Burradoo Journal

By Burradoo

Canberra hot spot

Old Parliament House, the home of the Federal Parliament from 1927 to 1988 and now the Museum of Australian Democracy.
What I love about this building is its unpretentiousness. It was designed, not by a world class architect or in an international competition, but by John Smith Murdoch; the first Commonwealth government architect, with a team of assistants from the Department of Works and Railways.
Murdoch worked with the ‘stripped classical’ style, common in government buildings in the 1920s and 1930s. It can also be seen in Murdoch’s other Canberra buildings, including the Hotel Canberra (now Hyatt Hotel Canberra), Hotel Kurrajong and the East and West Blocks, which are the original government office buildings in Canberra.
Beyond the red flags is Anzac Parade, linking the Parliament visually with the Australian War Memorial. Behind Old Parliament House and completing the vista is the new Parliament, also a beautiful building but much more imposing and designed to impress.
The photo that I wish I had taken, but didn’t, is an inconspicuous little sign near the metal stair rail up to the main entrance of the Old Parliament. It says, simply and practically, “Warning, railings may be hot”. It gets warm in Canberra in the summer.

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