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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Parker, Grace Dorothy (1895–1987)

by Judith Jeffery

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Grace Dorothy Parker (1895-1987), farmer and community leader, was born on 3 March 1895 at Mount Gambier, South Australia, eldest of three daughters of William Frederick Parker, a grazier at Broken Hill, New South Wales, and his South Australian-born wife Grace Gertrude, née Crouch.  Registered as Grace Langloh, she was known as Dorothy.  As a child she lived in the Broken Hill district and worked on her father’s station until 1932, when she acquired a portion of the North Berembed estate, near Grong Grong, New South Wales.  In 1934 she sold it and purchased Springfield, at Euroley, seventeen miles (27 km) west of Narrandera, and renamed it Nanua.  An exacting and efficient manager, she ran the 1583-acre (641-ha) property for fifteen years.  She bred Corriedale sheep, milked cows, kept fowls and was a good rifle shot.  Interested in tree planting as a means of preventing soil erosion, late in the 1930s she produced a calendar featuring Australian native trees.  She sold Nanua in 1949 and moved to Adelaide to be near family members.

Miss Parker had joined the Metropolitan (Adelaide) branch of the South Australian Country Women’s Association in 1931.  In New South Wales she was founding president (1937-49) of the CWA’s Euroley branch, one of the Sturt group of branches.  She also held various group positions, including president, conference representative and secretary.  At one time she was State vice-president.  Back in Adelaide, she re-joined the Metropolitan branch, and transferred to Burnside when it was formed.  She was soon acting State treasurer.  In 1951, when the CWA State council decided to look for new premises for its headquarters, Parker alerted council-members to the forthcoming auction of Glannant, a twenty-room house on over an acre (0.4 ha) of land in Dequetteville Terrace, Kent Town.  She was given permission to bid.  There was consternation among some members when they first heard that the property had been knocked down to the CWA for the ‘staggering’ sum of £29,000, well over the authorised amount.  Parker became secretary (1951-52) and chairman (1952-59) of the club and headquarters committee, responsible for setting up the newly acquired building as an administrative centre.

Active in the Associated Country Women of the World, Parker was State international secretary in 1959-65 and 1974-77.  She led the South Australian delegation to its triennial conference in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1957, attended conferences in Edinburgh (1959) and Dublin (1965), and helped to plan the 1962 ACWW meeting, held in Melbourne.  To keep CWA members informed about international activities, in 1961-65 she wrote a column in the South Australian Countrywoman.  Elected to life memberships of CWA in both New South Wales (1947) and South Australia (1957), she was deputy State president in 1965-68.  She documented the South Australian CWA’s records and initiated the formation of an archive in the Dequetteville Terrace building.

Never married, in later life Parker moved to the Helping Hand Centre, North Adelaide.  She died on 12 January 1987 at Prospect and was buried with Catholic rites in Centennial Park cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • H. Parker, The First Fifty Years (1979)
  • A. Lott and K. Grant, Where on Earth is Euroley? (2003)
  • Narrandera Argus, 3 June 1949, p 4
  • South Australian Countrywoman, 20 March 1959, p 2
  • private information

Citation details

Judith Jeffery, 'Parker, Grace Dorothy (1895–1987)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/parker-grace-dorothy-15020/text26216, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 27 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

View the front pages for Volume 18

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