My father, Keith Herbert Jack Harrison, was born in Hobart in 1910 the first child of Percy Herbert and Mary Jane (nee O'Neil). When he was five his father left for World War I and was killed in the Battle of the Somme in France. His younger brother Claude also died in that battle. Mary remarried in 1924 and Lyndhurst Williams was all any boy could ask for in a grandfather. My great grandfather, Patrick Harrison, died in 1943 but I have no recollection of meeting him in Queen Street Sandy Bay in that year. His first wife Sophie Emma Skinner had died in 1922. Pat Harrison was also an eldest son but he had two older sisters and seven other siblings; they were the first generation of my family to be born in Australia. My great great grandfather James Harrison had arrived in Hobart as a boy convict in 1842. He met Catherine McCarthy in 1857 and married her the next year. Catherine had arrived from Boherbue in Ireland as a bounty migrant in 1856 to join her father who had completed his sentence for stealing a sheep.

The Harrisons, McCarthys, Skinners and O'Neils had all begun life in Tasmania as transported convicts. Even after becoming free citizens of Tasmania they continued to live 'lives of quiet desperation' (Thoreau 1850). The families did not cross the 'great divide' (Wicks 2001) to the comfortable security that comes with education and prosperity, for many decades. A full family tree can be found in
On the other hand my mother’s antecedents had enjoyed both education and prosperity in their homelands and arrived by choice in search of a better life. Both the Wrights and Jessens came from well established farming families that could afford fine educations for their sons. Samuel Wright left Ireland after the death of his father and Jes Hansen Jessen sought a better life when Prussia took control Denmark. Neither ever returned to their birthplace even though their decision to emigrate put them, at least for a time, back on the wrong side of the divide.