After the 1996 celebrations at Faulconbridge NSW to mark the centenary of the death of Sir Henry Parkes, a group of his descendants and others decided to work towards setting up a Foundation in his name. They saw this as a fitting memorial, as it would both honour him as a man and carry forward his egalitarian vision for Australia in ways relevant to our changing society.
The aims and objectives of what would become the Henry Parkes Foundation were developed over nine months of discussion and deliberation, assisted by an eminent planning group and with the generous support and advice of Perpetual Trustees.
Three years later, on 4 June 1999, the Foundation was formally launched at a function in the Legislative Assembly Chamber of NSW Parliament House, hosted by the Deputy Speaker, Mr John Price.
Henry Parkes himself was present (played by actor Garry Ridgway). Listening to him were the NSW Attorney-General, Jeff Shaw, representing the Premier, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Kerry Chikarovski, and an audience of 150 guests, including the Foundation’s patron, the Hon. Gordon Samuels, Governor of New South Wales.
Messages of support were received from the then Prime Minister, John Howard, and from the then Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley.
Find out more:
- Media release – ‘Grand Old Man’ of Australian politics finds a new voice
- Speech by Dr Helen Irving – ‘The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all.’
- Speech by His Excellency, the Honourable Gordon Samuels AC, Governor of New South Wales – presentation of the trust deed establishing the Foundation
- Speech by Sir Henry Parkes – the poet, the radical, the elder statesman