For Opening hours and coming attractions and costs be sure to visit the Old Parliament House website for more information.
Old Parliament House is an iconic building located in central suburb Parkes, in the heart of Canberra. The building served as the seat of the Australian Parliament from its opening in 1927 until 1988, when the new Parliament House was opened.
The building was designed by John Smith Murdoch, the chief architect of the Commonwealth, in the neoclassical style. The design was selected through a competition held in 1914, and construction began in 1923. The building was originally known as the Provisional Parliament House, as it was only intended to be a temporary home for the federal government while a more permanent building was constructed. However, due to various delays and changes in plans, the building ended up serving as the Parliament House for over sixty years.
The building has witnessed some of the most significant events in Australian political history. It was in the House of Representatives chamber in Old Parliament House that Prime Minister John Curtin announced Australia’s entry into World War II in 1941. It was also in this building that the historic vote on the 1967 referendum, which saw over 90% of Australians vote to remove clauses in the Constitution discriminating against Indigenous people, was held.
In addition to its role as the seat of government, Old Parliament House has also been an important cultural and social center. The building’s Great Hall has hosted a range of events, from concerts to fashion shows, and has served as a venue for important national celebrations, such as the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
The building’s gardens and surrounding areas have also played an important role in Australian history. In 1972, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established on the lawn in front of Old Parliament House as a protest against the Australian government’s failure to recognize Aboriginal land rights. The embassy still stands today as a symbol of the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights in Australia.
After the new Parliament House was opened in 1988, Old Parliament House was decommissioned and transferred to the ownership of the National Capital Authority. It was then transformed into a museum and cultural center, with exhibits and displays focusing on the history of Australian democracy and the building’s role in that history. The building was officially renamed Old Parliament House in 2008.
Today, Old Parliament House is one of Australia’s most significant historic sites and a major tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the building’s chambers and offices, view historical artifacts and exhibits, and even participate in simulated parliamentary debates. The building also hosts a range of cultural and educational events, including talks, workshops, and exhibitions.
Old Parliament House is a building that has played a central role in the political, cultural, and social life of Australia for over ninety years. From its humble beginnings as a temporary home for the federal government to its current status as a major tourist attraction and cultural center, the building has witnessed and helped shape some of the most important events in Australian history. Its legacy continues to inspire and educate visitors from around the world about the rich history of Australian democracy.
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