Harbison was conceived out of a desperate need for aged care services in the Southern Highlands at a District Hospital Auxiliary Meeting on June 20, 1956. At the time, local hospital beds were at capacity with aged and convalescing people.

Following the meeting a collaboration named Harbison Memorial Homes, was formed, after the late Dr David Thomas Harbison, a local General Practitioner who had practiced in Bowral for many years. Much fundraising and activity ensued.