After attending Bowral High School, in 1926 Archie Victor Jack Parry (known as Jack) became a clerk with Bowral Municipal Council. As mentioned previously, he was deputy town clerk from 1946 and town clerk from 1968 until his retirement in 1973. He passed away on December 4, 1975.
His many interests ranged from writing, journalism, music and photography to gardening and lawn bowls. He was also a prolific and meticulous local historian.
Continuing here is his life story, drawn from a biography written by his daughter, Mrs Judith Briscoe, in 2007.
Jack married Hilda May Hulme at St Alban's Church of England, Leura in September 1937. Their son Christopher was born in June 1939, daughter Lesley in August 1942 (dying 11 days later) and daughter Judith (now Briscoe) in July 1944. Their first home at Bowral was a rented property on Bowral Street until they moved to 43 Sheffield Road. In the early 1950s Jack and Hilda purchased their beloved 'Everest' (built in 1924) at 77 Bowral Street, where they both stayed until Jack's death.
He served on many local committees, including the Bowral Garden Club (president and vice president); Tulip Time Sub-committee; Berrima District Historical Society (president) and president of its Museum Committee; Bowral Council Citizenship Committee; Bowral Bush Fire Brigade (honorary secretary) and honorary treasurer until the Brigade ceased to exist; Berrima Village Trust (worked on the Berrima Gaol restoration); Harbison Homes (officially opened the facility); Bowral Association Brass Band (secretary and life member); and was editor of the Southern Highland News from February 1974 until his death.
Parry also held the following positions: Bowral and District Hospital Board member from 1955 and honorary treasurer from 1957 to 1975; Electoral Returning Officer; trustee of the Berrima Village Trust Reserve; peoples' church warden at St Jude's Church of England from 1960 to 1964; fellow of the Town Clerks' Society of NSW; and he was a Justice of the Peace.
Jack was also prominent in Freemasonry. He became Worshipful Master Elect in November 1955-1956 and attained Grand Lodge ranking as Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies at Bowral's Lodge Carnarvon No 172.
Jack Parry died after a sudden heart attack at Everest on December 4, 1975 and was interred in the Church of England section of the Bowral cemetery next to his mother and with his infant daughter Lesley Anne. Bowral's Oxley Drive off Oxley Hill Road was renamed Parry Drive after his death.
Jack had always been interested in Australian and specifically Berrima district history. He was appointed as the honorary municipal historian to Bowral Municipal Council and honorary shire historian to Mittagong Shire Council (initially a joint appointment with the Reverend CS Howard).
Early in his interest in the Berrima District's history, Jack started a personal library and collection of historical records, which he drew on for the many local area articles and booklets he later wrote. He became so well known for this collection that local families and interested persons sent historical information to him for inclusion in the collection. He was also known to correspond with families of early settler and pioneer families to enhance his historical collection. Other authors also accessed the collection to expand on information being written about the local area.
Two such notable publications include the 1947 booklet "Bong Bong Commemoration" compiled by Alfred E Stephen and the 1962 publication "A History of the Berrima District 1798-1973" by James Jervis. Subsequently Jack wrote two additional chapters (XXlll and XXIV) to this publication in which the history between 1961 and 1973 was added following the death of Jervis.
Upon Jack's death the considerable collection he had assembled and indexed was bequeathed to the Mitchell Library, Sydney and established as the Parry Collection.
In December 1997 the collection (all 39 boxes of historical data and photographs) was moved to the Berrima District Historical Society's research/archives centre at Mittagong, being officially handed over to the society by Jack and Hilda's daughter Judith Briscoe in September 1998.
This collection remains a treasure trove for local historians today.
- Berrima District Historical & Family History Society - compiled by PD Morton. Part 2 of a 2-part series.