TheAir Adventures of Raymond Parer (OX 1917)
Monday, 12 February 2024
by Jock O'Keefe (OX 1959)

Ray was a day dreamer and during classes at Xavier his idle thoughts often drifted to becoming a pilot once he left the Big school.

Ray knew how to look after himself as he was one of nine siblings- that's half the number of a footy side. Upon farewelling the Jesuits, Ray trained to become an apprenticed motor mechanic and in 1916 he became involved in the Australian Flying Corporation where he learnt to fly Box Kites at Point Cook ,outer Melbourne.

Smitten with life as a pilot his daredevil interest kicked in, and he moved to the action capital , London.
By coincidence the Australian Government announced sponsorship of an air race between London to Australia. This challenge was too much to refuse, particularly as there was a winner's purse of ten thousand Pommy Pounds. Ray and his co-pilot didn't come first but when they landed at the Flemington Racecourse , August 1920 the good folk in the OZ Government patted them on the back, and handed over one thousand pounds for being the first single engine plane to complete the long haul and dangerous journey. In return, our intrepid Ray handed across a flask of whisky for Billy Hughes, then PM of Australia.

Back on home soil Ray formed his own aircraft company, and won the Victorian Ariel Derby piloting a DH-4 plane. Next adventure was further up north in New Guinea. Daredevil Ray flew some really dangerous missions for the next 15 years.
Come 1934 Ray and co-pilot competed in MacRobertson (yes, the chocolate company) London-Australia Air Race.
New Guinea was still under siege so Daredevil Ray hung up his goggles, purchased a pearl traders' ketch to repel enemies around the Torress Straits.

He well deserved being inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame.
What a man, and much if it started at Xavier.