Located in Australia’s scenic capital city, the Parliament House and Old Parliament House are situated on Capital Hill with the new building positioned behind the old and built into the hill itself. At the time of its May 1988 opening, the current Parliament House was the most expensive structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Old Parliament House was used for only a portion of the mid-twentieth century (1927 – 1988); however, through heroic efforts in historic preservation, it remains in existence even now, enhancing the view of the newer building. The old building now houses a governmental museum. The vista from the front steps of the neoclassical structure offers a pleasant view of Mount Ainslie and the Australian War Memorial.
The Parliament House was designed by Italian architect Romaldo Giurgola so that much of the structure is underground and so that the visible portion echoes the facade of the older building. The two parliaments appear very similar, but the newer structure clearly has a more modern appearance and appeal. The House of Representatives and the Senate both meet in the Parliament House. The Great Hall located inside and above ground is used for public events, including graduation ceremonies and weddings.
The enormous Australian flag that flies on an elevated spire above the building approximates half the size of a tennis court. The most recognizable symbol of the government, the flag and spire complex are visible from a great distance during daylight hours and are illuminated during the night. From above, the building itself looks like two boomerangs.
Visitors in this area should see both Parliament Houses, new and old, in addition to the Australian War Memorial, the neighboring parks, and the botanical garden and stay in the variety of Canberra Hotels that can be found close by.