The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House is a living museum of social and political history, located in a nationally listed heritage building in Parkes, Canberra. The Old Parliament House, formerly known as the Provisional Parliament House, was the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988. Because of it’s temporary nature, it didn’t have sufficient space for all the members and a number of extensions were made over the years. It was almost torn down when the new Parliament House was finally built but was preserved for its historical significance and is now operated as a museum.
We parked near the National Library, and explored the Peace Park, Water’s Edge, the National Rose Garden, the old Parliament House and the Treasury building.
The National Capital Exhibition tells the Story of Canberra as the capital city of Australia. It has displays featuring the people, events, history and design of this unique, modern, planned city, and the people behind the design – Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion. I enjoyed the scale model of the national area of Canberra, including a projected presentation.
From the National Carillon, we skirted our way back to Commonwealth Park via Kings Park through a set of paths parallel to Parkes Way.
The National Carillon is a gift from the British Government to the people of Australia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the national capital, Canberra. It has 57 bells, ranging nearly 5 octaves from the 6,108kg bass bell in F# to the 8kg treble bell in D. Australia only has 3 carillons, the other two located at Bathurst and the University of Sydney and they were built as war memorials. It is a striking building with a Brutalist design.
Kings Park also lies on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin adjacent to Commonwealth Park and is normally considered to be the area east of Anzac Parade. There are quite a few memorials here including the National Police Memorial, National Workers Memorial, National Emergency Services Memorial, Australian Merchant Navy Memorial, Indian Ocean Tsunami Memorial and the HMAS Canberra Memorial.
Blundells Cottage is a heritage-listed six-roomed stone cottage located on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. It was built by George Campbell for his ploughman William Ginn and was subsequently inhabited by Flora and George Blundell. It continued to be occupied until 1958 well after Canberra became the capital of Australia despite having no electricity. It is now a museum.
The RG Menzies walk swings from underneath the Commonwealth Avenue bridge past Regatta Point, Commonwealth Park and into Kings Park. From here you can see great views of the National Buildings located in Parliament Zone with Parliament House in the distance. There is also a jet fountain that sprays water hundreds of metres into the air from Lake Burley Griffin.
The traditional home of Floriade hasn’t completely missed out. There is a glorious flower bed on the back of Stage 88 along with a gnome and a Floriade mural.
This area contains lots of luxury apartments, a marina and a retail precinct. There is a large central area with Floriade boxes.