The death of Colden Harrison
Widespread regret will be caused by the announcement of the death of Mr. H.C.A. Harrison, the father of football in Australia and the originator of the Australian game. Mr Harrison who was aged 92 years died last night at his home, Molonglo, 58 Walpole Street, Kew.
Mr Harrison was born on October 16, 1836 at Jarvisfield, Picton (N.S.W.) the station homestead of his uncle. Major H. C. Antill who had gone to Sydney in 1809 with the 73rd Regiment. Major Antill was aide-de-camp to Governor Macquaric, and named his station, which he received as a military grant, after the general under whom he fought in the Peninsular War.
Mr. Harrison's father was a retired sea captain who had come to Australia with his wife in a cutter of about 40 tons which he had fitted out and sailed himself. Leaving the sea, Mr. Harrison, senior, decided to take up land in Port Phillip which was then part of New South Wales. In 1837 he travelled overland with his wife, his infant son, and his stock to Victoria from the station which he had already established on the Molonglo River, close to the site of Canberra. The journey occupied about three months. Most of the party remained in the Goulburn Valley taking up land there but Captain Harrison finally settled on the River Plenty, near where the Yan Yean reservoir is now.
Oldest old Melburnian
Eventually Captain Harrison made his home at Swan Water, on the Avoca River, until 1850, when he came to live in Melbourne and sent his son to the Diocesan Grammar School at Eastern Hill, under the head mastership of Mr Richard Hale Budd. That school was the forerunner of the Melbourne Grammar School, and Mr. Harrison for many years has claimed to be the oldest Old Melburnian. Among his schoolfellows were such well known men as Thomas Hepburn, William Godfrey Hewitt, the Chomleys (six brothers), Robert and Herbert Power, John Burnett Box, later a County Court judge, James Liddle Purves, K. C., whose name is next that of H.C.A. Harrison on the school roll, and Hussey Burgh Macartney. Mr. Harrison entered the Customs department at the end of 1853 as tide officer, with his office at Williamstown, where, in the course of his duties, he boarded such famous ships as Marco Polo and the Great Britain. At the end of five years Mr Harrison was transferred to Melbourne, and, except for a year spent at Geelong, remained in the head office until 1888. He was then transferred to the Titles Office as chief clerk, and later was appointed registrar-general and registrar of titles. From this office he retired on pension in 1900.
Arranged first football game
Mr. Harrison has been called the "Father of Australian Football." In 1856, his cousin, Tom Wills, who had been captain of the Rugby school cricket and football teams, and had gained his "blue" for cricket at Cambridge, arrived in Victoria, and these two young men arranged the first game of football, and later drafted the rules of the code which is now known as the Australian game.
Mr. Harrison was a splendid runner and of robust constitution, and was regarded as one of the best footballers of his day. Not only did he play, but it was due to his efforts that the first meeting was called to consider the rules. He was the chairman of that meeting, which was held on May 8, 1866, but he had already captained the Melbourne and Geelong clubs.
In 1877, when the Victorian Football Association was formed, Mr Harrison was appointed a vice president, and he retained an official position until the League, to mark its appreciation of his work, elected him its first life member. As soon as the Australian Football Council was formed he was elected a life member of that body also. He was the chairman of the first Australian Football Council in 1905, and there he was given the official designation of "Father of the Game."
Mr Harrison's association with the Melbourne Cricket Club has extended from 1861. He was elected to the committee in 1871 and was appointed a vice president in 1892. He had a remarkable memory, and in 1923 when he was aged 80 years, he published his reminiscences under the title of "The Story of An Athlete: A Picture of the Past." This book was widely read, for it contained much of interest about early Melbourne and Victoria.
A family of four daughters survives him. One, Miss Kate Harrison, was chosen recently as ‘queen of football’ in the ‘queen of charity’ competition organised by the committee of the Women's Hospital in connection with its special appeal.
The funeral will leave his home at Kew for the Boroondarra Cemetery tomorrow afternoon at half past 3 o'clock. The arrangements are being made by A. A. Sleight Pty. Ltd.
Title: "FATHER OF FOOTBALL." MR. H.C.A. HARRISON DEAD. Successful All-round Athlete. Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, 1848-1956) Date: Tuesday, 3 September 1929, p.7 (Article Illustrated) Author: Argus Staff Writer Web: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4034734
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