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Members’ biographical register

Nathaniel White Harper

Date: 18 March 1865
Place: Ballymena, Antrim, Northern Ireland
Arrival in WA
To WA 1892
Son of John, farmer, and Margaret White
Marriage and Family
Grandfather of William Leonard Grayden and David Grayden
Married (1) 19 September 1891, resident of John Thomas, Naseby, New Zealand, to Margaret Jane Thomas (born circa 1869), daughter of John and Ellen Sharwi??
Children: two sons and one daughter
Widowed 15 December 1921
Married (2) 5 February 1924, Scots Church, Melbourne, Victoria to Olive Estelle Story
Children: one son and one daughter
Date: 3 January 1954
Place: West Perth, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Educated locally while working on father’s potato fields
Mine manager and businessperson
Employment History
1883 to New Zealand, worked in gold mine
1887 to Broken Hill, became mine’s foreman with BHP skilled in hydraulic work
1889 to Zeehan, Tasmania, as mine manager, vice-president of local miners’ union
To WA 1892 as manager Fraser’s mine, Southern Cross
Managed White Feather Main Reef 1895, Kanowna 1 November 1898, Golden Pile 1903–1910
Built Perth Esplanade Hotel
1915 to Siberia and Japan promoting mining interests
Helped found Winterbottom Motor Company
1927 director of Wentworth Motors and Harper Motors (1952)
Local Government Service
Mayor of Kanowna 1897–1901
Date Elected
16 August 1910
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Nathaniel Harper
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLA Beverley 16 August 1910 (by-election)–3 October 1911; Pingelly 3 October 1911–21 October 1914
  • Contested North-East Coolgardie 4 May 1897, Pingelly 4 November 1914

  • Contested Senate (WA) 13 April 1910
Bought farm near Beverley
With State Government founder in 1947 of Nathaniel Harper Homes for retarded children
Argued throughout his life that he had convinced Sir John Forrest of feasibility of Coolgardie Goldfields Water Pipeline Scheme
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2010, p. 91.
Further Information
Alexander, Crowley and Legge
JS Battye, ed, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, Hussey and Gillingham, Adelaide, 1912-1913, p. 343 (port.)
Ann Hoddinott, 'Harper, Nathaniel White (1865–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 22 December 2015.
Twentieth Century Impressions of Western Australia, PWH Thiel, Perth, 1901, p. 146
West Australian, 4 January 1954.