Eric Harrison (Australian soldier)

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This article is about the Australian soldier and politician for Bendigo. For other people, see Eric Harrison (disambiguation).
Eric Harrison
Eric Fairweather Harrison.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bendigo
In office
19 December 1931 – 21 September 1937
Preceded by Richard Keane
Succeeded by George Rankin
Personal details
Born (1880-04-16)16 April 1880
Stanmore, New South Wales
Died 15 April 1948(1948-04-15) (aged 67)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party United Australia Party
Spouse(s) Roma Wingfiled Zilla Clark
Children Brian Harrison
Alma mater Cambridge University
Occupation Soldier

Eric Fairweather Harrison (16 April 1880 – 15 April 1948) was an Australian soldier and politician.

Harrison was born in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore, New South Wales and educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School and Bedford School in England. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a B.A. in 1901 and a M.A. in 1902.[1] He was part of a Trinity crew which won the Thames Cup at Henley Royal Regatta. He returned to Australia in 1903 and joined the militia garrison artillery in New South Wales. In April 1904, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Australian Artillery. In 1910, he was the first Australian to attend the Staff College at Quetta, now in Pakistan.[2]

Harrison was promoted to major in 1914 and at the commencement of World War I was the duty staff officer at Army Headquarters and gave the instruction to fire across the bows of the SS Pfalz, the first shots fired by the British Empire during the war. He was subsequently appointed director of military training at army headquarters and from October 1915, director of military art at the Royal Military College, Duntroon (R.M.C.). In October 1917 he joined the First Australian Imperial Force as a major and served in France at Hazebrouck, Strazeele, Flêtre and on the Somme. In September 1918 he took part in the Battle of the Hindenburg Line. He was made brevet lieutenant-colonel in January 1919 and mentioned in dispatches in March.[2]

Harrison married Roma Wingfield Zilla Clarke in November 1920. He was appointed commandant of the R.M.C. in January 1929 and promoted colonel in July. He retired from the army in January 1931 and took up farming on the Mornington Peninsula.[2]

He won the seat of Bendigo for the United Australia Party in the 1931 election. He 1937 he failed to get party pre-selection for the new seat of Deakin.[2]

In August 1940, Harrison was recalled from the reserve and reappointed as commandant of the R.M.C. until his retirement in January 1942. He died in Melbourne, survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. His son, Brian was the member for Maldon in the British House of Commons from 1955 to 1974.[2]


  1. ^ "Harrison, Eric Fairweather (HRY898EF)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Coulthard-Clark, C. D. (1983). "Harrison, Eric Fairweather (1880 - 1948)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Richard Keane
Member for Division of Bendigo
Succeeded by
George Rankin