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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Harker, Henry

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1813
Place of birth Toddington, Gloucester, England
Date of arrival 1838
Principal occupation Wheelwright and Blacksmith
Date of death 1862
Place of decease Parkside Lunatic Asylum, Adelaide

Henry Harker was born in Toddington, Gloucester, England in about 1813. He was the oldest son of Edmund Harker and Elizabeth (nee Jones).

Henry Harker (22), his father Edmund, mother Elizabeth and four children, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary and Edward, arrived in Australia on 26 July 1838 aboard Duke of Roxburghe from London. By 1841, Edmund Harker had moved to Port Lincoln while some of the family later moved back to England.

Henry was a wheelwright and blacksmith between about 1846 and 1860 at his business located on lots 56 (owned by Henry) and 55 (owned by his father Edmund) in High Street, Willunga. He lived in the cottage on lot 48 at 13 High Street. Henry was certainly resident in District C by 1846 (Memorial) and resident in Willunga by 1847. He is listed as “Henry Harker, Willunga” in the 1848 Directory. He advertised for a blacksmith to work alongside him in both 1847 and 1853. He was granted a timber licence on 10 February 1849. In January 1851 the Colonial Treasury owed Henry Harker 18 shillings for works associated with “Police and Gaols”. He was the secretary of the McLaren Vale Union Flour Mill Company when it was dissolved in December 1855 and suffered considerable financial losses. He may have sold his blacksmith business in Willunga to Henry Gepp in 1855 because of this financial loss.

In the 1850s Henry also acted on behalf of his father, Edmund, who owned section 495, near McLaren Vale, and lots 18 and 19 in Gloucester (McLaren Vale) as well as part of section 157 and lot 55 in Willunga that were later sold at auction in 1865 and 1874.

Mary Ann Pethick, aged 33 years, (1823-1886) married Henry Harker, aged 38 years, at the residence of her older brother, John Pethick, of Bowithick Farm on 31 May 1855. They had one son, Henry Edward (1857-1858) who died as an infant.

In 1860, Henry’s brothers–in-law, John and William Pethick, petitioned for Henry to be declared a lunatic and they testified that Henry’s wife was of “infirm health” and possibly suffered from epilepsy, making her unable to care for Henry. Henry was tried in the Supreme Court on charges of Lunacy caused by “hard living and intemperance” and he was admitted to the Parkside Lunatic Asylum. Lot 56 was sold to Harrison Powell for £250 in 1861 by William Pethick, acting on behalf of Henry Harker who was then incarcerated in the Asylum, .

Henry Harker died, aged 46 years, on 9 January 1862 in the Adelaide Asylum and he is buried in West Terrace Cemetery. Mary Ann Harker (nee Pethick), aged 64 years, died at the residence of her brother, John Pethick at Bowithick Farm, Aldinga, on 30 July 1884.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • SA Census 1841
  • Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
  • Adelaide Chronicle 3 March 1841:4
  • South Australian Register 15 Dec 1847:1
  • Adelaide Observer 22 June 1850:1
  • South Australian Register 18 May 1853:2
  • Adelaide Observer 25 Nov 1854:6
  • South Australian Register 11 June 1855:2
  • South Australian Register 25 Sept 1855:3
  • South Australian Register 26 Dec 1855:3
  • South Australian Register 20 April 1865:4
  • Evening Journal 30 July 1886:2

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