The new home: Australia // Family of Michael Parer, the globe-trotters

Family of Michael Parer, the globe-trotters

Michael Parer and Maria Carolin´s children
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Parer´s challenge in New Guinea

In 18 years, Michael Parer and Maria Carolin had nine children and only two were born in the same place. 

Michael was the eldest son of Antonio Parer and Josefa Arenas and was sent to school at the College de Pizanas in Montpellier, a typical situation in Spain at the time. In 1876 he came to Australia at the age of 17 and worked with his uncles at the ‘Duke Restaurant’. In 1885 he married Maria Carolin, daughter of John Paul Carolin of Bendigo.

In 1888 he bought ‘Hosies Hotel’ for £85,000 in partnership with Peter Barbeta, but the enormous amount could not be covered as all banks except two closed their doors when the economic boom busted in Melbourne. To avoid this, Michael decided to go to the west coast of Tasmania, where he ran a Hotel with his brother in-law, Thomas Connolly. In Queenstown he built ‘The Empire’ “with cellar walls 18” thick of brick and a black wooden staircase to the second floor” (as grandson Dr. Kevin Parer remembers).

In 1902 Michael sold ‘The Empire’ and moved to Hobart to open ‘The Imperial’. Not long after, he won £600 in the first Tattersalls Sweep on the Melbourne Cup when Revenue won. It was his share of the first prize from a few tickets taken from surplus money at the closing of the Mt. Lyell Stock Exchange of which he was a member. He heard of a rich agricultural island being opened up in Bass Strait. He sold the ‘Imperial and bought a hotel in Crotty, which he dismantled and shipped to his new home: King Island.

Following his eye for business and thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit he was the first to introduce pheasants to King Island. He also got contracts to supply the Victorian Railways with blackwood logs for railway carriages and platform seats. He was elected to Council and developped roads, a wharf on the east coast and the first wireless station there, in 1908.

When John Arthur went bankrupt, he went to King Island to run the hotel and Michael took over the Royal Mail. With the balance from the sale of the ‘Royal Mail’ he bought out Estevan, Johnny and Philip at the Parers Hotel & Cafe, which he sold not long after. He bought several small properties and farms, which his sons managed. When the war (WWI) started, the family went to live at Grandma Carolin’s home and then to Tia Rosetta’s home at Montserrat, Mont Albert Rd, Surrey Hills.

In 18 years, the couple had nine children and only the two younger ones were born in the same place. The eldest, Leo, was born in Rathdowne Street, Carlton; Ray in St. Kilda Rd.; Vin in Henrietta St, Malvern; Tony in Beaconsfield Parade; Bob in Winter St, Malvern; Mary in Browns River, Hobart; Bernard in Higgins High Street, Malvern; and finally Josephine and Kevin in King Island.

Their children became distinguished professionals and are still recognised for their endeavours around the world.