The condition of the roads, the call for increased health and education services, and policing were all on the agenda ... 150 years ago when Henry Parkes visited our town. The speech delivered by Sir Henry on 19 August 1873 was read again on the sesquicentennial anniversary of the town being named for him before a small crowd at the Sir Henry Parkes Centre on Friday. Dignitaries and community members gathered with volunteers from the Parkes and District Historical Society to mark the milestone. It was a day to acknowledge and celebrate all that Parkes has become in the decades since. Member for Orange Philip Donato described it as a "significant milestone". "Having this town called after him was a momentous occasion," he said. "I think when you go back 150 years and look forward to today and the huge growth we've seen throughout the region, no doubt he could never have imagined back then the success that Parkes has become, the community the hub that it's become. "It's a real powerhouse of the central west." Agriculture, mining and now the Special Activation Precinct will ensure the town's continued strength for future generations, Mr Donato said. Mayor Neil Westcott acknowledged the grand portrait of Sir Henry Parkes in the council chambers could give the impression he was born to what he became - but that his life was certainly not all grandeur. Yet, he's acknowledged as the Father of Federation for his work to bring the colonies together as one nation. The town named for him is also on the cusp of something great, the mayor said. "Thank you to the team at the historical society for keeping these memories alive," Cr Westcott said. Town crier Tim Keith recited the speech given by Henry Parkes on his visit to Parkes in August 1973: the town was renamed for him on 1 December of that year. His government had received the petition to rename the township of Bushmans "Parkes" and the guest thanked the community for the honour. Parkes acknowledged the condition of the roads he had travelled on and the community's call for railway, telegraph, a hospital, bigger school, more police and a proper police station. "Mining in the BIllabong gold field is proving to be very profitable and I can see the town will prosper and grow," he said in his address. "There are more people here than I thought, two to three thousand at least." Continues on Page 10.