From its federation in 1901 until 1927, Australian Parliament met in Melbourne. When they decided to move the capital to Canberra, A.C.T., a temporary parliament building was built and used from 1927 to 1988 (it’s now called the “Old Parliament Building.” Finally, the current Parliament was built in 1981 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988.
The entry foyer has green marble columns and a black and white marble floor. Even without reading the information booklet, I knew this area was representative of a eucalypt forest! Just off of this main hall is the Great Hall. This room can be rented by anyone to host a wedding, party, graduation, etc. The eye-drawing feature in this room is the huge tapestry with covers most of the back wall. It is based on a painting by Arthur Boyd (the painting hangs outside the upstairs entrance to the Great Hall.
The upstairs architecture is bright and airy (and shows off the incredibly long line!).
In the British parliament, the House of Commons is green and the House of Lords is red. The same is true here… with a twist.
The House of Representatives is a muted green to represent eucalyptus green and the Australian bush. There is lots of gallery seating for the public to come in and watch, which is popular to do, especially during Question Time.
The Senate is a cranberry colour to represent the eucalyptus tree berries. They wanted everything to match the colour scheme, but ‘EXIT’ signs legally have to be green, so they passed a bill to have red ‘EXIT’ signs on the floor of the Senate–where else can you see that?
Walking through the hallways, almost every window has a view of trees or some sort of courtyard. It creates a nice atmosphere in an otherwise institutional building.
The black marble in the foyer is from Italy and everywhere you look fossils of shells and animals are visible–really cool!
The large painting below is a famous rendition of the first sitting of an Australian parliament in 1901 in Melbourne!
The roof is a key feature of the new Parliament building. There is a grass panel that stretches up each side of the building and across the roof. It symbolizes that the people will always be above the government and be the number one priority. The amazing flagpole rising from the centre of the roof can be seen from almost everywhere in Canberra. And the roof itself has fantastic views as well, including the fall foliage!