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Charles Parbury (1831–1915)

A private cable received in Sydney yesterday announced the death in London on Monday of Mr. Charles Parbury in his 81st year, as the result of an attack of pneumonia.

The late Mr. Parbury, who in the days when he actively followed commercial pursuits, was one of the best known members of the old school of merchants in this city, was born in Sydney in 1831, his father being Mr. Frederick Parbury, who arrived in New South Wales at the end of the "Twenties," and the family were the owners of Parbury's wharf and bond. Mr. Frederick Parbury, in conjunction with the late Mr. Walter Lamb, established the firm of Parbury, Lamb, and Co., one of the principal trading concerns in Sydney in the early days, and now known as Parbury, Henty, and Co. Mr. Charles Parbury became a member of the firm in 1854, and had since retained his connection with the various business interests still represented here and in Brisbane. He took up his residence permanently in London in 1880, paying periodical visits to Australia in connection with business affairs. He was a director of the Union Bank of Australia, Limited, and at one time held a seat on the directorate of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, Ltd., besides several other financial and trading institutions.

A man of geniality, he had hosts of old friends here, who admired the genuine value of his character. In none of his business dealings did he ever betray any characteristics save candour, honesty, and good nature. He was an original member of the Union Club, and was connected with several philanthropic movements, but was never prominent in public life as represented by institutions of a political or semi-political character.

In early and middle life, Mr. Parbury was a keen yachting enthusiast, and was one of the foundation members of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in 1862, being vice-commodore of it from 1867 till 1870. He was, with Sir James Fairfax, Mr. H. C. Dangar, M.L.C., and Messrs. F. J. Jackson and Alfred Milson, made an honorary life member on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in 1912. In the early sixties he won many races in the Why Not, built by Hatcher, of Southampton, and brought out here in 1861. In 1863 he became the owner of one of the best boats that ever sailed a race in Sydney Harbour, the Xarifa. Built by Dan Sheehy, she was practically unbeatable in her day, and put up a wonderful record. She would have won her first race—the first Club race of the squadron—if she had not got ashore just inside South Reef and availed herself of outside assistance in getting off, which led to her disqualification. The prize having been awarded to Mr. Milson in the Eran, he gave it for a race in 1866, and the Xarifa then came into her own by winning it easily. She appeared with the fine performance of three consecutive wins in the first class race at the Anniversary regattas of 1864, 1865, and 1866. Her name, however, is best remembered as the winner of the celebrated race to Newcastle and back—a distance of about 140 miles—against the Iron schooner yacht Chance, of 71 tons, owned by Mr. William Walker, one of the first commodores. That memorable event, which is still talked of by old-timers, took place in February, 1862, and was one or the pluckiest races ever recorded in yachting annals. Mr. Dangar was one of those aboard the Xarifa at the time. The Xarifa also raced against the Magic, another of the famous yachts of the early days.

The late Mr. Parbury leaves a widow and five sons and four daughters. The sons are Messrs. Harold Parbury, of Sydney; Claud Parbury and Colin Parbury, who are both in London at present; and Captain Keith Parbury, of the Royal Horse Artillery; and Captain Hugh Ford Parbury, of the 17th Lancers, both of whom are at the front. One of the daughters is Mrs. F. H. Doxat, of London; another is Mrs. Alston, of London, and there are two unmarried daughters.

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'Parbury, Charles (1831–1915)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

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