History of West Australia/George Parker

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George Parker HOFWA.jpg
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Greenham & Evans.

RUSKIN defines the functions of a lawyer in a community as one who should enforce justice. A keen appreciation of the high duties pertaining to the position is, therefore, necessary to the aspirant for legal honours if he wishes to win the enconiums paid to the most respected of the professions by the appellation, "an honest lawyer." But integrity is not alone sufficient. He must also possess the steadfastness of purpose which will enable him to devote years of labour to the hard reading necessary to become versed in the numerous technicalities of law. A quick perception of the most trivial omissions in the strict rules of the law of evidence will enable him to the more carefully and honestly guard the interests of his clients, to whose welfare, for the time being, the "honest" lawyer must make his own interests a secondary consideration.

In Western Australia, as in other parts of the world, there are certain families who have a predilection for the legal profession, and whose sons have made for themselves a name and place in the community. In legal circles there is no better known, more respected name than that of Parker and Parker, the principals of which firm are sons of one of the colony's oldest residents, Mr. S. S. Parker, whose biography appears elsewhere.

George Parker, with whom we now deal, was born at York, Western Australia, in 1852, and was educated at that old seat of local learning, Bishop's School. At the age of sixteen years he entered the office of his brother, the Hon. S. H. Parker, Q.C., M.L.C., who was then practising his profession in Perth. After completing his articles, Mr. George Parker left his brother and started practice in Fremantle, where he remained until 1881. He then returned to Perth, and entered into partnership with his brother, the firm becoming Parker and Parker. Since the brothers joined in business the affairs of the firm have prospered to a remarkable degree, and it is now one of the leading firms of solicitors in the colony. Several important law cases have been successfully contested by them, and in all matters where abstruse points of law have to be decided, their opinion is considered in valuable.

In addition to taking an important part in the conduct of this large business, Mr. George Parker occupies important positions in the sporting world. In his youth he was an athlete of no small powers. When only fifteen years of age he was such a prominent cricketer that he was selected to play for the senior teams of his native town, and since then has wielded the "willow" for the Fremantle and metropolitan clubs. He was the first scorer of a century in Western Australia, which distinction he achieved in a match played at Fremantle in February, 1895, in which he obtained 108 runs in one innings. For eleven years, prior to 1894, he was captain of the Metropolitan Club, and is now captain of the Perth Cricket Club. He is also a trustee and chairman of committee of the Western Australian Cricket Association.

Mr. Parker was instrumental in forming the Western Australian Amateur Athletic Club, and took a keen interest in foot-racing. In 1883 he ran in all the principal events, and carried off the 100 yards, the 150 yards, 440 yards and mile flat races, and 120 yards hurdle race. As a hundred yards "sprinter" he has not been beaten. In addition to his other honorary offices, Mr. Parker is president of the Swan River Football Club, and president of the Lacrosse Club. Few men have taken more interest in all descriptions of sport than this worthy lawyer. As could only be expected from one whose sportsmanlike proclivities are so strong, Mr. Parker is a prominent figure in the racing world, and has done as much probably to further the sport of kings as any man in the colony. When the Western Australian Turf Club was in low water a few years ago Mr. Parker, with others, came forward and assisted it out of serious difficulties. He also undertook the management of the racecourse, of which he is one of the trustees, and which is prettily situated on the banks of the Swan, and is laid down in grasses. As a committeeman he has had much to do with the constitution of the club, and he took an important part in drafting the rules. In the capacity of steward, a position he at present holds, he is called upon to discharge many onerous duties, which his knowledge of sport enables him to do in the most satisfactory manner. He is also trustee of the York Racecourse.

In his love for sport Mr. Parker is a typical Australian, but at the same time he does not allow it to interfere with his professional work. Mr. Parker was married, in 1881, to the eldest daughter of Mr. Worsley Clifton, late Collector of Customs, and has two children.

There is hardly any branch of sport in which Mr. Parker has not been an adept and even now, as a horseman, he is one of Western Australia's best amateur riders. He trained the winner of the first Perth Cup, and owned several famous horses. Mr. Parker's roll call of friends and well-wishers is a long one. His popularity is distributed over every circle, whether in the sporting world, the professional sphere of wig and gown, or in the quieter walks of social life.