Fe­male or­chardist worked tire­lessly

Edith Harslett’s legacy

Stanthorpe Border Post - - LIFE / LOCAL LIFE -

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.

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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