The new home: Australia // Family of Estevan Parer, Catalan hosts

Family of Estevan Parer, Catalan hosts

Estevan always made sure the Catalan newcomers felt welcome in their new home. 

Estevan Parer arrived in 1858 with cousin in-law Martin Arenas to join his brothers in Melbourne. He worked at the Duke on his first days in Australia, which was open from 5am to 2am. The Parers justified their Spanish reputation as hard workers and members of the family still remember stories of Estevan and his brothers sleeping on the tables of the Duke. Estevan was well known for his service to the Catalan community, who several times celebrated and honoured his work and personality.

Estevan married Jane Carroll and their son Frank ended up marrying Antonia Cabus (daughter of Josefa Parer and John Cabus). When Jane passed away, Estevan remarried Josefa Clota and they had six children: Joseph, Philip, Teresa, Henrietta, Stephen and Mercedes. Phillip became a doctor and helped the new Catalan migrants in Victoria. Henrietta married James Rubira, son of James and Amelia Guidotti, who was a son of Francisco Rubira and Teresa Parer (Pau’s daughter and one of the nine early Parers).

The Rubiras were also very well known in the hotel and restaurant business and one of their cafes became an institution in Melbourne: The Rubira Hotel.

Miss Guidotti was an opera singer and her mother came from Madrid and her father from Italy. When James was recommended to move to the country for health reasons, he moved to Box Hill next to the Parers, the Codinas and the Clotas. In his memoirs, James remember having Spanish gatherings with big reunions of family and friends, where they sang songs around the piano and danced.