Henry ParkesThe Henry Parkes Foundation was set up in December 1998 by Parkes’ descendants and others, both to honour Sir Henry himself — the man dubbed ‘Father of Federation’ — and to carry forward his egalitarian vision for Australia in ways relevant to today.

The Foundation aims to encourage Australians to find out more about their country’s political and constitutional history, and about how they can participate as citizens. Its activities include an annual oration, with a distinguished speaker focusing on challenging social/political issues in Australian society, with some reference to the ideals and objectives of Parkes.

The Foundation has also sponsored annual citizenship conventions for schools at NSW Parliament House, designed to help students understand how politics affects their lives and how they can be involved. Topics have included whether Australia should become a republic, reconciliation, ‘voting counts’, ‘mobilising for peace’, social justice, and ecological sustainability.


27 May 2015 marked 200 years since Henry Parkes was born in Stoneleigh, near Coventry, UK. To commemorate the occasion, the Foundation has collected all the Henry Parkes Orations delivered by distinguished Australians since 2001 into a unique and thought-provoking 208-page book. Find out more.

The Australian Mint also issued a commemorative 20c coin: Find out more.

You can also read Centennial Park’s ‘Seven reasons why Henry Parkes matters’.

And the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra mounted an exhibition featuring a scrapbook compiled by his daughter Lily, which gives a delightful insight into Parkes as a family man. Find out more.