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Parkes Place renaming sparks a royal row

Date

Megan Doherty

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will officially rename the section Parkes Place as Queen Elizabeth Terrace on Saturday, November 10, as part of their visit to Canberra.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will officially rename the section Parkes Place as Queen Elizabeth Terrace on Saturday, November 10, as part of their visit to Canberra. Photo: Getty Images

One is the Queen of England and Australia; the other is known as the father of Federation.

And a stoush is brewing about whether the name of one should replace the other on a road in Canberra's Parliamentary Triangle.

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The ACT branch of the Australian Monarchist League believes it is ''entirely appropriate'' that a section of the road Parkes Place will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace, because the federal government has done so little to acknowledge the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year.

But opponents of the change have started an online petition to keep the road named as Parkes Place saying the politician and father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, should not be bumped aside for the monarch.


View Parkes Place to be renamed in a larger map

The road in the Parliamentary Triangle has three sides with the internal open space also called Parkes Place, the location of the Aboriginal tent embassy.

A spokeswoman for the National Capital Authority yesterday clarified that only the stretch of Parkes Place skirting Lake Burley Griffin would be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace. The other two laneways of Parkes Place would be renamed Parkes Place East and Parkes Place West. The internal open space, home of the Aboriginal tent embassy, would remain Parkes Place.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced earlier this year that as part of the Jubilee celebrations, Parkes Place ''in accordance with historical protocol, will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace to complement the names of the adjacent streets, Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George terraces''.

It was confirmed this week that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will officially rename the section on Saturday, November 10, as part of their visit to Canberra.

The ceremony is due to start about 11.30am and the public is invited to attend.

The Monarchist League of Australia's ACT spokesman Matthew Sait said renaming a section of Parkes Place to Queen Elizabeth Terrace was ''a superb idea''.

''It's the very least the government can do and it's entirely appropriate,'' he said. ''The Queen has done a huge amount for Australia over 60 years. Henry Parkes was a great political figure for Australia but it is also right and proper that the Queen's contribution is also acknowledged.''

The ''Save Parkes Place'' petition, meanwhile, had attracted 70 supporters since it was launched at change.org on Tuesday night by a former Australian National University student Benny Jones.

Mr Jones said it was ''an unacceptable insult to the memory of a great Australian to rename Parkes Place''.

''No British royal has more landmarks named in her honour than the present Queen, Elizabeth II,'' he said, on the site. ''It is simply not right that our own national heroes should be ignored and have their monuments renamed.''

Australian Republican Movement national director David Morris wouldn't weigh into the debate but said the movement had no problem with ''places and things being named to reflect our heritage and our past''.

Mr Morris said the broader concern for the movement was achieving a consensus on a national identity that was ''inclusive and not dependent on another country''

18 comments

  • The Queen has dozens of buildings, roads and places named after her, all over Australia.

    On the other hand Sir Henry Parkes is THE father of the Australian federation, so is the father of our nation. It is insulting to his memory to change the name

    Commenter
    Phil Shaw
    Date and time
    October 24, 2012, 4:43PM
    • I don't really think that renaming one small section of road in the suburb named after Parkes is insulting to Sir Henry!

      Commenter
      Mitch24
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 1:22AM
    • @Mitch - it is insulting to Australians that a part of Australia, named after an Australian pioneer, is being renamed after an unelected foreign head of state.

      I don't care how small the part of Australia is - a road, a suburb/town, a park - it is insulting to overlook our own history in reverence to our one time overlords.

      Commenter
      ST
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 11:43AM
    • @ST, we already have an unelected head of state in the Prime Minister, the Queen at least earned her right to her role. It's not like the entire road is being renamed, 3/4 stays the same. I am amazed this even makes the news, a whole 70 people object! Out of how many Canberrans?

      Commenter
      completemadness
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 2:57PM
    • @completemadness - the Queen was born - that is not earning a right to anything. The government, however, is elected, of which they chose Julia Gillard as PM - that's the way it's been in all Westminster democracies since day dot.

      About those 70 (the petition has 210 signatures now), is it possible that not many people have heard about this, and are only catching on that rather than renaming a piece of Australia after a deserving Australian, we are naming it after an undeserving Brit.

      Commenter
      ST
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 4:24PM
  • On the other hand, we have oodles of things named after Parkes in Canberra but AFAIK nothing named after QEII. Canberra street and suburb names are awfully repetitive.

    Commenter
    Kath
    Date and time
    October 24, 2012, 5:52PM
    • The Royal family have done nothing for Canberra - in fact their only 'achievement' is to have have been born into wealth and priviledge at the expense of the UK taxpayers. The honour of having a place named after you should be based on merit and there are plenty of deserving Australians who have real achievements.

      Commenter
      Merit, not birth right
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      October 24, 2012, 5:56PM
      • Sir Henry Parks was a founder and the father of our nation, to remove his name from a land mark in the nations capital is an insult to every Australian, past, present, and future. We are our own Nation with our own historical icons, to remove his name is to disrespect our past.

        Commenter
        Sam Adelaide
        Date and time
        October 24, 2012, 6:38PM
        • Why does NCA always have to come up with these silly ideas? A while ago they wanted to eliminate Flynn Drive behind the Albert Hall. Why don't they do useful things like maintain Scrivener Dam and the crumbling rock wall around the lake and fix the safety barriers on Kings and Commonwealth bridges. Charles and Camilla are coming to town, maybe we should also have a Quean Camilla Terrace.

          Commenter
          David
          Date and time
          October 24, 2012, 10:56PM
          • QE2 is still our queen whether we like this or not. Until such time as we have the guts to change that then we live under a monarchy. This is part of that. Nothing against the woman although I think she is irrelevant in modern Australia - but a monarch is a monarch and things will get named after them. If you don't like it then you should have voted for a republic.

            Commenter
            Arbee
            Date and time
            October 25, 2012, 6:35AM

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