On Saturday 22nd May, Queensland's Parliament House was opened to the public in an event designed to bring the parliament closer to the community. Queensland's Governor and the Speaker of the House opened the proceedings, and a Town Crier and the Australian Army Band provided some relief to the formality of the occasion.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The interior of Parliament House is delightful - polished parquetry and pristine paint, together with specially-made carpet bearing the Maltese Cross from Queensland's Coat of Arms, and an image of Queen Victoria in a glorious stained glass window make it extremely attractive. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The foundation stone of Parliament House was laid on 14 July 1865, and it was opened in 1867. The initial Queensland parliament had an Upper House, and this is where it sat.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; 41037)
Although the Legislative Council was abolished in 1922, the chamber remains. This is the way it looks now. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
When the Legislative Assembly grew, new chambers were needed for the additional members, and this is it. The newer chamber is toned in the traditional Westminster green colourings.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
Functions held at Parliament House are often in the form of a garden party, where a number of people can be received at the same time. Here is one from 1946.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #41016)
This is the function that took place on the Speaker's Green on Open Day. The governor had a cup of tea from a silver service in the warm winter sun, and she was entertained by the Army Band who whipped up a couple of up-tempo numbers for her.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
Parliament House has a couple of libraries, and they contain some very rare books and manuscripts, including some of Captain Cook's journals as well as some papers relating to the early explorers of Australia, such as Flinders, Oxley and Leichhardt. The following photo shows the main library in 1906.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #41107)
We were allowed into the library too (under the watchful eye of the Parliamentary Librarian), and this is the way it looks today.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
I think it was a great public relations effort to open Parliament House for everyone to see. Apparently it is likely to become an annual event. I was surprised at the numbers that turned out -- the security staff had their hands full scanning everyone who came through. With only the one scanner, the queue extended back across George St to the Botanical Gardens.
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Next: St Mary's Anglican