Today Parkes is a thriving, pulsating community situated close to the geographical centre of New South Wales and indelibly pinpointed by crossroads of steel, railways heading North, South, East ans West. The district boasts some of the richest and most productive agricultural and grazing land in the State and like many western communities, Parkes' history is intimately linked with the discovery of gold. This link with the early gold days has developed a rich and interesting history.
Early settlement and development of the Parkes area stemmed from the discovery of gold and the exploitation of the mineral potential at the many reefs and alluvial fields that yeilded to the persistence of the prospectors.
As mining diminished in importance, the plough, the combine and the harvester became the new symbols of progress and the golden grain that flowed from the endeavours of the hardy pioneers of agriculture underwrote the economic consolidation of the district and reinforced the foundations on which the commercial communal and civic life of Parkes and district were built.
The area itself remained relatively unsettled until 1862 when the discovery of gold led to a hastily erected 'canvas' town known as "Currajong" which accommodated thousands of hopeful gold seekers. A further discovery of gold in 1871 at the Bushman's Lead helped the district to become one of the richest gold producing areas in the colony.
In 1873 the then Prime Minister of New South Wales, Sir Henry Parkes, showed his interest in the district by visiting the diggings. On December 1, 1873 the name of the settlement was changed from Bushmans to Parkes in honour of the great statesman. Later on August 1, 1887 the town changed the name of the main street to 'Clarinda', Lady Parkes' christian name. In October 1998 celebrations were held to mark the 125th anniversary of the name change from Bushmans to Parkes.