Ernest Harrison

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Port Adelaide Library:

Ernest J Harrison

East Side

Ernest was a Waterside Worker who was stabbed outside the Royal Arms Hotel on January 15 1932 during the Depression, a time of industrial unrest. There were many skirmishes with Italian laborers who were volunteering for work on the waterfront. An altercation occurred between the Italians and Waterside Workers resulting in rocks being thrown, baling hooks brandished and a gun fired. Two Waterside Workers were stabbed, Ernest fatally by Egidis Dallora. Egidis, an Italian volunteer worker, received a sentence of three years for manslaughter as the Judge and Jury “recommended mercy on account of great provocation”. (No need to be afraid / Desmond O’Connor).

Contemporary press clippings:


Impressive Scenes At Port

More than 3,000 waterside workers and other unionists at Port Adelaide gave Mr. Ernest Harrison, who died from injuries received when he was stabbed on Friday, an impressive funeral to the Cheltenham Cemetery yesterday. The cortege, which was more than a mile long, was described as the biggest ever seen at the sea port. As a mark of respect shops and hotels in the district closed for two hours in the afternoon.

Harrisons body lay in state at the W.M.A. Hall, Port Adelaide until the early afternoon, when hundreds of workmates viewed it. There was a stir when Mr. Alexander Hosie, who was stabbed in the thigh in a clash on Monday, was assisted into the hall. At 3pm the funeral headed by the Port Adelaide Municipal Band, and followed by members of the Druids' Lodge, of which Harrison was a member, representatives of the Port Adelaide Trades and Labor Council, watersiders and other unionists began the march to the cemetery. At the graveside the Rev. T P Willason who led the service, said "I can only hope, that his death may have a deeper significance by opening up brighter days for his workmates. The men who came to Port Adelaide voluntarily and took the places of the watersiders may now leave on their own accord and let us have peace in our seaport city again.

The decision of the waterside workers to declare yesterday a day of mourning for members, led about 80 federation men who were working on the Baradine at the Outer Harbor on Monday to absent themselves yesterday morning. Consequently the liner was idle for a few hours until volunteers could be sent from Port Adelaide to take their places. The Baradine is loading about 2 000 tons of cargo, and is due to leave this afternoon for London.