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Parker, Edward Read (1820–1905)

One of the oldest and most respected colonists of Western Australia, Mr. Edward Read Parker—died at his residence, Irwin Cottage, York, on the 10th inst. The name of Parker is one well-known and equally honoured in the State, in no part more than the Eastern Districts, and none more amongst its possessors than the subject of this sketch. Edward Read Parker was not only one of its pioneer settlers, but he was also one of its explorers, a man who saw, as the result of his journeyings, besides personal material prosperity, the opening up of country to his fellow-colonists.

The deceased gentleman was born in Lyminge, Kent, England, on May 23, 1820, and was the third son of the late Stephen Parker, of Northbourne, York. With his parents and other members of the family, he arrived in Western Australia in 1830. After living a few years in Guildford he moved to Northbourne with his father, who had selected the estate which is situate about 10 miles to the south-east of York. During the early sixties Mr. E. R. Parker explored large pastoral areas in the Eastern Districts, from which he chose the well known Dangin estate for his home. Thither, in 1863, he moved, with his family, and for the next quarter of a century followed pastoral pursuits. In 1888 he retired, and settled in York. Dangin is now the residence of his eldest son, Mr. Jonah Parker. Two other estates he acquired, Mount Stirling and Boonmul, are the properties of his son, Mr. Giffard Parker. The deceased gentleman was one of the most successful of the pioneer settlers of the Eastern Districts and all the properties he held bore the stamp of the activity he exhibited in their development. That work was not performed with the same facilities to hand as are now possessed by agriculturists and pastoralists in those centres, now more settled than when the "home of the Parkers"—as York is sometimes called—first came into existence as a subject for the white man's energies and capabilities. On all sides hardships awaited them, and among the severest trials of this old pioneer were those he encountered in providing water for his stock in the newly-selected areas. Another hardship—and one especially felt by these who, like Mr. Edward Read Parker, were students of books, as well as of men and the art of living, was the want of proper educational facilities for the young. From the age of 10 he lived in Western Australia,and in his youth the opportunities for education were limited. His faculty for acquiring knowledge must, however, have been considerable, for not only was he a well-read man, but he was able to turn his attention to authorship, the bent of his mind showing itself in the character of his works. A Plain Book for Plain People, The Past, Present, and Future, in three parts; The Church of England going over to Rome; and The Contrast, Protestanism and Romanism. Mr. Parker also wrote A Memoir of my late son, Edwin (the Rev. Edwin Parker). That such a man exhibited much activity in Church matters need hardly be said, but, though he was a very sturdy Protestant, he was warmly interested in all denominations. In the welfare of the natives, whom he thoroughly understood, he always personally interested himself, and in the Eastern Districts there were few of the natives who did not know "Dangin Parker" and regard him as their friend.

Mr. Parker, as already said, retired from active farm life in 1888. From then up to the time of his death he led a somewhat retired life, especially during the past 10 years, when his health began to fail him. On the night of the 10th inst. he passed peacefully away at the good old age of 85 years. Mr. Parker was married three times. His first wife was the second daughter of the late Mr. Richard Wells, who was for many years, and up to the time of his death, manager of the Western Australian Bank. His surviving sons and daughters by the marriage are Mrs. John Seabrook, Mrs. W. E. Robinson, Mrs. James Parker, Mr. J. S. W. Parker, Mr. W. B. Parker, and Mr. E. G. Parker.

The deceased was buried in the Gilgering Cemetery on the 12th inst., the funeral being attended by a large number, many of whom journeyed from long distances to be present at the last rites over their old friend. The chief mourners were the members of his family, and the pall-bearers Mr. C. Edwards, J.P., Mr. W. Smith, J.P., Cr. J. B. Harris, and Messrs. J. Hicks, G. Monger, and D. G. Lynch. The Rev. Canon Groser officiated. At the special request of the deceased, no flowers were sent.

Original publication

Citation details

'Parker, Edward Read (1820–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/parker-edward-read-17343/text29098, accessed 25 August 2019.

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