Henry Parkes and Saul Samuel: the duo who preserved Australia’s colonial history

Henry Parkes and Saul Samuel: the duo who preserved Australia’s colonial history

About This Event

Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896), five times Premier of New South Wales, and called by Alfred Deakin ‘a large-brained, self-educated Titan’ is remembered particularly for the 1880 Public Instruction Act and as ‘The Father of Federation’.

Sir Saul Samuel (1820-1900), the first Jewish legislator in New South Wales, twice Treasurer and twice Postmaster-General, was the State’s representative in London, 1880-1897.

Both were far ahead of their times in implementing measures to preserve early historical documents.

Parkes supported the transcription of manuscripts relating to Australia held overseas. These transcripts were used by historians well into the 20th century. He planned a monumental repository in Centennial Park for historical records.

Samuel, with great foresight, purchased for the State the papers of Sir Joseph Banks, now in the Mitchell Library. The Banks papers remain the bedrock of early colonial research and the most significant of all early colonial collections.

What to Expect

Paul Brunton OAM, FAHA is Emeritus Curator, State Library of New South Wales. He worked with the Mitchell Library’s Australiana collections for 40 years from 1972 and was Curator of Manuscripts, 1986-2001, and Senior Curator, 2002-2012. He has published on archives administration and on various aspects of the Mitchell Library’s collection. He was President of the Australian Society of Archivists, 1991-1993.

This event follows Paul’s well received event in 2021 – The Rum Hospital. Paul will lead participants though the extraordinary story of how Sir Henry Parkes and Saul Samuel worked to access, acquire and preserve Australia’s early colonial documentary history collections.

This is a FREE event

When: Wednesday, March 23
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Where: NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney