Harry HARPER #Q2035
Indigenous Australian, Harry HARPER, 52nd Infantry Battalion
Harry HARPER was born at Albany Downs, Mitchell in 1892 to Harry and Alice (nee Corrigan) and was working as a stockman at Tomoo Station, south west of Mitchell when he and two mates Tommy Smith and Charlie Parkes decided to volunteer with the first AIF. Recruited during the annual Show and Races week they were transported to Brisbane for training. Smith and Parkes were allotted to the 11th Light Horse Regiment, but Harry was selected for the 52nd Infantry Battalion.
Issued with a pass for home leave from Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera in July 1917, Harry was given 10 days to say his farewells at home before embarking. When Harry overstayed his leave by just 16 hours, he was admonished and docked one days pay. But Harry never did embark with his fellow recruits. The only indication on his record is that he was discharged "medically unfit for further service" and "character good".
Confident of regaining work on properties near Mitchell, Harry applied to the authorities to be exempted from the Aborigines Protection Act in 1917. Little is known of his later life, he died in 1963 in Mitchell.
Read more ...
- Service record: HARPER, Harry
- Queensland Exemption Register 1908-1936
- Mitchell Police Letterbook 1889-1921
- Scarlett, Philippa. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One. Fourth edition, Indigenous Histories, Macquarie, ACT, 2018
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen [mp4]
The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.