One of the pioneers of Altona, Mr Thomas Joseph Harrington was born in Essex England in 1882. Thomas married Alice May Nunn (1878 – 1966) in January 1906 before migrating to Australia with Florence and Thomas jnr in 1911/12. The family arrived in Altona in 1914, just prior to WWI when there was nothing here except about a dozen houses scattered all over the place. Families soon clubbed together and formed the Progress Association in 1916 which was on the corner of Sargood and Blyth Streets.

The families first home was a tent under a Cyprus trees. Then they rented a place near the Church of England in Queen Street. In the early years before a church was built, Mr. Harrington and other residents formed a church service every Sunday. He was one of the original members of the Altona Baptist Church in Sargood Street and served as church deacon for about 40 years. Thomas worked at the Newport workshops but during the depression he lost his job, like a lot of others. But he also said that it wasn’t too bad. “You could easily get a feed of rabbit or a feed of fish. The rabbits were everywhere and you only had to throw a line to get a fish. Like a lot of other pioneer settlers the Harrington’s were keen to be involved in the community and assisted in its progress and welfare throughout they life, living in Altona.

Thomas Harrington passed away in 1977 after a short illness and is buried within the WIlliamstown cemetery (Church of England S, Row 19, Grave 5) with his wife Alice (d. 1966) in an unmarked grave. Also buried within the WIlliamstown cemetery, along with their parents, are their children Thomas and Edith.

Research: Ann Cassar and Graeme Reilly (ALHS) 2020