David Parer

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David Parer, winner of best cinematography in a documentary, AACTA awards 2011.

David Parer is an award-winning Australian natural history film maker.

Parer was conscripted into the Australian Army to go to the Vietnam War in 1970, but he entered a Masters program to study physics in the Antarctic. Parer spent the summers of 1970 and 1972 in Antarctica studying cosmic rays at Mawson Base. While there he filmed his first documentary. David subsequently joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Natural History Unit making wildlife films. He met his wife and fellow film maker, Elizabeth Parer-Cook, in 1977.


David and Elizabeth's films have won over 130 Australian and international awards including the Golden Panda at Wildscreen twice and three Emmy's.[1]

He was awarded Golden Panda from Wildscreen (known as the green Oscars) for:

Wolves of the Sea, Gold Panda for Best Film at Wildscreen 1994
Mysteries of the Ocean Wanderers, Gold Panda Best Cinematography Wildscreen 1994
Dragons of Galapagos, Gold Panda Wildscreen 1998

He has been awarded the AFI award for the best cinematography for a non-feature film four times, for :

Edge of the Cold, 1978
Bird of the Thunder Woman, 1980
Dragons of Galapagos, 1998
Island of the Vampire Birds, 1999

His other work as a cinematographer and producer includes:

Douglas Mawson: The Survivor, 1983
The Frozen World, 1984
Nature of Australia: A Portrait of the Island Continent: A Separate Creation, 1988
Killer Whales: Wolves of the Sea, 1993
Platypus: World's Strangest Animal, 2003
Terrors of Tasmania, 2004
Australia: Land of Parrots, 2008
Out of the Ashes, 2011

Many of David's documentaries have been narrated by noted naturalist David Attenborough.

David received an Honorary Doctor of Science at Monash University, Melbourne in 1989.[2]

David gained legend status at St Patrick's College Old Collegians' Association. He attended college there from 1962 to 1964.[3]

His uncle was the renowned Academy Award-winning war cinematographer, Damien Peter Parer, who filmed Kokoda Front Line in 1944 in Papua New Guinea.


  1. ^ "David Parer ACS - Australian Cinematographers Society". www.cinematographer.org.au. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  2. ^ Crompton, Richard (1989-01-01). "Honorary Doctor of Science David Parer (right) with brother Michael". Item held by Monash Univeristiy Archives. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  3. ^ Media, Australian Community Media - Fairfax (2016-03-11). "Legend status for filmmaker". The Courier. Retrieved 2017-02-21.