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Places In Canberra: The Old Parliament House

Basic Information

Narrative

A place worth checking out following a visit to the Parliament House in Canberra is a walk down to the Old Parliament House located right in front of the new one.  The Old Parliament House served as the seat of the Australian government from 1927-1988. As you can see in the picture below the building was one of the first structures built in Canberra:

The British queen did not visit the building until 1954 where she opened up parliament. Judging by the above picture it is no wonder why the British queen did not visit Canberra until 1954. The city was literally constructed in the middle of no where. Some today would still say it is in the middle of no where.  From the back of the Old Parliament House you get a picture perfect view of the current Parliament House:

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When walking down to the Old Parliament House it is worth checking out its adjacent gardens:

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When the Old Parliament House served as the seat of the government these gardens were open only to the parliament members to serve as a place to relax along with being a place to hold private conversations. When walking around the building it is easy to recognize the classical colonial British architecture of the building:

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From the front entrance you have a view across Lake Burley-Griffin towards the Australian War Memorial:

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Once you walk into the Old Parliament House you first enter a large lobby that has a number of statues of British royalty along with a head sculpture of each Australian Prime Minister. Here is the sculpture for one of Australia’s most infamous Prime Ministers, Harold Holt:

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Holt is famous because he was Prime Minister for only about a year before he either mysteriously drowned or was eaten by a shark at a beach not too far from Melbourne. Rumors persist to this day with Australians that he was actually picked up by a Chinese or Russian submarine and others rumors suggest it was aliens. Like I said the guy is infamous here. Anyway the people of Melbourne did what any mourning city would do when there national leader drowns at a beach near their city, they named a swimming pool after him.

From the front lobby you can then take a self guided tour to whereever you want to go in the building. The building is huge and you can pretty much walk in and view every room. Each room has a display in it explaining its significance and history. It will take you quite some time to see every room, at least half a day. If you don’t have that kind of time at least check out the parliament chambers:

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Then check out some of the key offices such as the office of the Prime Minister:

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Conclusion

Imagine being able to walk around the oval office and sit in chairs that world leaders sat in. That is what it is like visiting this office. It is pretty cool to say the least.  I wouldn’t quite call visiting the Old Parliament House a must see during a visit to Canberra but it is close and worth checking out if you have the time.

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