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National Trust of South Australia


Powell, Harrison

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth c. 1821
Place of birth Ashbourne Derbyshire
Principal occupation Attorney
Date of death 1879
Place of decease Willunga

Harrison Powell was the youngest son of John Folliott Powell Esquire and Frances Powell and was probably born in Ashbourne Derbyshire in England, where he was baptised on 23 June 1821. The family lived for a time at Tempsford Hall, Bedford and Harrison was articled to one William Powell, perhaps an uncle, for five years in order to become an attorney at law. The circumstances behind Harrison’s arrival in South Australia are unknown. It is possible that he voyaged out on the Countess of Yarborough where an “H. Powell” is listed among the passengers. Harrison was employed by a Mr Wigley, an attorney as his clerk by December 1850. In August 1856, a James Harrison Powell is appointed as Bailiff to Willunga Court, but we are unsure whether this is the same man.

Harrison Powell married Harriet Frances Beeston at Trinity Church in Adelaide on December 30, 1859. The bride’s father was the late John Charles Beeston Esquire. On January 31, 1861, Harriet produced a son, which they named Francis Douglas. In 1862, Harrison Powell appeared in the Willunga Court for threatening language against Dr Jay. However, Dr Jay was not entirely innocent himself. An account of the case appeared in the South Australian Register, as follows: Threatening Language.— Richard G. Jay answered to the information of Harrison Powell for using threatening and abusive language towards him on the 23rd of April. It appeared from the evidence that the defendant came to the house of Mr. Shaw, where he found the complainant, and that in consequence of some epithets bestowed on him by the latter on a former occasion he refused to have any communication with him until he apologized for his 'gross and unmerited insult,' adding that he 'deserved a horsewhipping,' on account of the use of which language the present information was laid. The case was dismissed.— A cross-information, laid against Harrison Powell by R.G. Jay for using abusive and scandalous lan- guage towards him, and which consisted in the defendant's having called him a humbug and one or two other like epithets on the last Courtday, was also dismissed

Sadly, on 4 May 1863, Harriet died.

In September 1863, Harrison was given the honour of laying the foundation stone of the Oddfellows Hall in Willunga. Harrison was a long-term member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, and was a PG (Past Grand - i.e. has presided over a lodge) of the Loyal Willunga Lodge. According to the South Australian Register:

A bottle was placed under the [foundation] stone containing the daily newspapers, several coins, and a document which ran as follows:—Odd Fellows Hall ' The foundation stone of this building was laid on the 4th day of September, I863, by Harrison Powell, Esq. The Governor of this colony— Sir Dominick Daly ; the Donor of the ground— the late Edward Rowlands: Trustees of the building Thomas Atkinson, Thomas Martin, John Hardy, P.G.; Building Committee— James Hughes, John Hardy, John Allen. Z. Williams, R. Crafter; contractor-James Wheatley, Adelaide. The present building is intended as an Oddfellows' Hall, as also for purposes of an intellectual and scientific character' [1]

On 26 May 1864, Harrison married again to Margaret Elinore Pounsett. It appears that the occasion may have been a double wedding as Margaret’s sister, Elizabeth Jane, married Mr James Hughes at the same church, St Stephens in Willunga on the same date. Reverend E.K. Miller presided. Harrison and Margaret lived at Carisbrook Cottage, Atkinson Drive Willunga. Harrison was also active in the Willunga District Council. Harrison and Margaret were to have four children, but sadly, two died in infancy.

Harrison died from asthma at his home, Carisbrook Cottage, on 17 August 1879. He is buried at St Stephen’s Anglican cemetery.

[1] Unfortunately, the foundation stone can no longer be seen. The current owners of the building believe that it may have been removed when the front porch was added.


  • [[ Derbyshire England Select Church of England Parish Registers 1538-1910 [database on-line]. Provo UT USA: Operations Inc. 2014. Family Notices. South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide SA : 1858 - 1867) 31 December 1859: 1 (Supplement to the South Australian Weekly Chronicle.). Web. 14 Dec 2018 <>]]
  • "Advertising" Evening Journal (Adelaide
  • SA : 1869 - 1912) 18 August 1879: 2 (SECOND EDITION). Web. 14 Dec 2018 <>
  • "LOCAL COURTS." South Australian Register (Adelaide SA : 1839 - 1900) 27 May 1862: 3. Web. 14 Dec 2018
  • ODDFELLOWS HALL WILLUNGA. (1863 September 8). South Australian Register (Adelaide SA : 1839 - 1900) p. 3. Retrieved December 23 2018 from
Carisbrook Cottage, the home of Harrison Powell.
Carisbrook Cottage, the home of Harrison Powell.

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