Australia is a young country and Sir Henry Parkes is one of our few bona fide heroes. A tireless campaigner for a united Australia, he is remembered as the father of federation. It is scandalous that Parkes Place in Canberra is going to be renamed, Queen Elizabeth Terrace. The British royal family has left an indelible mark on Australia and numerous streets, parks and schools across the country are already named to honour various royals. Like her predecessors, the present Queen, Elizabeth II has numerous roads, hospitals and buldings named for her and, of course, her image is on every Australian coin. It is simply not right that our own national heroes should be ignored and have their monuments renamed. If anything, we need more sites named in honour of the great Australians who were born here or who have adopted this country and contributed to it. It is an unacceptable insult to the memory of a great Australian to rename Parkes Place.
In 1901 six states joined together to form an indissoluble commonwealth and the nation of Australia was born. Although many great leaders worked together to bring about event, the architect and chief advocate of Australian federation is Sir Henry Parkes. He is rightly considered the father of federation. Parkes embodies the Australian story. Born in England, he created a new life for himself in Sydney. He contributed to his adopted country in many ways. He was the editor of the Empire newspaper. He was a leading voice against transportation and for self-government. On 5 separate occasions, he was Premier of New South Wales and no one since has spent more time in that role. Parkes greatest achievement, however, was the vision and commitment he displayed when passionately fighting to unite the Australian colonies into one united nation. Ultimately he would die just four years before his vision was realised. Nonetheless, a united Australia is his eternal epitaph.
It is time to stand up for our heroes and for the great Australians who have dedicated their lives to making this country the envy of the world. Say NO to the name change. Save Parkes Place!
Thanks in advance for your support,
Dr Benjamin Thomas Jones