36. Henry “Harry” Boan (1860 -1941), retailer
Henry “Harry” Boan was born into a poor but secure Jewish family in Dunolly, Victoria in 1860. Drifting from job to job in his youth, including posts in mercantile houses such as David Jones’s, Harry was often penniless.
Harry and his brother Benjamin moved to Perth in 1895 and using borrowed money purchased a site on the edge of the city opposite the Perth railway station. Together they opened a single-storey emporium called Boans Bros, which was to go on to become the iconic Perth department store Boans for almost the next century. The Boans store was credited with encouraging local enterprise by specially promoting Western Australian goods and with growth to the business in the 1930s became the largest private employer in the state. Boans department store eventually closed its doors in 1986.
Harry Boan was elected to the Legislative Council in 1917, and again in 1922. However, his real passion lay in horse-racing which brought him many trophies after he established a successful racing stud. Boan took a close interest in the Perth Children’s Hospital, serving as President of the board and making frequent generous donations.