The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry owes much to James Harrison (1816–1893). He emigrated to Australia from Scotland in 1837 and later developed the first successful large-scale ice making machinery sold to industry.
He also founded The Geelong Advertiser, was an editor at the The Age and was a member for the town of Geelong in the Victorian Legislative Council for several years.
And now, 100 years after AIRAH was founded to commemorate James Harrison, his grandson James Victor Harrison has passed away. He died peacefully at 91 on Tuesday, July 28 in Albury, NSW.
Like his grandfather, Harrison always had a fascination with mechanics and all types of engines and how things worked.
Harrison secured an apprenticeship with an industrial knitting company after school, and went to night school to complete an Engineering Certificate. This led to a career in mechanical and hydraulic engineering, primarily in special purpose machine-tool manufacturing for Australia’s vehicle industry.
In his later years, he dedicated much of his time to laying the groundwork for the establishment of a James Harrison Museum. Unfortunately, his dream has not been realised as yet.
AIRAH Chief Executive, Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, has expressed AIRAH’s sadness at the passing of Harrison.
“He was an enthusiastic supporter of AIRAH, and the keeper of the flame to his grandfather’s significant legacy,” he says.
Harrison was an honorary AIRAH member since the mid-1990s, and his family continues to promote their pioneering history and celebrate the legacy left in the HVAC&R industry.