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Harper, John (1831–1918)

from Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent (NSW)

Mr. John Harper, father of Mr. Thos. Harper, of Dubbo, whose death was reported last Friday, had been a resident of the west for 65 years. He died at Wallerawang at the age of 88. Mr. Harper was a native of Sussex. He served his apprenticeship as an engineer, and at the age of 21 went to Oberon and erected the machinery for a flour mill for his uncle, the late Charles Whalan, discoverer of the Jenolan Caves. In the exploration of these cave with his uncle and party he nearly lost his life, the candle giving out before the gleam of light from the entrance could be discerned. He had many exciting experiences with the Ben Hall gang on the Vale Road, near Bathurst, and actually saw Messrs. Bolton and Peachey on their way out with the £500 ransom of Mr. Keightley's life, for the shooting of Bourke, one of the gang. His father, who was probably the first shipbuilder in Australia, constructed three vessels at or near the spot where Darling Harbor station now stands. The timber was pit-sawn and prepared on the present site of the Vegetable Markets. In one of the vessels, The Sisters, he sailed as captain to the South seas in the year 1844-5 and did not return. The islanders burned the vessel and murdered all the crew but one, who got back to Sydney with some of the ship's books. In the seventies Mr. John Harper entered the service of the Railway Commissioners as engineer, and held that position until his retirement, at 66 years of age.

Original publication

  • Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent (NSW), 30 August 1918, p 3 (view original)

Other Obituaries for John Harper

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Harper, John (1831–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/harper-john-28706/text36170, accessed 15 September 2019.

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