Old Parliament House | Michael Gorey

Old Parliament House

Canberra's original Parliament House on King George V Terrace was built in the 1920s and served as Australia's legislature from 1927 to 1988.

The building was designed by John Smith Murdoch, the first Commonwealth government architect. He was asked to design a provisional building intended to serve as a parliament for 50 years.

The modest structure was built in a classical style, designed to be functional. It was apparently criticised by some for its lack of grandeur.

For me, this gives the building its appeal. It's impressive enough for its status, but not ostentatious.

After the new Parliament House opened in 1988, the old building remained vacant for a few years and there were even calls for its demolition.

Fortunately, the government retained it as a living museum of political history.

Visitors can sit on the parliamentary benches and Cabinet chairs, see where the Queen rested on her several visits and generally walk unimpeded through the corridors.

Some of the offices are set up as they would have been in the 1970s, with typewriters and cigarette butts in ashtrays.

When I visited there was an exhibition of Australian political cartoons and there are other regular displays.

Here are some photos.

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