Pioneer of the NT’s live cattle export industry as well as a figurehead of the top end’s racing fraternity Sid Parker has been laid to rest in Darwin.

A man who pioneered Australia’s live cattle export trade has been laid to rest at a state funeral in Darwin.

Sid Parker died in his sleep at home aged 88 on January 6.

Chief Minister Adam Giles said he was a giant both of the NT’s cattle and horseracing industries.

“It was men like Sid Parker who made the Territory what it is today, who had a toughness… never accepting defeat in a hard and unforgiving terrain,” he told a full congregation of over 500 people at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church as the monsoonal rains bucketed down.

Mr Parker first visited Darwin while serving in the Royal Australian Navy in 1942 before moving there from Queensland in 1958.

He founded the South East Asia Livestock Services, working as a cattle agent and exporter, and was a founding member of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association.

He was inducted into the International Trade Hall of Fame in 1988, the NT Racing Hall of Fame in 1997, the Livestock Exporters Hall of Fame in 2002, and received an Order of Australia Medal in 2012.

He was a father figure, a mentor and inspiration to colleagues, and a gentleman, said Dr Richard Trivett, of Australian Rural Exports.

“Sid, to the very end, did not ever let anyone down,” he said.

But he said the live cattle export trade Mr Parker had helped to establish was under threat.

“It’s (faced) some extremely unfair criticism, and North Australia will only prosper if we have a strong and viable live export industry,” he said.

“Hopefully Sid will rest in peace knowing we are going to fight to the bitter end so we can have a sustainable industry.”

Mr Parker was also a major figure in the NT’s racing world, with the members’ stand at Fannie Bay Racecourse named in his honour.

He got the top end racing again after the devastation wrought by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, said Paul Cattermole, former CEO of the Darwin Turf Club.

“Sid possessed foresight and intuition and wasn’t easily bluffed … he was a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

“You took him on at your peril, but earn his respect and you had him as a friend for life.

“He will be remembered as one of racing’s giants.”

Mr Parker is survived by his second wife Elvie and her daughters Jen and Bing, and by Father Brian Ahearn, his stepson from his first marriage and the celebrant of his funeral.

“I reckon God would have judged Sid gently,” he said.