Sir Henry ParkesTo History
Sir Henry Parkes came to Australia as a skilled ivory and bone turner in 1839 with a view to use his trade to set up a business in the fledging colony. He would spend many years as a manual labourer before setting up his own bone carving business. When this failed he turned to importing goods as a means of supporting his family.
However, these early somewhat unsuccessful career choices would be eclipsed by his natural abilities as a leader and political thinker and tactician. With little formal training he was noted for his commanding vocal presence and excelled as a speaker. With a preference for plain language over scholarly monologues, he endeared himself to the public as an everyman and enjoyed a healthy political career, being elected Premier of New South Wales 5 times.
His role in furthering the early thoughts around the concept of a Federation has secured him the title of the 'Father of Federation' and he is noted as one of the most significant influences in Australian politics. His likeness appears on the current $5 note.