1888: E. S. Parkes window, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Balaclava, Victoria.

Artist/Studio: Gibbs & Howard, London, c.1888.
Location: Balaclava, Victoria, Australia.
Building: Holy Trinity, Balaclava.
Memorial: Edmund Samuel Parkes (1834-1887)
Donor: Staff of the Bank of Australasia.
Photos dated: 7th January 2013.

The likelihood of being involved in two railway disasters is statistically nearly impossible but for Edmund Samuel Parkes, surviving the Jolimont railway disaster of 1881 wasn’t going to be his free pass to an uneventful life. Six years later in 1887, the Brighton express railway disaster claimed his life.

On the evening of Wednesday the 11th May 1887, the Brighton express train crashed into the rear of a passenger train between the Prahran and Windsor railway stations in Melbourne. Over 150 people were injured[1] and six[2] people were killed. Edmund Samuel Parkes was one of the six.

A memorial stained glass window, made by Gibbs & Howard, was erected in Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Balaclava by his fellow members of the Bank of Australasia.

Photos taken 7th January 2013.

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(An individual article has been posted regards the S. W. McGowan memorial window)

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 13th March 1888, page7.

“The stained glass window erected in Holy Trinity Church, Balaclava, by the officers of the bank of Australasia to the memory of Mr. E. S. Parkes has just been completed. It represents full length figures of the four evangelists, with their traditional symbols, and has been well executed by Messrs. Gibbs and Howard, of London. Below the window is a handsome brass plate with a suitable inscription. In addition to this memorial, a carved stone reredos has been erected in the chancel by a few personal friends of the late Mr. Parkes. The heads of the various Post and Telegraph department have also placed a stained glass window by the same firm, and representing the crucifixion, in the south transept of the church, in memory of the late Mr. S. W. McGowan, formerly deputy Postmaster-General. Both the deceased gentlemen were for many years active members of the Balaclava Church vestry.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 12th May 1887, page 7.


The death of Mr. E. S. Parkes in the railway accident of yesterday will occasion both a great sensation and a widespread regret in banking and in social circles in Melbourne. Nearly 20 years have elapsed since Mr. Parkes came to this colony as general inspector for the Bank of Australasia. In 1876 he became general superintendent, and as the head of the great banking institution in question he has taken a prominent part in the financial history of the city. Mr. Parkes received his early training, it is said in the London and West- minster Bank, but he has been identified in the colonies with the Bank of Australasia, which has prospered greatly under his charge A few years back Mr. Parkes visited England, when the directors of the bank took advantage of the opportunity to present him with a handsome testimonial in recognition of their confidence in him and their appreciation of his ability. His integrity and his force of character earned for him here great respect, and he has been consulted by the Treasurer of the day for many   years past, both with regard to loan transactions and banking legislation. His important evidence given to the Banking Commission will be fresh in men s memories Mr Parkes was an ardent supporter of the Church of England. He was the organiser of the “Old England Fair,” and of similar Town-hall demonstrations on behalf of Trinity Church, Balaclava, of which he may be described as the founder. In private life he was the centre of a large circle of deeply attached   friends Scarcely a year has elapsed since Mrs. Parkes died somewhat suddenly, and her loss made so great an impression upon her husband that probably he was in no condition to endure a nervous shock, but the terrible injuries he received were such as might have carried off at once the strongest and the most vigorous of men. Mr. Parkes leaves a large family, who, however, are mostly grown up. Mrs. Morton Rolfe, of the Upper Murray, is one daughter, and another daughter was recently married to Mr. F. G. Sargood, eldest son of Colonel Sargood, M.L.C. It is a curious circumstance that Mr. Parkes was in the Brighton express that was wrecked at Jolimont. He escaped without injury on that occasion, and was conspicuous in his efforts to afford aid to the unfortunate sufferers. No death could cause more consternation in the city, nor elicit more sympathy, than that of the deceased gentleman.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 13th May 1887, page 1.

“THE Funeral of the late Mr. EDMUND SAMUEL PARKES will move from his late residence, Irons, Balaclava, THIS DAY (Friday, the 18th inst), at half-past 4, and proceed to the place of interment in the St. Kilda Cemetery.  ALF. AUG. SLEIGHT, undertaker, 83 Collins-street east; High-street, St. Kilda; and Chapel-street, South Yarra”.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 14th May 1887, page 10.


The funeral of Mr. E. W. Parkes, superintendent of the Bank of Australasia, whose death resulted from injuries received in the railway accident which occurred at Windsor on Wednesday night, took place yesterday from his residence, Irona, Balaclava-road, Balaclava, and was attended by a very large   number of gentlemen, amongst them being many of the leading bankers and merchants of Melbourne. The managers and officials of the Bank of Australasia, in Melbourne, and its branches in the suburbs, as well as some of the officials from the country branches, were also attendants. The funeral cortege consisted of a hearse with four mourning carriages, followed by carriages of members of the associated banks, and about 30 other private carriages…”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 29th September 1888, page 17.



A special meeting of the shareholders in the Bank of Australasia will be held on Wednesday next, having been called for the purpose of opposing the action of the directors in granting a pension of £1,500 a year for five years to the family of the late Mr. E. S. Parkes, the manager of the bank in Melbourne, who was killed in the Windsor railway accident last year, and also to alter the articles of association so as to prevent a similar grant from being made in the future”.


Those killed in the railway accident were; Mr. E.S. Parkes, Mrs. Foster, Mr. W. H. Runting, Mr. W. G. Lempriere, F.W. Maskell (driver) and J. McNabb (fireman)[3].
On the 17th July 1890 a memorial drinking fountain was dedicated in Beach Street Port Melbourne to the memory of the engine driver, Frederick William Maskell, and the Fireman James McNabb.

External links:

Biography: Parkes, Edmund Samuel (1834–1887)


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