The new home: Australia // Family of Stephen Parer, the bohemian

Family of Stephen Parer, the bohemian

Stephen Parer´s arrival in Australia
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Stephen loved to play Spanish guitar with his friends known as ‘the league of nations’.


Stephen was the youngest child of Antonio and Josefa Parer. He left for Australia when he was 17 years old on board of the ‘Polynesian’. He took a dictionary with him and during the trip he learned English. He landed in Melbourne in 1888 and went straight to work at Parers’ Crystal Palace for his brother Francis. Stephen was an outdoors person and hated working as a waiter, so his brothers sent him to their market garden in Box Hill. Once a week he came to Melbourne by horse and buggy to deliver fresh vegetables to the Crystal Palace.

In 1899 he married Kathleen Clohesy at St. Josephs’ Church in Malvern and had the reception at the Crystal Palace. After their honeymoon in Tasmania, Stephen bought the Glen Iris, a general store in Burke Road, Gardiner and his wife taught piano at the rear of the shop. There they had three sons: Aloysius Gerard (who died on his 21st birthday), Arthur and Thomas Bernard. The family spent their spare time in Surrey Hills with the rest of the Parers and visited the Crystal Palace every Sunday afternoon.

Arthur married Evelyn Watson and Thomas married Gladys Irene Gallager, who took care of Kathleen when she was taken ill till she passed away in 1941. Stephen sold his shop and bought a chalet at Bald Hill Lilydale and remained there to play Spanish guitar with his friends known as ‘the league of nations’ and often came to Melbourne to go to the Opera, days that granddaughter Kathleen remembers with enthusiasm and melancholy.