ACT News


Parkes Place renaming sparks a royal row

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 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''


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