Bertie Thomas HARRIS, b. 24th April 1901, Tooraweenah NSW, d. 26th April, Baradi...


Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre


Bertie Thomas HARRIS, b. 24th April 1901, Tooraweenah NSW, d. 26th April, Baradine Hospital NSW

About this object

Taken from The Harris Family of Baradine, NSW: `World Record Shearers'
In the very early days of the twentieth century - in fact, on the 24th April 1901, Bertie Thomas Harris was born on a property called "Rosewood" at Tooraweenah, New South Wales, only a few kilometres south-westerly from Baradine. He did some schooling at Tooraweenah till the age of 12, then worked on rural properties in the area, later moving to Baradine, and further on to Wee Waa about 60 miles/96kms north-east of Baradine, as the crow flies.
During life on his own farm, and while working others, he became an expert shearer, and proved himself a very good rural worker and could comb the fleece off a couple of hundred a day. But he found time when he met Grace Violet Player of Mudgee, to marry her, and subsequently they produced 12 sons and 8 daughters.
All of the 12 sons became good shearers, and one daughter a qualified woolclasser. So this family must have been, in itself, a world record shearing family - dad and his 12 boys could have contracted a 12 stand shed.
When Bertie Harris left his farm he retired to Baradine and became a shearing contractor, and his wife was always cook for the outfit. So it was usual to find a shed in the Baradine, Coonamble, Tooraweenah, Gilgandra, Pilliga, Wee Waa or Walgett area which was contracted by Bertie Harris with 2, 3, 4, 5 up to 6 of his own sons doing the shearing and his wife the shearers' cook.
Unfortunately no one thought to arrange a shed of 12 stands and record the whole family in action at the one time. However, Frank Duncan, a stock and station agent of Baradine cast an idea around which eventuated in the Sunbeam Shearing Corporation of Sydney in conjunction with K.J. Bird & Son of Coonabarabran agents and Rural Suppliers arranging for the Harris Bros. to all shear at "Goorianawa Station" on 6th August 1994.
Very sadly Mr and Mrs Harris had passed away before that date, and three of their sons and two daughters were also deceased. However, the picture you can see here (enclosure - see Unsung Hero File), shows the 9 brothers who shore together at the one time, in the one shed at "Goorianawa", on the 6th August 1994. Six of these brothers also shore together at Mt.Tenandra Station and five at "Caledonia" Merino Stud near Baradine. At these sheds, on all occasions, their father was contractor and their mother was the shearers' cook.
A second photo (enclosure - see Unsung Hero File) shows the 9 brothers with their 6 sisters at the Goorianawa shearing. Also on the 6th August 1994, 9 nephews of the Harris Bros. lined up and shore together. A strip photo (enclosure - see Unsung Hero File) shows about 60 people all members of the Harris family.
The 9 brothers have lodged a claim with the Guinness Book of Records, as being the largest number of brothers to have shorn together in the one shed at the same time.
In 1988 Mrs Harris was nominated as "Centenary Woman of the Year" for which there were 1,200 nominations. Mrs. Harris was commended on her part in raising such a large and highly respected family, and she was one of only 10 recipients of the Commemoration Medal.
Further note: The 5 Harris sisters did all the picking up during the days shearing.

Subject and Association Description

Married: 17th November 1925, Mudgee NSW
Spouse: Grace Violet
Children: Twelve sons (all shearers) & Eight daughters (one a qualified woolclasser)
Resided: Tooraweenah NSW|Wee Waa NSW|Baradine NSW (forty-seven years)

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Susan Shaw 04 Sep 2015 23:10 PM,UTC

Bertie was my great uncle... my grandmother Mary was his sister.. nice to find info like this.. thank you! :)

Kat Harris 26 Sep 2013 12:06 PM,UTC

Most likely

sharon Ridyard 24 Jan 2013 21:36 PM,UTC

I have been looking for information of my family tree. Walter Henry Harris...born 1890 at Arthur Abraham & Annie Harris of "Honeysuckle farm", to date as all that I can find are a couple of head stones at Coona cemetry. Please respond and tell me if Bertie is a relations to my grandfather Walter...Cheers Sharon Ridyard



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