no image
Privacy Level: Open (White)

John Harris (abt. 1754 - 1838)

Dr. John Harris
Born about in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, Irelandmap
Brother of and [half]
Husband of — married 4 Jan 1812 in Puttenham, Surrey, Englandmap
[children unknown]
Died in Sydney, New South
Profile last modified | Created 10 Feb 2018
This page has been accessed 237 times.



John Harris came free to the Colony of New South Wales (1788-1900)
Notables Project
John Harris is Notable.

Buried 2 May 1838. Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

Occupation: India Note: Naval Surgeon. Naval Surgeon.

Event: Arrival 1790 Alt. Death. 27 Apr 1838. Shanes Park, Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia.

Note: #NI1048.

Marriage Husband John Harris. Wife Anne Unknown. Marriage Note: #NF218. Child: William Harris. Child: John Harris. Child: Elizabeth Harris. Child: Robert Harris. Child: George Harris.

Despite having no formal legal training, Harris an officer in the New South Wales Corps was appointed a magistrate. He played an important role in the various political maneuverings that occurred in the fledgling New South Wales colony during its first two decades, including the Rum Rebellion. Among his colleagues during this pivotal early period was his fellow Irish-born surgeon and magistrate, Thomas Jamison. In 1817, he was also one of the founding directors of the Bank of New South Wales.

He returned to England, aged 56, in 1810, to give evidence in the court martial of George Johnston for his role in the Rum Rebellion, and also visited his family in Ireland. He married, and returned to Australia in 1814 on the General Hewett.

Dr. John Harris was a wealthy landowner in the Sydney region as well as one if it's longest serving Magistrates; retaining that position until he died on the 27th of April 1838, leaving property said to be worth £150,000.


Note NI1048Surgeon John Harris travelled to Australia on a convict ship, arriving in 1790. Although he was not official ship's surgeon, he ga v e ev id en ce about conditions on the ship at a later inquiry. He bu il t"Exp eri men t Farm Cottage" on land he bought from James Ruse aft e r its cr op s wer e destroyed by drought. This farm (22 acres) was t h e first la n d gran t in Australia, and Governor Phillip gave it th e n ame "Experi me nt Farm ." Harris named his cottage after the farm . Th e cottage i s no w open t o the public. Harris sponsored Samuel S tinso n to come t o Aust ralia an d work on his property "Kalangan" a t Murru mburrah. Hi s Will l eaves pro poerty to those of his nephew s as are c alled "Joh n Harris" s o his brot hers duly named their son s John.Dr . John Harri s reached Aus tralia as s hips surgeon and a me mber of th e 102nd Regim ent of the NS W Corps on 2 6 June 1790 aboar d the "Surpr ise". In Septe mber 1790 whe n Governor Art hur Phillip w as speared i n the shoulder b y Willemerin g on a beach at M anly, Joh n Harris wa s responsible for h is full recov ery. John Harris f ollow ed Surgeon T homas Arndell in bec oming head o f the Parramatta Hosp i tal on Arndel l's retirement. Harri s also accomp anied Surveyor-Gener a l John Oxle y on his 1818 explorati ons. On this t rip a member of t he pa rty, Wil liam Blake, was speare d in two places b y natives wh o wanted hi s axe . Oxley did notthink th at Blake would rec over fro m his wounds aft e r Harris extracted both s pears, but he never thele ss did recover. H e t ook up a squattage "Kala ngan" (20,000 acres ) f ronting Stoney Cre ek an d "Murrumburrah" (28,00 0 acres) on Currawo n g Creek before 1837 . He i s mentioned in Sturt' s diary on his tri p dow n the Murrumbidge e in 1828 . Harris Park in Sy dney is named af ter him . Dr. Harris did n't marry an d the propertie s went to his ne phew Joh n who was born i n Northern Irel and and cam e to Australia i n 1819. Joh n had at leas t 9 children. Refer ence: "Co nvict Medica l Care ... in th e colony o f New South Wales" by T revor P atrick; "T he Doorals", Journa l of th e Dural & District Historic al So ciety In c., Vol III, 1997 - Th e art icle contains much more intere sti ng bac kground about this man an d t he circumstances of his life in t h e co lony.


  • Online biographies, National Dictionary of Biography (AU) and many more such as:
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 28 March 2021), memorial page for John Harris (1754–27 Apr 1838), Find a Grave Memorial no. 129475219, citing St. John's Cemetery, Parramatta, City of Parramatta Council, New South Wales, Australia ; Maintained by Helen (contributor 46831582) .

Further Reading

  • Russell, Eric, 1982, Drummoyne: a western suburbs history from 1794, second edition, The Municipality of Drummoyne, Drummoyne, New South Wales.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Is John your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon contact private message the profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with John:

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Sponsored by Ancestry ®

Family History Search.


Enter a grandparent's name. Just one grandparent can lead you to many discoveries.


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.