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Parish, Augustus Albert (Gus) (1912–1967)

by D. F. Fairweather

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Augustus Albert (Gus) Parish (1912-1967), metallurgist, was born on 13 April 1912 at Charlton, Victoria, fifth child of Victorian-born parents George Parish, farmer, and his wife Alice Clara, née Peverill. After attending Charlton High School and Wesley College, Melbourne, Gus studied (1931-33) science and metallurgy at the University of Melbourne, but did not graduate. Moving to New South Wales, he joined Australian Iron & Steel Ltd in 1935 as a cadet in the Port Kembla steelworks, shortly before the firm merged with Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd. At the Methodist Church, Wollongong, on 29 January 1938 he married Agnes Jean Pratt.

During his time at Port Kembla the steelworks expanded considerably. Employment rose from a few thousand to about twenty thousand, including immigrants from more than sixty countries. Parish oversaw the introduction of large blast- and open-hearth furnaces, flat-products manufacturing and a tin-plating line. Research to improve processes and products received his enthusiastic support. He contributed to the Port Kembla plant an unusually keen intellect, energy, decisiveness, foresight and leadership. Rivalry with B.H.P.'s Newcastle steelworks was a natural challenge, and he relished it.

Apart from a year (1948-49) as works manager of Southern Portland Cement Ltd (a subsidiary of A.I. & S.) and a term at the Newcastle steelworks, Parish spent his working life at the Port Kembla steelworks. In 1959 he became general manager and chairman of S.P.C. Seven years later he was appointed general manager of A.I. & S. (excluding coal mines) and a director of the Commonwealth Steel Co. Ltd.

After joining the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1951, Parish served that organization as a councillor (from 1958) and president (1961). He supported numerous sporting and charitable organizations (especially for the disabled), the Boy Scouts' Association (he was president of the South Coast and Tablelands Area), and the formation of Wollongong University College. Retaining his impish sense of humour and his interest in people, he loved to throw a party for his staff, keeping them up very late, but insisting on top performances at work on the following morning. In stature he was somewhat rotund, as became one who relished entertaining. He lived life to the full and seemed always in high spirits. Owing to a serious injury as a boy on his father's farm and another from football, he had one glass eye. He belonged to the Union (Sydney) and Wollongong clubs, and enjoyed music and an occasional game of golf; in earlier years he had played cricket and sung in a church choir.

Parish was transferred to B.H.P.'s head office in Melbourne in January 1967 as group general manager, subsidiaries. He became a director of several associated companies. Survived by his wife and three daughters, he died suddenly of coronary vascular disease on 22 December 1967 in his Melbourne office and was cremated. Parish had been helping to compile a book on the early development of the steel industry in Australia and the role of the Hoskins family of Lithgow and Port Kembla. The Hoskins Saga, by Sir Cecil Hoskins, was published in 1969.

Select Bibliography

  • BHP Review, 43, Apr 1966, p 25, 45, Autumn 1968, p 29
  • Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Proceedings, no 226, June 1968, p 1
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Jan, 23 Dec 1967
  • private information and personal knowledge.

Citation details

D. F. Fairweather, 'Parish, Augustus Albert (Gus) (1912–1967)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/parish-augustus-albert-gus-11340/text20253, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 15 November 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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