Harry, son of Francis and Ann (née Orris) Challis (1851 - 1937), was baptised 4 May 1851 at Ousden in Suffolk. He emigrated with his parents and 3 year old brother, Frederick, arriving in Tasmania on the ship Louisa on 10 January 1853. The family stayed in Tasmania for four years, arriving in Victoria in 1857 and settling near Barwon Heads.
Harry married Sarah Jane, daughter of James and Hannah (née Davis) Porter in 1874. They had the following children, three of whom died during the course of World War 1:
Henry — born in May 1875, suffocated in 1875 by lying on his face, buried in an unknown location at Mount Duneed Cemetery
James Francis — born on 11 May 1876 at Barwon Heads, married Doris Jean Walls on 26 April 1924, died 16 April 1943 at Melbourne.
Private Charles Henry — born in 1878 at Mount Duneed, died in Bendigo Hospital of Meningitis at the age of 38 years while at the Bendigo Army Camp, buried in the Methodist section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Louisa Ethel — born 5 May 1880 at Connewarre East, married William Cameron on 31 January 1900 at Connewarre East, died on 18 August 1945 at Connewarre East
Private Edwin — born in 1882 at Connewarre, died on 18 December 1918 in France, memorial at Maubeuge Centre Cemetery
Esther Hannah — Born in 1884 at Mount Duneed, married Alexander Tait Blyth in 1910 at Connewarre East, died on 16 January 1961, buried in the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Lewis John — born in 1886 at Mount Duneed, married Elsie Gordon Scott in 1914, died on 6 July 1961
Mary Letitia — born in 1890 at Mount Duneed, married Daniel Slade, died on 12 August 1964 aged 74 years, buried in the Methodist section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Private Sydney Gordon — born in 1896 at Mount Duneed, missing in action on 11 April 1917 in France
George Frederick — born in 1899 at Mount Duneed
In September 1882 Harry was appointed as a trustee of the land temporarily reserved as a site for a Wesleyan church at Connewarre. In 1892 he stated that he owned 30 acres near Barwon Heads which was mainly used for market gardening. He harvested 4 tons of vegetables a week from this land for three or four months of the year. He had improved this land by taking the shell and pipe-clay from the swamp and dressing it with bone dust. He had 17 acres of the land under garden staff, four acres in their natural state and he had other parts under hay cultivation. Harry and Sarah Jane moved to 19 Verner Street, South Geelong on retiring about 1910.
On 20 July 1924 Harry and Sarah celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a wedding breakfast for about 40 of their family and friends.
Harry died on 10 May 1937 aged 86 at Geelong and was buried in the Methodist section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery with Sarah Jane who had died on 25 September 1928 aged 76 years.
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History