sunday, 12th September 1869 thought to be due to a broken lantern and in 1870 Job had a saddle and bridle, as well as a mare left in his charge stolen by a boy who worked for him. New Year's Day of 1878 saw sports being held in Job Harris's paddock at Sandy Creek, a day much enjoyed by all.

Job Harris died on 12th January, 1882 at Sandy Creek, of ulcers of the stomach.

Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954) Friday 13 January 1882

Death of Mr. Job Harris. - Last night Mr Job Harris, of the Sandy Creek Hotel somewhat unexpectedly passed away. Deceased had been about 14 years at the hotel, and formerly resided at Willaston. He was well known, and much respected.

Funeral Notice THE FRIENDS of the late JOB HARRIS are respectfully informed that his REMAINS will leave his late residence, Sandy Creek Hotel, for interment in the Willaston Cemetery on SATURDAY Afternoon at Two o'clock. TAYLOR & FORGIE, Undertakers



1. [Harris family Bible] Testament newyad. Blackfriars, Llundian, George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, 1826.

2. South Australian Register, 19 September 1849, p4

3. South Australian BDM index

4. Bunyip (Gawler, SA ) 23 February 1883, p2

5. The South Australian Advertiser, 2 October 1861, p2

6. Adelaide Observer, 19 April 1862, p1

7. Bunyip (Gawler, SA) 5 November 1864, p6

8. South Australian Register, 13 March 1867, p3

9. The South Australian Advertiser, 7 August 1868, p2

10. South Australian Register, 30 December 1869, p2

11. Wikipedia: Adelaide Brighton Cement

12. Wikipedia: SS Gothenburg

13. South Australian Register, 29 May 1885, p4

14. The Advertiser, 9 June 1936, p16

15. South Australian Register, 5 October 1868, p2

16. The South Australian Advertiser, 6 October 1868, p3

17. The South Australian Advertiser, 10 October 1868, p2

18. The South Australian Advertiser, 23 June 1873, p1

19. The South Australian Advertiser, 29 December 1869, p2

Place : Barossa Goldfields Historical Society
Region : Mt Lofty Ranges and Eastern Plain



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