Stanley Parer a boy, youth & man

Amongst the twenty kilos of family treasures that dad sent me today were a few pages of reminiscences of Stanislaus Arthur Parer, my grandfather. A couple of random, candid memories that seemed to segue into other little pieces I had and paint a picture of a youthful man. A man I knew, but didn’t quite recognise. The man I knew was old, dour, purposeful, a determined family man, with inscrutable ethics, and a presence and determination carved from grim experience. I saw this man at the tail end of his life, with all that weight of his experience and responsibility seeming to bend the space-time around him.

When he wasn’t all of that, then to the teenage me, he was a coughing old bugger with his rolly cigarette, impossibly stuck in the corner of his mouth dispensing economical utterances that invariably began with a guttural “agh! agh! agh”. I would then be instructed either to calm down or help him do something he clearly should never contemplate let alone do.

Like the time, at the age of 88, he made me lower him down the side of the steep slope near our water tank so he could weed the slope harnessed by one of dads more worn pieces of rope anchored to an upright. My protests of, “Grandfather should you be doing this?” were met with, “hold this!”, handing me the rope, and off he went over the edge and me nearly with him as I was suddenly and immediately lowering him down. There he weeded quite happily for half an hour until I was beckoned to bring him up. Not an easy task and at one point I thought it was all going to end in tragedy. I tried to release him and prepare for a big fall for us both, but his grip was like an iron vice and somehow I managed to get him up. Me marvelling at this near mishap slumped on the ground and Grandfather shuffling down the path on his zimmer frame puffing white trails of cigarette smoke behind him without a backward glance.

Stan Parer in his late 80s.jpg
Stan Parer in his late 80s.

Yet, the following snippets cut him as a youthful, sprite, slightly wistful, sometimes directionless and innocent boy, unburdened by the passage of life. So I offer nothing more than three stages to you: the memories of his childhood, a newspaper clipping as a young adult and parts of the eulogies of his sons John and Michael. Perhaps they show a glimpse of the the man that was and the legacy that still endures with his every growing family.

Reminiscence of Stanislaus Arthur Parer

My earlier memories are when father (John Arthur Parer), mother (Teresa Mary Imelda Carolin), Fons1, Doreen, April and myself lived at Armadale, Victoria opposite the railway station in the early nineteen hundreds. Fons was born in July 1897 and I in September 1898, Doreen 1899, Cyril 1902, Ben 1906, Adrian 1910 and Damien 1912. I can vividly remember that we were confined to our cots recovering from tonsil operations performed by Dr Kent Hughes. When Fons was born as mother had insufficient milk, Aunt Maria (Carolin) kindly assisted and he shared her supply with Tony, who was born in January 1897. Later Dr Richard Stawell advised goats milk so dad purchased a goat to give milk and brought it home, but it was not the sort of goat to give milk. Eventually a suitable one was purchased and all was well until it devoured the washing on the line. What happened after that, I do not know.

I was born when my parents were living at St Kilda. Just before the due time mother was thrown out of grandmother Carolin’s phaeton2, but fortunately both mother and her unborn child suffered no ill effects. Eventually I saw the light of day at midnight without any doctor’s assistance. When eventually the doctor arrived Grandmother Carolin (Mary Corcoran) castigated him, but his excuse was he had an urgent call to an old lady who had been out dining and got a fish bone caught in her throat. To which Grandmother replied, an old woman of that age had no right to be out so late at night.

Theresa Carolin, JA Parer, Fons, Stan-c1901
Teresa, Phonse, John Arthur and Stan Parer, Armadale, Melbourne, Victoria, 1901.

Fons and I attended a private school, run by MA and TA Linchan Brothers in the next street, at Sutherland Road. They were ex-Xavier trained.

The four of us had bicycles and every Sunday we would go somewhere. I remember travelling to Brighton to see Alice, our old nurse. One day going down the hill in High Street, Armadale, I collided with a dog. Over I went taking the skin off both my knees.

About 1906 when dad had the Royal Mail Hotel at the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets, Melbourne, we moved from Armadale3 to “Altiora”, at (17) Stanhope Street, Malvern, next door to St Joseph’s Church and Primary School. It was a lovely two storey home with elaborate stables and plenty of ground. It is now the De La Salle Brothers’ School, but the old home still stands and is the Brothers’ residence. We attended the primary school next door before becoming boarders at McChristal’s Mentone College, where the Michael Parer boys, who then lived on King Island and Geoffrey and Bertram Higgins from Malvern attended. This college was right opposite the Mentone Swimming Baths, so right throughout the year the boys were expected to have a swim at 7am each morning summer and winter.

Mr Tom McChristal was a fine teacher, a product of Xavier College and his wife a very homely person. They had two sons, Billie, who was then a medical student and ultimately became a heart specialist at Macquarie Street, Sydney. He cared for his parents until they passed away when he got married but it was unsuccessful and without issue. Tommy Junior devoted his school days and afterwards to sport. He enlisted in the AIF and died in Paris.

My teacher was Mr J Daly, who did medicine, he practised as a GP at Northcote and married Madame Mary Daly. After Mr Daly left, an Englishman was appointed to take charge and we all hated him. He kept a leather strap in the draw of his desk, so one day I cut it up into small pieces and wrote on top of his desk “Pug”, his nickname. Mr McChristal called all the school together and I owned up as the culprit for which Mac gave me the cane on each hand until he was exhausted. This College was eventually taken over by the Brothers and is now St Bedes.

Circumstances forced our family to leave Melbourne and go to King Island to live, in 19104 5. Uncle Michael had the King Island Hotel which dad took over and gave Michael the lease of the Royal Mail Hotel, corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets, Melbourne. Fons and I went to the local state school, with Winifred McAllan in charge, who eventually entered the Carmelite Convent in Kew.

A priest would come from Tasmania about every six months and a room in the hotel was set aside for Mass etc. Dad was a very devout Catholic and would gather us all upstairs in our private sitting room to recite the nightly Rosary. Father Goodman of the Sacred Heart Order arrived and decided to give a mission. A new Methodist Church had just been finished and the parson was delighted to agree to Father Goodman’s request for a loan of this church for one week to give a mission. It was then decided to visit every Catholic on the Island, and collect money to purchase land to build a church. In the tinker dad drove Father around the island for 14 days or more and the response was so good that the church became a reality within two years. (it’s located on Main Street, Currie.)

Stanislaus Arthur Parer age 15 at St Virgil's College-Hobart-1913.jpg
Stanislaus Arthur Parer, St Virgil’s College, Hobart, 1913 at 15 years of age.

Father Goodman was a wonderful preacher and a fine man. He told dad and mother that St Virgil’s Christian Brothers College, Hobart had just been completed in January 1912 and induced them to send Fons and myself as boarder to this new College. We arrived in June and were thrilled with Brothers, Boys, Sports and the Spirit. Fons excelled in sport and had left in December 1915, but came back for the 1916 year, but he arrived late. The travel was by a 150 ton ship from King Island to Launceston and thence by rail to Hobart. Fons and his friend had boarded the train carriage next to the engine, then the conductor came along and ordered them out as it was reserved by a party of school girls, so Fons moved to the last carriage of the train. I was waiting on the Hobart Station to greet him, but the train did not arrive. Taking a sharp turn at Campania the engine jumped the rails and all carriages toppled over except the last one. Fons assisted in caring for the dead and wounded.5After passing in eight subjects in the Senior Public Examination I left in December 1917. I missed out in English, a compulsory subject for matriculation, so I successfully sat for this one subject on King Island. My main interests were science and mathematics, but the attractions of the Island with its open spaces, freedom, horse riding etc kept me there. For one year I tried my hand at farming on our 500 acre timbered property 12 miles from Currie which we called St Virgils. There were magnificent black-wood trees growing, a number of which were shipped to Melbourne to be made into seats for the Flinders Street Station. Fortunately the man I had as overseer was a competent Tasmanian bushman who taught us how to use the axe and edge and build sheds and huts from the raw timber. We felled trees, pulled out the stumps, cleaned the land and ploughed it. I drove a team of bullocks at 2 miles per hour taking fodder from Currie to the farm for the 100 pigs and 20 cows we had. I realised I was not cut to for the land. The war was over and in 1919 dad and mother went off to Europe and left Fons and myself to run the hotel.

Leo had joined the Stanford X-ray Co. with Joe Ford and wanted me to come over and be the third partner. I hated the hotel business so Fons and I found a buyer for the hotel. I left for Melbourne in June 1921 and joined Stanford X-ray Co. at 214 Russell Street. Leo then went off to Germany with his father to secure agencies.

Cyril and Ben were at St Virgils College. Dad and family moved to Walla, in south west and later to Albury. Adrian, Damien and Ben went off to St Stanislas College, Bathurst.

stan in bathing suit.jpg

A big insolvency: Strange story told Dove Hosiery Case

Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), Saturday 13 November 1920, page 40

Interesting evidence was given in the Insolvency Court, Judge Moule presiding, in an inquiry into the insolvent estate of Robert Walker Peveril Matthews, agent and importer, of Australian Buildings, Elizabeth Street, and of Collins street, trading as the Dove Hosiery Store. In insolvent’s schedule the liabilities were given as £73,686/4/7, and the assets as £22.882/0/5, leaving a deficiency of £50,804/4/2 due to unsecured creditors.

The object of the inquiry was to ascertain the manner in which Matthews incurred his debts, and the transactions between him and Stanley A. Parer, which gave rise to his debt to Parer of £3405.

Mr E. Gorman (instructed by Croft and Rhoden and Mears and Duigan) appeared for Mr P. J. Kent, the trustee; and Mr C. H. A Eager (instructed by Westley and Dale) on behalf of Mr John A. Parer, Crystal Hotel, Bourke street, and Mr Stanley A. Parer, his son.

Fictitious Agreement Alleged

Mr Gorman, in an outline of the case, said that by means of fictitious transactions Matthews had obtained the sum of £119,000. His first fictitious agreement purported to pay at a certain date a substantial profit, and before the arrival of the due date he obtained a further amount with which to meet his obligations. The profits mentioned in the agreements ranged from 25 to 500 per cent, a month. Out of 1000 transactions involving this sum of £119.000, there was only one genuine transaction. None of the people from whom he obtained the money asked to see the papers regarding the transactions which Matthews said he had in hand. “The lure of these very excellent percentages,” said Mr Gorman, “proved a sufficient bait.”

Mr Eager: It is a remarkable example of the gullibility of people who wish to make money quickly.

Judge Moule: What was his standing when he first started? Mr Gorman said that Matthews Started his fictitious transactions in 1917. His difficulty was that he had very little stock. He had about 60 people to whom he had paid various sums of money, paying one by borrowing from the other. On one occasion Matthews said he wouldaccompany to Sydney Mr Stanley Parer, to whom he owed money. He told Mr Parer that he had entered in to a transaction with the firm of Farmer’s in Sydney, and made an appointment to meet Mr Parer at 2 o’clock, when he would pay him what he owed him out of the money he collected from Farmer’s. Matthews failed to appear at 2 o’clock, but at 4 o’clock he appeared and paid Mr Parer £250. “I have another very excellent deal,” said Matthews, and on the strength of what Matthews said about his new scheme. Mr Parer allowed him to retain the balance of the debt. Mr Gorman (to Judge Moule): Matthews is making a clean breast of the matter. He does not attempt justification of his actions, except to say that he does not know why he did it.

Starting His Son in Life

John A. Parer, hotel manager, was the first witness. He said he had borrowed money from friends to give his son Stanley a start in life. His son was claiming £3405 from Matthews for sums lent. Witness himself had not had any transactions with Matthews on his own account. His idea was to give his boy an insight into business and business methods. (Laughter.) He paid the borrowed money into his son’s account. Matthews said that he had a good business investment, for which capital was required. Witness had no suspicion of anything wrong till about the end of August, when he found that Matthews was not meeting his obligations promptly. When witness asked for some security on behalf of his son in August a request was made by Matthews for an additional £1300. Witness remarked that the amount could he borrowed from a relative, provided that adequate security were given, and Matthews offered stock as security. The upshot was that an additional £850 was paid into the business, for which Matthews offered as security certain stock and the keys of his premises in the basement of Australian Buildings. This stock, Matthews stated, was worth £5000.

After witness heard on August 30 that many people were after Matthews for money he and his son secured vans and removed goods valued at £2000 from Matthews’s premises in Elizabeth street. The goods were stored in a room at the London Tavern.

Employed by Matthews

Stanley Arthur Parer, aged 22, said he was claiming from Matthews £3405, which his father had borrowed for him from relatives and lodged in his account. Witness got to know Matthews by being employed by him in July. First of all, witness was employed for a fortnight taking stock in the basement. After that he was sent out as a traveller, the agreement being that I he should get expenses, but no commission. His relatives all had full faith in the financial stability of Matthews. Many transactions followed. He was told by Matthews of an investment that would yield him £90 interest on £900 in nine days. For that transaction the money was borrowed without security from an uncle.

Always Kept Keys

Continuing, witness said that as far as he could recollect, he received on August 19 the key of the basement of Matthews’ premises in Australian Buildings, and a copy of the agreement made with Matthews at that time. Both were given to him by his father.
Witness kept the key, and only on one occasion did he give it to Matthews. On all other occasions witness went down to the basement with employes of Matthews, opening and closing the door of the basement himself. The following day, October 20, witness had a Yale lock placed on the basement door, and for this lock he retained the three keys which accompanied it. He never gave any of those three keys to anyone in the office, retaining them always in his own possession.


Michael Stanislaus Parer

I would say of dad that ninety years were hived in him as honey. He was a man of solid human values and not “one of the boys” in the Australian mateship mould. He lived life abundantly and gave life in abundance at work, at home with his family and in his own way to his church. He believed in honest hard toil and worked to make a ten percent profit on each job. His life centred around his home, and his wife whom he dearly loved and his four boys whom he found hard to cope with at times. He had a great love of the family, the Parers and Gartlans and I recall with joy our visits to Surrey Hills often after Sunday Mass, and our trip to the Parers in Queensland in 1950 and the annual Christmas celebrations that he hosted over the past fifteen years at North Road. He enjoyed family weddings and funerals and the Christmas gatherings. I recall he once said that, “children are the only worthwhile possessions”.

He was baptised Stanislaus Arthur and born in Malvern on the eighteenth of September 1898, the second child of Teresa Carolin and John Arthur Parer. The other children were Alphonso, Doreen, Cyril, Benedict, Adrian and Damien. His only sister Doreen and Adrian “Father Ferdinand” survive him. I recall as a child of eleven in 1944 his sobbing and crying in sorrow as he got news of his brother Damien’s death in the Second World War.

Teresa Carolin and John Arthur Parer wedding day-Edit.jpg

His mother was the grandchild of a ship’s carpenter who settled in Tasmania in 1828, and she was the daughter of John Paul Carolin who moved from Hobart to Kyneton and was a photographer, importer of Singer sewing machines, earth moving and road making equipment, and who as Mayor of Bendigo introduced sewerage and Spanish workers to grow tomatoes on the gold mullock heaps of the Sandhurst diggings. John Paul would bring his five daughters and two sons to the opera in Melbourne and stay at the Parers “The Duke” hotel in central Melbourne. Two of his daughters married John and Michael Parer.

John Arthur Parer was one of the many Parers who followed his uncles and cousins who left the family flour mill at Alella. This was an outer suburb north of Barcelona where our branch of the family had moved a generation earlier. From Alella, Joseph and Francis left for the Californian Gold rush in 1850 and in May 1855 arrived in Sydney. In Melbourne seeing the crowds they choose not to go to the goldfields but pitched their tent and opened a breakfast and cake stall on the banks of the Yarra near by St Paul’s Cathedral in Swanston Street. They quickly established themselves as hard workers and purchased the Duke de la Victoria and Temple of Pamona Hotels and later constructed Parers Crystal Palace in Bourke Street.

At the age of 15, John arrived from Brindisi in Italy on the ship the “Ballarat” with his two sisters Angeletta (17) and Marietta (21). They arrived in Port Melbourne in 1883. John did not speak English and he joined his brother Michael who came out in 1874 at the age of 15. John joined his uncles and brother in the hotel business. Two years later he upped his age to 21 and with Will Higgens (who also married one of the Carolin girls) successfully applied for the licence to run the restaurant at the Melbourne Exhibition building following the 1880 World Fair. From this they earned enough to purchase The Gippsland Hotel and the Old London Inn in central Melbourne.

Stan was born in 1898 at Malvern and spent much of his early life in and around family hotels. All his life he had an aversion for drinking in the Australian pub. In 1911 his father unwisely invested in land at Wonthaggl expecting a major coal development. He went bankrupt and was forced to move to his brother Michael’s hotel at Currie on King Island.

Stan was at this time boarding at McCristols College in Mentone which was later taken over by the Christian Brothers. From King Island his father arranged for Stan and his elder brother Phonse to board at the newly established St Virgil’s College in Hobart. Dad often spoke of these days as his happiest and most enjoyable. He thrived on school life, played as a rover in the football team and was dux of the college. He wanted to continue to do Physics at the university, but money was too short as his father was on one of his many trips to Monte Carlo to test his mathematical system.

Phonse took over the King Island hotel and Stan took over the accounting books and soon discovered the perilous state of the family finances and he also ran the family farm at Grassie and drove its bullock team. His father had lost all his money and so Stan and Phonse arranged the sale of the hotel. Their father was not pleased with this. At this stage uncle Michael purchased for Stan at one hundred pounds a one third share in a business named Stanford radio electrics in LaTrobe Street Melbourne. Dad was called to Saint Vincent’s Hospital to repair a new X-ray machine and so began his life long interest in X-rays and the building of the Stanford-X-Ray Company.

His own father’s deep religious values combined with his gambling always confused dad. He told us on many times that his father had said, “Stan, I’d give my right hand to have another chance to try my system at the Casino”.

In 1926 Stan met Catherine Irene Harriet Gartlan, whose parents had been on the land breeding Merino sheep for two generations at “Brilliant”, near Alexandria, and then at Jerilderie, and later at “Tuloona’ in the Western District. They courted for three and a half years as Stan built the X-ray business, and as mother said, “your father would walk from the factory in Collingwood to the show rooms in Collins street to save his threepence halfpenny tram fare”. And as we also learnt later grandmother “Nana” Gartlan would chide Rene, “When is that boy going to make an honest girl of you”. To which we were told mother replied as our children of today do , “Mother please keep out of our affairs”.

Parer-Gartlan Wedding.jpg

They married on 30 September at St Patrick’s Cathedral and were together for one month off fifty years. Stan’s father was unable to be at the wedding. He was broke and washing dishes in Monte Carlo and dad had to send him a return ticket. There is no doubt that dad had a deep and wonderful love for Rene which I’ve always felt reflected the inner love of God with the Father and Son bringing forth the Holy Spirit. Likewise their love quickly materialised into three boys and eleven years later was surprised with the addition of David.

bp-July-2014954-xmas down south original-8-photo_EDIT.jpg

To us boys he was a tough father. He never gave us money. He often said, “the best gift of parents to children Is good health and a good education” and that he gave to us. In the fifties he was spending about a third of his income on our education with John studying medicine at Newman College at the University of Melbourne, I was at Corpus Christi College, Bill was at the University of New England and David at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat He cultivated in us a freedom of choice and independence and I guess he was disappointed that none of us boys joined him in the Stanford-X-Ray business. Nonetheless, he was eventually proud of his boys, with John a surgeon at Penrith, Bill a Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics and Research at the University of Southern California, David a Cosmic Physicist and now a Natural History film maker and myself a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and later in Educational Development and Research. He would understand Bill’s absence today as he is in Chile continuing his research into pregnancies among Llamas in Chile, and David and Liz as they are among the orangoutangs in Tanzania.

Jenny, John, Irene, Stan, friend, David, Robin Bill Parer.

When I was deciding to move out of the traditional parish ministry I invited mother and dad to the Gordon presbytery to tell them dad ‘s advice was, “Choose the most difficult, it will be best in the long run, but whatever you choose, I will support you”. The next years were difficult and confusing for them and I wish to acknowledge many of my colleagues who were also facing a similar choice who visited our family home and discussed the issues and helped dad grow in theological understanding.

Over the past few years it was a privilege to have him at home with us with our children. It is so natural for children to look after the basic needs of feeding, teaching to walk again, and show that for each of us all our life is a circle.

A few months ago Zorba, our 12 year old asked him, what would he really like, “To see Rene”, was his reply. He is now at rest and our faith reassures us that he is with Rene to await the Resurrection. He is at rest after almost a year since his stroke that left him frustrated with himself and his inability to get about as he had always done.

I want to pay tribute to the so many ordinary, yet remarkable community people who have been so generous in caring for dad, from the occupational therapist to the social workers, the nurses who attended him in our home and in the Gippsland and Penrith hospitals, to the members of the Churchill Wattle Club and members of the Elwood Bowling Club and to Ann and Mally who tendered him so wonderfully.

He had a rather beautiful death. He was not well last Saturday and I went to collect a wheel chair from the Red Cross in Morwell for him. He went to bed on Saturday night and was not looking the best. Normally I would get up to him about three o’clock each morning, as I could usually hear him tumbling out of bed from our next door room. However, this Sunday he was silent and I thought, “I think that he has drifted away, what a relief for him”, and then I turned over to sleep again. About six I awoke and went to him. He was awake and ready to get out of bed. I tried to help him to the bathroom, but he was too weak, so Mally and I placed him in the wheel chair, and afterwards took him to the dining room for his early morning cup of tea. It was about 7.30 and Mally said, “Michael I think that father is going”, I went and sat by him and the children got out of bed and joined us. Over the next hour he sipped his tea and quietly drifted out of this life. Zorba was at his feet and said, “I felt his vibrations come into me, did anyone else get them”. So peacefully and quietly did he slip away with some.of his family around him.

It was a privilege to have had him for a father. May I say on behalf of us boys, “thank you dad for life, and may you now have your life in abundance with your darling Rene”.

Stan and John Parer c1951.jpg

John Gartlan Parer

Stanislaus Arthur Parer, 1898 to 1988. His death is an occasion of sadness, but also of gladness, for his life, and for the enrichment he gave our lives.

It is trite to try to encompass one’s father and such a man as Dad in a few words, but some words are better than none, and you may be relieved to hear, better than too many. He was a simple man and a great man and as often is the case, greatness is made of simplicity. He had some remarkable qualities.

Firstly, a simple and deep faith born of bis background of Spanish and Irish Catholic parents.

He believed in industry and integrity and the need of a man to toil. When he was staying with Ann and myself in Penrith a year ago, I had just been to a meeting concerned with retirement and he was then aged 88. I asked him when he thought I should retire. He thought for a while and said “about 90”.

Characteristically he was a do-er and not a talker, and even in his workplace if something needed to be done, like the floor to be swept, he would often pick up the broom and sweep the floor rather than ask or order someone to do it, and then the others knew that they should have thought of this first. This line of activity also helped him in getting things done work-wise and perhaps around the house.

He believed and acted in the best interests of the welfare of his own family, and also in its wider sphere. In this regard he and my mother particularly looked forward to their annual Christmas reunion of the family at North Road,

He believed in the need for education of all, of his children and himself. He actively encouraged the four of us to educate and I am pleased that he did and he was pleased. He lacked education beyond Leaving Certificate himself and always wished that he had received a more formal education in science. When I was doing second year Medicine Dad decided he would go to the Melbourne Institute of Technology and do the Physics course, and each night he would come home and he would shame me with the hours of study he used to put in and the neatness of his practical work. This was all on top of his normal 12 hour working day with his business.


Well, he finished the year and he passed and then he recognised that it was a lot of work for what he must have been a 50 year old then, he said “that’s enough” and did no more, but he finished his first year and passed and we were all very proud of him.

He had a great sense of humour which, I am afraid, some of the younger members of our family don’t view with high regard and fear they may inherit genetically, but this humour stood him well and he would cause a laugh at even difficult times. On the first night he got home from hospital on the 3rd October, he had difficulty turning over and Mally came in and asked “which side do you want to lie on Father?” and he said “the right side” and then giggled.

His humour also helped him in adversity and about four years ago he fell in the backyard and lay without any attention or anyone knowing for some 30 hours. We found out about 9 pm on a Sunday in November evening, fortunately a warm and bland evening and day, and he was collected by ambulance and taken to The Alfred Hospital where an old friend of mine, Frank McDermott took care of him. After examining him and finding that he was not too worse for wear Frank said to him “What did you do all that time”, and.Dad said “Not much but I made a lot of friends with a lot of snails”.

Another of his characteristics was his ability to persist and then to accept outcomes. He would persist at any role or job that he had until the job was done, but finally in his later years when he couldn’t do things like gardening, driving, manage the house or live by himself, he accepted these without complaint. In fact it is difficult to remember him complaining at all in the past few years.

Nevertheless, he had some vices, and these consisted of smoking, he smoked for over 70 years, he ate all the wrong things, like a high fat diet, he loved chops and salt, and despite these things physically he conquered these bad habits.

But he was a man full of surprises. Firstly physically in that he should have succumbed to the problems of diet and smoking, but didn’t. Although he was 10 years older than mother he outlived mother by 8 years. His sense of humour was always surprising and enlivening, despite his puns.

So, farewell Dad, farewell Stan to your earthly being. I and my brothers thank God for giving him life as we all thank both him and God for giving us life, and we thank God forStan’s enrichment of our lives by his personality, qualities and example.

May he be in Heaven with you, God, now and always.


  1. Fons was born Alphonso and his name was shortened to Fons or Phonse. I have always left the spelling as I see it, though I’m inclined to Phonse as it’s spelling fits closer to his actual name.
  2. A phaeton was a light, sporty, open four-wheeled one or two horse-drawn carriage. It was known as being both fast and dangerous.
  3. They lived at 61 Armadale Street, Armadale.
  4. In 1911 his father unwisely invested in land at Wonthaggl expecting a major coal development. He went bankrupt and was forced to move to his brother Michael’s hotel at Currie on King Island.
  5. It should be noted that The Launceston Examiner, Saturday 18 November 1911, page 10 states that the license was transferred from Michael Parer to John A Parer on the 0th November 1911.
  6. It is the worst rail disaster in Tasmania’s history. It occurred 2 miles north of the town of Campania and 29 miles from Hobart. With 200 rail passengers on board, seven people died and 29 seriously injured in what was called the Campania railway disaster just before 4pm on 15th February 1916. The engine jumped the track and upended going at about 35 miles per hour, 15 more than recommended for the curve, and the first two carriages followed with the rear carriages stopping suddenly on the track. The front carriage was splintered  in an unrecognisable heap of matchwood with the second carriage lying parallel to it.
    The Mercury’s report
    What the farmers saw
    The Inquest

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