That person was James Harrison, founder of the Geelong Advertiser and the first person in the world to devise a method of making ice and he did this at Rocky Point, overlooking the river in Newtown.
Harrison was born in Scotland in 1816 and trained as a printer's apprentice in Glasgow, followed by a stint working in London before emigrating to Sydney in 1837. By 1839 he was in Melbourne and working with John Pascoe Fawkner, from whom he bought an old printing press. On 21st November, 1840, the first edition of the Geelong Advertiser was published and by 1842, Harrison along with John Scamble had bought out Fawkner. It was not long however, before Harrison became the sole proprietor, making the Advertiser successful on more than just a local level. It was his paper which was first to break the news of the discovery of gold at Clunes in 1850 and he also used it as a vehicle to agitate for the rights of squatters.
Nor was this his only project and it can be seen that his name was also associated with several of the earliest maps of Geelong, magazines and other publications, both locally and in NSW. He was also active in local politics, serving as a councilor and in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, espousing progressive policies and maintaining a strongly humanitarian approach throughout his life.
|Plaque at Rocky Point|
Over the next two decades, he twice attempted experiments aimed at shipping cold or frozen meat to London. Neither was successful and each ended in financial ruin, forcing him to turn back to journalism as editor and then columnist at the Melbourne Age to re-establish his finances.
|James Harrison Bridge from the north bank|
Whilst Harrison did not benefit financially in any great way from his pioneering work on ice-making, his contribution laid the foundations for the development of modern refrigeration. Recognition of this achievement came in 1990 when the newly completed bridge over the Barwon was named the James Harrison Bridge in his honour.
|Plaque on the grave of James Harrison at the|
However, continued housing development south of the Barwon lead to significant congestion on this section of the highway and it was not until the opening of the long-awaited Geelong Ring Road in December 2008 that the problem was - at least in part - solved.
|Grave of James Harrison at the Eastern Cemetery|