Sir Henry Parkes

(1815 - 1896 / Australia)

Sir Henry Parkes
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Henry Parkes was born to a family of yeoman stock in Warwickshire, England in 1815. Unfortunately, falling wheat prices forced the family to leave the land and seek employment in Birmingham. In 1836 Parkes married Clarinda Varney and they applied for assisted passage to Australia, the death of two of their infant children and a failed business venture influencing their decision.

Arriving in Australia, he found work as a farm labourer, but low wages did not appeal! Renewing his old interest in politics, he went to work for the Customs Department in Sydney. Over the next few years he went into business for himself and at one stage owned the Empire newspaper. Through this period be ... more »

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  • With our splendid harbour, our beautifully situated city, our vast territories, all our varied and inexhaustible natural wealth, if we don't convert our colony into a great and prosperous nation, it w...
    Henry Parkes (1815-1896), British-born Australian statesman. Speech, March 16, 1867, Melbourne, Australia. On the colony of New South Wales.
  • ''Our business being to colonize the country, there was only one way to do it—by spreading over it all the associations and connections of family life.''
    Henry Parkes (1815-1896), British-born Australian statesman. speech, Aug. 14, 1866, to New South Wales Legislative Assembly.
  • I have been disappointed in all my expectations of Australia, except as to its wickedness; for it is far more wicked than I have conceived it possible for any place to be, or than it is possible for m...
    Henry Parkes (1815-1896), British-born Australian statesman. Letter, May 1, 1840. An Emigrant's Home Letters (1896). Written a year after Parkes a...
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Best Poem of Sir Henry Parkes

Four Score

I count the mercifullest part of all
God's mercies, in this coil of eighty years,
Is that no sense of being disappears
Or fails; I see the signal, hear the call,
Can calmly estimate the rise and fall
Of moth-like mortals in this "vale of tears";
And all His glorious works--the heavenly spheres,
The ocean, and the earth's unending wall--
Remain, for thought and wonder! Marvellous
Is God's creation, with its endless space
And those inhabited bright worlds by law
Divinely governed, as they shine on us,
Still keeping through all time their ordered ...

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