Date: 15th Feb 1901 Population: 55
On 3rd March 1900, following many months sailing with his wife Brigitta, his two young children Andrew and Emily and his dog Scratch, John Harris set down on untouched land. The area had as yet no name.
He set up his home and his farm and lived there in peace for a few short months.
Knowledge of this remote land brimming with opportunity soon came to the ears of more people and they too came to farm the land. The settlers came in one by one. Dirt tracks were made connecting previous farmsteads. These tracks wound their way through the forest, always following the easiest path – in this case where the forest was less dense. Over time areas of the forest were cleared next to the track and farms and houses laid down.
On 15th February 1901 the residents got together and decided that their community was now large enough to require some form of central organisation. After a show of hands John Harris was elected Chief Alderman. The residents declared their community to be a complete village. The debate to name the village was heated but in the end it was the Chief Alderman who decided on the name of Oak River. Despite the fact that most of the village stretched into the deep forest, John Harris' home was by the banks of the river and he wanted the name of the village to reflect that.