Karen Harper is a latecomer to the world of archives. After experiencing the heady political days of the 1980s as a Ministerial Chief of Staff in State Government Departments, she thrust herself into the challenging world of retail business. Owning and managing two businesses within a large shopping complex competing with multinationals is not for the fainthearted but she fought and succeeded for many years.
Moving to the Sunshine Coast, Karen embraced her third career. Joining the Sunshine Coast Libraries was like coming home. Not content to wait until retirement sipping wine whilst watching the sun set over the waves, Karen decided to study a Certificate III, a Diploma and finally a Bachelor of Information Studies (Records and Archive Management) at Charles Sturt University.
Karen was the inaugural recipient of the Sigrid McCausland Prize and the top achieving university student in Queensland.
As a Heritage Officer within the Sunshine Coast Heritage Library, Karen is well underway in conserving, preserving, indexing, digitising and cataloguing almost 250 collections which had been gathering dust over the last 20 or so years.
She has instigated many new programs – educational videos, authoring Backward Glance heritage articles for media outlets, digitisation, resurrecting oral history projects and now venturing into podcasting.
Working on the unique Fay Miller – “Sunny Brae” Collection has been a privilege and a pleasure.
She still sips wine.