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Sir Henry Parkes Theme: Beginnings

Artist: Tom ROBERTS
Birth/Death: 1856–1931

Title: Sir Henry Parkes

Credit Line: Elder Bequest Fund 1901. Collection: Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Sir Henry Parkes is credited with starting the chain of events that led to nationhood by calling for a conference of colonial ministers in his famous Tenterfield address. This and other well known utterances such as ‘the crimson thread of kinship runs through us all’, earned the elderly statesman the title ‘Father of Federation’. In fact, Parkes had a highly ambivalent relationship with the concept, being a passionate advocate and a dedicated enemy of Federation depending on the state of his own political fortunes.

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