Edward Parker (1802 – 1865) assistant protector of Aboriginals and Methodist preacher
Edward Parker’s Christianity led him to believe in the common origin and brotherhood of all mankind. Perceptive and humane, he wrote to Governor La Trobe describing the plight of the Aboriginals and arguing for a more generous policy. Parker learnt the language and observed the customs of the Jajowurrong or Loddon Aboriginals.
Edward Parker, assistant protector of Aboriginals and Methodist preacher, was born on 17 May 1802 in London, son of Edward Stone Parker and his wife Mary. Apprenticed to a printer, he became a Sunday school teacher and a candidate for the Methodist ministry.
Parker sailed with his wife and six sons for Sydney and then moved to the Port Phillip District. In early 1839 he first attempted to contact the Aboriginals of the Loddon area. He travelled widely, collecting information about the Aboriginals and investigating clashes with settlers.
He held that the Aboriginals had a right to the ‘soil and its indigenous production’, and his attempts to intervene in cases where Aboriginals were ill-treated brought him into conflict with neighbouring squatters and station hands.
In 1841 Parker established the Aboriginal station of Larnebarramul (Jim Crow) at Franklinford in central Victoria.
From his arrival in Port Phillip Parker was a leading layman and preacher in the colony’s Methodist community. He served on the Council of the University of Melbourne in 1853, was a nominated member of the Legislative Council in 1854-55 and in 1857-62 an inspector for the Denominational Schools Board.
Parker was the most understanding of the Port Phillip Aboriginal protectors. He believed fervently that ‘the permanent civilization of the savage is dependent on the influence of Christian instruction’ and that the Aboriginals’ failings were moral, not physical or mental. Above all his Christianity led him to believe in the common origin and brotherhood of all mankind. Perceptive and humane, he wrote to Robinson and La Trobe describing the plight of the Aboriginals and arguing for a more generous policy. Before government inquiries he testified that the Aboriginals would respond to education or opportunities to develop their land if they could see some advantage and not just in the interest of white intruders. Parker learnt the language and observed the customs of the Jajowurrong or Loddon Aboriginals. His lecture on 10 May 1854 to the John Knox Young Men’s Association was published as The Aborigines of Australia. His writings preserved in the La Trobe Library are a valuable source of information about these people.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050452b.htm
Edward Stone Parker : http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/Edward_Stone_Parker
Franklinford, Victoria : http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/Franklinford,_Victoria
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