Old Parliament House is situated between Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin. Although it was initially built as a temporary parliament house, government stayed there from 1927 right up until 1988.
The House was designed by John Smith Murdoch, the first Commonwealth Government architect. He was asked to design a 'provisional' building that would serve as a parliament for fifty years.
Murdoch worked with the 'stripped classical' style, common in government buildings in the 1920s and 1930s.
The significance of Old Parliament House today lies in its historical and social value to the Australian people. The House is a nationally significant ‘museum of itself’ and of Australia’s political heritage - so, as well as being a popular tourist destination, it is also a precious place which needs conservation.
Old Parliament House is open everyday between 9.00am-5.00pm, and you can either join a guided tour or follow a self-tour, simply following the maps and information sheets along the way. The tour is definitely worth following, and tells you plenty of information about the history of Australia's Parliament.
It is possible to visit nearly all areas of the Old Parliament House. As you wander along the guided tour, you will pass Kings Hall, the House of Representatives Chamber, the Corridors of Power, the Ministerial Party Room, the Prime Ministers Office, the Cabinet Room, the National Portrait Gallery, the Senate Chamber, the Suite of the President of the Senate, the Senate Club Room, the House Gallery and the Strangers Gallery.
You should definitely visit Old Parliament House, even if you haven't got time to have a look inside. It is worth visiting just to see the attractive building where, until recently, was the home to Parliament.
You can also book certain rooms for functions. As well as visiting the various areas, there is also an exhibition about the history and times of the Old Parliament House and various art exhibitions.
Old Parliament House is also home to The National Portrait Gallery which holds a variety of exhibitions. The exhibitions change throughout the year, so you should check with Old Parliament House to see what the current exhibition is.
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