Parkes (map) is a town and local government area located on the Australian transcontinental railway line.  With the presence of the nearby Parkes Observatory, Parkes plays an important role in the scientific community. In addition to local research conducted at the radio telescope, Parkes scientists have assisted NASA for several missions as a Southern Hemisphere relay and communications station.

A rich variety of farming is conducted in the region immediately surrounding Parkes, although the staple farming is wheat and wool.  Parkes attracted significant attention during the gold rush of the 1870s and modern mining companies still have sites in the nearby region.  Parkes became a key country location after the completion of the railway in 1893, serving as a hub for a great deal of passenger and freight transport up until the 1980s. 

Parkes was originally founded in 1853 as the settlement Currajong, named for the abundance of Kurrajong trees in the local area.  Later it was known as Bushman's (from the local mine named Bushman's Lead).  In 1873 the town was renamed to Parkes in honor of Sir Henry Parkes, otherwise known as the 'Father of the Federation'.

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