MORE GOLD

The village of Currajong had been established around the early discovered reefs. In August 1871, a rich gold lead had been discovered about 4 miles North West of the present town of Parkes, by a pair of miners named Bowman and Sense, and named it "No Mistake". Then later off-shoots, known as The Deep Lead and Reads Gully were found. This gave renewed mining activity to the area, and within 12 months, several other mines opened, including the Welcome, and Tearaway mines.

BUSHMAN'S LEAD

In October 1871, prospectors Brogden and partners, found a rich deep lead which they gave the name "Bushman's Lead". The mining population increased to about 2,000 people around this lead, as it was giving good returns, boosted by other valuable leads, both alluvial and reef, later discovered in the vicinity.

There were two streets leading from Currajong to Bushman's Lead; Currajong Road, and a branch road called Forbes Street.

"BUSHMANS"

The correspondent for the local newspaper referred to Bushman's Lead as just "Bushmans", however at the time, all of the official documents and letters stated clearly Bushman's Lead at Currajong.

Representation for postal facilities at Bushman's Lead goldfield began in late 1871. It was pointed out that the population of Bushman's Lead was increasing by hundreds daily, and the existing Billabong Post Office was over 2 miles away. Through a private arrangement, to meet the demands of the people, Billabong Postmaster, H.H. Cooke, arranged for letters to be delivered to a store at Bushman's Lead owned by James Wallis.

In agitation for a post office, a meeting was held in June 1872, by the people of Bushman's Lead. At this meeting a petition was organised and the residents asked for several concessions one being that mail be delivered direct to Bushman's Lead, instead of via Forbes. Some of the signatures were a bit suspect however the Department generously agreed to open a post office at Bushman's Lead with James Wallis as the "unofficial postmaster".

The New Post Office was opened at Bushman's Lead in late August 1872.

NAME CHANGE

In June 1873, Thomas Fletcher Secretary of the Progress Committee, sent a petition to Sydney, requesting that the town be surveyed so that the inhabitants could own their own land and that the name of the town be changed to "Parkes". Some of the requests included in this petition were for a telegraph office, police station, hospital, school, court house, registry office and mail delivery direct from Orange to Currajong instead of via Forbes.

An invitation for Henry Parkes to visit the area was included with the same requests, in a second petition sent by Henry Ward (a private citizen) in July 1873.

Henry Parkes visited the area in August 1873 and met a deputation of local residents at the Gladstone Hotel and toured both Currajong and Bushman's Lead. After the visit, Bushman's Lead at Currajong was unofficially known as "Parkes".

At Bathurst in October 1873, Surveyor Tarves submitted his plans and designs for the town of "Parkes" to the Surveyor General.

On the 1st December 1873, the Lands Department officially agreed to the name change of the town to "Parkes".

The boundaries of Parkes were extended and the Municipality of Parkes was prclaimed on the 1st March 1883. Parkes was proclaimed a town on the 20th March 1885. The town continued to grew, and now encompasses the village of Currajong.

In 1887 Forbes Street also had its named changed to "Clarinda Street" in honour of Henry Parkes' wife.

HENRY PARKES

Henry Parkes was born on the 27th May 1815 in the village of Stoneleigh, England. He was self educated, sometimes starving himself in order to buy books. He did some study at Mechanics Institute at Birmingham, where he learnt to write.

He came to Sydney in July 1839 with his wife Clarinda. Henry's political career began when he led a campaign to stop convicts landing in Sydney. He was elected to parliament for the first time in May 1854. Over the next 40 years he was Premier of NSW 5 times. Altogether he was elected to parliament 36 times. He finally lost his seat in parliament 1894.

Sir Henry Parkes died on 27th April 1896 and is buried in Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

REFERENCES:

  • Sir Henry Parkes. Teresa Llewelln-Evans. Published by Cambridge University Press
  • Parkes Historical Society
  • Panorama of Parkes - 1817-1977, by L.A. Unger. Published by Parkes & District Historical Society
  • Australian Archives Parkes Post Office Part 1 1871-1872
  • The Glint of Gold, By Kerrin Cook and Daniel Garvey. DD: 994.45 COO