Australian Dictionary of Biography

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George Edward Harrap (1856–1937)

by R. A. Ferrall

This article was published:

George Edward Harrap (1856-1937), merchant and soldier, was born on 18 August 1856 at Westbury, Tasmania, only son of Alfred Harrap and his wife Amelia, née Tobin. Educated at the Launceston Church Grammar School, he was in later life a member, and several times chairman, of its board of management. After leaving school he entered the service of the Commercial Bank of Tasmania and then joined the Bank of Australasia, gaining experience in Victoria and New South Wales before returning to Launceston in the late 1880s to his father's woolbroking, grain and produce business. In 1887 the business was divided into two sections with Harrap father and son managing the Cameron Street headquarters and J. A. Bain the shipping end at Queen's Wharf. On the death of his father in 1893 George became head of the firm, registered in 1900 as Alfred Harrap & Son. When the company was incorporated in 1924 Harrap and Bain both became directors and the business passed to the Bain family when Harrap died.

George also succeeded his father, in 1891, as vice-consul for Norway and Sweden and was subsequently appointed Knight (1st class) of the Order of St Olaf by the King of Norway. He was a justice of the peace from 1894. Again, like his father, he had a distinguished career in the Launceston Volunteer Artillery. A lieutenant in 1881, he received the Volunteer Officers' Decoration for long service in 1898 and retired in 1913 from command of No.1 Tasmanian Battery, Australian Field Artillery, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, having acted as honorary aide-de-camp to several governors. In 1915 he attempted to enlist but served instead as district censor for Tasmania until October 1916.

In 1900-37 Harrap was an executive-member and for varying periods chairman of the general committee of the Launceston Bank of Savings. An original subscriber in 1901 to the Tasmanian Permanent Executors and Trustees' Association, he was chairman in 1926-37. He was president of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce in 1909-10, of the National Agricultural and Pastoral Society in 1926 and several times of the Launceston Club. He supported the Victoria League, was a member of St John's Anglican Church and a foundation member of the Launceston Bowling Club.

Harrap loved the theatre, particularly light English opera, and had a meticulous regard for the proper use of the English language. He was president of the Launceston Players when it was formed and a member until he died, unmarried, on 21 June 1937 at Launceston. His three sisters received the bulk of his estate, valued for probate at £87,202, but friends, employees and benevolent institutions were remembered.

Select Bibliography

  • Cyclopedia of Tasmania, vol 1 (Hob, 1900)
  • Alfred Harrap and Son Pty Ltd (priv print, Launc, 1957)
  • Minutes, and records, Launceston Bank for Savings, and Tasmanian Permanent Executors Ltd
  • private information.

Citation details

R. A. Ferrall, 'Harrap, George Edward (1856–1937)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 19 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 August, 1856
Westbury, Tasmania, Australia


21 June, 1937 (aged 80)
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.