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ASOPA: School died while still under review

Vic Parkinson, ASOPA registrar, dies at 93


Parkinson_VicSMH - IT WAS AN awful thing for Mosman Council when a group of visiting New Guineans became a bit raskolish on Friday nights in the early 1960s and started tearing up shrubs on the nature strips.

The council could have come down very heavily but decided to call on someone who had real insight into the people, Victor Parkinson.

At the end of World War II, Parkinson had joined the Australian School of Pacific Administration, run from Middle Head, to train teachers and patrol officers, including one Michael Somare.

He had started as a law tutor and taken over the position of registrar. Parkinson found the riotous lads were students at the school. He packed them into a vehicle, took them off and settled them down.

Parkinson took his civic spirit with him when he became the mayor of Mosman from 1965 until 1970, making him the council's second-longest serving mayor.

In World War II, Parkinson had joined the army education unit and served in Queensland and the Northern Territory. At the end of the war he joined the School of Pacific Administration.

In the early 1960s, Parkinson became interested in local government and was elected to Mosman Council in December, 1962. He became the mayor in 1965 and also joined the council of the National Trust.

He was committed to preserving historic buildings and extended that interest to trying to regulate development in the area, though powerful interests were arrayed against him.

In 1975 Parkinson and his wife retired and bought a property, Gowan Green, near Wellington in central western NSW.

Victor Parkinson is survived by Marjorie, his children John and Lindy, daughter-in-law Karen, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Read the full obituary here

Source: ‘A thorough gentleman with a dedication to preserving history’ by Malcolm Brown, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 2010


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Peter and Marian Comerford

I have just read your news of the passing of Vic Parkinson and remembered you had written last year that you had caught up with him at Orange.

What a delightful gentleman he was and I have very vivid memories of him in my time at ASOPA.

My wife Marian and I were invited, along with Phil Donnison and his wife Brenda, to represent the college at the Mayor of Mosman’s Ball in 1970.

It had a bi-centenary theme and we decided to go as the stores and supplies on the Endeavour.

Costuming was cheap: four potato sacks with the words ‘Spuds’ and ‘Limes’ painted on the sacks, with holes cut for the head and arms to go through.

The costume was completed with footy socks and boots.

We arrived at the Town Hall and nearly fell over as it was packed with people wearing extremely expensive hired period costumes and powdered wigs...

Enter the Asopans, and Vic dressed as Captain Cook was thrilled and thought it was absolutely hilarious.

To cap off the evening we took out first prize for originality.

Whenever I came across him after that in our final months he would give me a pat on the shoulder, smile and shake his head.

Our condolences to go to his family.

Colin Huggins

Thank you, Keith, for this notification of the passing of a person who was both an officer and a gentleman.

I read the very fitting obituary in the SMH of today. Mr. Parkinson will be sadly missed not only by his family members but all who knew him.

I recall his dignity and wise advice at ASOPA in 1962/63. I, in my heart, believe that the TPNG of those days was unfortunate to have not had Mr Parkinson as an Administrator of the then territory.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Clarke. "He was Old Mosman through and through".

Rest in peace Mr V Parkinson.

Roy Clark

Vic was 93 and had advancing Parkinson's Disease.

I visited him a couple of times in recent years, firstly at his home in Orange where he had retired from being a farmer and then I saw him for about a half hour in his unit after he moved to a retirement home in Orange.

More recently he was in a nursing home in Orange.

Vic told me he developed Parkinson's Disease at age 80 and had never before been in hospital or needed a doctor. He was concerned that some
of the chemicals he had to use on the farm may have been a factor in his development of the disease.

I last saw Vic when he was 90 and, although I knew that the mean life expectancy after diagnosis for Parkinson's was 13 years, I didn't tell him that, but told him my sister had had the disease for over 20 years and so he had at least another 10 years to go so he may see 100.

We had a good laugh over that. Unfortunately it seems statistics beat him.

We were on opposite sides of the political divide, but I liked Vic; he was one of the liberal Liberals and we had a number if interesting and informative talks about politics.

He was proud of his work as President of the National Trust and the last time I visited him he showed me a letter he had received from the former Vice Chancellor of UNSW, Sir Rupert Meyers, praising his work for the Trust.

Vic had organised for Rupert to be on the Trust. In today's Herald Viv May of Mosman Council is quoted as saying: "He was Old Mosman through and through".

Vale Vic Parkinson.

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