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Walter James Parr

1894 - 1949

The untimely death of Walter James Parr in Melbourne on August 21, 1949, has deprived Australia and the rest of the world of a great student of micropalaeontology. Mr. Parr was born in Essendon, Victoria, in 1894. He entered the Victorian Public Service after leaving school and remained in it until March of 1949, when, through ill-health, he retired from the position of Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Mines Department. He served overseas in World War I.

His interest in palaeontology began at the age of sixteen, when he came under the influence of the late Frederick Chapman, who was one of the pioneers of micropalaeontology in Australia. After his return from overseas in 1919, on Chapman's advice he decided to specialise in the foraminifera. He wrote several papers on the foraminifera not only individually but in collaboration with Chapman, Howchin, Collins and Crespin. His recent work on the Lagenidae aroused considerable interest.

After several years of work and shortly before his death, he completed his report on the foraminifera dredged by the British Australia New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-1931,which was under the leadership of Sir Douglas Mawson. In this work, which is now in press, he has recorded 453 species and varieties of foraminifera. One hundred and thirty-seven of these are new and there are seven new genera. There are thirteen plates of drawings made by A. C. Collins.

At the time of his death, Parr was working in collaboration with Collins on the foraminifera collected by the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland) Expedition for the British Museum. Collins is carrying on this investigation.

Parr's valuable collection of foraminifera is to be distributed amongst the various Australian universities and museums. The bulk of the material will come to the Commonwealth Palaeontological Collection at Canberra where it will be under the care of the writer.

The writer personally feels a great sense of loss with the passing of Mr. Parr. His friendly advice and criticism was always willingly given and his amazing insight into the study of the foraminifera made his comments invaluable.

Irene Crespin

Reproduced From: The Micropaleontologist, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan., 1950), pp. 22-23.
Publisher by: The Micropaleontology Project, Inc.
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