After a good education he emigrated with Allan MacFarlane"s family to South Australia on the Superb, arriving in October 1839, coincidentally with the Palmira, in which the Spence family were passengers. In 1844 Harvey went to Gawler, staying at the Old Spot inn. He drove the mail for some time, then bought land on the plains where Bassett Town later stood.
He was the only landholder between Dry Creek and Gawler.
He took up a run from Portuguese Gawler to Mount Torrens, which he made available to overlanders for agistment of their cattle and acted as stock agent for some. He next started growing wheat, which proved quite lucrative until farms in Mount Barker, Lyndoch and Aldinga stepped up production and the price dropped from 9/- to 2/6d. per bushel in 1846.
He built houses for settlers and the first stone building in Gawler. He opened a butcher"s shop in Gawler.
He purchased land and subdivided it as 40 and 20 acres (162 and 81 ha) blocks, then in 1856 laid out a township, named for Salisbury in England, near his wife"s home town.
Neales was his auctioneer. He built churches and a graveyard. He also laid out the coastal village of Street Kilda.
He was appointed Justice of the Peace and was often called upon to act as magistrate.
He was on the committee of the Gawler Jockey Club, and occasionally acted as starter and judge. He was actively involved in the various Agricultural Show societies, and regularly acted as judge of horses.
He was member for Yatala in the South Australian House of Assembly from 1857 to 1860. He was involved with Robert Torrens in formulating the Real Property Acting (later "Torrens Title") and active in promoting it in parliament.
He was also prominent in the foundation of the District Council system in South Australia.
Their children were:
James Harvey (9 December 1843 - 30 December 1926) He served as Clerk of the Yatala North District Council and Returning Officer for Yatala. John Harvey (12 April 1845 – 29 November 1927) had "Sans Souci" station on the Little Para. Mary Ann Harvey (1 November 1847 – 28 May 1931) married J. H. Bagster
William Salisbury Harvey (1848 - ) moved to Western Australia
Allan Harvey (1850 - ).