Jim Parker 2008
Jim Parker Roger Oakley
Marital Status: Kitty
Children: Stuart and Ned; Steve (adoptive)
Farmer Jim Parker often struggled to open up to his three sons, but while the younger boys, Stuart and Ned, still respected their dad, Steve, a few years older than his siblings, grew increasingly estranged from his dad after moving away from Oakey. When Ned started noticing his older brother avoiding questions about when he’d be visiting home, he started asking Steve why he had such a problem with their father. Steve refused to talk for a while, but the situation came to a head when the brothers were out volunteering with the SES and became trapped in a disused mineshaft. As Ned recovered in hospital, Steve explained that their dad had once been a violent drunk, who he had caught with another woman one day and had then found himself locked in the garden shed, developing claustrophobia as a result.
Ned refused to believe what he was hearing and, after a holiday in Oakey with his son, Mickey, Ned returned to Ramsay Street, with Jim in tow. Steve was appalled, and refused to have anything to do with Jim, who then explained to Steve’s wife Miranda and adoptive son Riley that the shed incident wasn’t exactly how Steve remembered it – Steve had seen him with another woman, though it had been innocent, and had then locked himself in the shed. Miranda and Riley weren’t sure who to believe, and Steve was annoyed as his wife tried to get him to talk to his dad, but relieved that he’d soon be escaping for a fishing trip, only for Jim to be invited along by Riley. Though the trip started off well, it soon descended into chaos as father and son were unable to settle their differences, and Jim started drinking again, losing his temper with Lou Carpenter when he found out that the fish he’d been ‘catching’ were actually bought from a shop. When Riley later refused to give Jim the keys to the car, as he’d been drinking, Jim took a swing at him and Steve stepped in, telling Jim to leave his son alone. Jim angrily pointed out that Riley wasn’t Steve’s son – and Steve wasn’t his either.
Back in Erinsborough, Steve collected Jim’s belongings and threw them out of the house, stating that everything made a lot more sense now, and he knew why he and Jim had never been close. Jim also broke the news to Ned, who comforted his brother, but Steve was struggling to cope with the bombshell, and with not knowing who he was or where he’d come from. Later that evening, he found Jim in the bar, and they finally sat down to talk. Steve told Jim that he now knew why he’d always been treated differently, and why he’d been locked in the shed, but Jim explained that Steve was remembering it wrongly – he’d been found by the Parker’s neighbours Mrs Jackson after drinking all night and had broken down in her arms, which is what Steve witnessed, before running off and accidentally locking himself in the shed. Steve wasn’t quite convinced, and started asking about his real dad. Jim told him that his best friend, Gary Fuller, was Steve’s real father, but he’d been killed in Vietnam – and he’d been responsible for his death. After finding out that Gary had been having an affair with his wife, Kitty, Jim had been furious and when Gary had been hit during heavy crossfire, he’d left him there to die. Steve was disgusted and went home to phone his mum, who confirmed that it was all true.
Having alienated both Steve and Ned, Jim made his way back to the bar the next day, where Steve’s sister-in-law NicolaM was waiting. She bought Jim a scotch, knowing full well that he’d given up drinking and watched as he ordered another and another, until he was too drunk to stand. Nicola then insisted on calling Steve to come and collect him, and Steve asked Jim if he’d been telling the truth earlier. Jim admitted that he’d lied and, back at number 26, he explained that Gary wasn’t the only one who’d been hurt in the crossfire, their mate Bruce Dawson had been injured too, though not as badly. Forced to choose between them, Jim had helped Bruce, who had pulled through, but he admitted that he’d always struggled with the guilt, never quite sure if he’d left Gary there because of the affair. Having patched things up with both Steve and Ned, Jim said his goodbyes to everyone and headed back to Oakey.
Biography by Steve