Indigenous Australian, Harry HARPER, 52nd Infantry Battalion.
Private 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
- Image: Queenslander Pictorial, 11 August 1917
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- View the whole Collection: Indigenous enlistment
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland