The new home: Australia // The portrait: The Parer family

The portrait: The Parer family


The Parer family from Alella became the anchor of the Catalan community in Australia. 

The Parer family origins in Banyuls, in the Rosselló area, South France. Legend has it that a General Parer was held hostage by the Spanish during their invasion of France during the French Revolution. He is said to have been released and married a Catalan girl.

Anton Parer had a flour mill in Santa Perpètua de Moguda in the 18th Century and his son with Josefa Arenas, Pau (Pablo) Parer, also had a flour mill in Alella, called Casa Sors, which is still very well known in the area. Pablo married Eulalia Bosch in 1822 and they had five children: Rosa, Josefa, Antonio, Josep and Eulalia. Later on, Pau remarried with Ignasia Xicola from Vall Romanas, with whom he had nine children: Francisco, Teresa, Esteve, Felip, Jaume, Joan, Eulalia, Josefa and Joana.

According to the Spanish traditions of inheritance, the eldest son, Antonio, took over the flour mill and stayed in Alella. Two of the 13 children died young, a situation quite common at the time. The first brother to leave Spain was Josep, who decided to migrate to South America in 1851, following his sense of adventure and eye for business. He left Montevideo (Uruguay) on board of the ‘Alabama’ and landed in Australia in 1855. A year later, his half-brother Francisco joined him and they started a poultry breeding industry in Petersham near Sydney, but the business was not successful. They decided to move to Bendigo looking for gold and finally settled on the banks of the Yarra river, a tent town to cope with the rapid expansion of Melbourne during the gold rush. It was their entrepreneurial character and perseverance, and also a spark of luck which triggered the start of the Parer Empire in Melbourne. Did you know that in less than 40 years they invested in more than 30 hotels and restaurants? Did you know that they are believed to be the first ones to commercialise meat pies in Australia?

Josep and Francisco were the pioneers of the Parer dynasty in Australia! Seven of their brothers and sisters, their nephews and friends of the family joined them... And this is where the family tree gets complicated!!! Shall we have a more detailed look? Click on the links above to discover every family.