THE RYDGES POST
Our Parliament House turned 25 this week. It’s funny how most people still refer to it as the ‘new’ Parliament House. If I had a 25-year-old car I wouldn’t call it ‘new’. It’s probably because people still refer to the previous one as Old Parliament House when it is actual now the Museum of Australian Democracy.
The old one was built as a temporary chamber in 1927 and served the country well for 61 years. It still has a heap of charm even though the city’s architect, Walter Burley Griffin didn’t like it. He said that it “would be like filling the front yard with outhouses” – but, as outhouses go, it is not too shabby at all.
The shinier one up the hill is well worth a visit. Highlights include the huge Arthur Boyd inspired tapestry in the Great Hall, the Tom Roberts’s painting of the opening of parliament in 1901 and the Prime Minister portrait gallery. Gough Whitlam (by Clifton Pugh, 1972) is my favourite – it’s more about vision than visage.
The 48 marble-clad columns in the foyer represents a forest of eucalypts but if you prefer real trees, you can explore the surrounding 23 hectares of gardens or the Parliamentary Parklands Trail.
Wheelchairs are available for loan, at no charge, from the Information Desk. There is lift access and, naturally, disabled-friendly bathrooms.