Frederick Parkin and family.

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre, Australia.

Parkin, Frederick Joseph James (1881–1955)

By Milton Hook

×

Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: September 24, 2021

On September 26, 1881, Frederick Parkin was born in Williamstown, Victoria, the son of British immigrants George and Esther (Williamson) Parkin.1 As a young man, he accepted the Seventh-day Adventist faith and attended the Avondale School for Christian Workers, completing six subjects between 1900 through 1903.2

Parkin became one of the most successful Australian booksellers in the early twentieth century. After his experience at the Avondale school, he canvassed on his bicycle a number of country towns in New South Wales, such as Grafton, Maclean, Manilla, Tingha, Warialda, and Coolah, with the book Daniel and Revelation.3 He persevered in this work during late 1903 through 1905 and was then appointed to the Southeast Asia Mission to continue canvassing the same book. He began in Singapore in February 1906, often selling eight copies before he had his morning breakfast.4 In 1907, he travelled through the Malay States where he attained outstanding sales figures, the best total being 242 orders during September in Perak.5

At mission headquarters in Singapore on March 1, 1908, Parkin married Edith Ellen Ward.6They had met at the Avondale School. Edith Ward had boarded in Ellen White’s household at Sunnyside while she studied, graduating in 1903 with a teaching certificate. She had then pioneered church schools in North New Zealand.7After their marriage, Edith Parkin tutored a Chinese young lady to sell the Malay translation of Christ Our Saviour to women in Singapore while Frederick Parkin, in company with another canvasser, sailed to Shanghai to test the market for their books.8 Parkin, however, became desperately ill in a few months with tropical sprue, an intestinal disease that forced him and his wife to return in 1909 to a cooler climate in Australia.9

Parkin slowly regained his health. In January 1916, he and his family settled near the Nulla Nulla Aboriginal Reserve northwest of Kempsey, New South Wales, in order to pioneer mission work among the people.10They began by establishing a Sabbath School.11Tragedy visited them when Edith Parkin had a heart attack in late 1916. She lingered in the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital for a few weeks, but died and was buried in the Gore Hill Cemetery, North Sydney, on Christmas Day 1916. She was only thirty-five years old.12 Parkin was left with three young children, Edwin, Ernest, and Frieda (who later married Frederick Fleming, another canvasser).13

Parkin did not return to mission work. In 1920, he married Clara Ruth Smith14 and settled his family on a farm in the Gippsland, Victoria. He remained active in local church activities until he died on December 10, 1955. He is buried in the Warragul Cemetery,15 erroneously listed under the name Alfred Parkin.16 Clara Parkin died on July 9, 1960, in Berwick, an outer southeastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.17

Sources

Bolst, Hugh J. “Clara Ruth Parkin obituary.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, August 8, 1960.

Chaney, B[ertha] S. “Avondale School Graduating Exercises.” Signs of the Times, October 26, 1903.

“Fred Parkin Academic Record.” Avondale University College Registrar’s Office, Cooranbong, New South Wales.

“Frederick Joseph Parkin.” FamilySearch. 2019. Accessed January 2, 2020. https://www.familysearch.org.

Gates, E[dward] H. “Mission Studies.” Union Conference Record, February 22, 1909.

Hollingsworth, C[yril] F. “Frederick Joseph James Parkin obituary.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 5, 1956.

Jones, Griffiths] F. “Singapore.” Union Conference Record, May 18, 1908.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Work.” Union Conference Record, May 1, 1905.

“Parkin.” Warragul Cemetery Trust. AEC Spatial Pty. Ltd. N.d. Accessed January 2, 2020. http:/www.warragulcemeteries.org.au/search.htm.

Parkin, F[rederick] J. “Work Among the Aboriginals at the Nulla Nulla Mission, New South Wales.” Australasian Record, October 23, 1916.

Rudge, P[hillip] B. “Kempsey Aborigines Mission.” Australasian Record, October 21, 1918.

Smith, W[illiam] J. “Edith (Ward) Parkin obituary.” Australasian Record, January 15, 1917.

State of Victoria, Marriage Certificates. State Government of Victoria Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Melbourne, Victoria.

Teasdale, George. “Singapore.” Union Conference Record, January 18, 1909.

Notes

  1. “Frederick Joseph Parkin,” FamilySearch, 2019, accessed January 2, 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/find/name?search=1&gender=male&birth=Victoria%2CAustralia%7C%7C0&self=frederick%7Cparkin%7C0%7C0.

  2. “Fred Parkin Academic Record,” Avondale University College Registrar’s Office, Cooranbong, New South Wales, folder: Fred Parkin, document: “Fred Parkin Academic Record.”

  3. E.g., “Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Work,” Union Conference Record, May 1. 1905, 9.

  4. E[dward] H. Gates, “Mission Studies,” Union Conference Record, February 22, 1909, 4.

  5. “Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Work,” Union Conference Record, December 2, 1907, 6.

  6. G[riffiths] F. Jones, “Singapore,” Union Conference Record, May 18, 1908, 2.

  7. W[illiam] J. Smith, “Edith (Ward) Parkin obituary,” Australasian Record, January 15, 1917, 7; B[ertha] S. Chaney, “Avondale School Graduating Exercises,” Signs of the Times, October 26, 1903, 6-7.

  8. G[riffiths] F. Jones, “Singapore,” Union Conference Record, May 18, 1908, 2.

  9. George Teasdale, “Singapore,” Union Conference Record, January 18, 1909, 2-3.

  10. P[hillip] B. Rudge, “Kempsey Aborigines Mission,” Australasian Record, October 21, 1918, 57-60.

  11. F[rederick] J. Parkin, “Work Among the Aboriginals at the Nulla Nulla Mission, New South Wales,” Australasian Record, 1916, 3-4.

  12. W[illiam] J. Smith, “Edith (Ward) Parkin obituary,” Australasian Record, January 15, 1917, 7.

  13. C[yril] F. Hollingsworth, “Frederick Joseph James Parkin obituary,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 5, 1956, 15.

  14. State of Victoria, Certificate of Marriage no. 3322 (1920), State Government of Victoria Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Melbourne, Victoria.

  15. C[yril] F. Hollingsworth, “Frederick Joseph James Parkin obituary,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 5, 1956, 15.

  16. “Parkin,” Warragul Cemetery Trust. AEC Spatial Pty. Ltd., accessed January 2, 2020, http://www.warragulcemeteries.org.au/search.htm.

  17. Hugh J. Bolst, “Clara Ruth Parkin obituary,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, August 8, 1960, 6.

×

Hook, Milton. "Parkin, Frederick Joseph James (1881–1955)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 24, 2021. Accessed January 31, 2023. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=II57.

Hook, Milton. "Parkin, Frederick Joseph James (1881–1955)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 24, 2021. Date of access January 31, 2023, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=II57.

Hook, Milton (2021, September 24). Parkin, Frederick Joseph James (1881–1955). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 31, 2023, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=II57.