Female orchardist worked tirelessly
Edith Harslett’s legacy
EDITH Elizabeth Harslett, nee Hamilton, was a big influence in the community during her life spent at Amiens.
Born in London in 1888, Ms Hamilton migrated with her parents and other members of the family in 1906 when she was 18 years old.
Ms Hamilton married
John Richard Harslett on November 13, 1912.
When Mr Harslett was wounded during the war, they settled on a soldier settler block at Amiens in 1920, living in a basic humpy.
By 1926, when Mrs
Harslett was widowed, they had established a viable orchard.
With her three children, Richard (Dick), Robert and Joan to care for, Mrs
Harslett elected to continue her career as an orchardist and her property was known as one of the show places of the district.
Notwithstanding her busy life, Mrs Harslett was interested in every public movement at Amiens.
Known as a tireless worker on all committees, some of these organisations and her roles included trustee of the Amiens Memorial Hall Committee from 1925 until her death in 1945, Sunday School teacher at the Church of England, Amiens, founding member and president of the Amiens sub-branch of the CWA in 1923, committee member of Amiens Agricultural Show and first secretary of the newly formed Border Division of the CWA.
Mrs Harslett also helped operate the School of Arts’ lending library from 1930 and was involved in the formation of the Church of England in Amiens.
Interestingly, her neighbours and fellow orchardists held Mrs Harslett in such high regard that she was accepted as a member of the normally all-male Deciduous Fruit Sector Growers Society group and her input was highly respected.
Therefore it is not surprising she was also the first lady admitted to the Amiens branch of the Local Producers’ Association.
Well educated and intelligent, Mrs Harslett was mindful of the need for a good education for her children.
She reluctantly permitted one of her husband’s friends from war days to assist with providing boarding school fees – but the loan was later fully repaid as promised.
In 1938, Mrs Harslett had established her property so well that she was able to take daughter Joan to England for a trip.
Sadly, on November 13 while addressing the Dalveen CWA ladies on the requirement for better housing and conditions for women on the land, Mrs Harslett suffered a stroke.
She was transported to Stanthorpe Hospital and died on November 30, 1945, aged 58.
The funeral took place at the Stanthorpe Cemetery.
TO BE WED: Edith Elizabeth Hamilton and John Harslett were just engaged when this photo was taken. They got married on November 13, 1912.
John and Edith Harslett with children Dick and Joan and E. E. Locals in 1916.
Dick, Edith and Joan Harslett.