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Charles Harper Memorial
Charles Harper Memorial

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

A monument originally erected over the grave, commemorates one of the founders of Helensburgh, Charles Harper, who was a major figure in the establishment of the mining industry.

The stone memorial over the grave was removed and unveiled in the Charles Harper Park on the 7th October 1984 as part of Helensburgh's centenary celebrations.

During the month of October 1884, Mr. Charles Harper, regarded as the founding father of Helensburgh and a crew of mining engineers and labourers, moved into the Helensburgh area to begin drilling for "Black Diamonds", coal. They are believed to have been the earliest Europeans to settle in the area. They found an abundance of water available in Camp Creek and set up a drilling rig close by with which they drilled to a depth of 726 feet, but no coal. They tried again, moving the drilling rig more than a mile to the east, close by the 28 mile peg on the Illawarra Railway line which was being surveyed at the time. This time they were successful, locating a 12ft. 3in. seam at a depth of 1,100 feet.

Tragedy struck on Saturday August 4th. 1888 when Charles Harper, who was now the manager of the mine, was killed while supervising the installation of a winding engine in the air shaft. A wire rope, being used to haul the engine, snapped and hit Mr. Harper. He died a short time later. The Miners Lodges and Clifton Collieries collected donations for a memorial stone over Mr Harper's grave in St Augustines Church Bulli, in 1889.

The district miners have decided to erect a memorial stone over the grave of the late Charles Harper, who, as manager of the Clifton and Helensburg collieries, was very popular amongst them.  Harper was a firm believer in trade unionism, and always honestly endeavored to deal fairly by masters and men. Messrs. Archibald Campbell (Wol Ion gong) and James Allen, John Dryden and J. A. Macken, of Clifton, have the affair in hand, and it is expected the unveiling will take place in the Church of England cemetery, Bulli, on August 4 next, the anniversary of Mr. Harper's death.
Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 25 July 1889.



Address:Parkes Street, Charles Harper Park, Helensburgh, 2508
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.190397
Long: 150.981164
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 4th August, 1889
Front Inscription

           Accidently Killed
            4th August 1888
           At His Post Of Duty
                As Manager
                   Of The
  Metropolitan Coal Company's Colliery,
               Aged 53 years
       Genial, Generous and Just


       This Stone Was Erected 
As A Mark Of Honour To His Memory
         By Miners That Had Been
            In His Employment
                 And Others 
     Who Esteemed Him On Account Of 
            His Manly Qualities 



Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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