When I was an eight-year-old boy, having returned from 5 years living in the USA and Iran, with no previous memory of Australia and family, we moved to Geelong in Victoria where I attended Newcomb South Primary School, starting in Grade 2.
At one point I went up a reading level and so went down the hall to peruse the available book options. In amongst the other books was the 1976 Jacranda Press published, Parer Battles Through and other stories. Its a collection of twenty-one short Australian related stories. So of course I picked it up and read it.
The book includes the short story Parer Battles Through written by Jane Barnaby which summarises the book Flight & Adventures of Parer & McIntosh, the book of their famous 1920 single-engined flight from England to Australia made palatable for children. It’s a good introduction for children, but pales in comparison to the fuller story.
Later that night at home I asked dad if the Parer in this book was related to us. Dad picked the book up and quickly flicked through it and tossed it back.
“Yes. That’s Uncle Ray,” he flippantly said and walked away.
This casual acknowledgement of a relationship to Ray Parer, within the book, was the first I knew that some of the Parer’s might be famous. Almost forty years later and I now know so much more about the family and their endeavours.
So while it’s not unique or even brilliant it is a perfect introduction for young children. My nine-year-old is reading Parer Battles Through now! Who knows if this will begin another on the journey to know more about the greater family and their achievements.