He was born in Paddington, an Eastern suburb of Sydney in 1926, and moved with his parents to Cooks Creek nearBellingen, New South Wales in 1929. At age 14 he left his parents’ farm and subsequently worked as a sleeper-cutter. Around this time he entered a well-known radio talent quest, “Terry Dear’s Australian Amateur Hour”, and was awarded second prize. Regal Zonophone Records, as a result of hearing him on “Amateur Hour”, recorded six songs with him in 1947.
As a performer, he then toured widely in rural Australia with a number of travelling shows, including Goldwyn Brothers Circus. While touring he met and married his first wife, Zelda, of the Great Ashton’s Circus family. They had a daughter (Gail) in 1949, but the marriage soon ended.
He continued to tour regularly with major country acts such as Slim Dusty, Chad Morgan, and Tex Morton, and between tours “went bush” to write more songs, fish, and do menial farm work. He continued to record for Regal Zonophone, and later for various other labels, including Mystery (1950s), Hadley (1960s), CM Records (1970s), and Columbia and Selection (1980s).
Parsons wrote numerous other songs, and also contributed the hook and chorus for Chad Morgan’s classic “The Fatal Wedding”, but made only a few records in the 20 years after his 78rpm discs of the 1950s. In 1978, he married his third wife Jeanette and they settled in Sydney. He was inducted in 1979 into “Hands of Fame” in Australia’s “capital of country music”, Tamworth, New South Wales, and in 1982 he was added to Tamworth’s “Hall of Renown”. There is also a bust of Parsons in Tamworth.
Parsons died on 17 August 1990, at age 63, and is buried in Pinegrove Cemetery.