About Old Parliament House
Old Parliament House, formerly the Provisional Parliament House, symbolised the Australian government's development for over six decades. Established in 1927 after Parliament's relocation from Melbourne to Canberra, it served as the seat of the Parliament of Australia for over half a century. It is a fine example of neoclassical architecture and represents a significant moment in Australian history. When the Commonwealth Parliament was transferred to the new Parliament House on Capital Hill, the Old Parliament House became a venue for temporary exhibitions, lectures and concerts. It stands in front of the New Parliament, representing a clear link between the rich heritage of the past and the modern developments of the present. The Old Parliament House remains a valuable and vibrant historical landmark in Australia.
The story of the Old Parliament House construction in Australia is one of several unexpected turns. In 1914, a competition was announced to design the new building, offering a considerable prize of £7,000. Unfortunately, the start of World War I caused the competition to be cancelled, and it was later re-announced in 1916 but once again postponed indefinitely. Despite having little interest in the project, John Smith Murdoch, the Commonwealth's Chief Architect, worked on the design as part of his official duties. Murdoch's eventual design was selected, and construction commenced in 1923. However, unexpected cost overruns caused the final price of the building to be over three times the original estimate. Despite these challenges, Old Parliament House was completed in early 1927, becoming integral to the Australian political landscape.
What to do at Old Parliament House
Parliament House in Canberra stands as a monument of Australia's political history. The house was home to a bustling community of professionals, including thousands of politicians, parliamentary staff, Hansard reporters, journalists, dining room, and bar staff. This town within Canberra had its library, post office, barber, carpentry workshop, bars, and dining room. Many of Australia's major political events took place within its walls. Debates that influenced the nation's future occurred here, while key decisions were taken and political careers were made and ended. Over the years, it has become an iconic symbol of Australia's political past, with stories of victory, compromise, and even failure etched into its rich history.
Old Parliament House takes centre stage in the Parliamentary Triangle, reflecting Walter Burley Griffin's vision for the city of Canberra. With its crisp lines, stark white colour, and classical form, this iconic building is a major component of public views of the city, contributing to its cultural landscape. The building's central positioning symbolizes the supreme authority of the parliament over the executive, providing a viewpoint that leads towards the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House. Over the years, Old Parliament House has played a crucial role in Australia's democratic values, political and social rights, and development as a nation. It's entrance portico and lawns have witnessed countless gatherings, protests, celebrations, and demonstrations, including the longstanding Aboriginal Tent Embassy, established in 1972. Old Parliament House remains a staple in Canberra's identity, symbolising the nation's political and cultural achievements.
One local company in Canberra that is involved in this tourist attraction site is:
Website: Top Notch Canberra Concrete
Address: 1001/2 Captain Cook Cres, Griffith ACT 2603
Phone: (02) 6130 0783