Old Parliament House, Canberra

Having passed through Old Parliament House briefly years before, this time I wanted to have a good look.

It’s a lovely building, I think, anyway. There’s a warmth and comfort about it, not something you’d expect considering what it was used for, politics not being particularly warm and comforting. It served as the home of the Australian Parliament from 1927 till 1988.

It’s now The Museum of Australian Democracy, allowing you a close look at the place where so much of Australia’s social and political history was created.

Entrance Hall

To the left of the entrance hall is the House of Representatives and to the right, the Senate.

Corridor to House of Reps

Corridor to the Senate
The clock on the wall is a stop watch, to discourage members from rambling on too long.

Entry to the Prime Minister’s Suite of offices
Prime Minister’s Office

Photo of Prime Minister, Bob Hawke and his Treasurer, Paul Keating, communing in the PM’s office. Before or after they fell out? Not sure.

Behind a five-inch thick, reinforced and soundproofed door was the Cabinet Room, restricted to senior ministers. Many of the decisions that affected our lives were made here, some good, some bad, the worst perhaps being the conscription of nineteen-year-olds to the Vietnam War.  At the time they were still too young to vote, so had no say in it.

Cabinet Room

A handy contrivance cleared the room of tobacco smoke, which apparently swirled thickly above the ministerial heads during long sittings of Cabinet. Haven’t things changed?

It was Budget time when I was there, so I was interested to read this sign.

The President of the Senate had a pretty comfy spot.

This looks like and ordinary little office but all of the speeches we heard given came out of here.

Speechwriters’ office

It’s very relaxed. You can wander around the corridors to your heart’s content without interference, something I just love.

Old Parliament House is a great place for anyone interested in the running of government, but especially for older Australians, like myself, who lived through a lot of it. It brought back a stack of memories for me. It’s also quite enlightening as  to what goes on behind the scenes. You want to know. Let’s face it – they have a fair say in our lives.

The gardens were designed and built in the 1930s, to provide a place for leisure and recreation for the Members and Senators.

Located just inside The House of Reps Members Gate is the Centenary of Australian Women’s Suffrage Commemorative Artwork and Fountain.  The artwork and fountain commemorate the Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902, allowing women not only to vote but to stand for parliament, a world first. 

The timeline records the milestones and significant achievements of Australian women in Federal Parliament.

One of several rose gardens

I wandered out of the gardens and up the hill to Parliament House to sit in on question time, something I’d always wanted to do. There was a demonstration on the lawns out the front. Our government has decided it would be a good idea to start manufacturing war weapons to send overseas, something I’m sure overseas doesn’t need more of, to support our economy.

The Great Hall, set up for the Treasurer’s Budget Speech and dinner.

I really like the present Parliament House building but it has a rather cold feeling, my experience anyway, after the old one, not helped at all by the men out the front with their guns.

20 thoughts on “Old Parliament House, Canberra

  1. Fascinating tour Coral – some great photos, you get a real feel for the place. Love the stopwatch idea – I wonder if it really worked and people actually spoke in their allotted time slots?! The gardens are beautiful too 🙂


  2. We popped into Old Parliament House last week to view the political cartoons exhibition. It was such a hoot and I felt very blessed that we live in a democracy where this sort of commentary is allowed. That was all we could see under the current Covid19 conditions, but still definitely worth a visit. Now, to get our hands on the correspondence between the Queen and Sir John Kerr!! 😉 Mel


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