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Parkes Novelty Number plate
Aluminium with embossed border
PARKES is a town in the Central West region of NSW located on the Newell Highway due west of Sydney between Forbes and Dubbo. It is 357 km from Sydney and 339 m above sea-level.
Every country town dreams of coming up with a tourist magnet – a special museum, an event, a “big” thing – which will lure visitors and enrich the local economy. One of the most unique success stories has to be Parkes where, over twenty years ago, the townsfolk thought that an Elvis Presley festival might bring in a few, much needed, tourist dollars. Today the five day event attracts over 18,000 people to the town and includes such unforgettable events as a Miss Priscilla Competition, an Elvis Street parade, an Elvis Gospel Service and, the centrepiece, an Elvis look alike competition. Of course, Parkes is much more than five days in January. It is equally famous for the Parkes Radio Telescope and it is a thriving service centre with a strong commercial and industrial base. Major employers in the district include the North Broken Hill Peko copper and gold mine and a major wheat-storage centre.
In 2000 the Parkes Radio Telescope became an Australian movie icon when it played a central role in the gentle comedy, The Dish. Located 20 km north of Parkes it was built by the CSIRO between 1959-1961 and was the first big-dish antenna radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a massive 64 metres in diameter. The site was chosen because the area was known to have very few high winds and it was sufficiently isolated to avoid radio interference. Today it is still one of the world’s most powerful telescopes. Its primary function is to collect, magnify and analyse radio waves and as such in its early years of operation it played a vital role in the detection of quasars, the first pulsars outside of the Milky Way galaxy and the centre of an exploding galaxy at the extreme edge of the known universe