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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Harker, Hon. George

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Harker, Hon. George, a well-known Victorian politician, was born at Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, Yorkshire, in 1816. After education at local schools, he was at the age of thirteen apprenticed to a chemist at Harrogate. On the termination of his apprenticeship he was for some time dispensing assistant to a surgeon at Leeds, and subsequently carried on business as a chemist at Prescot, near Liverpool, where he was treasurer of the local Anti-Corn Law League. He married early in 1845, and left England for Victoria at the end of that year, arriving in Feb. 1846. He bought property on the Yarra which he farmed until 1850, when he started as a grain and produce merchant in Melbourne. In 1856 Mr. Harker retired from business, and was returned to the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Collingwood. He was Treasurer in the second O'Shanassy Ministry from March 1858 to Oct. 1859, when he resigned with his colleagues. At the general election which took place just previously, he was defeated at Collingwood, but was returned for Maldon. Quickly resigning his seat for the latter constituency, he revisited England, where he remained for two years. On his return he was re-elected for Collingwood, which he represented intermittently during the rest of his public career. Mr. Harker held many important public positions and died on April 5th, 1879.