It’s believed that the Parer brothers were the first to commercialise the meat pie in Australia. In 1855, Josep and Francis Parer were the first of the Parer family to arrive in the country. Soon after arrival they opened a poultry farm near Sydney, but the business went bust. They decided to move to Bendigo to try their luck in the lucrative gold fields. At the time, they were living in a tin hut in a town that would eventually become the city of Melbourne. One day, they met a Frenchman who reminded them of their family origins. The three of them struck up a friendship and the Parers decided to let him stay with them.
The Parer brothers went to the goldfields and when they returned the Frenchman had cooked a kind of pastry with meat inside. Having a good eye for business, the Parers decided that this unique dish could be their gold! The Parers started selling meat pies to workers and it soon became one of the most popular meals, as it was cheap, hot and easy to take away.
The history of the meat pie is shrouded in mystery and has almost become an urban legend! This is one version of the story, but a lack of historical evidence has led to many others… Which is your favourite?