A national icon and a place of great beauty, Old Parliament House is home to the Museum of Australian democracy. A building of historical interest and political intrigue. Home to the Australian Federal Parliament from 1927 until 1988, when the new Parliament House was opened, this building has a rich history of the political decisions made for the 61 years it functioned as the provisional Parliament House.

With its elegant stripped-classical style of architecture, typical of the design of architect John Smith Murdoch, the Museum of Australian Democracy is another definite must-see for residents and visitors. It is a fascinating museum with engaging exhibitions and activities for all ages.

Take a free 45-minute guided tour, available daily. Volunteer guides, some of whom worked in the building when it operated as parliament, will provide you with information about the House and our political history. You will go into chambers and offices—of particular interest, the Prime Minister’s Suite and Cabinet Room. In this time of high security, it is interesting to note that up until 1988, before the move to the new and permanent Parliament House, the Prime Minister’s office was located in the front of the building close to the road, with seldom a fear for his safety, an indicment of times past.

Pick up an iPod Touch from the information booth in King’s Hall to learn more about the shenanigans and actual events that went on here. The Zine Lounge complements the annual political cartoon exhibition, ‘Behind the Lines’, which is always very clever and full of humour. You can read magazines and cartoons, or ply your own creative talents to make your own zines and cartoons here. Children are not forgotten with ‘Play Up’, a fabulous play area with thematic activities that celebrate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Enjoy a coffee at the Terrace Café or appreciate a fresh new dining experience at Hoi Polloi, located in the Non-Members Bar space with its art-deco design and orginal furnishings.

keyCheck the paintwork on the pillars in the courtyard outside Hoi Polloi. During renovations the paint was scraped back to reveal the many colours used over the years. Some are very interesting choices…

keyCatch up with friends in the House of Representatives Courtyard for Seasonal Friday Night Drink sessions. Check www.moadoph.gov.au for details.

keyGet a group together (or tag along with others) and take part in a moderated Cabinet session. This role-play activity, Cabinet-in-Confidence is great fun.

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Phone: 6270 8222
Website: www.moadoph.gov.au
Open daily 9am–5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Research Library open Monday–Friday 10am–1pm (closed public holidays)
Cost: Adults $2, Child $1, Family $5
Paid parking
Disabled access and facilities. For wheelchair access press bell at base of entry stairs. Wheelchairs can be borrowed upon request.