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New Parliament House Tips (52)

Aboriginal Art at the parliament

In the very first moment it looks just like a fancy mosaique and most people might not even notice it as something special, BUT there is a meaning behind of it: This interesting mosaique that was made like an Aboriginal dot-style-painting was made by Nelson Jagamara, an australian artist and it shows a Wallaby and a Possum, at least that is what we had been told in the guided tour.
When you take a look at my last Picture there is a artificial lake like a half-moon and the mosaique is next to it !

globetrott's Profile Photo
Nov 02, 2014


I am sure it would be impossible when visiting Canberra not to visit the new Parliament House..Located not far from the old Parliament House this new building is in a really dominant postion.The new Building looks down upon Anzac Avenue and across Lake Burley Griffin up to the sacred AustralianWar Memorial. Having worked for the Construction Company that built the New Parliament House I was particularly interested in visiting inside the building..Also having a friend working in Parliament House I was met and shown a real VIP tour around this amazing building..
Entry is free and be prepared for the customary security scans..Once inside one is taken by the size and oppulence ..I guess it has to be, being such an Australian iconic building. There are many wonderful paintings to see along with various indigenous crafts and many historic Australian items and documents on display. A visit into the different assemblies here is possible and after another security check and having to have my camera left in a cloak room ,I was able to enter the chamber and witness "Question time" while the government holding office was having a fiery debate with its opposition..

I posted a postcard at the post office located upstairs and has the official Parliament house"post mark" stamped.. There is a cafeteria that sells various food items and also a coffee shop..

DennyP's Profile Photo
Oct 29, 2011

Parliament House

This is not a museum. This is a real Parliament House Of Australia. The building is not as big as I thought, cause Australia is a big country. But the architectural of the building and landscaping are impressive. It made me felt like I was in the center of Australia, surrounding by other national buildings.

They allow you to visit the real meeting hall while a decision is being implemented by senates, or etc. You will go through a security check before you are allowed to enter the hall.

I managed to see reporters interviewed politicians for comments and etc. Interesting to see.. cause it is real...

Open daily 9am-5pm.

cal6060's Profile Photo
Jul 07, 2011

More points of interest -New Parliament House

There is more than "Just Parliament" in new parliament house. On the walls, there are paintings of the Prime Ministers, there is information about the different parties.
We saw a lovely clock, which was a gift from the Netherlands, and other gifts from countries around the world.
The famous Magna Carta was also on display.

Make sure you take the lift to the roof, and go for a walk on the lawn. The views are pretty good!

balhannah's Profile Photo
Nov 20, 2009
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You would have to be blind not to see the 81-metre high flagmast, which is one of the world's largest stainless steel structures, sitting on top of New parliament house.

From above, the design of new parliament house is in the shape of two boomerangs enclosed within a circle. Much of the building is buried beneath Capital Hill, but the meeting chambers and accommodation for parliamentarians are free-standing within the boomerang-shaped arms.

New parliament house was opened on 9th May, 1988 [by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11], so it is not that "new" anymore, but is called such as there is still an "old Parliament House."
It is the home of Australia's Federal Parliament and one of the world's most acclaimed buildings.

A competition was held for the design of the building, and after perusing 329 entries from 28 countries, this was the design chosen, the winner was the New York-based architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgol.

The interior design is made up of various timbers from Australia and hosts numerous pieces of Australian art and craft.
"The Great Hall tapestry" is one of the largest in the world

After a security check, like at airports, and relinquishing my camera, {No photo's allowed} we went and sat in the public gallery and viewed the proceedings in the Senate and the House of Representives. I must say it was rather boring, and the Senators looked bored too except for the speaker and the senator talking. We left each after about 10mins, so glad that we were not stuck in a tour timetable.

on sitting days - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, from 8.30am till 5.00pm
all other days - from 9.00am to 5.00pm every day except Christmas Day when Parliament House is closed

Tours are available

balhannah's Profile Photo
Nov 20, 2009


Located infront of New parliament house, is a large mosaic.

It is based on a Central Desert dot-style painting done by a leading Aboriginal artist from the Papunya community of the Northern Territory.
The mosaic is made up of approximately 90,000 hand-guillotined granite pieces in seven different colours and represents a Possum and Wallaby Dreaming.
Shallow running water complements the scene.

balhannah's Profile Photo
Nov 19, 2009

New Parliament Building

The third Parliament building of Australia (Melbourne 1901-27, 'Old Parliament' House, Canberra 1927-88) was designed by an American firm (Mitchell/Giurgola) with an Italian (Giurgola) lead architect. It was chosen from 329 entries from 28 countries following Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's decision in 1978 to commission a new building.

Most of the building is buried under Capital Hill, but the front facade 'echoed deliberate designs of Old Parliament House' just down the hill towards Lake Burley Griffin.

Begun in 1981, it was originally intended to be completed by Australia Day (26 January) 1988, the 200th anniversary of European settlement. It just missed - Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the new building on 9 May (a dual anniversary of the first opening of Australia's parliament in Melbourne in 1901 and the first Canberra parliament in 1927).

With so much under ground, it's hard to realise the enormity of the building and the fact that from above it is designed in the shape of two boomerangs enclosed within a circle. There are 4,700 rooms, with both Senate (pink) and House of Representatives (green) surprisingly modest chambers.

It is designed in such a way that when looking from the shores of the lake, the new building appears to sit atop the Old Parliament, with the 81 metre flagpole embracing both buildings.

The building is open to the public every day except Christmas Day - free entry.

On Parliament 'sitting days' (Tuesday-Thursday) 8.30am - 5pm
All other days, 9am - 5pm

leffe3's Profile Photo
Jun 03, 2009

Strolling through the legislature!

The new Parliament house is a modern building which is vast.The auditorium/hall at the ground floor is huge and is used to conduct functions such as convocations etc..The corridors are full of potraits and other memorabilia.

vpas's Profile Photo
Dec 07, 2008

Top 5 Canberra Writers

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"Wonderful, immoral, tempting and terribly ........"
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balhannah's Profile Photo


"CANBERRA - Aboriginal for "MEETING PLACE""
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"The Bush Capital..or..a good sheep paddock wasted?"
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"A Capital Idea"
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"Canberra Our Home"
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The Australian Parliament is open to the public for free but there are measures in place to maintain security and preserve the safety of our Parliamentarians.

As it is the seat of government, CANBERRA being the capital of Australia, security is tight here so your bags are checked and big ones are left at the foyer.(Not much has changed since we last went there, except that we have a new leader which I helped install! This inspired us to go back there!)

Cameras are allowed but there are off limit areas.

We also saw the main hall/chamber where the senators do their deeds - bickering and/ or making laws!

There are heaps of historical exhibits as well as leaders past and present of Australian government.

AusPinay's Profile Photo
May 05, 2008

Incorrect Information

This is just a correction of another article I read on this site from someone. They said that due to security reasons people can no longer walk on the roof. This is INCORRECT. The public can access the roof but can only access it from the inside. People cannot walk up the side slopes onto the roof. All public who want to access the roof have to now go through normal security screening procedures to access it. Then they take a lift to the roof from the public area.

Feb 10, 2008

Get onto the Roof

The roof of Parliament House provides spectacular views of Canberra. Access is via the lift at Members' Hall in the first floor.

But it's not only the views. Also the roof itself is very interesting, with lawns (yes, really!) and outbuildings, designed in geometric shapes, offering frames for the views, or just other interesting aspects of the city and the region. You have 360° views. So it is really a perfect place for getting a feeling of the layout of the perfectly planned place in the middle of nowhere.

From the roof you understand best the concept of the National Triangle. New Parliament House is the main corner of the National Triangle which is formed by Kings Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue, originating right there. On the other side of Lake Burley Griffin, where ANZAC Parade starts, Constitution Avenue connects those two avenues.

So this triangle connects the three peaks of Capitol Hill (the location of Parliament House), City Hill and the Russell Apex (the location of the defence headquarters).

Inside the triangle, a smaller triangle is located; it is the "Government Group", now the Parliamentary Zone.

Kakapo2's Profile Photo
Jul 08, 2007

A Modern Shell filled with History

Queen Elizabeth II opened New Parliament House on Capital Hill on 9 May 1988.

The building was designed by Romanldo Guirgola of Mitchell, Giurgola & Thorp Architects, with the prospect of a lifetime of 200 years. It sits on a 32-hectare site on Capital Hill, at the top of one of the wide corridors, linking the Australian War Memorial, Old and New Parliament Houses.

If you stand in front of this modern, rather cold and functional building, you would not imagine how beautiful it is inside, and how full of history, culture and art. There could not be a bigger contrast.

But, ok, let's start on the outside, with a big Aboriginal mosaic in the Forecourt, based on the typical dot-style paintings. It depicts a meeting place and symbolises the continent of Australia, inhabited by Aboriginal people prior to European settlement. 90,000 granite pieces in seven colours had to be hand-guillotined to put this piece of art together.

In the foyer marble and timber are used to mark the arrival of the Europeans. The marquetry panels are inlaid with designs of Australian flora. I loved it!

The settlement and cultivation of the land are expressed in the Great Hall by the use of rich Australian timbers, tapestry and embroidery.

The Members' Hall is located directly under the flagmast in the heart of the building. The Senate and the House of Representatives chambers are to the left and to the right.

A lot of commissioned artworks, as well as gifted portraits and sculptures, give the rather dark and serene interior a touch of museum. To me, the building as a whole symbolises a young and modern nation on the outside with a rich history on the inside.

Free guided tours begin at 9am and follow every 30 minutes, the last tour starting at 4pm. When Parliament is not meeting tours take 45mins, when P. is meeting they take about 20mins. Audio-guides in various languages are available.

Self-guided tours are also possible. If you have questions you can ask the guides who are positioned at strategic points.

Kakapo2's Profile Photo
Jul 08, 2007

Things To Do Near New Parliament House

Things to do

National Capital Exhibition

Having visited the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre next door, a great place to get your bearings and learn something of the story of the national capital through a combination of audio-visual...
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Things to do

National Gallery of Australia

Art galleries can often be controversial and political. That’s why they exist, isn’t it? One of the National Gallery of Australia’s most political, controversial and poignant pieces is to be found...
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Things to do

National Portrait Gallery

The latest addition to the Parliamentary prescient and located next to the High Count of Australia and the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery was opened in 2008. In contrast to the High...
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Things to do

High Court of Australia

Two buildings in Canberra rank high in the stakes for being the most hideous looking buildings in Australia – both these buildings are beside each other. One is the High Court of Australia and the...
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Things to do


Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology centre, is one of Canberra’s top attractions, much loved by children in particular though it offers plenty to stimulate the curiosity and...
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Things to do

St John the Baptist Anglican Church

See my separate (related) tips for: St John the Baptist Church includes history St John the Baptist Church – Interior St John’s Schoolhouse – Canberra’s first school I have to admit to having a...
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Getting to New Parliament House


Capital Hill


  • Sunday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Monday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 09:00 to 17:00