History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Chamberlain Square

One of the focal points for pedestrians, Chamberlain Square, is a unique place of interest to local residents and tourists. Featuring a larger than life statue of Sir Henry Parkes, as well as water features, trees and seating, it is a place to find temporary relaxation on the main street of Parkes. It is a refuge to workers and a signpost to potential investors of Parkes that the shire is both proud of its past and yet progressive in its outlook.

Slip Lane

Original aerial view of Clarinda Street before pedestrianisation. Photo taken by Parkes Shire Council.

The area is today focused towards pedestrians although this was not always the case. To achieve the vista that is enjoyed today, substantial planning and development was required. Clarinda Street originally had a ‘slip lane’ into Welcome Street. This was to be closed and the pedestrian area extended. It was decided that to mark the 150th anniversary of Local Government in Parkes, that a special statue of Sir Henry Parkes would be erected.

Still in the planning stage, this was a view of what Chamberlain Square would look like once the transformation and addition of Sir Henry Parkes statue were completed. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday 20 February, 2008

Still in the planning stage, this was a view of what Chamberlain Square would look like once the transformation and addition of Sir Henry Parkes statue were completed. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday 20 February, 2008

Chamberlain Square was so called during 1938 in recognition of the British Prime Minister and his quest for peace. In recent years there has been a suggestion from prominent town historian, Ian Chambers, that Chamberlain Square be renamed to honour former Mayor, the late Robert Wilson OAM. Part of the reasoning is due to the fact that retrospectively, many historians consider Neville Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler a failure. Less than a year after Chamberlain returned from the Munich conference and proudly proclaimed “Peace for our time” Hitler’s Germany had invaded Poland and plunged the world into a second world war. Conversely, Robert Wilson was a popular mayor who spent more than three decades giving outstanding service to the community. (Source: Parkes Champion Post October 15, 2012)

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Working to transform Chamberlain Square. Photograph by Parkes Shire Council 2008

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Transforming Chamberlain Square. Photograph by Parkes Shire Council 2008

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With the platform for the statue of Sir Henry Parkes prepared, Parkes Shire Council were working on the seating areas and water features. Photograph by Parkes Shire Council 2008

Chamberlain Square was used as the focal point for civic receptions of international teams France National Rugby League team and New Zealand Kiwis Rugby League team in 1955 and 1963 respectively. Sources: Parkes Champion Post Thursday 21 July, 1955 and Parkes Champion Post Wednesday 15 May, 1963

Photograph of Sir Henry Parkes statue and Chamberlain Square at night time. Photograph by Trudy McMaster Photography taken on June 23 2008 and used with permission

Photograph of Sir Henry Parkes statue and Chamberlain Square at night time. Photograph by Trudy McMaster Photography taken on June 23 2008 and used with permission

Editorial from Parkes Champion Post Friday April 18, 2008. Roel ten Cate asked the question, should Chamberlain Square be renamed? Source Parkes Champion Post Friday April 18, 2008

Editorial from Parkes Champion Post Friday April 18, 2008. Editor, Roel ten Cate, asked the question should Chamberlain Square be renamed? Source Parkes Champion Post Friday April 18, 2008

A reception in the Square to welcome returning solider, Roy Stewart in 1915. Clarinda Street continues into the background while Welcome Street can just be seen (where a horse and buggy are in top left of photograph) Source: Parkes: A Photographic History by Ian Chambers, 1988 Self-published: Parkes, NSW page 125

A reception in the Square to welcome returning solider, Roy Stewart in 1915. Clarinda Street continues into the background while Welcome Street can just be seen (where a horse and buggy are in top left of photograph) Source: Parkes: A Photographic History by Ian Chambers, 1988 Self-published: Parkes, NSW page 125

Parkes Centenary October 1983 gathering at Chamberlain Square. Photograph courtesy of the Jim Buckley Collection

Parkes Centenary October 1983 gathering at Chamberlain Square. Photograph courtesy of the Jim Buckley Collection

 

 

 

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