CHARLES HARPER 1842 - 1912 - politician, agriculturist, legislator, newspaper proprietor
CHARLES HARPER - politician, agriculturist, legislator and newspaper proprietor, was born 15 July 1842 near Toodyay, Western Australia and died 20 April 1912 in Guildford (some sources say he died in York)
He was the only son of Church of England minister the Reverend Charles HARPER and Julie Gretchen LUKIN
Charles Harper was born 30 January 1799 in London, England
- he arrived on the 'Eleanor' into Fremantle on 23 Dec 1837 with his wife Julia. He built 'Braybrook' in Newcastle (now named Toodyay). He studied for the ministry and was ordained in the Church of England in Adelaide in 1849
- he died 2 November 1872 in Toodyay, West Australia
Julia Gretchen Lukin was born 27 July 1812 in St Alphege, Greenwich, Kent, England
- she died 9 August 1898 in Toodyay, West Australia
Julia was a daughter of Lionel LUKIN & Isabella TATLOCK and they arrived all together with her brother Lionel into Perth 23 December 1837 on the ELEANOR
- her siblings were Lionel, George & Isabella Frances Lukin
the OBITUARY for Julia was in the West Australian on Saturday 13 August 1898: ... THE LATE MRS CHARLES HARPER - The death of Mrs Charles Harper, which was announced in these columns yesterday, took place at her residence, Newcastle, on the 9th inst., removes another figure from the fast narrowing circle of the colony's pioneers. The deceased lady was a grandaughter of Lionel Lukin, the inventor of the lifeboat. She was a native of England and came to the colony about seven years after its foundation, with her husband, afterwards the Rev. Charles Harper, to whom she was married in England shortly before her departure. Mr Harper, who had been trained for the legal profession and who had not at that time taken holy orders, had been induced to emigrate on account of the liberal terms offered for the acquisition of land, which had, however, been very greatly modified before he reached the colony. Mrs Harper and her husband resided for a short time at Guildford and afterwards at Spring Hill, near Northam. Mr Charles Harper was ordained early in the fifties, by Bihsop Short, of Adelaide, whose diocese at that time included Western Australia, a special journey to Adelaide for the ordination ceremony being necessary. His charge first ncluded the whole of the eastern districts, from Toodyay to Beverley, a district which was subsequently reduced in size by the separation from it of the York and Northam parishes. The Rev. Charles Harper died in the early seventies. The issue of the marrage was four daughters and one son, the latter being Mr Charles Harper, M.L.A. The decesed lady, who was in her 86th year, retained her full faculties to the end
CHARLES HARPER & JULIA LUKIN were married 15 June 1837 at St Mary's Church, Lewisham, London, England
their children were:
1/ Julia Harper
- born 5 July 1838 in Guildford, West Australia
- died 20 July 1889 in Toodyay, West Australia
2/ Isabella Harper
- born 1839 in Guildford, West Australia
- died 1839 in Guildford
3/ Mary Harper
- born 21 February 1840 in Northam, West Australia
- died 7 October 117 in Toodyay, West Australia
4/ * Charles Harper see below
5/ Sarah Harper
- born 22 April 1844 in Toodyay, West Australia
- died 11 December 1928 in Toodyay
.. more about this LUKIN family in West Australia was written by janilye
* CHARLES HARPER was born at Nardi, near Toodyay in Western Australia.
He was educated privately by his father, a barrister of Gray's Inn who became a colonial farmer and later an Anglican clergyman.
According to family legend, his mother gave him, at 16, a horse and cart, a gun, a barrel of salt pork and £50, and sent him to find himself a farm. He travelled south-east and leased land between York and Beverley, where he farmed for several years and developed the 'Harper fence', using local timber instead of imported wire.
In 1861 and again in 1864, he explored with other pioneers in the Yilgarn district and made botanical and geological observations.
From 1866 he was heavily involved in the pastoral industry.
He was a pastoralist in the north-west of the state until 1868, overlanding to Geraldton in 1867 to secure provisions for Roebourne, Western Australia.
In 1866 he sailed for Roebourne with sheep and after a year of exploration with Dr Samuel Waterman VIVEASH, was fluent in the local Aboriginal language and took up pearling. He and Viveash spent a year building the boat Amateur and with the proceeds of pearling Harper was able to buy a one-third interest in the 883,000-acre (357,341 ha) de Grey station in 1871.
In 1878 Harper sold his share in de Grey and joined Alex McRAE in a smaller station, Yanrey, in the best Ashburton country; he held this interest until 1904.
He then briefly farmed at Beverley, before returning to the north west in 1871.
On 28 March 1878 Harper was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council for the North District seat in a by-election occasioned by the resignation of Thomas BURGES. He held the seat until the election of 12 March 1880, which he did not contest.
In 1879 he bought the Western Australian Times with Sir Thomas COCKBURN-CAMPBELL (1845-1892) as his nominal partner and managing editor.
On 23 March 1879, in Guildford, Harper married Fanny de Burgh, daughter of Robert de BURGH & Clara WELLITON of Caversham
- Robert de Burgh was born 25 June 1822 in Oldtow, County Kildare
- he died 7 June 1884 in Guildford, West Austalia
- Clara Welliton was a daughter of Major Welliton & Amelia MOODY
His marriage to Fanny de BURGH, thereby meant he become brother-in-law to Henry BROCKMAN and James MORRISON.
the children of CHARLES HARPER & FANNY de BURGH were:
1/ ... Charles Walter Harper (1880-1956)
- went by the name Walter in order to separate himself from his famous father. He inherited his father's interests in the area of economic development and went on to become a foundation Trustee of Co-operative Bulk Handling and was chairman of Western Farmers Co-operative
- he married Margaret Rose Maxwell DRUMMOND (a great-grand-daughter of Western Australia's first government naturalist James Drummond & Sarah MacINTOSH) in Claremont WA in 1910
- they had four daughters and two sons
- he died 1 July 1956 aged 76. Had been living in South Perth and is buried in the Family Grave at Karrakatta
- Margaret died 21 January 1974 aged 83. She had been living in South Perth and is buried in the Family Grave Karrakatta
2/ ... 1881 - ? Clara Julia Harper
3/ ... 1882 - 1957 Harcourt Robert Harper
- Harcourt died on 27 October 1957 aged 75. He had been living in Guildford. He is buried in the Family Grave at Karrakatta
4/ ... 1884 - 1915 Gresley Tatlock Harper
- Enrolled 1905 St Peters College Adelaide; Trinity College; LL.B.
- Enlisted in Perth October 1914; sailed for Egypt February 1915,
- Trooper #113 with the 10th Light Horse
- went with unit to Gallipoli in June 1915 and was KILLED IN ACTION at Walker’s Ridge on 7 August 1915 aged 31 whilst serving with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, Australian Imperial Force, during their unit's attack at The Nek
- A barrister prior to enlistment, Trooper Gresley Harper enlisted with his younger brother, 114 Trooper Wilfred Lukin Harper, on 5 October 1914 (see Wilfred below)
- their parents Charles & Fanny were living at 60 Mount St, Perth at that time
- Grave/Memorial Reference: 10 at Lone Pine Memorial
5/ ... 1886 - 1957 Prescott Henry Harper
- Private #3346 served in WWI as a 31 year old Grazier from Guildford, Western Australia.
- He enlisted on 5 March 1917 with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, 28th Reinforcements as did his 2 brothers
- his NEXT of KIN was his wife, Grace Williamson Harper (nee EDGAR) of Koorian, Gin Gin, Western Australia
- Unit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A15 Port Sydney on 22 May 1917
- Rank from Nominal Roll Lieutenant
- Unit from Nominal Roll 2nd Field Company Engineers
- Returned to Australia 26 July 1919
- his wife Grace (1893-1928) was born in Roeburne W.A. to Alexander Williamson EDGAR & Myra BATEMAN
- Precott & Grace married in Gingin in 1914
- Prescott next married in 1932 to Mary Alson EDGAR (1905-195) who was born in Cottesloe, Perth. Mary is buried in Karrakatta cemetery
6/ ... 1888 - ? Mary Elizabeth Harper
7/ ... 1888 - 1960 Mildred Louisa 'Kitty' Harper
- married Duncan Alvie ROBERTSON in 1919
- Duncan was born 17 June 1883 in "Goree", Near Morundah, Narrandera, NSW.
- a son of Duncan ROBERTSON & Alice Struan ROBERTSON
- Duncan died in West Australia on 8 March 1968. His ashes were scattered over Garden at karrakatta
- their children were:
1/ Kathleen Robertsob
2/ Charles Duncan 'Sandy' Robertson. Born 1922 he died 9September 1943 in WWII aged 21. Buried in Nowra Cemetery, NSW
3/ Margaret Kitty Robertson
4/Gresley Harper Robertson
8/ ... 1890 - 1915 Wilfred Lukin Harper
- Trooper #114 wth the 10th Light Horse
- was KILLED IN ACTION 7 August 1915, whilst serving with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, Australian Imperial Force, during their unit's attack at The Nek
- A farmer prior to enlistment, Trooper Wilfred Harper enlisted with his older brother, 113 Trooper Gresley Tatlock Harper, on 5 October 1914. The men embarked together aboard HMAT Mashobra (A47) on 8 February 1915 from Fremantle. The brothers were both killed in action on Walker's Ridge, Gallipoli on 7 August 1915. Their younger brother, Lieutenant Prescot Henry Harper, survived the war.
- their parents Charles & Fanny were living at 60 Mount St, Perth at that time
- Grave/Memorial Reference: 10 at Lone Pine Memorial
9/ ... 1892 - 1893 Geoffrey Hillesden Harper
- Geoffrey's headstone at Guildford Grammar reads:
Infant son of Charles and Fanny. 19 Dec 1892 - 26 Dec 1893
10/ ... 1895 - 1981 Aileen Fanny Harper
- Aileen did not marry. She died 16 November 1981 aged 86. Had been living in Mosan Park, Perth. Buried in the Family Grave Karrakatta
They settled at 'Woodridge' in a house that Charles Harper himself built (near Guildford) on the 470 acres (190 ha) selected by Governor Sir James STIRLING (1791-1865) in 1829. There he developed a productive sheep, dairying and orchard property of major significance in local agricultural research. He was the first to irrigate with artesian water in Western Australia and designed successful earthworks to conserve for his orchard the rich silt washed down the Swan River.
He co-operated with George COMPERE, government entomologist, in a search for parasites to combat indigenous pests, sent to Japan for orchard stock, consulted Swan Valley vignerons about improved methods and vines, invented a shearing machine and patented a food product from the core of the blackboy tree and a process for treating septic tank effluent.
An early advocate of mixed wheat and wool farming, Harper wrote extensively on agricultural and pastoral topics, passing on the results of his experiments and reading through his daily West Australian and the rural weekly Western Mail, both founded in 1885. He advocated experimental farms, giving a lead on his own properties and in partnership with William Catton GRASBY (1859-1930), whom he brought from South Australia in 1905 to be agricultural editor of the Western Mail. Harper and his son Walter (1880-1956), working with Grasby, discovered the soluble-phosphate deficiency of local soils long before superphosphate was generally used in the colony.
They are also credited with developing the first local wheat varieties, Gresley and Wilfred, named after two Harper sons killed at Gallipoli on 7 August 1915. These wheats were used in Western Australia and New South Wales for many years. Harper supported the co-operative movement and early guaranteed an overdraft of £10,000; his son, Walter, was chairman of the Westralian Farmers Co-operative Ltd for thirty years.
Believing that public life demanded the highest integrity, Harper was persuaded to enter politics only after thorough personal stocktaking, but he soon won respect and distinction. He represented the North District in the Legislative Council in 1878-80, York in 1884-90 and Beverley in the new Legislative Assembly in 1890-1905. In parliament he showed the breadth of his knowledge in quiet, clear speeches. A strong supporter of land ownership, he contended that the state, in parting with land, did not part with the power to tax it, but opposed a project for a land tax in 1887 because the colony had so few wealthy landowners. He served on several select committees, was chairman of royal commissions on customs in 1893, the Coolgardie water scheme in 1902, forestry in 1903 and immigration in 1905, and was chairman of committees in 1897. In many ways an 'independent English country gentleman', he disliked urban concentration, heavy government spending and disciplined party politics. In 1886-88 he and his newspapers took the conservative side in the quarrels surrounding Governor Sir Frederick Napier BROOME (1842-1896) and in the controversy over Rev. John Brown GRIBBLE's (1847-1893) allegations of maltreatment of the Aboriginals.
In 1899-1900 he broke with Sir John FORREST (1847-1918), over Federation and lavish public spending.
In December 1903 he was nominated Speaker by the Liberal premier, (Sir) Walter Hartwell JAMES (1863-1943).
After the 1904 elections he declined reappointment and went into opposition to James, thus becoming one of the few independents responsible for the accession to power of Western Australia's first Labor government, although he believed that the party needed experience in office to temper its radical tendencies. In August 1905 he voted against the Labor ministry and retired before the next general election. However, the findings of his royal commission on immigration provided a framework for expansive rural policies in 1906-14
In 1880 Harper partnered with Alexander McRAE in a pastoral venture on the Ashburton. That year he also became a newspaper proprieter for the first time, becoming part owner of the Western Australian Times with (Sir) John Winthrop HACKETT (1848-1916).
In 1884 these two men became joint owners of The West Australian.
In 1885 they commenced the publication of the first Western Mail
On 27 October 1884 Harper entered parliament for the second time having won the Legislative Council seat of York.
In 1885, he built a house in Guildford, which he named Woodbridge; the house still stands and is now part of the National Trust.
In 1887 he was a member of the Agricultural Commission.
Harper held his Legislative Council seat until 21 October 1890, at which time the Legislative Council became fully nominative. He then contested and won the Legislative Assembly seat of Beverley.
From June 1894, he was Father of the House in the Legislative Assembly.
In 1895 he opened a school at Guildford, Western Australia, which would later be taken over by the Church of England as Guildford Grammar School. He was appointed Chairman of Committees of the Legislative Assembly on 24 August 1897, holding the appointment until 2 December 1903, when he took up an appointment as Speaker. He stepped down as Speaker on 28 July 1904, and from his seat on 27 October 1905.
In 1905, he was chairman of the Immigration Commission.
Charles Harper died at Woodbridge (formerly named West Midland) 20 April 1912 aged 69
- he was survived by three sons and four daughters of his ten children. Among his memorials is the Guildford Grammar School, which originated in 1896 in the billiard-room at Woodbridge with fourteen pupils, three of them Harper girls and after moving to its present site in 1901 was bought by the Anglican Church in 1911.
- he was buried GRAVESITE 0005A - SECTON ES - ANGLICAN AREA in Karrakatta Cemetery
the OBITUARY of CHARLES HARPER
His wife Fanny died 13 years later on 23 November 1925 aged 76
- she was buried with Charles in the Family Grave
- she had been living at that time in Perth
* CHARLES HARPER
* Australian Dictionary of Biography
* Le Socialisme sans Doctrines - Charles Harper and the Foundation of Co-operative Agriculture in Western Australia
- a 34 page pdg file by D. J. GILCHRIST
- School of Business, Fremantel Campus
- University of Notre Dame Australia
* the TOODYAY CEMETERY site has this information on the Harper family buried there:
HARPER, Charles, Rev., 23 years Chaplain of this district, he died November 2, 1872, aged 75, (with Julia and Julia)
HARPER, Julia Gretchen, wife of the Rev. Charles, who departed this life 9 August 1898, aged 86 years, (with Julia and Charles)
HARPER, Julia, who died July 20, 1889, aged 51, (with Charles and Julia)
HARPER, Mary, 1840 - 1917, daughter of Rev Charles Harper, (with Sarah)
HARPER, Sarah, 1844 - 1929, daughter of Rev Charles Harper,(with Mary)
* the J.S. Battye Library of West Australia
History Private Archives - Collection Listing has a huge amount of information. The Libraray provides access to original material. In some situations this may not be possible and alternative formats such as microfilm, microfiche, typescripts or photocopies are supplied for researchers' use.
the collection includes:
ACCOUNT BOOKS - Charles Harper in Engand 1876 an later accounts
ANNNOUNCEMENT - evening to farewell Mr Hastings Reid (1904)
BIOGRAPHY - 1912 recollections by his famil after Charles death
CORRESPONDENCE 1872 - 1920
DAY BOOKS 1912-1920 the estate of the late Charles Harper
DIARIES - Rev Harper's notes (very frail almost indecipherable)
HISTORY - early days of Mr Sam Viveath 1865
LEGAL DOCUMENTS - Indenture, records, business letters, shares, agreements, mortgages, Ice Company, Wills & Execution thereof etc
LETTERS - many, many wonderful private family letters to each other including those from the boys at war in Egypt and Gallipoli
LETTER BOOK of Charles Harper 1870 to 1907
MAPS - including detailed map of Ferndale in 1920
MINUTE NOOK - of the Board of Advice to assist the Government
NEWSPAPAER CUTTINGS - including that of Charles about treatment of aborigines in the North-West by white settlers 1892
NEWSPAPERS - Copy of the 'West Australia' Feb 1889 on silk
PETITIONS - 1888 the Gibble case
PHOTGRAPHS - Cheriton, Gingin, showing homestead 1890
POEMS - Poem to Mary Harper from her brother Charles
PROGRAMME - souvenir program of unveiling Busselton Soldiers Memorial
PROOFS - printers proof of 'The life of Charles Harper
RECEIPTS - building of Woodridge & alterations to Mount St
RECORDS - orchard index York, Toodyay & Guildford
REGISTERS - 1914-1928 Estate of Charles Harper, register of securities
TEXT BOOKS - 3 School Books of Rev harper 1812 & others
for all the information click this link (pdf file) HARPER FAMILY