Parkes is located in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia and has a population of 11,700. The link with Coventry was established in 1956 when a plaque was sent to Parkes illustrating the birth-place of Sir Henry Parkes.
A gold rush in 1860, when 10 000 gold seekers organised a tented town known as Bushman's was the origin of the town of Parkes. The town was renamed to honour Sir Henry Parkes, after the Coventry-born Australian statesman visited the town in 1871.Today Parkes is a quiet, yet thriving town whose main industries are brick-making, steel fabrication and agriculture.
The town's historical museum commemorates Sir Henry Parkes and has over 2 000 relics and artefacts from Australia's past.
Situated in New South Wales, the town is a centre of a prosperous agricultural area where wheat production, and sheep, cattle and pig rearing are big business.
Parkes is perhaps most famous for the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, which is one of the world's largest radio-telescopes, second only to Jodrell Bank. The Telescope or "Dish" as it is affectionately known, is a scientific instrument of great renown, having been involved in countless astronomical discoveries since its commissioning in 1961. It is best remembered however, for its lasting relationship with NASA, evolving from the Apollo Moon landing by Neil Armstrong in 1969. The Parkes Radio Telescope relayed pictures to an estimated TV audience of 700 million people that day and forever forged its association with one of man's greatest achievements.
Parkes hosts an annual "Elvis" festival, which commemorates Elvis Presley's birthday, each January, which brings in tourism, thereby boosting the local economy.