A right-hand bat and handy leg-spin bowler, Harburn made his First-Class debut for WA in March 1962, becoming WA’s 219 First-Class player and 71st Sheffield Shield player.

He represented WA on seven occasions between 1961-62 and 1964-65, scoring 307 career runs at an average of 23.61.

His highest score of 139 was against an Australian XI at the WACA Ground as an opener in April 1964 and his fourth wicket partnership with Keith Punch of 136 in that match was a highlight, saving WA's second innings from total collapse.

Harburn also played against the touring South African team in October, 1963.

He played his last match for WA in December 1964 before he was transferred with the RAAF to Melbourne where he played for Footscray.