Friday, 30 April 2010

Statues - Henry Parkes


At the turn of the twentieth century, Centennial Park had 31 statues. Today only 6 remain and only two of those are originals. This statue of Henry Parkes was originally cast in 1897 and recast in 1998. Who was Sir Henry Parkes that he should forever gaze over this pre-eminent of Sydney parks?


On 1st January, 1901, Australia became a federation of states acting under a constitution. Prior to that, the continent housed a gaggle of squabbling self-governing British colonies all acting in their own best interests. On this date, the Commonwealth of Australia came into being. Parkes had taken a leading role in the negotiations and was known as ‘the Father of Federation’.


Born in 1815, Parkes and his wife emigrated to NSW in 1839. He had no schooling and few skills, but was personable with a fine turn of phrase. He lacked any semblance of financial acumen and was forever going bankrupt, as he was at his death in 1896 – penniless, with 12 children living, having been married three times. However, in the meantime, he had been Premier of NSW five times, mainly by recognising and utilising the skills of others.


Through the middle years of the century, Parkes supported issues like the ending of transportation, reduction of suffrage qualifications, and self-government for the colony. In 1883 he and Samuel Griffith from Queensland were instrumental in the setting up of a Federal Council to pursue Federation. Parkes delivered his landmark Tenterfield Oration in October 1889 and in February 1890 in Melbourne the first Federal Convention hammered out the contentious issues of colonial sovereignty. Amendment and counter-charge ensued for the rest of the decade, with the issue affirmed after the death of Parkes. He is buried, with his first wife, at Faulconbridge.

20 comments:

Bruce Caspersonn said...

It does not seem right that a "Sir" should be penniless.

Julie said...

It was not that he did not earn, more an issue of throughput! Ahead of his time in many ways, was this Henry.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

Your pioneering Australians were individuals of great tenacity.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I have a soft spot for this Henry too. He has a pretty impressive grave at Falconbridge. The top shot is superb -- a window into a thinking man's mind.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

At one of the houses we lived in, and there were about a dozen, I planted a tree,which flourished from an acorn dropped from a tree planted by our Henry.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

ps. It should be noted that Australia got independence without a war.

Julie said...

Indeed, I do note that well, Bruce. I also love the analogy of the acorn. Much of what Parkes did lives on in our way of life and in our federal system of representative democracy based on the Westminster system. Great things from little acorns do grow.

Peter said...

Julie
have posted a blog last night on Henry Lawson's replacement statue, I didn't realise but it was back in 2007.
Peter

Coffeeveggie addict. said...

interesting to kn0w s0me hist0ry fr0m 0ther lands,great p0st and beautiful capture!

Ann said...

How did you take that top one - is it as taken, or post processed? There's such a small area of sharp focus with extreme blur.

Julie said...

Wash your mouth out girl!! Post processed, pfftt!

On either side of the statue of Parkes, on the roadway, whereas he is in the centre, there are two statues of squatting wing-ed lions. Well, I shot this through the squat area beneath the belly of the lion and his rear leg. Can you visualise that ...

Ann said...

Ahh, now I can see it and understand how you got that result. Thought it was taken through foliage.

J Bar said...

I can't recall the location of this statue. I need to go back and have another look.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Andrew said...

Bit off topic, but great photo of the canna lilies.

brattcat said...

Some remarkable shots here, Julie, but I personally would like to see some monuments erected in honor of his three wives.

Jørgen Carlsen said...

As always - superb shots.

Clytie said...

He sounds like he was an amazing man. I agree with Brattcat - those three wives probably deserve monuments as well!!!

I love that first shot - very unique viewpoint!

Clytie said...

Oh, and do you know what happened to the other 25 statues? Were they destroyed? Or just lost to time?

Julie said...

Most of the other 25 statues were vandalised out of existence. Just a couple deteriorated on their own accord. The park now has a Stone Maintenance Progame.

zmkc said...

The others were mostly vandalised? That is terrible - when, by whom?