Damien Parer
Australia Crest

Photographer, noted for his World War 11 work, born in Malvern, Victoria in 1912.

Parer's intention was to be a priest but decided to take up a photography apprenticeship instead, no doubt pleasing his son of the same name who was born after his father's death, now a noted film producer based in Brisbane.

A deeply religious man and philosophic by nature, Parer helped film many of Charles Chauvel's films including Forty Thousand Horsemen.

Damien took a special interest in the new concept of documentaries and in 1940 was appointed official cameraman to the AIF, under master photographer and film-maker Frank Hurley.

Initially in the Middle East, Parer made documentaries on the war in Tobruk, Syria and Greece before joining the Australian forces in New Guinea in 1942.

His docos included The Relief of Tobruk (1941), The RAAF in the Western Desert (1942) and the Oscar winning Kokoda Front Line (1942), the first Australian film to win an Oscar. Parer also made Men of Timor (1942) and Assault on Salamaua in 1943.

One of his famous photographs from New Guinea immortalises a heavily bandaged digger Wally Johnson being helped to a medical aid camp.

Many of his photographs are in the Mitchell Library in Sydney.

Parer was fearless in taking risks to capture the reality of war on film and after joining the American forces in the Pacific, he died in action in 1944 while covering the landing on Peleliu.

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