Myriad artworks among centenarian’s memories

Henry Fred Harffey turns 100.Picture: Dominique Menegaldo www.communitypix.com.au d402260
Henry Fred Harffey turns 100.Picture: Dominique Menegaldo www.communitypix.com.au d402260

The great-grandfather’s countless illustrations and paintings are now pieces of history and remind him of yesteryear.

His 100th birthday last Friday was celebrated with family, friends and distinguished guests at his Morley retirement home.

Since moving to WA from his birthplace in India, Mr Harffey has lived in the Bayswater-Morley area for most of his life.

He has been an active community member with some of his more notable contributions being founder of the Bayswater Art Society and a foundation member of the Studio Group of Six.

Youngest son Peter said his grandfather had been in the British Army in India, and moved the family to WA when his father was eight years old.

‘When we first came out we lived in East Perth which was pretty close to the football oval and my father used to take me to watch the footballers,’ Mr Harffey said.

‘Then we moved to a house in Bayswater and lived in the area ever since.’

He studied at the Perth Technical College and is believed to be the oldest living graduate.

‘After I left school I got a job at West Australian Newspapers and I was a cartoonist and general illustrator for more than 40 years,’ he said.

As a specialist watercolour painter who dabbled in oil and acrylics, his work has been displayed at many exhibitions and won him myriad prizes and awards over the years.

When he retired, Mr Harffey taught at the Guildford Art and Crafts Group for three years and the Mertome Village Sketch Club for 10 years before stopping painting altogether about six years ago.

‘He got a bit shaky and unfortunately he is a perfectionist so if he couldn’t do what he used to be able to do; he didn’t want to do it at all,’ Peter said.

During his heyday Mr Harffey was also involved in the Bayswater Bowls Club, district Scouts and the Bayswater Yacht Club.