William Samuel HARVEY

William Samuel Harvey (1861 - 1937)

William Samuel Harvey the son of; William Ambrose and Maria Harvey (nee Wiseman) was born at Teasdale in Victoria on 19 June 1861. He was one of a family of thirteen children of whom six died in infancy or early childhood. He thus grew up in a family of seven children consisting of five older sisters namely Sarah, Emma, Susannah, Alice and Maria and a younger brother Albert Edward. The family moved from Teasdale to Inverleigh in 1863, to Scarsdale in 1869 and finally to Ballarat in 1876, at which time William was fifteen years old.

We do not know where William was employed during the following eight years, but records show that he became a dedicated salvationist; the Salvation Army early in 1883 having opened a centre known as "Soldier's Hill" in Ballarat. This was the sixth centre opened. - The 'Army' having commenced activities in Victoria the previous December. William must have been one of it's earliest members, for by May 1884 he held the highest possible rank for an untrained lay member - namely that of Sergeant Major.

On the third of that month he left Ballarat to attend a "Training Home" possibly at Brunswick. One month later we find he had moved to Sandridge where he held his first position as an officer. December that same year he moved to Malvern.

We are not certain where he was to meet Sarah Hannah Gentle of Tangambalanga, but it is feasible to assume it was at Benalla, where he was posted in January 1885, and where Sarah's sister Ann resided.

It being the custom of the Salvation Army to move their Officers every six months, thus in the next seven years William was stationed in at least fifteen different towns. By November that year (1885), William was stationed at Stawell, for it was here on Tuesday 17th of that month he married Sarah. A very detailed report was given in 'The War Cry' the following Saturday.

In the ensuing years they were to be domiciled in many different towns in both Victoria and South Australia. We know these included: Brighton, Horsham, Allendale, Eaglehawk, Ballarat, Portland, Port Fairy, Maryborough, St. Arnaud, Warracknabeal, Daylesford and then to both Norwood and Mt. Gambier in South Australia, before returning to Victoria for a short appointment at Fitzroy.

It appears for the birth of each of their three children, Sarah may have traveled to his mother's home as their births were registered in Ballarat. The first child was Lillie. Lillie Gentle, (named after William's sister Lily Rosa who died when William was eight years old) was born on 21 August 1886. (When registering his daughter's birth William misspelt her name.)

They had six more children in the ensuing years - Ruby May 1887 (Ballarat), Ernest William 1889 (Ballarat East), Arthur Leslie 1891 (Mt Gambier) - who died that same year, Bertie Samuel 1892 (Benalla), Elsie Emily 1894 (Ballarat), and lastly Roy Collington 1904 (Beechworth).

Being unable to support his family on the meagre remuneration he received from the Salvation Army, William was forced to resign. It would appear that this occurred circa. 1893. During that period the family were living in Benalla. In 1894 we know he was employed at "Williams the Shoeman" in Sturt St. Ballarat; the family living in the premises above the shop. We next find they have moved to Ararat where his obituary states he was the manager of a boot store. ( He was following in his father's footsteps, for his father was a shoemaker.) In 1896 the family made their final move - to Beechworth.

Through the following years William had a diversity of employment - to say the least! - firstly as manager of the Book & Confectionery stores owned by Mr. W. S. Keat. We find him listed as a grocer, a traveler (salesman), then entering business on his own account as stationer and newsagent. In his latter years until his retirement due to ill health he was an auctioneer. He then for sometime was the Librarian at the Beechworth Public Library. He also acquired a small income from the wooden toys he made in the shed in his backyard. He was a good craftsman with wood, making not only toys but also furniture. He was also interested and involved in mining, ever hoping for the elusive pot of gold. He and Mr. Edgar owned and worked a mine at Three Mile ,near Beechworth, but this and his other mining ventures were referred to by his son Ernest as "a waste of money, just like betting on horses". He inevitably lost money rather than gained it which he could ill afford for never was he affluent.

In Beechworth, the family lived in a rented house (now number seven) in William Street between Loch and Finch Streets, where William and Sarah remained to the end of their lives - both dying in that home.

In so many ways William was very similar to his father, making many moves of residence and having multiple occupations. He had been reared in a deeply religious home and although he left the service of the Salvation Army he remained a churchman being a staunch adherent of the Methodist Church for forty five years. During that time he had filled every office in both the church and the Sunday school including that of circuit steward and also held the positions of choirmaster and lay preacher. For many years he was the Lay Representative for the Beechworth Methodist Church at the Victorian - Tasmanian Conference. This long service was recognised with the presentation of a certificate in 1935. Another very ornate certificate bearing his name states that he voted in the July 1899 Referendum. All who did so received a certificate in recognition of their action.

His obituary in the Beechworth local paper, "Advertiser", states "Although of a retiring nature, whilst in business he took a keen interest in the Forward Beechworth Movement and at all times championed Beechworth as a holiday and tourist resort". His youngest Roy inherited his fathers interest and belief in the town's future and contributed greatly to the successful "tourist's mecca" it is today. Roy's book "Background to Beechworth 1852 - 1952" published at the time of the centennial celebrations is still recognised as the best historical record of the town.

William was a lover of music; for many years a choir master in the Methodist Church. He also possessed the gift of artistry;drawing in pen & ink, crayon and painting with water colours. One of his granddaughters cherishes some of his framed pictures which originally hung in the kitchen and dining room of his home. He had a special expertise in drawing birds and animals, - horses in particular. Certificates in the possession of his granddaughter show that he exhibited drawings in Ballarat at the Juvenile Australian Exhibition in 1878 and received an Honorary Prize Diploma at the Ararat Art and Industrial Exhibition in 1894.

He loved flowers and was a wonderful gardener - a gift he passed on to the eldest daughter and two of his sons. His garden was very English in style and plants, his favorite flowers being daisies and fuschias. He moulded his own concrete urn planters which when filled with flowers so aptly suited the design of his garden.

William was somewhat small of stature, always immaculate, his clothes spotless and his curly hair and "handlebar" moustache neatly combed. In every way he was a gentle man. He was a good husband and father but never very successful in any of his business ventures.

His grandchildren, who knew him as "Father", felt he was the "lesser" partner, but he was content in that role. In the terminology of the day "his wife wore the pants" - for this was a time when such were worn solely by men.

After an illness extending over two years he died on the December 31, 1937, aged 76 and was buried in the Beechworth Cemetery.


Allendale, 1

Ararat, 1, 2

Ballarat, 1, 2

Beechworth, 1, 1, 2, 2

Benalla, 1, 2

Brighton, 1

Brunswick, 1

Daylesford, 1

Eaglehawk, 1

EDGAR,Mr., 2

Fitzroy, 1

GENTLE, Sarah Hannah 1, 2

HARVEY, Albert Edward, 1     

HARVEY, Alice, 1      

HARVEY, Arthur Leslie, 1

HARVEY, Bertie,Samuel 1

HARVEY, Elsie Emily, 1

HARVEY, Emma, 1

HARVEY, Ernest William, 1

HARVEY, Lillie,Gentle 1

HARVEY, Lily, Rosa, 1  

HARVEY, Marie, 1

HARVEY, Roy Collington, 1, 2

HARVEY, Sarah, 1

HARVEY, Susannah, 1

HARVEY, Ruby, 1     

HARVEY, William Ambrose 1

HARVEY, William Samuel 1, 2

Horsham, 1

Inverleigh, 1

KEAT, W.S. Mr., 2

Library, Beechworth Public, 2

Malvern, 1

Marybourgh, 1

Methodist, Church, 2

Mt. Gambier, 1

Norwood, 1

Port Fairy, 1

Portland, 1

Salvation Army, 1, 2

Sandridge, 1

Scarsdale, 1

St. Arnould, 1

Tangambalanga, 1

Teasdale, 1

Warracknabeal, 1

William's the Shoeman, 2

Wiseman, Maria, 1