Damien Parer


King Island scene at the time Damien Parer was born (AOT, PH30/1/2490)

Damien Peter Parer (191244), war cameraman, lived on King Island until sent to boarding school in Victoria. After an apprenticeship in photography, he worked as a cinematographer with Charles Chauvel in the 1930s. Appointed to the war-created Department of Information, he covered the AIF campaigns in the Middle East and Greece. He forged the techniques of battle photography, recording facial expressions of men under fire and filming troops advancing into the lens. In 194243, Parer covered the fighting in New Guinea. He conveyed the realities of the Pacific war through his memorable newsreel images and became Australia's first Oscar-winner with Kokoda front line in 1943. Filming the American forces, he was killed in battle on the Pacific island of Pelelui.

Further reading: ADB 15; J Hetherington, Australians, Melbourne, 1960; N McDonald, Damien Parer's war, Melbourne, 2004.

Wendy Rimon