Eric Frank Sheather, 19282002 (aged 73 years)

Eric Frank /Sheather/
Death of a maternal grandfather


There were expressions of regret on all sides in this district on Saturday last when a message came from Coff's Harbor conveying the sad news of the death of Mr. Frederick William Harrigan, a highly respected resident of Dorrigo for many years and a member of one of the first parties of land-seekers who came to the district between 30 and 40 years ago to carve out homes for themselves.

It was not generally known that Mr. Harrigan was seriously ill, as the trouble which was responsible for his death only manifested itself quite recently. About a month ago he visited Dorrigo and all those of his acquaintances who met him were shocked at his changed appearance.

During the time that he was confined to his room he exhibited wonderful patience and fortitude and appeared to be quite resigned to the inevitable.

The late Mr. Harrigan was 73 years of age and the eldest son of the late Mr. J. E. Harrigan, an early settler on the South Coast who died only about two years ago. Born at Fairy meadow, near Wollongong, he received his education on the South Coast and when in his early manhood went to the New England district with Messrs. Tom, Harry and Alf Sawtell, a sister of whom be married.

About 35 years ago Mr. Harrigan, in company with the Messrs. Sawtell, decided to come to Dorrigo with a view to settling here if the land was as good as it was reported to be. The party of men were well pleased with their visit and what was offering here, and they lost no time in applying to the Lands Office for blocks.

The areas they selected were side by side, and practically midway between Dorrigo and North Dorrigo with the Old Coast Road, the only connecting link, separating them. With his companions, Mr. Harrigan faced the heavy task of winning a home from the scrub. The pioneering work was fraught with many difficulties and hardships, but pluck and endurance surmounted these and Mr. Harrigan and his co selectors were rewarded for their labors.

Mr. Harrigan was one of the first men in the district to engage in dairying, and before a factory was established here sent cream to the Bellinger, where it was received and churned into butter. The industry was by no means a payable one for those of our early settlers who devoted their attention to it, but the meagre proceeds brought some grist to the mill and at least enabled them to 'hang on' in the knowledge that later days would ensure better results and possibly due reward for their arduous labor and the privations they had suffered.

It was a happy day for Mr. Harrigan and the other early selectors who had remained in the district when the Dorrigo butter factory was established. It was the beginning of a new era, especially for Mr. Harrigan and others who were then well established on the land. At the outset, when churns were set revolving these men, comparatively, were the big suppliers, and their returns conveyed a good idea of the possibilities that lay ahead of the district as far as the dairying industry was concerned.

Mr. Harrigan continued to follow the calling of a dairyman for some years after the inception of the Dairy Company, and proved to be a successful farmer. He showed faith to Dorrigo by his investments here, and when he retired from active work on this farm he came into town to reside.

The land he took up was still owned by him at his death, and is one of the few original holdings in the district that has not changed ownership. It was owing to the indifferent health of Mrs. Harrigan that Mr. Harrigan decided some few years ago to move to Coff's Harbor. However, he always had a warm spot in his heart for the Dorrigo, and was not an infrequent visitor to our town.

While the late Mr. Harrigan did not take an active part in public matters, it was found that he was always ready to assist any movement that aimed at community advancement. One of the few bodies he was a member of, however, was the original Board of Directors of the Dairy Company. Although he had not sought the position, he was Chairman of Directors for a term in the early history of the Company, showing that his co-directors, considered him to be a man of integrity and one upon whom they could rely.

Some time after his retirement from farming the late Mr. Harrigan became interested in the timber industry and was associated with his son Bert in the proprietorship of a sawmill at Deervale. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the timber for the 'Gazette' building came from that mill.

This venture was not successful, owing to the indifferent road be tween Deervale and Dorrigo which made the cartage costs excessive, so the mill was dismantled, brought to Dorrigo and re-erected near the Beilsdown, a hundred yards or so from the present crossing on the Dorrigo- North Dorrigo road. Mr. Harrigan and his son subsequently disposed of their interests to Messrs. Walters and Middleton.

The late Mr. Harrigan was a member of a family of ten, and by his death the first link has been severed in that chain. There are five brothers and four sisters living. All are married and residing in different parts of the State. Two brothers (Messrs. Charles, of Tenterfield, and Arthur, of Sydney) and two sisters (Mesdames Robb, of Byron Bay, and Irish, of Merryweather).

In addition to deceased's sons and other relatives and many friends were at the funeral which took place at Coff's Harbor on Sunday afternoon. Six old friends from the Dorrigo district acted as pall-bearers, The service at the Methodist Church and at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. Jenkins in the absence of the resident minister, Rev. Booth.

At the graveside Mr. V. R. Barton spoke a few words by way of tribute to the character of deceased on behalf of friends at Dorrigo. The late Mr. Harrigan is survived by Mrs. Harrigan and a family of two sons (Messrs. Bert and Melville — who lost a leg at the Great War) and three daughters (Mesdames G. Stephenson, Coff's Harbor; H. Maguire, Coff's Harbor; and M. J. Sheather, Dorrigo).

The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate (NSW : 1910 - 1954) Friday 12 May 1933 p 2 Article

Burial of a maternal grandfather
Birth of a brother
Death of a maternal grandmother
Death of a mother
Burial of a mother
Death of a father
Burial of a father
Death of a brother
Burial of a brother
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