The Parkes Electorate covers an area of approximately 256,643 sq km which is equivalent to the combined size of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.
This electorate spans from the Queensland border in the North to Ilford, Tomingley and Lake Cargelligo in the South; from Bingara, Boggabri and Coolah in the East to Wanaaring and Cobar in the West.
The division of Parkes underwent substantial change in the Australian Electoral Commissions 2009 electoral boundaries redistribution, which saw the inclusion of the following shires Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Lachlan, Narromine, Warren and the inclusion of the whole of the Gwydir shire which was previously split between New England and Parkes electorates. The redistribution also saw the loss of the entire Gunnedah shire and the areas of Kandos and Rylstone.
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The following map shows the large area that makes up the Parkes Electorate.
The seat of Parkes is named after the Father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes (1816-1896), and was first proclaimed in 1984. The name causes a great deal of confusion, because there is a town also named Parkes.
Henry Parkes was a politician and was premier of New South Wales five times. The English born Henry Parkes arrived in Australia in 1839, and started a newspaper.
He expressed an interest in politics, and a desire to change the way New South Wales was governed.
In 1854 he was elected to the New South Wales Parliament, helping to introduce laws which improved hospitals, prisons and life for small farmers. Henry Parkes began the first of his five terms as premier in 1872.
Henry Parkes began talking about federating, or bringing the states together, in the 1860s. In 1891, he was president of a convention to plan a constitution for a federated Australia.
Although the plan wasn’t chosen, it was used later as a model for the final version. That’s why Henry Parkes has been called ‘The father of Australian Federation’.