Respected live export industry pioneer Sid Parker has died in Darwin overnight, aged 88.
Mr Parker was a founding father of the northern live cattle trade to Asia, and last year received an Order of Australia medal in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the development of the Australian livestock industry and to horse racing.
The Northern Territory Live Exporters Association, an association Mr Parker helped to found, described the veteran live exporter's loss as a time of "great sadness" for the industry.
NTLEA chairman Kevin Mulvahil said highlights of Mr Parker's career included pioneering Australian cattle exports to the Philippines, the re-opening of trading to Hong Kong through the Hong Kong Cattle Company and his ongoing involvement with South East Asian Livestock Export Services (SEALS) in the Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese markets.
"On behalf of our Members and Associates of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association, I would like to take the opportunity to express our appreciation and to thank Sid for all his contributions over the decades he was involved and for the strong leadership and vision he had for the industry," Mr Mulvahil said today.
Mr Parker was born in the Central Queensland town of Comet where his parents owned a hotel. He served in the Royal Australian Navy during the second World War, and then worked for Vesteys pastoral company, which took him to the Northern Territory.
There he was introduced to the live export trade as a cattle buyer for American entrepreneurs Charlie Henderson and Gus Trippe, who were exporting cattle to Hong Kong. He then took on a role as Territory manager for the operations of Sir William Gunn, focusing primarily on the development of Tipperary Station.
In the early 1970s Sid returned to the live export business full time, coordinating plane loads and then shipments of buffaloes and cattle to a range of South East Asian markets for Carabao exports.
In the early 1990s, after that business was sold to the Brunei Government, Mr Parker established South East Asian Livestock Services with former Carabao colleague John Kaus.
Mr Parker was a founding member of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association and served as its chairman in the 1990s and again in the 2000s. In October 2002 the organisation recognised his years of service to the livestock export industry with induction into the Livestock Exporters Hall of Fame.
“Sid Parker is quite simply a legend in our industry,” the NTLEA wrote at the time. “For experience and longevity he is without peers. In an industry that has claimed many careers, Sid has survived and thrived for more than 40 years —making him in the eyes of many, the father of our industry,”
“There are so many involved in our industry today that Sid Parker has left an indelible stamp on.
“Many have worked for him at some time or another, and he has trained and mentored many others.
“Always happy to give advice, Sid is incredibly honest and true to his word. Both in Australia and overseas, the name Sid Parker is legendary. In both regions he is welcomed as a man to be trusted. He has well earned the honour that is extended to him everywhere.
“The fact that live export markets have expanded rapidly in the last two decades is due in no small part to the vision and tenacity of Sid Parker. He is known far and wide as a great cattleman and a great judge of livestock.”
In the year 2000, to commemorate Mr Parker’s 75th birthday, the Northern Territory Government commissioned a book in his honour, titled “Old Sid – The Life and Times of Sid Parker”.
Mr Parker has also been an active member of the Northern Territory horse racing industry throughout his life. He was a committee member of the Darwin Turf Club from 1968 to 2000, serving as chairman and vice-chairman during that time, and was inducted in the Northern Territory Racing Hall of Fame in 1997.
He was also inducted into the International Trade Hall of Fame by the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory in 1988.
Mr Parker died peacefully in his sleep last night in Darwin. He is survived by his wife, Elvie.
A funeral service will be held at the St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 90 Smith Street Darwin, on Tuesday 14th at 9.30am.