Perth Hills detectorist and history enthusiast Rhys Hall has recently unearthed an artefact with links to one of Western Australia’s earliest and most influential settlers. Rhys, and his son Jack, were metal detecting on private property with the owner’s consent, in a rural area near Perth when he found what appears to be a ‘love token’ or ‘sweetheart token’.
The token bears the words S. STANLEY PARKER 1837. The letters are stamped on a 1797 Cartwheel Penny. The effigy of King George III has been rubbed off the coin but the cartwheel chariot design and some letters are visible.
The token is reminiscent of well documented convict ‘love tokens’. However, convicts did not arrive in WA until 1849.
Stephen Stanley Parker was born in 1817 and came to WA with his family in 1830 and is therefore amongst some of the State’s earliest settlers. He married in 1844 and farmed in York. In 1859 he erected a steam flour mill in that town. In 1882 he moved to Perth and served on the Legislative Council for 8 years. His good relations with local Aborigines saw him become a member of the Aboriginal Protection Board. At his death in 1904 the Western Mail (5 March) recorded that ‘he was esteemed as one of the prominent men of the country’.
Parkerville, in the Perth Hills, is named after his son, Stephen Henry Parker,(above) who became a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The token has important historical and research value. It is highly likely it was made by Stephen Parker when he was 20 years old.
The artefact can be added to a growing list of exciting finds being made by metal detectorists in Western Australia and further strengthens Heritage Detection Australia’s calls for the introduction of a Portable Antiquities Scheme.
References – heritagedetection.wordpress.com
Western Mail 5 March 1904
W B Kimberley. History of Western Australia