Henry Parkes Museum

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Place Category: Central West, Inland, Central and Outback, and New South Wales

  • A visit to the Henry Parkes Antique Machinery Museum is a must!

    Featuring a large display of early tractors, harvesters, other agricultural machinery and much more…

    Set on 7.5 acres housing historic buildings and fascinating displays.

    * Two local village churches

    * Blacksmith shop

    * Silver City Comet carriage

    * Over 4000 household items

    * 35 tractors, restored and in working order

    * Harvesters and agricultural equipment – Stationary engines – Trucks

    * Wongalea schoolhouse

    The museum was first opened in an old church in 1967 and has since collected approximately 10,000 items. We have the Henry Parkes Collection which includes the Plaster Bust by Abrahams, his letters, family bibles and some family items given to us by Cobden. The main museum houses furniture, household items and a large photo collection.  From 1970 the farm machinery collection grew and on the site two small churches, Coobang Church is an operating Church, and there is a small country school building from Wongalea.

    Among our collection of more than 45 tractors are three rare tractors, the unique “Rein drive Tractor” (the only one in the world) and the “Big Four” (one of only two working) and the “Lanz Bulldog”. We have many stationary engines, steam engines and several sunshine harvesters, ploughs, shearing equipment as well as an old Blacksmiths shop.   Machinery will be operated for larger group bookings and the museum can open earlier by appointment.

    Memorabilia Museum houses many families, business and household items and has items on display from the railway, post office and mining.

    Would anyone believe that one of the gifted Musicians in Australia who now lives in America once spent part of his early School life in our town of Parkes?

    Tom Emmanuel – One of six children (all very musical and managed by their Dad, Hugh) is known as a world-famous guitarist and vocalist.

    Phil Emmanuel – Toms brother is also a world-famous guitarist and vocalist.

    Darcy, Toms youngest brother visited us here at the Henry Parkes Museum and asked if we would like to display some of Tom and Phil’s photos and memorabilia. We were thrilled as Tom, Phil, Veronica and Darcy went to school with our children.

    The family came to Parkes in 1967 after their Dad passed away and Mum wanted a new place to settle.  Virginia the eldest daughter had just relocated here and married a young man whose family had lived in the area since the early 1900’s.

    Visit our museum to see the full family history and view the display we have put in place to honour these local legends that includes personally signed posters, photos and more…  Tom comes to and from Australia and keeps in close touch with his family, he is known as the world’s best classical Guitarist. His siblings have also gone on to be successful in their own right, sister Virginia is a wildlife expert involved with the rediscovery of  Pigmy Gliders in North Queensland.

    Tom has always loved to visit schools to teach and encourage children to play instruments, we are proud to have a display in our museum in Parkes to honour Tom, Phil, and all the family.

    Taxidermy Display: These items (eagle, kookaburra, tawny owl, penguins, magpie and an echidna), located in the top display were owned by Mrs Brownhill, who had kept them in her bedroom. Upon Mrs Brownhill’s passing Mr Brownhill donated they to our Parkes & District Historical Society Inc. All the taxidermy was completed by a taxidermist in Canberra. In the lower display are eggs and within a smaller display case are more eggs but of a different type, these items are part of a collection donated to our Parkes & District Historical Society Inc 50 years ago. Our volunteers Rosemary and Andrew patiently researched, prepared and catalogued all of these displays. All of these items must be and are registered with The National Parks and Wildlife Service which is part of the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW.

    Dried Apple Head Ladies Display: This display was donated by the Turner Family. Mrs Beth Turner was an accomplished Fine Artist, who made dried apple head ladies. It took her months to dry the apples on skewers placed in vacola jars. Beth and some ladies decided to make their own and this display is the product of that craft. The Seneca Indians were the first to make dried apple head ladies for children. A group of Tasmanian ladies commenced this particular craft in the 1980’s and calling them “Apple Head Ladies”. They are still making and selling their products in Tasmania.

    Fascinating War Scarves: Twelve years ago our old Museum was hit by a storm and had to be demolished. All our collection was packed and the majority was not unpacked until this year. When we unpacked some of our items about a month ago we found these scarves and were delighted to see them in such good order. Many of them as you will see depict War themes. The one which was a surprise was the scarf with the Map of France. We were told that that scarf was issued to all the Pilots in World War 1 so that when they were shot down they could find their way around France and back to England. What an ingenious and practical way to provide pilots that were either shot down or forced to bail out a way to navigate their way through the countryside. It is amazing that these scarves have survived intact all these years and you can see them and learn more about their history when you visit the Museum.

    We are a separate museum from the Henry Parkes Centre.

    See you soon at Henry Parkes Museum!

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