Henry Parkes
1st Prime Minister of Australia
In office:

January 26, 1875 - June 4, 1880

May 14, 1885 - November 6, 1885

December 2, 1887 - April 27, 1896

Preceded by:

Office Established

John Robertson

John Robertson

Succeeded by:

John Robertson

John Robertson

William McMillan

Treasurer of Australia
In office:

January 26, 1875 - August 4, 1875

Preceded by: Office Established
Succeeded by: James Dickson
Premier of New South Wales
In office:

May 14, 1872 - January 26, 1875

Preceded by: Unknown
Succeeded by: Unknown

May 27 1815, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Died April 27 1896, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality: Australia
Political party:


Free Trade


Clarinda Varney

Eleanor Dixon

Children: 17
Alma mater:


Occupation: Politician
Religion: Non-denominational Christian

Henry Parkes was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia on three occasions 1875 - 1880, 1885 and 1887 - 1895.

Parkes became acting Prime Minister following the declaration of the Federal Republic in 1875, and was officially elected in Australia's inaugural election later that year and reelected in 1878.

In 1880 he held an early election, in an attempt to increase his majority, however the gamble failed, and opposition leader John Robertson became Prime Minister. Parkes then led the opposition against Robertson, and in 1885 was returned to office.

In November 1885 Parkes lost his parliamentary majority, but rather than call an early election (which he felt he would lose), he resigned from office, advising President Berry to appoint Robertson as Prime Minister. During his second period in opposition Parkes founded the Free Trade Party.

At the 1887 election Parkes was returned to office with a landslide majority in parliament, and he and his Free Trade Party were to dominate Australian politics until his death.

Parkes third period in office was the longest unbroken period of any Prime Minister until Billy Hughes, and saw Parkes stabilse federal government and consolidate the party system which was to evolve.

Parkes is popularly regarded as the founding father of australia, and is usually regarded as one of australia's greatest Prime Ministers.

Prime Minister: 1875 - 1880

Parkes was chosen as the inaugural Prime Minister of Australia, and assumed office on January 26th 1875, he resigned as Premier of New South Wales the same day. At the inaugural election in March Pro-Parkes candidates won 25 of the 38 parliamentary seats, giving him a strong working majority.

His first term was involved with the establishment of all the major Australian institutions, the High Court, the Federal Parliament, the Senate and many more.

In March 1878 Parkes was reelected, but with a slightly reduced majority.

Prime Minister: 1885

Prime Minister: 1887 - 1896

The third Parkes government was by far the longest, and was the beginning of 13 years of Free Trade rule (1887 - 1901).

Many social and political reforms were introduced, including votes for women, an enlargement of both Houses of Parliament, public investment in roads and railways and the selection of Canberra as the National Capital.

His government also actively introduced free trade policies, and invested in the establishment of the Australian Navy to protect Trade.

Parkes led the Free Trade party to further election victories in 1890, 1892 and 1895.

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