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HARRISON, James William KCMG CB CBE (1912-1971)

Sir James Harrison.

Sir James Harrison.

HARRISON, Sir James William KCMG CB CBE (1912-1971)

Sir James Harrison was the first Australian born Governor of South Australia from 1968 to 1971 and served in a variety of military roles during a notable military career. Born at Camperdown, Victoria, to parents James Samuel Harrison and Mary Eleanor née Harlock he attended Geelong College as a boarder for a brief period of 6 months in 1928. He later attended the Royal Military College, Duntroon, graduating in 1932. His initial military service was spent in Melbourne with later periods in India and Malaya in 1937 and 1938. In 1940, he was seconded to the AIF.

His service during World War II included the Middle East and New Guinea where he was promoted Lieut Colonel. For the last two years of the war from 1943 to 1945 he was a member of the Australian Army Staff in London. On his return to Australia he joined the Directorate of Military Operations before moving into a number of training roles culminating in his appointment as commandant of the Officer Cadet School at Portsea. In 1954, he returned to London as a Brigadier and Australian Army Representative but shortly afterwards was posted to Western Command, Perth as Major-General. In 1953, he was awarded an OBE and in 1958, CBE. By December, 1968, when he was appointed Governor of South Australia, he was Adjutant-General and Head of Eastern Command, Sydney. Appointed CB in January 1968 and KCMG in October of that year his period as Governor was limited. He was initially beset by economic difficulties, then illness, firstly of his wife and then more seriously of himself. He died in Honolulu of heart disease.

Sir James William Harrison was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association Notables Gallery at Geelong College in 2011.

Sources: P. A. Howell, 'Harrison, Sir James William (1912 - 1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, Melbourne University Press, 1996, pp 400-401; Ad Astra March 1969; Pegasus December 1969.
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