On 7 February 2012, in a speech honouring Queen Elizabeth II, the Hon Julia Gillard MP announced the renaming of the part of Parkes Place along the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Zone as Queen Elizabeth Terrace.
The interpretive panel marking Queen Elizabeth Terrace was officially unveiled on Saturday 10 November 2012 by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
Parkes Place was previously the name given to a loop road and parkland area located within the Parliamentary Zone. A section of this road along the southern edge of the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin has been renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace. The western section of Parkes Place has also been renamed Parkes Place West and the eastern section renamed Parkes Place East. The lawns in front of Old Parliament House also retain their official name of Parkes Place.
The renaming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace complements the names of the adjacent parallel streets Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George Terraces reinforcing the symbolic character of the Parliamentary Zone and providing a clear recognition of this place. It also makes it easier for visitors to navigate the Parliamentary Zone.
Parkes Place was named after Sir Henry Parkes, considered 'the father of Australian federation'. Henry Parkes was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1854 helping to introduce laws improving hospitals and the lives of farmers. He was elected premier of New South Wales five times between 1872 and 1891. Within this time he laid the foundation for the constitution of the federated Australia.